It has been around 10 years since I had an experience around the grave site of Edgar Allen Poe. I worked as a structural inspector/engineering technician and was involved with a project that covered about 3/4 of a block in downtown Baltimore. The site bordered Baltimore, Fayette, Greene, and Paca streets and the tomb of E.A.P. sits on the corner of Greene and Fayette. The church and cemetery, including underground catacombs have landmark status so the University of Maryland at Baltimore built the law school with the configuration that made an 'L' shape along the property limits. Now as legend has it, the university's medical branch was one of the first to use cadavers for medical research back in the late 18th century and the existing cemetery was notorious for grave robbing.
Well, the job was nearing the final stages of my involvement and one of the last inspections dealt with the roofing material installation. At the end of the installation my task was to observe for any leaks after a 48 hour 'flood test'. Due to my conflicting schedule for the day of the inspection, I had to arrange my observation at 5:30 a.m. and the site superintendent left the fence gate unlocked so I could get on site before any one else. That morning I made my way to the top floor with a flashlight and began my visual inspection at the northeast side of the building. As I walked down the hall, created by the ongoing drywall interior finishing, I turned to my left heading south past the west stairs. I then heard the distinct sound of a chain being dragged up the steps at the west stairs. Now hearing chains on a construction site is pretty common but not really at that stage of the project. I remember thinking that a trade crew was probably starting early too so I continued making my way east along the south corridor shining my light up at the underside of the main roof slab. I immediately felt like someone was walking behind me. The feeling was also that of someone watching me and a chill came up through my body starting from the back of my legs and exiting out under my chin. The force of the feeling kind of jerked my head forward and I stopped to catch my breath which was strange because I was not exerting my self in any way outside of walking slowly. At that moment, I was approaching the east stairs and decided I had seen enough. When I opened the door to the stairs I saw a shadow against the stair wall and it appeared to be that of a man from the shoulders sporting a top hat like Lincoln used to wear. I ran down those steps so fast never looking back jumping into my SUV and tearing out of the place. I was supposed to lock the gate behind me but had no intention of stopping for anything.
I remember being kind of out it for the remainder of that day. At first, the more I thought about it, the more I felt like maybe I was tired that morning and my imagination got the best of me. But as time goes on I feel that it was all too real and I was embarrassed of how much it frightened me. It was the only experience in my life that I felt almost like being threatened by an evil presence or something that I could not explain rationally.
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