The Walking Dead

Feb 25, 2020

This story comes from Spirits of Frederick by Alyce T. Weinberg.


old picture of decayed tannery
at Burkittsville
(not sure if it’s still standing/not my photo)

“Footprints on the tops of cars that no amount of scrubbing will wash away! Cars parked overnight beside what was once a tannery on the main street of Burkittsville! “True,” says the Rev. H. Austin Cooper, a minister in this town of some two hundred souls.” (Spirits of Frederick, 1992)

The tannery complex was built around 1807 on the Monocacy Trail and, at the time, employed at least fifty men. It also composed of a blacksmith shop. During the American Civil War, General Lee had two wheels of an ambulance repaired there and President Lincoln and McClellan once ate a meal in the house next door. Also during the Civil War, the wounded were attended to in the tannery and other places that could accommodate them. The tannery went to ruin after many years of neglect and unuse. Many buildings in Burkittsville are still standing.

Children would snoop around the wreckage by day, trying to locate the source of sounds coming from the old tannery. Lovers who liked to park there would come away from the place with footprints on their cars.

It is fact that townspeople, all over the country really, not just Burkittsville, would bury the dead in makeshift graves. Time has erased all signs of the burial ground(s). This was done mostly by the women and children of the town.

The Rev. Cooper offered the theory that the soldiers’ were walking around because of the lack of attention. “Recently, a stone coffin-like marker was erected to memorialize the unknown bodies and dedicated to those that fell in the skirmish on Sept. 12, 1862. The color guard of the American Legion attended, a nine-gun salute was fired, and a proper benediction performed.”

Albert Woterson (?) home,
built around original stone walls

A little history…

  • in 1720, the town was a trading post
  • there is proof of a spook hill on the edge of town, near the War Correspondents’ Memorial Arch in Gathland Park (at the top of the mountain)…you must have patience if you want to try it. A young woman from Frederick tried it with some friends. “The night was quiet, no sounds except frogs and crickets. They heard the sound of many feet running, thundering like a buffalo stampede (cannonfire?), as the noise got louder til it was deafening, and the car started to move. They were scared, hyterically turning on the lights and speeding away.”

I have heard stories of this spook hill in Burkittsville, and other places in and around Frederick. I have yet to try any of them…except in Pennsylvania, where my car almost drove off the road. I’ll be uploading the video to youtube here soon.

There’s a tunnel near my house that runs under 15 that is supposed to be haunted… your car will be pushed through. I think it needs to be done at a specific time during a full moon or something. Like midnight…

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this legend from Frederick.
Have a great Day!
Thanks for stopping by!!

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