The Story of Black Aggie
Urban legends are the supernatural folklore of our modern society. From one generation to the next, they orally travel throughout the world, constantly changing from one region to the next. Although cultural variations exist, the core of all these urban legends remains the same, to unveil the universally known individual and societal fears. “The Graveyard Wager” is a timeless urban legend told again and again, and the one of which I will explore more in depth.
A 19-year old female from Harford County, Maryland, narrated the story of Black Aggie, the urban legend of an overnight stay in a cemetery. She grew up Christian, and still lives in one of the more rural areas of Maryland with her younger sister and parents, who own and work at an electrical contracting business. Accustomed to hearing many ghost stories and urban legends, she first heard the story of Black Aggie during a middle school slumber party. Late one Saturday night over pizza in our Hagerstown dorm, she was more than willing to share her favorite urban legend with me.
In a cemetery in Baltimore there is an enormous black marble figure by the grave of a deceased general. It’s a magnificent statue of a grieving woman, cloaked in darkness, a black angel…named Black Aggie. During the day the statue’s arms mourn the tombstone [slight pause] but at nightfall, the statue eerily gazes on. If anyone were to return her terrifying stare, they would be struck blind! Supposedly during a full moon the ghosts of the dead would rise from their graves and meet at Black Aggie’s feet. My friend’s father’s fraternity wanted to scare all of their new members, and during one of the initiation nights, they ordered all the fresh candidates to spend the night with Black Aggie...alone. The pledges knew the rumors; [pause, long look around] Black Aggie was haunted. It was a cold November night…around 9 pm when the boys headed to the cemetery. There they sat with their backs to the monumental statue…waiting…and waiting. [Raises her voice] Finally, at the stroke of midnight a piercing scream sounded throughout the entire graveyard. A nearby watchman heard the yowl and hurried in that direction…towards Black Aggie. But the watchman is too late [sigh], he only found the young man lying completely pale white in the lap of Black Aggie…his face distorted in fright.
The origins of this urban legend can be found all over the United States, but the ‘Black Aggie’ statue was actually once a monument at Druid Ridge Cemetery right outside of Baltimore until the late 1960s. Black Aggie “was a large black mourning figure. The statue's creator (sort of), Augustus St. Gaudens, called her ‘Grief.’” (Taylor). She was placed by the grave of Felix Angus. Born in 1839, Felix enlisted as a private and served in the Union army. He finally came to Baltimore after being seriously wounded during the Civil War, and in 1905 commissioned a monument to be built for his family’s...