Whispers of the Night
Voices in the Dark

     The Patapsco Female Institute    


First, a little history,  

The Patapsco Female Institute was one of the most famous schools for young women in 19th century.  Wealthy southern land owners sent their daughters here to learn etiquette, as well as education.

The school closed in 1890, and is now just a ruin, that sits on the highest elevation in Ellicott City, Maryland. When the school closed, it went through several stages of ownership, including a hotel, private home, and at one time a hospital for the wounded during WWI. It was also an outdoor summer theater (The Hilltop Theater) and nursing home for the wayward.

Today, there are current on-going archaelogical digs within the park and some Indian artifacts have been discovered here.  I've read that some believe the school was built upon sacred Indian burial grounds.  Today, couples rent the grounds for weddings. 

It is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a young lady by the name of Annie Van Derlot, who was sent here by her parents.  Annie did not like being at the school and pleaded with her parents to bring her home. She died before they could grant her that wish. It is believed she died of pneumonia.

It is a beautiful ruin that I have had the pleasure of visiting both daytime and evening. In the past I have participated in an overnight investigation where many smells were encountered, a fleeting shadow or two were seen, and sounds/voices were heard. I will post my pictures from that investigation at a later date.


Female Apparition Photo (Could this be Annie?) 

Captured at Patapco Female Institute

                         Ellicott City, Maryland                        


Original Photo (sized to fit frame)


Original Photo (sized & lightened)


Original Photo ( lightened & cropped)

The Day I captured the Female Apparition in photo:
     There were four women and one male in our group that day.  We met up at Mt. Ida to meet our tour guide.  The purpose of our visit was to check out the location for a wedding and reception.  This visit took place a few years back, and it was a beautiful warm day.  Although I did not conduct an investigation per se, I did have my camera and recorder in hand 'just in case'.
     During our private tour of the structure and grounds, the tour guide gave us a little history including the story of the haunting.  We drove up the hill and parked the car and proceeded to the locked gates.  The institute and grounds are completely fenced in.  The tour guide unlocked the gates and upon our entry, re-locked the gates.  I remember commenting to her "Oh, so you're locking us in", in a jokingly manner.  She explained it was for security requirements (it is a historical location).
     When the tour guide took us around the back of the structure, where we could see down into the basement, I was drawn to turn around slightly and noticed another small stone structure with an old door, just behind the institute.  I took a picure of this structure.   After this photo was snapped, our group walked right around this building and on the side that the girl in the photo stands.  We continued on our tour around the building to the sides and finally the front of the Institute.  We were there on the grounds for about 1-2 hours.
     I have reviewed these pictures several times, but it wasn't until about a year later, with my new laptop that had a program to view photos called 'Media Center' and it automatically zooms photos in and out.  That is when  I discovered what was in this photo.  It appears to be a young girl standing just around the corner of the building on the left side of the photo.  Could this be the spirit form of Annie?  Do you see her?   She seems so much smaller than the height a person should be, in comparison to the height of the door.    This girl in the photo is not a live person.  We were the only ones there.
     Should you wish to comment on this photo, please feel free to send me an email.   Below are the comments I received from a viewer of my website.  He was kind enough to allow me to post them here:


Your photo of the little girl piqued my curiosity so I took the liberty to do a little analysis on it  of my own.

I downloaded a copy of your original photo for analysis.  I use an old version of Paint Shop Pro to examine the photo.  I use the program because it lets me manipulate pictures at the pixel level.  Anyway the first them I noticed is the figure of what appears to be a little girl is not at the corner of the building but standing several feet away from the building.  She is totally in the shadows whereas the corner of the building is in full sunlight.  You can see by the shadows in the doorway the sun is at a fairly high angle and would be over the photographers left shoulder, thus illuminating the corner.

It is hard to determine the figures exact height because her feet are not shown but I would estimate that she is standing about 10 feet or more from the corner of the building.  This would make her seem to be small in comparison with the door, which I estimate to be about 7 foot.  I would put her height at around 4 foot. 

Enjoyed reading your website


Below are more photos taken the same day of the Patapsco Female Institute:




Here is the link to PFI's Official Website:

The Patapsco Female Institute:







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