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Blog: Graveyard tour combines history with the spooky

Wednesday - 10/3/2012, 4:06am  ET

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Francis Scott Key and his family are buried here at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Starting Oct. 5, the cemetery will give after-dark tours. (WTOP/David Burd)
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David Burd, wtop.com

FREDERICK, Md. - Visiting graveyards has always fascinated me. I guess it's a link to the past and, if you're a history buff like me, a way of touching it.

On a recent cold, rainy fall day, I visited the historic Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick. Considering I've lived in Frederick for about 12 years, I'm shocked it's taken me this long to visit.

At 8 o'clock in the morning I met Ron Angleberger there, and he took me on a tour to show the highlights and the dignitaries buried at Mount Olivet.

Some of you might recognize Ron from his Halloween tour where he walks around town and shows folks the haunted sites of Frederick. Ron now offers a candlelight tour of Mount Olivet Cemetery as well.

The tour is scheduled for Fridays and Sundays, but with one twist: it's at night! Mount Olivet is beautiful in the day time, says Ron, but at night, it takes on a different feel.

Considering 38,000 souls are buried there, I'd imagine it would have a different feel. Francis Scott Key and his family are there, as is Maryland's first governor.

But what's most impressive is the row of 300 graves that hold the bodies of confederate soldiers taken from the battlefields of Maryland and Pennsylvania, Gettysburg, Antietam and the battle of Monocacy Crossing -- to name a few.

The white flag in front of one grave is the only Marylander (positively identified) in the row. Maryland was a border state with its share of Confederate volunteers. I was surprised to learn no Union soldiers are buried at Mount Olivet.

Check out the video below of WTOP's David Burd showing the grave site

The mass grave of the 400 confederate soldiers is directly in the back of some residential homes and, yes, residents say they've heard music emanating from the grave site. They've also seen images of Confederate soldiers roaming the cemetery.

It was spooky enough at 8 a.m., imagine what it would be like at night.

On Oct. 5, Mount Olivet will open its gates after dark and, for the very first time, offer special candlelight walking tours of the grounds. Master storytellers dressed in period attire will lead visitors through the cemetery's hollowed grounds.

The tour will last 90 minutes and no reservations are required. Just be at the front gate between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The cost is $10 for the tour, $8 for military service members.

For more information, call 301-668-8922.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)