Did you know that Delaware was actually one of the first settled areas in what we now know as the United States of America? That means that there are some pretty old buildings to be found and even the land itself has a long and fascinating history.
Whenever there is a long and colorful history, you can be pretty sure that hauntings and unexplained events will be sure to follow. It is no big surprise that Delaware has more than its fair share of ghost stories to tell!
Let’s find out a little bit more about the most haunted places in Delaware, shall we?
1. Old Maggie's Bridge, Seaford
The ghost story about Old Maggie’s Bridge is an interesting one, but it certainly does have some elements of an urban legend about it, given that it seems to be a ‘Bloody Mary’ type of game. However, it is popular enough that local people will still warn visitors about the bridge, so it most likely qualifies for being included, even if it is a little embellished!
Anyway, Maggie’s Bridge is located on Route 78 in Seaford and is apparently the site of a fatal accident in which a pregnant woman named Maggie perished. The legend is that if you stand on Maggie’s Bridge at night and shout ‘Maggie, I have your baby’ into the darkness, you will soon hear the sound of a sobbing Maggie scrambling in the bushes looking for her child.
2. The Addy Sea, Bethany
The Addy Sea is a beautiful Victorian-style bed and breakfast with stunning sea views and a real homely feel. However, this is also one of the most haunted places in Delaware. The house was built in 1902 and was named after John M. Addy.
Over the years, it has changed hands several times, but in the past 25 years, The Gravattes have owned and operated the bed and breakfast. They have undertaken extensive restoration work in keeping with the original design.
In terms of the paranormal side of things, it is believed that at least 3 of the 13 rooms are haunted. Room number 1 is the home of The Addy Sea’s infamous haunted bathroom! The copper bathtub is violently shaken on occasion, and many guests have experienced this strange phenomenon that cannot be easily explained! In room number 6, there is a paranormal activity of a very different kind.
When people pass by the room, they say that they can hear organ music coming from the room even though there is no organ in the room! Finally, room number 11 is haunted by the ghost of Paul Delaney, a man who once worked at The Addy Sea.
These haunted rooms are only the beginning of the paranormal activity at The Addy Sea. There are also reports of a ghost who runs through the hallways in the evening. At certain times, the air is filled with perfume’s scent, and mysterious music floats through the building.
There are also a handful of reports of footsteps on the roof in the dead of night, which some claim belong to the ghost of Kurt Addy, who fell to his death from the roof many years ago.
Are you brave enough to sleep in one of the haunted rooms at The Addy Sea?
3. Bellevue Hall, Wilmington
Bellevue Hall is a property that sits nestled in Bellevue State Park, and it is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in Delaware, thanks to several spirits that call it home.
The second and third floors of the building are closed to the public, but staff members say that these are the most active parts of the property in terms of unexplained activity.
The ghosts have been known to mess around with the electricity, move chairs around, and they are often heard in the form of disembodied screams and laughter!
4. Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes
Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Delaware, also has a rather creepy tale associated with it. It is said that there is a phantom soldier still on duty behind Tower 12.
Those who get too close to his post, located in a bunker underneath what appears to be a dune near the campground bicycle trail next to Spotting Tower 12, have heard growling or have been yelled at by a disembodied voice.
The soldier’s face has also manifested itself in photographs and video clips recorded in the area on several different occasions.
5. Christiana Fire Company Station 12, Christiana
It is said that two different ghosts are haunting the Christiana Fire Company Station 12. One of them is believed to be evil and one kind. The evil spirit is said to appear in the doorway of the engineer’s room as a dark, shadowy figure. This one seems to appear much more frequently than the other, kinder ghost.
In fact, the kind spirit is rarely seen, but it is believed that whenever the evil spirit appears, the kind spirit is there, stopping the evil one from going any further into the hallway. Witnesses say that it is an ongoing battle between good and evil and that anyone present when it happens can most definitely feel it.
