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Black Aggie is a local legend in Baltimore and Pikesville, Maryland. Black Aggie is the folkloric name given a statue placed on the grave of General Felix Agnus in Druid Ridge Cemetery in 1925. The statue is an unauthorized replica, rendered by Edward L. A. Pausch, of Augustus St. Gaudens' allegorical figure, popularly called Grief, at the Adams Memorial in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.[1] The statue is of a seated figure in a cowl or shroud.

The statue was surrounded by many urban legends, principally that someone spending the night in its lap would be haunted by the ghost of those buried there; that the spirits of individuals buried at Druid Ridge would annually convene at the statue; that no grass would grow on the ground where the statue's shadow would lay during the daytime; or that the statue would somehow animate itself during the night, whether by physically moving or by showing glowing red eyes.[1]

These urban legends led to much unwelcome attention towards the statue; many people were caught breaking into the cemetery at night to visit the statue, and the pedestal was frequently vandalized. The Agnus family, disturbed by the sort of attention the statue received, donated it to the Smithsonian in 1967. It sat for many years in storage at the National Museum of American Art (later named the Smithsonian American Art Museum) where an authorized recasting of the original Adams Memorial statue now sits.[2]

Black Aggie was moved from her previous home at the museum to a courtyard behind the Dolley Madison House on Lafayette Square in Washington, DC where she currently resides.[1]

Though it seems hard to access, Black Aggie is easily viewed. You can enter the courtyard of the Dolley Madison House during daylight hours through a covered entryway off the street. Walk straight back and when you reach an outcropping of vegetation on your right, Black Aggie will be there, seated amongst the plants.

There is a dispute over whether or not the "Grief" statue is the Black Aggie. Another statue in Druid Hill Cemetery that depicts one of the three fates from Greek mythology ("Clotho") is purported to be the original statue named Black Aggie.

References

  1. ^ a b c Mills, Cynthia J. (Summer, 2000). "Casting Shadows: The Adams Memorial and Its Doubles". American Art (Smithsonian American Art Museum) 14 (2): 2–25. doi:10.1086/424354.  
  2. ^ "Adams Memorial; modeled 1886-1891, cast 1969; by Augustus Saint-Gaudens" (html). Smithsonian Museum of American Art. http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=21528. Retrieved 1 December 2009.  

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