In between thriving small communities, are ghosts of towns now gone, their roads, homesteads, and graveyards reclaimed by the land.

Mysteries & Legends of the Ag Reserve

Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve

Montgomery County, Maryland’s Agricultural Reserve comprises 93,000 acres of farmland, fields, forests, and historic small towns and communities. The Potomac River, C&O Canal, state and county parkland, and myriad historic sites lie within its borders with Sugarloaf Mountain just to its north. Though only 30 miles from the nation’s capital and in bustling Montgomery County, it offers a peek into an earlier time and a more pristine environment. Residents and visitors enjoy hiking, biking, boating, fishing, hunting, and patronizing local farms. Protecting and preserving the precious Ag Reserve includes recording and sharing its unique stories, including spooky folklore.

Artist map of the Ag Reserve
The Ag Reserve is the jewel of Montgomery County (Map by artist Tina Thieme Brown, MCA).

Preserving Ag Reserve Folklore

The western Ag Reserve area is rich in natural resources, history, and folklore, including mysterious legends and tales of the supernatural. Its earliest Native American inhabitants, European settlers, enslaved African-Americans, and current residents weave an incredible tapestry of experiences and beliefs. This project aims to collect those stories.

Mysteries and Legends

Residents and visitors report mysterious experiences in its wild woods, historic buildings, old cemeteries, and open vistas. Civil War era ghosts, a shapeshifting man-dog apparition, a Bigfoot-type creature, a UFO sighting, a haunted golf course, phantom horses, a cloaked figure holding a lantern along a dark road, a former church in an abandoned graveyard with its first pastor buried beneath the floor–these experiences and more have all been reported in the northwest Ag Reserve. It seems the serenity and solitude here allow people to perceive the strange and unusual more easily.

Project Overview

The mysteries and legends of the Ag Reserve are being captured in a book by co-authors with personal connections to it and a passion for preserving history and exploring the unknown. This book will be not only a collection of local folklore and legends but will also capture the rich history and unique beauty of Montgomery County’s western Ag Reserve. The stories are being gleaned and developed from site visits, interviews, and primary and secondary sources. The book can be enjoyed no matter your stance on the supernatural, whether stories to ignite your imagination about the unknown or simply inspiration for exploring the history and beauty of this area.

Click here for a video presentation to learn more about the project, meet its authors, and hear some of their favorite spooky stories, all sparked from the mysterious photo below.

Mysterious grey figure in treeline along a soccer field with 2 players in red jerseys
This image was emailed to Christine by a woman from out of state at her son’s soccer game. Years later, a visitor from the West Coast was hiking and saw the same figure elsewhere in the Ag Reserve.


Co-authors Lennon Gross and Christine Rai bring distinctive and complementary skill sets to this project. They are currently conducting interviews and site visits and are in the early stages of drafting the book.

Lennon Gross is a current graduate student at Johns Hopkins focusing on museum studies. As an avid haunted house explorer, they have a keen interest in all things spooky. Though they live in the city now, they were born and raised on the Ag Reserve and can still often be found skulking about the historic sites.

Photo of a person with mauve hair and gold glasses
Ag Reserve native and haunted places explorer Lennon Gross

Christine Rai is a professor, writer, and Poolesville resident who is passionate about folklore and history. She has been leading the Historic Medley District’s annual Haunted History tours since 2018. As a kid growing up in rural Frederick County, Maryland, one of her favorite books was Ghosts and Legends of Frederick County and she looks forward to curating a similar spooky collection of tales for the Ag Reserve.

Photo of a person with a bob and bangs haircut smiling
Professor and folklore enthusiast Christine Rai

Call to action

We need your help to make this book a success. This project needs community input and support, whether you are an Ag Reserve resident or visitor. We want to craft a book that is expansive and inclusive and invite you to help us in the following ways:

  • To share a story or contact Lennon and Christine, please email them at
  • Join the Mysteries and Legends of the Ag Reserve Facebook page.
  • Spread the word to friends and family who might be interested or have a story to share.
  • Subscribe to this page for updates on our progress and upcoming events.
  • Check out the resources below to learn more about the Ag Reserve.
Flier for Mysteries and Legends of the Ag Reserve with contact information
Get in touch with us if you have experienced something mysterious in the Ag Reserve.


Learn more about the Agricultural Reserve and its history at these sites.

Banner for Historic Medley District
The Historic Medley District helps preserve and promote local history (Image: HMD).

Support Ag Reserve Local Businesses

When you visit the Ag Reserve, be sure to support local businesses. Please check operating days and hours via business websites and social media. Many of these are small, family-run operations with funky opening hours/days. I recommend:

Poolesville streetscape with 2 cyclists
Locals is nestled in the heart of historic Poolesville (Image: Locals Farm Market).

Thank you for your support

Thank you for reading about our Mysteries and Legends of the Ag Reserve project. We hope you enjoyed learning about it and hope it sparked your imagination. We appreciate your support–be sure to join our group on Facebook and follow this page for updates.

Historical photo of Poolesville streetscape
Historic Poolesville streetscape (Image: HMD)

About Taste Travel Teach & Christine Rai

Collage of Christine Rai photos
  • Click here to learn more about me and my credentials.
  • Check out my shop for unique products with my creative flair, including my book Rainbows in the Rain and Stars in the Dark.
  • Contact me here about leading a tour or giving a talk.
Christine Rai blowing a bubble
Discover fab flavors, explore cool places and savor learning with funky professor Christine Rai.

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