James Brice House

James Brice House, Annapolis, Maryland

James Brice House

While Annapolis has a great deal of memorable haunted locations, the most famous haunting goes to the James Brice House. The Brice family was one of the most high society families in Annapolis in the late 1700s to early 1800s. Despite their status they did however hold a few dark secrets behind the walls of their well known home at 42 East Street.

The Brice House and Family History 

The home began in 1766 by James Brice’s father, John Brice Jr, who passed away that same year. It was used as an apartment and an office while until the home was completed in 1773. James Brice married his wife Juliana and they moved into the home in 1781. James was a powerful attorney and landowner. He also served as governor shortly in 1792 when the current governor passed away. James died July 11, 1801.

The Brice Family lived in the home until 1873 when they sold the home to William Martin. There was always a rumor that the Brice family was hiding treasure in the house so William renovated the house. It was during the renovations that a secret door was found behind a wall in the basement that contained the remains of a young woman. Scratch marks and fingernails were along the wall as well. This discovery led to the belief that the family may have had members who suffered mental illness, which back then was frowned upon and kept secret. 

The home was used as a dorm when it was purchased by St. Johns College in 1923. The home was bought by the Wohl family in 1953 that lived in the home and did another hefty renovation. The home was registered as a historical home in 1970. In the 1990s another renovation of the kitchen led to the discovery of hoodoo artifacts hidden in the floors. It is believed to be from the Brice’s slaves. In 1999 the International Masonry Institute purchased the home and used it as their library. As of 2014 the house now belongs to Historic Annapolis.

The Ghosts of the Brice House 

The Brice house has about 10 different spirits haunting it. The first spirit is none other than James Brice himself who is seen upstairs and in the basement. Another family member that has been reported is John Brice who is seen around the home and also at the Naval Academy. Thomas Brice, the son of James Brice, also haunts his former home. Thomas was found dead in the library one evening, stabbed to death by a fire poker. His murder was never solved but he never married, therefore he left his estate to his servants and it is believed it was his personal servant that murdered him. Thomas has been seen in the library and in one of the bedrooms. Another spirit is the personal butler of James Brice III who was killed during a robbery while coming home from a tavern one night. Police are often receiving phone calls to report a mugging of a man in historical clothing. Whenever someone would try to help him he will vanish.

Other spirits in the home consist of a red haired woman wearing a green dress seen in an upstairs window and a maid seen also in the same window. There once was a report of a woman living in the house and having a ghost maid bring her crying baby a bottle. A butler has been seen in one of the upstairs bedrooms who is believed to have been buried somewhere in the basement with the supposed treasure. A local author has reported once going into the basement of the home and hearing a voice telling him to get out. Two other unknown spirits of a man and woman have been reported in the outside garden as well.

The Crying Girl 

The most famous spirit of the house is the Crying Girl. Believed to be the spirit of the remains found in the basement, police are often getting calls from people to report of a woman screaming and crying near the Brice House. The odd thing about hearing her scream is that she is usually heard from outside the house. Once a paranormal group did a test to try to figure out how come no one could hear her cries when she was alive. They brought in an opera singer and had her sing as loud as she possibly could while in the basement. No one outside however could hear her from the apparent sound proof room.

The Brice House is opened to the public by appointment through Historic Annapolis.

Resources 

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.

Curtis, J. (2015, October 5). Happy Hauntings in Annapolis [Electronic Version]. Nap Town Locals retrieved from http://naptownlocals.com/happy-hauntings-in-annapolis/

Goldsmith Day, D. (1997). A Guide to Historic B&B in The Free State: Historic Inns & Famous Houses of Maryland.Eastwind Publishing. MD

Historic Annapolis (n.d.) Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.annapolis.org/about-us/properties

James Brice , MSA SC 3520-146. (2015). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc3500/
sc3520/000100/000146/html/146bio.html

Mier,T. (2012, October 30). Annapolis Ghost Stories Come Alive [Electronic Version]. Chesapeake Inspired retrieved from http://www.chesapeakeinspired.com/index.php/out-about/boating/travel/472-annapolis-ghost-stories-come-alive.

Okonowicz, E. (2010). The Big Book of Maryland Ghost Stories. Stackpole Books. Mechanicsburg, PA.

Rasmussen, F. (2007, July 21). The Creepier Side of the State’s Capital [Electronic Version] The Baltimore Sunretrieved http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2007-07-21/news/0707210016_1_annapolis-dome-simmons.

Walker, A. (1995, May 1). The Ghostly History of Annapolis [Electronic Version]. The Baltimore Sun retrieved from http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1995-05-01/news/1995121060_1_annapolis-aronson-tour.

Winslow, T. (2014). Public To Get First Look Inside Historic Annapolis Brice House In Decades [Electronic Version]. The Capital Gazette retrieved from http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/annapolis/ph-ac-cl-brice-1228-20141228-story.html