The Horse You Came In On Saloon Ghosts

Posted by carrieh in Baltimore Ghosts
The Horse You Came In On Saloon Ghosts - Photo

The Horse You Came In On Saloon spirits are plenty, ranging from Edgar Allan Poe to some who may have resided there over the 246 years the saloon has stood. The haunted history behind the establishment is as mysterious as the death of Poe himself.

Known for being Edgar Allan Poe’s favored watering hole as well as his last stop before his death, it’s no wonder why he tends to hang out in the afterlife.

History of The Horse You Came In On Saloon

Established in 1775 in Baltimore’s historic Fell’s Point, The Horse (as called by locals) is the only bar in Maryland that survived before, during, and after the prohibition. It’s remained open and has operated under the name “The Horse You Came In On Saloon” since 1972.

In 1972, twenty-something Howard Gerber took a chance bet on a horse race at Pimlico Race Course and won! It was enough money for Gerber to invest in his dream of owning and operating a bar. Little did he know, the bar he invested in and ran until 2006 would be haunted by one of the most well-known writers and poets of all time, namely, Edgar Allan Poe.

The Life of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809 and was known as one of the most influential American writers and poets of all time.

Poe is most famous for his short stories and poetry. Mystery and macabre were his specialty, the detective fiction genre, and his contribution to science fiction. Known as the first American writer to earn a living by his writings alone, Poe lived a financially tricky life by his career.

Poe’s father abandoned him, his mother, and his siblings when he was only a year old. His mother sadly passed away the following year, leaving Poe an orphan. Fostered and raised by the Allan family, he was never legally adopted.

Alcohol and gambling became a demon for Poe at a young adult age. He eventually ended up in Baltimore in 1835. Poe married his 13-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm when he was 26 years old and lived with his Aunt and Grandmother Poe.

His life took him through several positions as a writer, an editor, the military, and even a try for congress. His alcohol and gambling debt, however, kept him from succeeding fully at all ventures he took on.

Poe’s wife Virginia died of consumption, now known as tuberculosis, causing Poe’s life to take a tail spin. Poe never recovering from the death of his wife. Some of his best-known works were inspired by his love and loss of his beloved Virginia.

Poe lived the rest of his life back in Richmond until his mysterious death in 1849.  He was only forty years old.

The death of Edgar Allan Poe

There is a great unsolved mystery that surrounds the death of Edgar Allan Poe. Although he was reportedly sober, Poe was found back in Baltimore, where he had lived with Virginia for a time and where she is buried. Reports say he was found wandering the streets feverish and delirious after leaving The Horse You Came in on Saloon, which was a frequent watering hole for Poe.

And oddly, Poe was dressed in someone else’s clothing. Then taken to a hospital, Poe died a few days later.

Adding to the mystery, the intimate details of Poe’s death, his death certificate, are said to have been lost or destroyed. Many speculate he died from alcohol poisoning. Some say from a drawn-out case of rabies. Other speculations for the cause of his death include heart disease, delirium, epilepsy, meningitis, syphilis, cholera, and even carbon monoxide poisoning. Furthermore, the most interesting theory circulated in 1872 was that Poe died by “cooping,” a form of electoral fraud.

The practice of cooping was the kidnapping of citizens to force them to vote for specific candidates. Those responsible would ply the victim with alcohol, hold them in a room, and then threaten them with beatings and death until they complied. The voting officials were then fooled by dressing the victim in another person’s clothing so they could vote numerous times.

In addition, they would frequently use disguises such as a wig, fake beards, or fake mustaches.

There are many that believe this to be how Edgar Allan Poe really died.

Edgar Allan Poe Haunts The Horse

Many people claim to see Poe walking down the street toward The Horse at night. Why wouldn’t he want to return to a favored place to drown his sorrows as well as the last place he took his last drink? Because his death remains such a mystery, one can certainly understand his reasons for hanging around in his afterlife.

It is known that Poe’s favorite drink was cognac, and for years a glass would be left out on the bar for him that staff report would empty sometime throughout the night.

Don’t dare to question the validity of Poe’s haunting. It is said he will pull your barstool out from under you! He is also known to throw a bar glass to the floor, perhaps because the saloon is no longer serving cognac, his favorite spirit.

Poe is honored at The Horse You Came In On with his picture hanging behind the bar where patrons toast up to the famous poet. You will also find a sign that says “Poe’s Last Stop,” on the wall.

Although it is not proven that Poe was at the bar the night of his death, it can’t be discounted that it could likely be true.

Who else haunts The Horse You Came In On Saloon?

The building’s age makes it easy to assume that some have stuck around in their afterlife. The rooms upstairs are believed to be a stomping ground for Poe and the bar, but there is no certainty as to who exactly haunts that area.

Reports from staff members include a desk on the fourth-floor office spaces opens on its own. It’s also clear that no one wants to be alone in the attic. Reportedly, the attic door opens a crack on its own, leaving the hairs standing on the back of your neck.

The bar itself is reported to have shattering glasses. One staff member even took a photo of the phenomenon. Mysterious orbs are seen in the bar area as well.

Staff report that the cash register drawer has a mind of its own, opening over and over even when closed shut after each occurrence. Don’t be too surprised to see reflections other than your own in the mirror at the bar, either.  There are reports by many that do.

It’s also a common occurrence for the chandelier to suddenly start swinging back and forth and lights that turn off and on for no reason. Many staff members refuse to be alone in the building, let alone at night when most activity happens.

However, nighttime isn’t the only time things take place. Bar Manager Robert Napier tells a story of being alone in the bar one morning working. Looking down at what he was doing, someone walked by on the other side of the railing. He looked up, calling out that the bar was not open and they could not be in there – there was no one to be seen.

Recognized by The Food Network

The Horse You Came In On Saloon was recognized as America’s oldest continually operating saloon by The Food Network in 2019 as well as the most haunted restaurant in Maryland!

The Fell’s Point establishment is known today for its lively music and atmosphere, and high energy. They believe this is perhaps why floating orbs or spirit energy have been spotted at the bar.

The hauntings of The Horse You Came In On Saloon aren’t reason enough not to visit the restaurant. In fact, it adds to the ambiance and personality of the place with its haunted history. How many people can say they toasted a drink at a bar with Edgar Allan Poe’s ghost, who undoubtedly is lurking in the shadows?

Read more about the 10 top haunted places in Baltimore or take a virtual ghost tour from the comfort of your own home!  And if you are in the area of any of our ghost tours throughout the country, take a tour and learn the haunted history behind them.  We guarantee a hauntingly good time!