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Old Jail

Old Jail

Westminster, Maryland

Westminster is located in north central Maryland. It is the county seat of Carroll County. It is a smaller community of about 18,000 residents.

Old Jail Information:

Big Tom Parkes was held in a corner cell of the Old Jail in Westminster in the mid 1800’s. He had been arrested for disturbing the peace. He was a large man and the sheriff was concerned that the small Westminster Jail was not big enough to hold Big Tom Parkes in for very long. He considered, out loud, moving Tom to the Baltimore Penitentiary. Tom overheard the sheriff and became upset. On Christmas Day, Big Tom Parkes took his own life by slitting his own throat.

After the death of Tom Parkes, Dr. Zollickhoffer, a well known phrenologist (someone who studies bumps on the head and how the bumps relate to the character of the individual), asked for Tom’s head. Dr. Zollickhoffer wanted to study the bumps on Tom’s head and permission was granted. Big Tom Parkes was thus buried headless in a local cemetery.

Ghosts and the Paranormal at the Old Jail in Westminster, Maryland:

The ghost of Big Tom Parkes is said to haunt the Old Jail. Some people have reported seeing the apparition of a headless man with both arms outstretched roaming the area.

Westminster locals say that the ghost of a young boy also haunts the old jail. He is said to make his presence known particularly near the old gallows. Staff report that objects will often move without explanation. Doors will open and shut on their own as well.


Wikipedia (2011). Westminster, Maryland. Retrieved April 25, 2011 from,_Maryland

Glass, J. (n.d.). Ghosts and Legends of Carroll County Maryland. Retrieved from


98 North Court Street, Westminster, MD Maryland 21157, USA

98 North Court Street, Westminster, MD Maryland 21157, USA

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