Brooksby Shaw House

Brooksby Shaw House, Annapolis, Maryland.

Brooksby Shaw House

Have you ever wondered or had the discussion with your spouse of what you would expect them to do if you were to pass away? Most people give the condolences for their significant other to move on and find someone else if that would make them happy. Apparently at the Brooksby Shaw House there is a spirit that did not give his wife the same wishes.

The Brooksby Shaw House is the oldest house in the State Circle in Annapolis. It was built in 1722 by Cornelius Brooksby, a butcher who wanted the home for his family. Cornelius unfortunately never saw his finished product, he passed away a year before it was complete. A few months after his death his wife, Mary Brooksby, remarried to Thomas Gough and they moved into the home once it was complete. Almost immediately after they moved in the couple started to experience paranormal activity. They would hear footsteps, a man yelling, and glass shattering. Mary eventually woke up one night to see Cornelius looking over their bed as they slept and got the impression he was unhappy about her marriage. He then seemed to start attacking Thomas by throwing breakable objects at him, pushing him down the steps and harassing him while he tried to sleep. They left the home after only living in it a few months. The home stayed in the family and eventually Cornelius and Mary’s granddaughter, Mary Brooksby-Long, moved in as a newly wed. Mary was named after her grandmother and also resembled her a great deal, which could explain why Cornelius started attacking her husband as well. The couple did not live in the home for very long.

Brooksby Shaw House Annapolis Maryland

In 1784 the home was bought by John Shaw, a cabinetmaker. The Shaw family experienced some of the unexplained activity as well, but nothing like the Brooksby family did. The home stayed in the Shaw family for over 100 years. The Annapolis Elks bought the house in the early 1900s and sold it to the State of Maryland in the early 1960s. The home was converted into an office building and people still have experiences with Cornelius around Christmas time. Christmas was apparently Cornelius favorite holiday and he seemed to have opinions about the celebration as much as he did with his wife remarrying. One Christmas a guard heard a loud crash and found the office Christmas tree was knocked over and everything what scattered all over the room. He searched the entire house for a possible intruder, only to return to the room to see the tree back in its place and everything back where it originally was. Another guard reported one evening during the summer he passed by the house and seen an upstairs light on. He went in to investigate but found no lights on. He took a minute to relax in the air conditioner and accidentally fell asleep. He woke up to a huge figure standing over him! He quickly left the building after the figure vanished.


Behrend, J. (2001) Ghosts of America’s East Coast. Crane Hill Publishers. Canada

Carter, M. & Dray, J. (2012) Haunted Annapolis: Ghosts of the Capital City. Haunted America. Charleston, SC