Monsters, Myths and Legends, Maryland-Style: What's Yours?

For such a small state, Maryland delivers big on folklore. Maybe it's the fact that it's so old (one of the thirteen original colonies, in fact). Wars have been fought here, history has been made and people from all over have settled in the state, bringing their own stories with them. Mix it all together, and you have a state that's ripe with tall tales and spooky stories.

Take Chessie, the supposed sea monster that dwells in the Chesapeake Bay. The bay's certainly big enough to hide a slippery rascal like Chessie, and he's been seen a few times since the 40's. Usually, Chessie is described as a huge aquatic snake, though he might need to go on a diet, since a manatee who strayed unusually far north was once mistaken for Chessie. It sounds like Chessie might not be anything more than a fun story told by those who live by the bay, but the Smithsonian held a mini-symposium on the topic of the beast--so whatever it is, people take it seriously! 


                                                                 Photo via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

(Chessie gets pretty good gigs for a monster that may not even exist, huh?)

Then there's the 'demon truck' that supposedly chases drivers unwary enough to be on the seven hills of Ellicott CIty at midnight. Ellicott City is already pretty well-known for being a spooky hotspot, but I've been on the hilly roads outside of town during the day, and it's scary enough without the threat of being run down by a ghostly truck. Is it just an urban legend, told and retold by kids who want to dare each other into driving the hills to prove their bravery? Or is something paranormal going on? 

Let's move onto another monster--a mysterious man-goat called (rather obviously) the Maryland Goatman. He's half man, half goat, and supposedly calls Beltsville home. His origin stories vary. I'd recommend this Modern Farmer article for the title alone, but the gist of it is that a researcher at the nearby Agricultural Research Center was experimenting on goats, and somehow got Spidermanned into a goat creature (perhaps a bite from a radioactive goat?). Now he wanders around, sometimes with an axe, looking for victims.


                                                                             Photo via rabblerabblerouser

(This, sadly, is not a photo of the Goatman. But maybe the Goatman would be more beloved if he were as cute as a baby goat.)

One of the best-known legends out of Maryland is a completely fabricated one--the Blair Witch. Spoiler alert from the late 90's, guys. The Blair Witch doesn't exist, and isn't even a real legend. The forest scenes weren't even shot outside of Burkittsville, but outside of Gaithersburg instead. All three of the kids in the movie are alive and well, and you can look them up on IMDB.


                                                                       Photo via

(You are not missing, guys. You are fine, and you have done interviews. Don't scare us like that.)

If you want a true Maryland witch story, you'll have to go to Leonardtown, where a woman named Moll Dyer lived in the 17th century. Accused of witchcraft, Dyer was chased from her home by angry townsfolk, and was driven out into the bitter cold. Her body was found frozen to a large rock--and her curse supposedly still exists to this day. This was a period of time when people really were put to death for being witches, and there's historical evidence proving it happened in Maryland. 

Here's the thing. As much as I'd like to be, I can't be from everywhere in Maryland at once. I don't know all the juicy secrets in all the cities and counties, and though I've done research on these things, it's better to hear it from people who grew up with these stories. So comment with your local Maryland legends and stories. Is there a great urban legend in your town? Was someone burned as a witch or abducted by aliens? Is there a weird spot or a monster lurking around? Let me know, and I'll include the best ones in a follow-up story. All I ask is that you hold off on ghost stories if you can--I'm saving that for October. Let's get weird, Route One readers!


This post was written by Route One Apparel blogger, Eva Niessner.

  • Kimberly Chambers says...

    What about the story about a cemetery I think it’s lauden park in Baltimore md where there’s a tombstone of a chair and if you sit down on it the womans arms will open up and close squeezing you to death I think her name is black Aggie

    On September 01, 2020

  • ghost says...

    thank you everyone for sharing these stories..i am willing to go and try all these out. I never knew Maryland had so much interesting stuff.
    Btw I have heard lots about crybaby bridge…scary stuff.

    On August 15, 2017

  • jjs says...

    Screaming Polly of Cecil co lots of different versions but she’s haunting the woods looking for her baby if u honk ur horn she’ll come screaming from the woods people say she is in earleville but I’ve heard she isn’t but I’ve heard the earleville story since I was a kid

    On July 17, 2017

  • Dave says...

    You guys left out Peeping Tom, the flickergeist at the Ellicott City train tunnel. You have to stare down the tunnel for a whole hour without blinking, then he gets stuck in your eyes and every time you blink he starts closer until he kills you. He is also called Blinkman.

    On June 05, 2017

  • Mary says...

    Though most of these Md. legends are ludicrously untrue, there were, over a period of many years, interactions with poltergeists inside “The Lawn” – an 1840’s-1850’s summer home, originally built by a Judge Dobbin (of Baltimore), on top of a high ridge at the bottom of what is now Old Lawyers Hill Road, in Elkridge (Howard Co.), Md. Poltergeists are relatively harmless but can be very annoying. Every owner of this home have had run-ins with these spirits. Even inside the surrounding guesthouses. In the 1960’s, my school friend at the time, lived in “The Lawn” with her relatives. I grew up less than a block away and knew her family. Many’s the time when she told me of locked doors opening, door keys missing, and when they all had dinner in her grandmother’s upstairs apartment, a bowl containing salad flew up to the ceiling. And it’s not like there were no witnesses! The next owners of The Lawn always complained of spirits. On a 3rd-storey porch railing, the owner had a long flower container planted with growing herbs. She no sooner planted the stuff and walked away briefly, when she returned, and saw all the plants were individually laid out, side by side, on the railing. Often, her son would remove his boots and put them by his bed, but when he wanted to get them, they’d be gone and discovered somewhere else. The house has important Elkridge history tied to it and each owner has experienced (without outside provocation or baiting legend), first-hand, individual knowledge of these energies. There is currently now yet another owner of The Lawn.

