As one of Southern Maryland’s most haunted landmarks, Summerseat Farm in Mechanicsville has been the sight of numerous professional paranormal investigations over the years – including SyFy’s Ghost Hunter’s in 2011.  “We receive calls all the time from paranormal research groups wanting to investigate the property” said former Summerseat President and current historian Jim Dicus.  Most recently Summerseat received an inquiry from ‘The R.I.P Files’, currently airing in Australia and New Zealand. 

With tax records dating the property to 1678, there is a lot of paranormal history, legend and lore associated with the farm.  “Many of the investigations tend to focus on historical figures and events – War of 1812, the Civil War.  We have figures from both of these wars buried in our cemetery.  Clem Dorsey met the British when they landed at Benedict on their march to Washington, DC.  His grandson is buried next to him.  Born and raised at Summerseat, Christopher Ireland Dorsey Costigan was attending Georgetown when the American Civil War broke out.  Georgetown – like most institutions – closed during the war and when it re-opened afterwards, it designated its mascot colors Blue and Gray as a tribute to the faculty and students who were lost in the war.  Chris was one of those lost – having died as a result of wounds suffered in the Battle of Unison, Virginia in 1862.   “It’s a tragic story as he was the Costigan family’s only son, very heroic and by all accounts an exceptional young man loved by all who met him”.  Christopher is interred in a vault in the family cemetery. Some people believe the ghost of Christopher still haunts the property that he so loved.  Another ghost story centers on a British soldier who was involved with a girl at the finishing school. (Summerseat operated as a finishing school for girls for many years until the early 20th century). The girl also had an American suitor who waited for the British soldier one night and beheaded him as he came through the garden gate according to a book entitled “Yesterday in Old St. Mary’s County”.   The last private owners of the house claimed to have seen the apparition of this headless soldier.   Then there is Priscilla, a 10 year old girl who died in 1822.  Some of the volunteers believe her ghost is active in both the house and cemetery and may have appeared during the paranormal event last year. 

This October, residents of Southern Maryland can participate in a live paranormal investigation of the legendary property.   “What’s unique about this particular event is that it is not scripted.  It’s 100% live and it’s 100% real.  There are no guarantees that paranormal activity will be witnessed.  But it’s a rush for people to explore a place known to have documented activity of voices, footsteps, images, etc.   The public can bring their own equipment, recording devices, cameras, flashlights”.  There has been a lot of recent activity – volunteers hearing voices and whispers in the house, volunteers and patrons being “touched”, and volunteers and patrons capturing photographic images of mists, orbs, and figures in the cemetery. 

Although no paranormal activity is guaranteed, several tour groups have witnessed and experienced activity including capturing images on camera and having their personal flashlights flash on and off by themselves in the house and cemetery. One patron reported being touched and another felt the air around her get very cold inside the Scarlett Room.  Said patron Jason Kanakis “What a great time! Heather Kanakis and I learned alot about this beautiful place and seeing the flashlight turning on and off was amazing. Heather had her hood come off multiple times outside in the cemetary (no wind or excessive movement) and swears the last time something brushed her ear and tried to say something. I’m bringing my daughter next week and coming better equipped!”

The tours run approximately 1.5 hours and include an on-site viewing of the Ghost Hunters Episode entitled “Ghostly Evidence” featuring Summerseat, a live exploration of the paranormal “hot spots” in the house with paranormal investigator Gina Kleinkauf, and time in the family cemetery.  According to kleinkauf “You never know what’s going to happen.  We can’t guarantee that anything is going to happen.  However, the site has been very active and part of the allure is not knowing what COULD happen…”  “I think it’s the ‘Ultimate’ Ghost Tour” said Dicus.  “Ghosts never sleep”.

Tours run weekends through November 1.  Tickets are $32 on-line and $35 at the gate.  For information, tickets and tour times – see www.summerseat.org or call 301-373-2069.