The Child Spirit at the Atlantic Hotel

Atlantic Hotel.  Nothing like it on the Eastern Shore
Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, Maryland

THE ATLANTIC HOTEL – in Berlin, MD has been anchoring the downtown since it was built in 1895 and it has its share of ghosts. Beautiful as it is with its porch rockers and veranda, there’s more to the Atlantic Hotel than meets the eye, and the most interesting spirit – and there are plenty – is the spirit of a little girl.

The Little Girl Who Haunts the Second Floor

People staying on the second floor as well as staff have reported hearing the laughter of a child and what sounds like a ball bouncing down the hall. No one knows who the child is – or could be.

One of the night clerks (Barbara) was alone in the hotel, except for the guests. She heard a loud dragging noise on the first floor above – as if something was being dragged from one end of the hall to the other. She investigated, but she found nothing. She heard it several times again, but still found nothing. Another employee told her that the noise was the sound of a little girl riding her bike.

The little girl haunts the hotel. People have seen her. Sometimes she bounces a ball. Other guests have reported hearing children laughing in the hallway, but none are ever actually seen.

Room 16

Room 16 - the Atlantic Hotel, Berlin MD

The General Manager of the Atlantic Hotel was approached in upstairs hall by a female guest who came out of her room (room 16) and said, “Excuse me, do you work here?” The GM said, “Yes. What can I do to help you.” The lady said, “There are no towels in my room.”

The GM was surprised because she hadn’t seen this woman before and being that the Atlantic is such a small hotel, the GM usually knew the guests. She asked the lady how many towels she needed and the lady responded, “I have NO towels.”

Again, the GM was very surprised by this oversight, but retrieved some fresh towels and brought them to Room 16. The door was ajar so she rapped on the door frame. There was no answer. She called out to the lady, not wanting to enter the room and startle her, but the lady did not answer. So the GM opened the door enough to put her face in the opening and she called again. Still no answer.

Finally, the GM opened the door slightly  thinking the lady might be in the bathroom and called out loudly. “Ma’am, I have your towels. Do you want me to put them on your bed?” There was no answer. When the GM went to  knock hard again on the door, it suddenly flew open, and she could plainly see that there was no one in the room. She stepped into the room and saw that the bathroom door was open and it too was empty…. AND was stocked with towels already.

When the GM went down to the front desk to inquire about who was in Room 16. There was no one registered.

A Strange Smell

During the hotel renovations all the furniture was removed and cleaned, walls painted, floors scrubbed and bathrooms refurbished.  There was always a slight smell in Room 16 which is one of the smaller rooms in the back of the hotel.  While changing the paper liners in the dresser drawers, a hotel staffer noticed a small silhouette of George Washington in the dresser of Room 16.  Not wanting to drive a nail into the wall (they hadn’t yet decided on pictures), she propped the picture up on the dresser.

Image in the very haunted Room 16

A week later when putting blow dryers and other items into the dresser, the same staff person noticed a small, framed picture of a little girl in a blue dress tucked into the top drawer.  It hadn’t been there when they changed the liners.  The staffer thought the picture would look better in Room 16 and figured she’d change out the George Washington picture.

When she entered Room 16, the Washington picture was gone from the dresser.  When she looked around she noticed that it had been hung on the wall. (no one admitted to hanging it).  So the staffer placed the little girl picture on the dresser where George Washington was, and it is still in the same place.

Hotel staff noticed that once the picture of the little girl was placed in Room 16, the strange smell vanished.

Some people say that a child died in Room 16.  It’s possible.  Back when the hotel was built by Horace Harmonson in 1895, it wouldn’t have been uncommon to have hired staff who lived in the hotel.  The hired staff would have resided in one of the small, back rooms like Room 16 and any one of those could have had a child.  The 1910 census shows eight boarders living at the Atlantic Hotel.. again, certainly a possibility that one had a child who died.  The mortality rate for children back then was high.

Personally, I interviewed maintenance staff who reported strange happenings on the third floor. Tools missing, an odd tap on the shoulder from …. “no one” and one maintenance guy said he was looking everywhere for a missing tool and finally left the room to get another. When he returned to the room his missing tool was standing up its handle – right in the middle of the room. Other staff at the front desk say that the adding machine start adding numbers when no one is near it .. and the tape just keeps rolling.  Also the lights at the front desk will go off ONLY when the desk clerk is alone.

Ghosts or no ghost, the Atlantic Hotel is a gorgeous setting with comfortable rooms and friendly staff.  It’s a great place to get away for a romantic weekend and it’s only about 15 minutes from the Atlantic beaches.