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The Legend of Black Aggie

Black Aggie in her current resting spot, Washington, DC.
Black Aggie in her current resting spot, Washington, DC.
Lisa Merkey

Black Aggie is the name given to a statue that once marked the grave of General Felix Agnus, the publisher of the Baltimore “American”. The statue was modeled after St. Gauden’s monument titled “Grief”. General Agnus purchased the unauthorized replica to adorn his family plot at Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville, MD.

The general's wife, Annie, died in 1922; the general died 3 years later. Both were laid to rest at the feet of “Grief”, who would come to be known as “Black Aggie”. Soon after, strange occurrences began. The statue's eyes were said to have a bright red glow at midnight. It was said that grass refused to grow around her, pregnant women would miscarry if they crossed her path.
Black Aggie became the object of many fraternity initiations and midnight visits by local teens. Pledges were asked to sit on Aggies’s lap all night as part of their initiation. Local legends speak of Aggie coming to life and killing the men with her own arms. One the subject of 1962, Aggies’s unrobed arm was cut off. It was later discovered in the trunk of a cemetery worker’s car, along with a hacksaw. The worker attempted to defend his actions by saying that Aggie came to life and cut off her own arm and gave it to the worker. The judge wasn’t amused or convinced.
Eventually, the cemetery was overwhelmed with the attention given to Black Aggie. The statue was now inscribed with the carvings of hundreds of names left by midnight visitors. The grounds became trampled and unkempt. It was decided that Aggie should be moved in order to preserve the sanctity of the other graves at Druid Ridge.
In 1967, the Smithsonian Institute offered to take Aggie and place her in a permanent gallery. Unfortunately, that never manifested. Instead, she was put in storage at the Museum of American Art, never being displayed in the public eye.
Aggie resurfaced in 1996. A local reporter found her near the Federal Courts building in Washington DC, in the rear courtyard of the Dolly Madison house. Aggie still sits there today, peacefully watching over the daily lunch crowd.
For decades Aggie was the object of local legends and alleged hauntings. She will forever be an enduring part of Maryland Folklore.



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