The ‘oth­ers’ who still in­habit the Navy Rec Cen­ter

Solomons spot of­fers Hal­loween spook­i­ness year round, some say

The Calvert Recorder - - Business - By DONNA CIPOLLONI NAS Patux­ent River Pub­lic Af­fairs

When pa­trons check into Cottage 8 at Navy Re­cre­ation Cen­ter Solomons, they may end up shar­ing the space with an ex­tra guest or two they didn’t ac­tu­ally in­vite.

The water­front cot­tages, where Cottage 8 is lo­cated, were built dur­ing World War II when NRC Solomons — known then as Solomons An­nex — op­er­ated as a Navy base and housed thou­sands of ac­tive-duty per­son­nel, many of whom trained in am­phibi­ous as­sault and prac­ticed for fu­ture con­flicts in Europe by storm­ing the area’s beaches.

“The cot­tages were the orig­i­nal JO, se­nior en­listed, and of­fi­cer’s quar­ters on the base,” said Car­rie Rose, NRC Solomons direc­tor, who has worked at the in­stal­la­tion for more than 20 years.

Cottage 8 must have been a par­tic­u­larly fa­vorite home for one lit­tle girl who, it seems, is not in any hurry to va­cate the premises. There have been nu­mer­ous in­ci­dents where guests and NRC staff alike have re­ported hear­ing a lit­tle girl talk­ing, laugh­ing and running up the stairs inside the cottage.

“House­keep­ing heard foot­steps have go­ing up the stairs and a lit­tle girl gig­gling,” Rose said. “They’ve also said they can some­times hear her mom hum­ming or singing to her.”

Last Novem­ber, shift lead desk clerk Adrian Fen­wick and a fel­low Navy Get­aways staffer en­tered the cottage in the early morn­ing for a spot au­dit and dis­cov­ered that, al­though the space was com­pletely void of fur­ni­ture be­cause of a wa­ter leak, it wasn’t quite empty.

“Once we en­tered the unit from the side French doors, we heard feet running around us, more so in a cir­cle, but there was noth­ing in plain sight,” Fen­wick said. “The foot­steps ran through the liv­ing room and up the steps. Once the foot­steps reached the sec­ond level, we heard the up­stairs be­d­room door slam ex­tremely loud. We didn’t in­ves­ti­gate; in­stead we left im­me­di­ately.”

Some peo­ple claim to have seen the girl, who is said to be around 7 to 9 years old, and have de­scribed her as ei­ther wear­ing a night­gown or a lit­tle navy blue Sailor-style over­coat.

“Re­cently, in Septem­ber, a new cus­tomer said she saw a lit­tle girl go inside the cottage, but the cottage was locked and closed,” Rose added. “Last win­ter, dur­ing pre-in­spec­tion, NRC staff opened the door and could hear a lit­tle girl talk­ing on the back porch. There were no cus­tomers; it was the dead of win­ter. After they closed the door, they heard laugh­ing and saw the lit­tle girl run up the stairs.”

Cottage 8 isn’t the only lo­ca­tion of un­ex­plained ac­tiv­ity, how­ever. In Water­front #2, cus­tomers have re­ported see­ing an older African-Amer­i­can woman sit­ting in a rock­ing chair.

“There’s a dou­ble sided fire­place and one side of the house used to be the res­i­dent’s quar­ters and the other side of the fire­place was the help’s quar­ters,” Rose ex­plained. “Peo­ple have seen her rock­ing near the fire­place and can hear the chair squeak­ing.”

The grounds of the NRC Solomons com­plex are also ripe for strange en­coun­ters, such as peo­ple say­ing they’ve seen ser­vice mem­bers walk­ing in old mil­i­tary uniforms and then just sort of float­ing away or dis­ap­pear­ing; heard men shout­ing “throw the line” and felt a heavy thud against the pier, or men shout­ing “push off the rocks” down by the beach, when noth­ing and no one is there; and some have smelled gun­pow­der near the tall flag­pole, the site of an orig­i­nal pa­rade field.

Oth­ers, in­clud­ing Rose, have also seen rows of men march­ing.

“Our old­est side­walks are dou­ble side­walks, or what were called ca­dence side­walks, de­signed so peo­ple could march on them,” she noted. “Peo­ple have re­ported see­ing rows of men march­ing down them late at night and I’ve seen them my­self; like, an en­tire pla­toon of men. I’ll be driv­ing a golf cart and it’s some­thing I’ll see out of the cor­ner of my eye, and then they’re gone.”

Rose re­called hear­ing the sound of chil­dren’s laugh­ter, the words “tag, you’re it” and foot­steps on the metal stairs at the Ad­ven­ture Zone around 11:30 p.m. while work­ing late one night. She too has heard the foot­steps in Cottage 8, and has also heard a lit­tle boy’s voice say­ing “I’m sorry” near the lo­ca­tion of the new swim­ming beach.

“The area that leads down to the beach for­merly was the site of a play­ground,” she said. “The life­guards hear him all the time be­cause the beach stands are there and the field is be­hind them. But there’s never any­one there.”

Though some guests and staff have re­ported th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences through the years, no one ever claims to feel scared or dis­turbed.

“Mostly what’s heard are chil­dren and young adults hav­ing fun, or mil­i­tary mem­bers go­ing about their busi­ness,” Rose said. “They don’t hurt any­one or do any­thing. They’re just here do­ing their thing and we have to be here with them, so you just keep on go­ing on. I’ve never once been scared.”

SUB­MIT­TED IL­LUS­TRA­TION

Over the years, guests and Navy Re­cre­ation Cen­ter Solomons staff have re­ported hear­ing the gig­gling and foot­steps of a young girl in Cottage 8 when no one is around. Some have even re­ported see­ing the child wear­ing ei­ther a night­gown or a navy blue Sailor-style over­coat.

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