Not long ago, a reader forwarded the following anecdote. I have heard scant references to a phantom in related stories, but I didn't associate it as a particular entity. Here is her tale:
When I was a little girl, my grandmother told me the chilling story of Blue Dog Hill. The spine-tingling story has stuck in my memory and it is still circulating Southern Maryland's collection of ghostly legends to this day. Some middle and high schools even teach the legend to the students during Halloween-time.
In the late 1700s, there was a soldier and his beloved dog. The soldier and dog were the very best of companions and it was said that this particular soldier was fairly wealthy. He and his dog companion lived in the Port Tobacco area of Charles County. They were walking home from a local bar one night, when a couple of rugged thieves overtook them. They beat the soldier to death, killing his dog along with him. Legend has it that a rock known as "peddler's rock" can still be seen around the Rose Hill Manor. This is the rock that the poor soldier was thrown against...fatally wounding him. The dog was supposedly killed after his master, in order to stop the beast from attacking the thieves during their despicable act. They immediately fled the scene.
Later on, the two thieves returned to peddler's rock on Rose Hill, in search for the riches and the deed to a home and property that was said to have been in possession of the now-dead soldier. When they got close to peddler's rock, they noticed that the soldier's body was gone and there was a luminous ghostly dog standing at the site! The dog could have been black in life but in death he appeared to have a bluish coat and glowing eyes. The men froze in their steps...they couldn't do anything but stare at the ghostly dog in front of them. After the blue dog gave up returning their stares, it let out a 'hooooowwwwwwl' and suddenly charged towards them!
The two thieves fled in terror, never to return to the rock in search for the hidden or perhaps buried treasures.
The "peddler's rock" is a large rock that is said to still be present and located on the Rose Hill Manor property. It is said to have red stains and lies on a hill that is historically known as Rose Hill, but when keeping with the phantom blue dog legend, is more appropriately known as Blue Dog Hill.
The story began being told around the time of the American Civil War. Others say that the man was in fact a peddler who had stolen the treasures from someone else in the area and that is why he was killed for being a lowly thief himself. Whatever the true story, the legend started somehow and continues to this day.
Sightings of the blue dog have occurred since the legend started, with the more recent and well-known sightings taking place in the 1970's. Though it is very difficult to track these folks down, the locals of Port Tobacco claim that you can still hear the blue dog howling at night...sad howls that seem to emanate from Rose Hill. The story that is uttered to frightened children in the local schools commonly refers to the blue dog who "hovers over peddler's rock", waiting to guard his master's treasure and possibly his remains from whomever may come to desecrate or steal. Some have even said to be chased by the blue dog. Most people will not go near peddler's rock at night.
The Big Book of Maryland Ghost Stories (Big Book of Ghost Stories)
Maryland Ghosts: Paranormal Encounters in the Free State
The Real Story Behind the Exorcist: A Study of the Haunted Boy and Other True-Life Horror Legends from Around the Nation's Capital