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Friday, August 21, 2009

Samuel Mudd House

Ghost Hunters are back with the remaining episodes of season five. One Wednesday, they battled against an alleged spirit demon poser and was puzzled by a figure that appeared to be imprinted on the thermal imagining camera. What will they find next week at the infamous Samuel Mudd House?

Dr. Samuel Mudd was born on December 20, 1833 in Charles County, Maryland. He was the fourth of ten children of Sarah and Henry Mudd. He married his childhood sweetheart Sarah Frances Dyer in 1857, a year after graduation from medical school and had nine kids. As a wedding present, his father gave him 218 acres of farmland known as St. Catherine's. While he built his medical reputation, he grew tobacco and owned slaves, five in total, like his father. However, it was a chance encounter which pushed him in to the spotlight.

Dr. Mudd was a Southern supporter. Therefore, was against freeing slaves. President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery and left a lot of farmers short handed, including Mudd. He thought about selling his farm and setting up a medical practice. This decision led to three encounters with presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth.

The first took place in November 1864 when Booth visited Bryantown, Maryland looking for real estate investments. Most historians believe he was actually plotting his escape route. Dr. Mudd met Booth at St. Mary's Catholic Church which led to him visiting the Mudd farm and even staying overnight. Booth bought a horse the next day from a neighbor and went back to Washington. Some historians believe this visitation was to recruit Mudd in the kidnap plot. Others believe the doctor wouldn't be involved in such matters.

The second encounter was in Washington. Mudd met with Booth, Louis J. Weichmann, and John Surratt (son of Mary Surratt) and had drinks together. Again, some believe this was a pre-arranged meeting. Others haven't been convinced it was anything but accidental. The third and finally time was on the night of the assassination. Booth broke his leg fleeing from Ford's Theater. He and David Herold stopped at Mudd's home seeking medical attention around 4am. He set, splinted and bandaged Booth's leg and even slept in one of the bedrooms. Details of Mudd's actions afterward is a bit sketchy.

No one is sure when Mudd found out about the assassination or when he asked, if he asked, the two men to leave. To add to his guilt, he didn't immediately contact the authorities, waiting almost a day, and lied about knowing the two mean and later meeting with Booth in Washington. After Booth's death in April 1865, Mudd was arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder Abraham Lincoln. He was found guilty and sentence to life in prison, missing the death penalty by one vote. Four years later, Mudd was pardon by President Andrew Johnson due to lack of evidence and possibly a reward for his work in the yellow fever epidemic while in prison. He died in 1883 from pneumonia at the age of 49.

His home is now a museum. While he was alive, Dr. Mudd never gave up proving his innocence. Some believe he continues that quest today, urging his descendants to complete the goal. Voices are often heard. One reported to be that of David Herold. John Wilkes Booth is also believed to be roaming the house along with the spirits of Confederate soldiers.

Will TAPS be able to capture the good doctor's pleas? Or is Samuel Mudd House all history and no paranormal? We will find out on Aug. 26th.
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