6. Cat Man's Grave, Long Cemetery, Frankford
One of the strangest tales to come out of Delaware has to be The Cat, man! This story is associated with Long Cemetery, Frankford. Apparently, in life, The Cat man was a grave keeper who spent a large portion of his time chasing troublemakers out of the cemetery!
He was apparently a very feline-looking man. After his death, it is said that those cat-like features became more prominent, and now the caretaker’s spirit manifests as a part cat part man-creature who has often scared away the kids who come to the cemetery to party. He is still watching over the place, even in death.
It is also said that if you are bold enough to knock on his tomb and disturb him at rest, then he will mess with your vehicle making it, so you have difficulty leaving the cemetery!
7. John Dickinson House, Dover
The Dickinson Mansion, also known as Poplar Hall, is located on the John Dickinson Plantation in Dover, Delaware. It served as the childhood home of John Dickinson, former congressman and delegate to the US Constitutional Convention of 1787. The property was built in 1739 and almost destroyed in a fire in 1804. It is now open to the public as a museum.
John Dickinson himself haunts the house, and many visitors have reported hearing the sound of someone writing in the old master’s study. His apparition has also been seen around the property, and his voice has been captured several times via EVP.
8. Fort Delaware, Delaware City
Fort Delaware is now inactive, in that it no longer serves as a harbor defense facility. However, it is certainly still active in terms of paranormal activity, with it being listed as one of the most haunted forts in America!
Pea Patch Island on which the old fort resides has been owned by the Military since the 1810s, having been seized by the military from Dr. Henry Gale, who was using it as his own private hunting ground.
The French built the fort to protect Delaware from the Confederates and other enemies. In 1812, Captain Samuel Babcock oversaw the efforts to make the fortification stronger. Seawalls and dikes were built at strategic points around the island, and the construction of the star fort was started in 1817.
However, due to various delays and damage suffered, it took much longer to complete than anticipated. The second version of the fort, which is the pentagonal one you see on the island today, was designed by Captain Delafield and was built between 1848 and 1859, although it was not declared complete until 1868.
The dungeons are probably the most active spot in the structure. Prisoners would have been kept in the dungeon without beds or even water. They slept on the floor amidst the vermin, so needless to say, death and disease were rife!
Many people have reported shadow figures and full-body apparitions in the dungeon area, and it is not at all uncommon to hear disembodied voices echoing through the fort’s fort’s dark halls. There have also been sounds of chains rattling.
9. Delaware Governor's Mansion, Dover
The Governor’s Mansion in Dover is believed to be the most haunted house in Delaware. Having been built in 1790 and its first reported ghost sighting back in 1815, it certainly has a claim to be!
The owners back then were Dr. and Mrs. Martin Bates. During a visit, a well-known itinerant preacher named Mr. Lorenzo Dow was attending breakfast with the Bates’s when Mrs. Bates asked him if he would lead a prayer. Mr. Dow, hesitant, suggested they wait for the other person in the house. Surprised, Mrs. Bates explained nobody else was in the house with them. Dow described the man he had just passed on the staircase as an older gentleman, wearing a powdered wig, knee britches, and a ruffled shirt. Mrs. Bates was shocked, as who he had just described was her late father, Mr. Charles Hillyard III, the builder and original owner of the home.
10. Smyrna Museum, Smyrna
The Smyrna Museum in Smyrna, Delaware consists of two historic buildings, The Barracks and the Plank House, both dating back to the 1700s. The Barracks, which now houses the Smyrna Museum, was built in the 1790’s and housed soldiers during the War of 1812. It was also used to recruit Union soldiers during the Civil War, and the Delaware Civil War lottery was held on its steps.
As with most locations that have this amount of history, there’s a ghost story or two to tell, and the museum and the Duck Creek Historical Society embrace that haunted history. Paranormal reports here include unexplained sounds and voices, objects moving on their own, and the feelings of being watched.