Virginia ranks at the top of the Haunted Places list from the National Register of Haunted Locations. Nearly 170 spooky sites claim paranormal happenings. Here are a few.
In addition to the haunted sites open to the public, several Virginia communities offer a variety of Halloween Events. Some activities are not for scaredy cats, so pick and choose according to your comfort level for paranormal intrigue.
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Alexandria - Visitors to Gadsby's Tavern Museum have heard tales of mysterious events, such as the sightings of a beautiful young woman who died on the premises in 1816. Once, a tavern guest followed the apparition upstairs to a deserted bedroom where a hurricane lamp glowed. After summoning the manager, the two men found a lamp that burned when touched but contained a wick that appeared as if it had never been lit.
Alexandria - Enjoy Ghost Tours in Old Town Alexandria, which start at the haunted Ramsay House.
Arlington - The Old Post Chapel at Arlington National Cemetery is haunted by a figure sitting in the bridal room, which was once used as the mourning room. Soldiers at the cemetery report hearing voices and footsteps. They also see supposedly locked doors wide open. Various cabinet doors are opened at precisely 90-degree angles.
Dumfries - Weems-Botts Museum is the home of a ghost who throws books and likes to turn lights on and off. A former resident of the home was the Rev. Mason Locke Weems, who fabricated the story of George Washington and the cherry tree! The house also served as a bookstore. Perhaps he is the book-throwing ghost. Then, an attorney by the name of Benjamin Botts had his law office there. He successfully defended Aaron Burr during his treason and conspiracy trial.
Fredericksburg -Kenmore, home of Col. Fielding Lewis, is haunted, too. Lewis was married to George Washington's sister and lost his fortune during the Revolutionary War.
Leesburg - Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park is the site of Loudoun County's largest Civil War battle. Some say that night apparitions of soldiers appear climbing the bluffs.
Manassas - The Olde Town Inn is home to "Miss Lucy," a ghoul who haunts room
Surry - On the southern banks of the James River, Bacon's Castle, Virginia's oldest house, dating to 1665, holds several mysteries:
An iridescent ball of light has often appeared and disappeared to inhabitants of this home, the scene of one of America's earliest rebellions against the British.
In another supernatural sighting, the property owner's wife encountered "a sweet white face with large black eyes and parted hair with a white scarf around her head."
In yet another inexplicable incident, she discovered her room in disarray — a round burner-lamp, normally sitting on the table was leaning against a pedestal, and a globe was smashed to pieces. Also, a large open dictionary was placed tidily on the sofa, and the heavy bookstand had been moved across the room by an unknown force.
Williamsburg - At Colonial Williamsburg, some believe the ghost of Lady Ann Skipwith inhabits the George Wythe House. She and her husband were attending a gala at the Governor's Palace. Because of some slight, Lady Ann's temper flared and she left in such a hurry that one of her slippers broke. She hobbled up the wooden staircase at the Wythe House, sounding like someone with a peg leg.
One report stated that Lady Ann took her own life. She is buried in the graveyard of nearby Bruton Parish Church, and is said to be heard ascending the stairs in her one good slipper.
Colonial Williamsburg offers other such tales and spellbinding legends as visitors meander through the historic streets during this frightful season. The home of Peyton Randolph is another haunted place, according to The Ghosts of Williamsburg, written by L.B. Taylor Jr.
Hampton -Fort Monroe, known during the Civil War as "Freedom's Fortress" by runaway slaves, is reported to have apparitions of young soldiers walking along the top of the fort.
Yorktown - You might just see the ghost of a British soldier who was killed at the home of Revolutionary War general Thomas Nelson. Enjoy a candlelit walk past other haunted 18th-century houses and taverns.
Gloucester - The Rosewell Ruins was once one of colonial America's grandest mansions. It burned down in 1916, but some of its residents might still linger there. Many occurrences have been reported, especially the apparition of a woman who walks down the mansion's front steps every evening. Also, strange drops in temperature, odd noises and perhaps chatter from slaves as they return from working in the fields.
Beaverdam - Scotchtown was once the home of fiery patriot Patrick Henry. Here, Henry's wife, Sarah, died after a bout with a long and debilitating disease and years of confinement.
Since her death, many strange and mysterious happenings have been reported. Several people admit to seeing the ghost of a small boy, perhaps the soul of a boy who died from a plague or disease many years ago . . .
