A Haunted Museum

In downtown Frederick, Maryland, on East Patrick Street, sits the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Civil War medicine creeps me out a little. Think about it—the threat of gangrene and other infections were as much a concern as wounds inflicted on the battle field. Just look at some of the tools used—in unsanitary conditions—and tell me it doesn’t make your hair stand up.

Now, imagine those tools in a haunted building and you’ll have a good idea of what the National Museum of Civil War Medicine is like. The museum resides in a building that was constructed in the 1830s. An embalming business once operated on the premises and it was used as a mortuary during the Civil War.

Today, people report scratching sounds—almost like a cat clawing at a scratching post—coming from the director’s office on the top floor. Other strange sounds are frequently reported in the museum as well. There have also been reports of objects that have moved or gone missing in the museum. Some believe it is the ghosts of Civil War soldiers moving the objects—some of which may have belonged to them when they were alive.

The last time I was there, I spoke with two museum employees and neither had experienced anything paranormal while working there. However, one of the workers spoke at length about people he has known who have had ghostly encounters and he did not dismiss my questions in the least.

My wife had an unsettling experience in the museum that I will recount in a future book.