Whatever your belief, Halloween has a way of drawing you to the mystical fascination of the unknown. Mike Carter is drawn to the unknown every day. He spends hours at the Maryland State Archives so he can deliver Annapolis History to visitors and locals on the streets of Annapolis, daily. His tours are captivating, like a good book that you can’t put down. He delivers history to you in 1-2 fun hours. Mike Carter started Tours and Crawls of Annapolis in 2003. The tours within Annapolis, prior to 2003, were only on Halloween. Mike knew that our streets were special. He knew that our streets were lined with enough tales to tell on each day of the week. How did he get the idea to start a Ghost Tour in Annapolis? He and his wife were on vacation in Charleston and decided to try a ghost tour after reading the pamphlet in their hotel room. Mike was hooked and knew that Annapolis needed a Ghost Tour.
Mike was so fascinated by our mysterious tales that he decided to document them. With tour guide Julia Dray, he wrote the book Haunted Annapolis: Ghosts of the Capital City. As we spoke, his eyes lit up as he jumped from one piece of history to the next.
We spoke of Roland, the registered Ghost of Middleton Tavern. The Chesapeake Bay was a popular means of travel providing a quick connection to the north from the south. People traveled across the Chesapeake Bay by ferry and Middleton operated a very popular one in his day. The law stated that in order to operate a ferry, one must own/operate lodging on each side of the Bay. Middleton also provided lodging in Rock Hall, MD. Could Roland be George Schmidt, a visitor of the ferry and Tavern, shot inside over a political argument?
Mike then painted a picture of what City Dock looked like in the 1700’s. We casually stroll past the Steven’s Hardware Building and Dock Street Bar, not realizing they use to the Annapolis Jail that contained gallows. It was not filled with afternoon cheer and nights of music and laughter. No, it was quite the opposite. It held a reputation for being a terrible place, with very bad conditions. Passersby complained of odors of decay and unsanitary conditions coming from the jail. The traces of those that perished in the horrific conditions lie forever silent beneath our brick or do they?
So which famous Annapolis Ghost is Mike’s favorite? Is it Roland of Middleton Tavern? It may be Thomas Dance of the State House or Reverdy Johnson of the Government House. Could it be Captain Campbell of Maryland Inn? Each story is rich in history and the ghosts all have a way of bringing their stories to life. It’s hard to pick just one but maybe after reading the book, you may find one that you connect with more.