Halloween conjures all sorts of images for everyone — some good, some bad, some neutral. Candy. A jack-o’-lantern. Classic “Peanuts” specials on TV.

It’s not a leap to assume, however, that for most who embrace the day, a spectrum of spookiness is the true metric. From the cute to the macabre, many of us love to be scared ... in safety.

Actually, plenty of people enjoy

being scared even if their safety is not guaranteed, and there is no better time than Halloween to experience it. For the record, I do not recommend any dangerous behavior on this or any other day.)

I flatter myself to think I may start a little kitchen table conversation among News-Post readers if I ask, what is the spookiest place in Frederick County?

Like anyone, I am capable of fright. I cannot say, though, that a particular place in the county chills my vertebrae on-site. Not yet, anyway, and I am content for it to remain that way.

My family as a whole has not been so fortunate, from what they tell me. My mother, for example, would have an instant answer to my question; she once lived in what she felt was the spookiest, even scariest place in the county.

I’ll be discreet here, of course, but suffice to say that before I was born, my parent and my older sibling lived for a short time in the northernmost part of the county. Mom still calls the house “Scary John’s” when we are in the vicinity.

The vicinity, because it can’t be seen from any of the main streets up there. One has to go quite deep into the woods and up into the Catoctin Mountains via unpaved roads to reach the tainted former abode. One sees nothing but woods in almost every direction. Mom and the rest of my kin never felt alone up there, no matter how alone they were. They were, as Mom puts it, “always of the impression we were being watched.”

By far the most eerie occurrence to befall those earlier Unglebowers was the discovery of their two horses missing one summer afternoon. Extensive searches led to nothing. Months later, in the middle of the winter, both beasts re-entered the backyard together from the nearby woods, emaciated and near death.

I’ve never even been there, but it sounds like an excellent selection for the scariest Frederick County area to me. I’ll go with that. I’m not about to call my own mother a liar.

Of course, the horses might have gotten loose, and lived in the woods all of those months. Or perhaps they were stolen by far more earthly culprits, intent on disturbing my mother and the rest of the family for sick fun. One of these two explanations is the more logical, after all.

But it’s Halloween in Frederick County. You think I’m about to lean into the most obvious explanation?


(3) comments


Fredericktowne Mall


My vote is for Volt. I walked in there once and looked at the prices on the menu and fled in terror never to return.


Bill Blatty wrote "The Exorcist" in his office that was later my bedroom in north central PA. The new owner ran for GOP office and works in DC, and the house now has Trump signs all over the front yard [shiver]

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