Charles City - In ghostly tales, water serves as a strong conduit for spirits traveling silently from place to place, unseen by land dwellers. For ghosts who travel by this method, Virginia Plantation Country along Route 5 is the perfect medium.
Shirley Plantation reports scary rocking sounds and strange noises, possibly made by Aunt Pratt, who was angry about the placement of her portrait and is still lurking the premises.
At Westover, there is the story of Evelyn Byrd, daughter of the powerful William Byrd II, who denied her wish to marry the man she loved. This heartbroken maiden died a tragic death and has ever since been roaming the grounds bemoaning her fate.
Charlottesville - Employees of Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, have often heard him whistling on the grounds. He often whistled when surveying his property.
Gordonsville - Civil War Museum at the Exchange Hotel served as a battlefield receiving hospital during the Civil War.
Mechanicsville - Cold Harbor National Battlefield Park still has ghostly battles going on every night. Many folks have taken photographs of ghosts that appear near the walkway.
Petersburg - The Trapezium House, built by Charles O'Hara has no parallel walls because his "ward off evil spirits."
Petersburg -Blandford Church and Cemetery is quite the historic gem with tombstones dating to 1700 and Tiffany windows honoring the Confederate dead filtering light into the 18th century parish. Blandford is where the first Memorial Day was observed in June, 1866. Blandford Cemetery is one of America's oldest and largest. The Siege at Petersburg left some 30,000 Confederate soldiers to be interred here.
Richmond - Visit the Edgar Allan Poe Museum to learn about the master of the short story, detective fiction, science fiction, lyric poetry and horror!
Richmond - A visit to Hollywood Cemetery is an eerie one in the day time, let alone night. Its residents include more than 18,000 Confederate soliders, two United States Presidents, President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, more Civil War generals than any other cemetery (25), and possibly the Richmond Vampire who dwells in the tomb marked W.W. Poole. Be dreadfully careful in there.
Richmond - The Virginia State Capitol is the site where 60 people died in 1870 after the second story fell into General Assembly chambers. Although the Capitol recently reopened after major renovations, you might hear their moans echoing in the chill of night.
Danville -The Wreck of Old 97 happened in 1903, when a Southern Express train plunged from a trellis track into a ravine. The event inspired the famous ballad — first recorded commercially by Virginia musicians G. B. Grayson and Henry Whitter — of the same name. Visit the marker where the train derailed, and learn more about this tragic story.
Danville - Today, the Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History is located in the Sutherlin Mansion, which was the "Last Capitol of the Confederacy." It is said that Confederate President Jefferson Davis spent hours staring out the window of the parlor after hearing the news of the South's surrender
Chincoteague Island - The Assateague Lighthouse Legacy Tours invites you to unearth the buried treasures of pirates and hear lighthouse lore.
Abingdon - The Martha Hotel & Spa has harbored ghosts since Civil War times, according to many staff members, who have reported seeing apparitions throughout the elegant inn. During the Civil War, the building was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers.
A young nursing student named Beth cared for one of the wounded Confederate soldiers. Nearing death, the soldier asked her to play the violin, and as she played, he quietly passed on. Heartbroken, Beth died just a few weeks later. It is said that the room where the soldier died has harbored her spirit since then.
Across the street is the Barter Theatre, which boasts two ghosts, and one is very theatrical!
Fancy Gap - Visit the Devil's Den Nature Preserve this month. Huge rocks mark the entrance to the Devil's Den, a cave that played a role in local history in association with the infamous 1912 Carroll County Courthouse Shooting.
Hillsville -Historic Carroll County Courthouse was the scene of the tragic courtroom shooting in 1912 where five were killed, including the presiding judge and sheriff.
Lexington - On the campus of Virginia Military Institute, written accounts report that tears were seen "Virginia Mourning Her Dead."
Some say the statue mourns over the graves of the teenaged VMI cadets who died in the Battle of New Market during the Civil War.
Also, a cadet who was accidentally locked up in Jackson Memorial Hall claimed he saw figures moving on a large mural of the same battle and heard sounds and saw flashes of gunfire.
Sounds of cannon fire can be heard near the Jackson Memorial Hall, too.
To experience Lexington's ghostly past, take a walk with Haunting Tales: Lexington's Ghost Tour! If you're lucky, Stonewall Jackson may just look over his shoulder at you!
Winchester - The Cork Street Tavern's east side is haunted. People trip a lot around table L-6 . . . watch your step!
Last Updated: 10/24/2016
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