Photo: -Jeffrey- / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

12 Creepy Stories and Urban Legends from Delaware

Delaware may be a small state, but it's got more that its fair share of unsettling tales and urban legends. The first official state, Delaware's long and rich history leave it a likely location for hauntings. Almost every element of Delaware is haunted: its bridges, its rivers, its old Victorian houses. It's a wonder that Delaware citizens can even get around!

Ghost stories from Delaware often involve the state's connection to United States history. You may experience Civil War-era ghosts or ghosts from the early days of the country. There are also those creepy Delaware tales that are your run-of-the-mill urban legends, such as haunted bridges and phantom lighthouses. If you're planning to give the state a visit, or just want a good scare, you've come to the right place. Check out these Delaware urban legends below! 

Photo: -Jeffrey- / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

  • Cape Henlopen State Park is said to be the origin of the Corpse Light, a mysterious phantom light with no discernable source. There is no lighthouse at Cape Henlopen, yet people often see lights flashing from the location. The light was allegedly a curse from a local Native American tribe. After British soldiers stormed a wedding ceremony and massacred many guests, the tribe conjured up the light as a means to lure ships to doom. 

    The Corpse Light actually has fulfilled its promised historically. It sunk a ship known as the Devonshireman on Christmas Day 1665. The ship, following the beams from from the nonexistent lighthouse, crashed into a shaft of stone instead. More than 200 men died in the wreck. Some say the ghost ship periodically reappears to reenact the famous crash.

  • During the Civil War, Fort Delaware, found on the Delaware River's Pea Patch Island, was originally a prison for Civil War soldiers, notorious for its atrocious conditions. Prisoners were housed in wooden barracks and given only small food rations, as well as dirty water. Sometimes, rats were even thrown into the crowd, which starving prisoners devoured in desperation. About 2,700 men died in the prison and - unsurprisingly - their spirits are rumored to remain on Fort Delaware's grounds. 

    The fort offers tours for those interested in its rich history and guests often report paranormal experiences. People have felt an eerie presence and also heard ghosts of prisoners poking around making noise throughout the fort's walls. 

  • The Addy-Sea Inn, found on Bethany Beach, is a quaint Bed and Breakfast first built in 1902. Like many buildings with a long history, the Addy-Sea Inn is rumored to be haunted. If you're interested in experiencing paranormal activity while staying at the inn, there are three specific rooms that allegedly house spirits. 

    Room 1 contains a private bath that was originally used by John Addy, the house's original owner and builder. The tub allegedly sometimes starts shaking when guests use it.  Room 6 reportedly gives off the sound of organ music, despite no organs being present.  Room 11 is probably the most haunted room of the hotel. Is rumored to be haunted by Addy's handyman, Paul Dulaney. Dulaney's ghost is sometimes seen on or near the bed.

  • Lums Pond State Park is home to a gorgeous lake and is a popular destination for guests to go canoeing or kayaking. Like many Delaware locations, the park has long been rumored to be haunted as local lore claims a tragedy occurred on its grounds. 

    According to the story, a young girl ran away from her New Castle home some time in the 1870s. She ended up hiding out in the woods near the Lums Pond State Park, but ended up coming face-to-face with a dangerous man also camping in the woods. The man captured her, assaulted her, and murdered her. While authorities found the girl's body quickly, they never apprehended the killer. The girl allegedly died near a bridge on the park's trails and guests report they see the girl's ghost and sometimes hear her screaming when crossing the bridge. Sometimes, the temperature also drops dramatically on the bridge. 

  • The Dead Presidents Pup in Wilmington, Delaware first opened its doors in the 1990s, but had a long and rich history before that. The two story building had been a private residency and also housed various businesses and bars. The name chosen in the '90s was apparently asking for trouble, however, because guests have reported paranormal activity ever since the Dead Presidents Pub made its debut. 

    The pub sells presidential memorabilia and souvenirs and sports craft beers named after famous presidents. Guests brave enough to enter report glasses clinking on their own, random drops in temperature, the sound of spooky laughter, and the vague feeling of a dark presence. In addition to all this, the pub allegedly houses a specific ghost known as Lemonade Mullery. According to legend, Mullery was a local character who used to frequent the pub and died after slipping on urine on the bathroom floor and breaking his neck. 

  • As if cemeteries aren't already spooky enough on their own, Long Cemetery in Frankfort, Delaware claims to be home to a ghost. However, this specter is even more terrifying than average as it's been described as a bizarre feline-human hybrid known colloquially as Catman. 

    Catman is said to be the former caretaker of the cemetery who had remarkably cat-like features. He still does his job by chasing out vandals, teens, and other troublemakers. Rumor has it that, if you knock three times on the cemetery's brick wall late at night, Catman will appear and attack.