Hell House in Ilchester Road, Ellicott City, Maryland is the stuff of urban legend. Once a Roman Catholic school called St. Mary's College, it was built in the late-1890s and was in operation until the 1970s. It was abandoned since, flagrantly vandalized, and set afire by arsonists in 1997. What remained of the old building was demolished in 2006. Because of its isolation up on a hill accessible through a long stairway, the narrow trails that wound around the premises, and the decaying altar deep in the woods, the College soon became known as Hell House to the locals with stories of Satanists and ghostly apparitions. Up to this day, it receives many hikers, the occasional curious visitors, and urban legend hunters. Word of caution: Try not to get lost in the woods.
I had the most surreal experience while on a weekend getaway in Roanoke, West Virginia. I got a discounted rate through Groupon in the popular hotel in the area, the Stonewall State Park Resort, and the otherworldly happenstance occurred by the lake nearby at dawn.
Old Ellicott City, endearingly to locals, is a historic town 30-minutes west of Baltimore and an hour north of the nation's capital, Washington D.C. Ever since moving to the US from the Philippines, Ellicott City was my adoptive hometown so much so that after working in New Mexico close to a year and an option to work anywhere in the country, I decided to get back to Maryland. Albeit I live in the same county, Howard, in a town rated number one best place to live in the United States, Ellicott City will always have a place in my heart as the birthing ground of the American Dream. I, alongside many, were in shock that fateful July 30, 2016 when the Ellicott City flood happened.
I grew up watching cartoons, from Bugs Bunny and his crew from Warner Bros and Mickey Mouse and the rest of the beloved childhood characters from Walt Disney. I have dreamt of one day stepping foot in Disneyland wherever country it's located. There was one in Hong Kong, the one nearest where I am from, the Philippines. I have dreamt, too, as a kid, of getting to meet Mickey Mouse in person.