    On September 16, 2016

  • Jeff says...

    Can someone tell me a myth a round the sequehanna river their one that’s on the tip of my young but I can not figure. It out.

    On August 11, 2016

  • Kelly says...

    There’s a covered bridge on Jericho road near harford county. Legend states if you park your car in the bridge late at night and turn your engine and lights off you’ll see someone hanging. I’ve done it a few times and never saw anyone hanging but did hear strange noises. Sounded like someone was knocking on both sides of the bridge.

    On July 30, 2016

  • Smith says...

    Don’t forget about big Liz bridge. – Cambridge MD.

    On July 04, 2016

  • Anonymous says...

    In Shadyside Maryland, where I live, there is a legend in cedarhurst of a little boy who drowned in the marsh of the marina. He drowned in 1906 and his name was David. The legend says that if you go to the Marina after midnight you can see the little boy. Some teenagers and children knock over his cross but somehow it goes back up the next day. Before you see David you see a red ball bounce across the street. Then David following.

    On May 15, 2016

  • Adam says...

    With all the death’s lately at the King and Queen’s seat, I’ve heard rumors/legends that the two Native Americans that died in the original legend are making a reappearance.

    On February 03, 2016

  • Kathleen says...

    Actually, I looked up the Dwayyo, and it’s like this giant bear/dog/wolf monster, kind of like a werewolf but not. The Snallygaster is supposedly its natural born enemy.

    On November 15, 2015

  • Tracey says...

    Don’t forget about Cry Baby Bridge!!!!

    On August 08, 2015

  • nope says...

    Actually Joe the Snallygaster is originally a western maryland tale. It has been in several books about Maryland folklore since before that God awful show came out. But I have no doubt if it is real that it could stalk both places since they are close to each other and the thing has wings.

    On June 04, 2015

  • Eric says...

    You forgot one of the best…The Legend of the Blue Dog which originates from Charles County Maryland, near Port Tobacco. The basic gyst of the story is that somewhere along Rosehill Road, a ghostly blue dogs still guards the treasure of his murdered owner. The dog’s owner was murdered by brigands seeking the treasure. The dog still sits there protecting the treasure and can be seen patrolling. I grew up in White Plains, a few short miles from Port Tobacco, and remember hearing this story in various forms as a kid. There are different versions, but all have the dog guarding his masters treasure.

    If you’ve ever travelled that section of road, its a perfect spot for a ghostly dog to appear. The road is secluded, very wooded. There are a few houses along the route, at least there were when I was a kid. Some of those houses are very old, dating back to colonial times. So its a very spooky place, even if the legend isn’t true…which if very well could be

    On May 14, 2015

  • Jim says...

    There’s an urban legend called “Black Aggie” in Anne Arundel Co. If you’re driving on Patuxent River Rd near Crofton after midnight you may see a hitch-hiker on the side of the road. I think the story goes that she was hit by a car in early part of the 1900’s. If you see her you need to pull over and pick her up and she’ll watch over you the rest of the night. If you don’t, she’ll appear in your backseat and curse your ride. I remember a story of this happening and it scared the crap out of some kids when they saw her and they hit a tree. Both died. There’s also a small bridge on that road called “Cry Baby Bridge” with a dirt road and satanical church at the end. My friend who’s a wrestler took half the team down there and at the end of the road, through the woods, across the railroad tracks they came upon a ceremony of some sort. They were chased out of there and heard shotgun blasts as they ran. This was 20+ years ago but I remember the stories.

    On May 01, 2015

  • Joe says...

    Sorry, but I think the Snallygaster is from West Virginia, although there is a creature called the Dewayo that swoops down on people. It does live in Maryland, and it also shares many features that the Snallygaster does.( If you want some more information on the Snallygaster, you can look up Mountain Monsters episodes; they did an investigation to track down the Snallygaster.) Oh, and for the website, don’t forget that the Goatman supposedly killed 12 teenagers and only one body was found. Look up the Goatman legend for more info. And also remember the Sykesville Monster! He is one heck of a Bigfoot! For more awesome Maryland legends that you can use for info, you can look at the Maryland myths and legends web page.

    On November 26, 2014

  • Captain Dom says...

    Don’t forget about the Pig Lady that lives on Black Snake Rd in Cecil County!!
    …….the bridge…….

    On August 06, 2014

  • Vicki Corson says...

    How could you have left out the dreaded snallygaster from Western Maryland? The snallygaster is a half-bird, half-reptile creature that swoops down from the clouds searching for its prey of small game, farm animals, inattentive pets and even young children. Snallygaster sightings were reported in Maryland newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun, as far back as 1906, when one was seen near Frederick.

    On August 06, 2014


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