By: Ericka Kirk
Fells Point is more than just bars and restaurants. Spooky spirits roam the streets, which became quite apparent on the Fells Point haunted pub crawl.
Fells Point: Reefers (or lack there of), happy hour, good shops, good food…ghosts? That’s right. It’s one of the most haunted places in Baltimore, rumored to be built on top of a mass grave that holds thousands of people who succumbed to the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793. Again this is just a rumor, among many others, that suggest explanations for the weird, unexplained paranormal activity that has plagued one of the most popular sections of Baltimore for years.
Considering that one of my favorite holidays, Halloween, is right around the corner and that I have a strange, perhaps even unhealthy, inclination towards scary movies, haunted houses, pumpkin picking and ghost stories , I immediately signed up for the Fells Point Haunted Pub Crawl when I saw an advertisement for it online. Ghosts and beer? Yes please. For those 21 and older, the tour (directed by a guide dressed totally in character- top hat, cane, trench coat, strange accent, etc.) consists of a two hour long excursion around Fells Point and its most haunted pubs.
Our first stop was The Wharf Rat. The building has been around since the late 1700s, which is apparent by the interior décor of the old pirate bar. That’s right. Pirates and sailors from around the world would frequent the Wharf Rat, being that Fells Point was Baltimore’s original port. It served as the main shipbuilding and commercial center. Once you step into The Wharf Rat, you feel like you’re inside a ship. Wooden planks cover the walls and ceilings, artifacts hang all over the walls, it’s crowded, small and loud. Despite its old-time charm and cozy atmosphere, an eerie presence hangs in the air. Our tour guide, Tim, informed us that a previous landlord had been murdered in the Wharf Rat, right in front of the giant fire place that remains in the bar. Workers have reported seeing his ghost, mostly in the kitchen, with bloody eye sockets. I took to some authentic Oktoberfest beer to sooth my fears that this fellow might appear on the stool next to me.
Moving along we went, to what became, my favorite stop of the trip, The Horse You Came in On. This was (…and still is) Edgar Allen Poe’s favorite place to hang. The famous writer used to come here when he lived in Baltimore in the mid-1800s. It is even said that he had his last drink here before he was thrown out and died mysteriously at the age of 40. The saloon is not only the oldest operating bar since 1775, but it is also the only bar in Maryland that existed before, during and after the prohibition. Hearing this all explained by our tour guide and looking around at the memorabilia from the Prohibition that now adorns the walls of The Horse, I felt like I was in an episode of Boardwalk Empire (complete with ghosts). Poe has been known to topple over bar stools and make appearances in the hallways. I would have liked to see him because he is somewhat of a celebrity in my eyes, but alas I don’t think he liked all the spectators. With live entertainment, drink specials, and football games blaring from the plasma televisions, one would never know that one of the most famous poets and writers to ever live enjoys this place.
Our last stop was to Duda’s Tavern. It was the least creepy, although I did feel a strange chill when we arrived (keep in mind, it was also about 40 degrees at this point). It is said that the favorite polka song of the original owner plays every so often. Even though the owner is dead. And even though there is no record player left to play it. No polka songs were heard when we arrived, however. My new ghost group friends and I had a great time jamming out to the DJs assorted playlist (which ranged from Justin Timberlake to Bruce Springsteen), ordering Natty Bo’s and reminiscing on the spooky adventure we had. Side note-Duda’s has been rated #1 crab cakes by Baltimore Magazine and, I can attest to this, they are out of this world.
The trip overall was a great time. It showed me a completely different side of Baltimore- a spookier side. The history we learned about Fells Point was actually fascinating, and the fact that it was a pub crawl naturally made everything better. There is also just a normal ghost walk for those who would prefer that, which has received ratings and reviews just as impressive. So if you’re looking to spice up your Halloween adventures this year, I highly recommend this tour which runs through November.