At this 1832 inn built by War of 1812 hero General Francis Preston as a home for his family of nine children, a ghostly young woman roams the place. She is reportedly looking for her lover. Also, witnesses say that no matter how many times the carpets are replaced, blood stains appear on them from wounded soldiers. Famous guests who have stayed here include Eleanor Roosevelt, President Harry Truman, Lady Bird Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Elizabeth Taylor.
Accessible if renting a room or visiting the spa, or for other special events.
Barter Theatre (127 W Main Street, Abingdon, VA 24210)
Built in 1831 as Sinking Springs Presbyterian Church, the building has also been used as a town hall and a fire hall, which meant that even when it became Barter Theatre, the fire alarm remained on the building, and when the sirens went off during a performance, the actors had to freeze and hold their positions until the alarm finished. The theater is believed to be haunted by two ghosts from its past. One is founder Robert Porterfield, whose apparition has been seen in the audience; the other is a malevolent entity known to chase actors out of their dressing rooms. Another legend here is that of a phantom Confederate soldier. So the tale goes, those to whom he shows his wound will die within 48 hours.
Accessible for theatre presentations.
The Tavern Restaurant (222 E Main Street, Abingdon, VA 24210)
The Tavern restaurant was originally built in 1779. It is said to be the a hot spot for the spirit set, including a ghost nicknamed “The Tavern Tart,” reported to be a prostitute who was murdered a client. Witnesses say she is known to pinch or grab men on the rear or stare at them from the window as they cross the street. Staff members say they have heard footsteps and seen objects like tables move when no one is in the building.
Accessible for diners.
Swannanoa Palace (Afton, VA)
This beautiful home was the summer home for the Dooley family, built by James H. Dooley for his wife, Sarah. Their primary home was Maymount, in Richmond. However, a stroke killed Dooley in 1924, and his wife Sarah died shortly thereafter. The home served as a country club for a short time before falling into the hands of a man thought to be associated with the Illuminati. Today, several ghosts have been seen there, including the spirit of Sarah Dooley, herself, as well as servants and groundskeepers who worked there.
Gadsby’s Tavern (138 N Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314)
Gadsby’s Tavern was built in the 1770s and reportedly was visited by many of the country’s founding fathers. According to rumor, the tours through the historic site do not include one of its rooms, which is closed tight. Why? It’s said that a lovely ghost resides there. Legend has it that in 1816, a man and his ill wife arrived by ship. The couple rented a room at Gadsby’s Tavern, but the doctors couldn’t save her. Mysteriously, her dying wish was an oath taken by all present that her identity not be revealed. So, she was buried in nearby St. Paul’s Cemetery under the inscription “In memory of the female stranger, died October 14, 1816, age 23 years 8 months.” Afterward, her husband disappeared, leaving medical, boarding, and burial bills of more than $1,000. Now, folks say the woman’s ghost can be seen through the windows holding a candle, or on the stairway or in the ballroom. She also has been heard pacing the floors.
Accessible for dining and special events.
Woodlawn Plantation (9000 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, Virginia)
Historic Woodlawn was originally built in 1805 for Martha Washington’s granddaughter Nelly Parke Custis and her husband Major Lawrence Lewis. Now a museum, the place is rumored to be haunted by some of its many generations of former residents. It is rumored that there is a strong, sweet smell near the English boxwoods. One theory is that it is Nelly Curtis, George Washington’s granddaughter taking a walk.
Open as a museum and for special events, March through December 11th
Lee-Fendall House (614 Oronoco Street, Alexandria, VA 22314)
The Lee-Fendall House museum, once used as a Revolutionary War hospital, is said to be haunted by female apparition in period clothing, a woman and child who appear on the back stairs, and the sound of an antique telephone. The site has been featured on an episode of TV’s Ghost Hunters.
Accessible for museum visits, special events, and tours
The John Douglass Brown House/Fawcett-Reeder House (517 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA)
The John Douglass Brown House, aka Fawcett-Reeder House, was built in 1772 and was allegedly visited by George Washington during his lifetime. Around the colonial home, witnesses claim to have seen apparitions of ghostly Revolutionary War-era soldiers.
Ramsay House (221 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314)
Ramsay House is used as a visitor information center, and originally was named for William Ramsay, Scottish merchant and city founder. Witnesses claim to have seen apparitions in 18th-century clothing in the building’s basement.
Operates as a visitor center now.
Robert E. Lee Mansion (Alexandria)
Hospital Woods (Off Haw Branch Lane in Amelia, VA)
The circa-1735 Haw Branch Plantation, first settled by Colonel Thomas Tabb and wife Rebecca Booker, is the site of many strange occurrences such as footsteps, nighttime sounds of heavy objects falling, and an unexplained rose perfume scent. A loud scream regularly comes from the attic, at about 6-month intervals, and a portrait of distant relative Florence Wright seems to have paranormal qualities. It was given to the family and was hung in the library over the fireplace, although it was so dusty with age from being in storage that its former pastels looked like charcoal. After it was hung, ghostly female voices began to be heard in the library often, and the colors on the portrait became gradually brighter until it regained its full color. A psychic was consulted and concluded that the spirit occupied the portrait and changes its color based on whether she likes the place where it is stored. The plantation is also said to be haunted by apparitions of great-grandmother Harriet Mason, a man who walks out of the barn with a lantern, another man in riding boots who cries “Help me,” and yet another man, a skinny one with a limp.
Amelia Wildlife Management Area (Kennons Lane, Amelia, VA)
A ghostly “charred lady” is said to roam the wildlife reserve, but she has company, as other apparitions have been seen here as well. The spot has been a dumping place for murder victims as well as a party spot for teens.
Winton Country Club (599 Patrick Henry Hwy, Amherst, VA 24521)
Winton Country Club, constructed in 1769, was the home of Sarah Winston Syme Henry, mother of patriot Patrick Henry. Legend has it that when Patrick Henry visited during the American Revolution, he had to secrete himself from the enemy in a pile of hay here. Rumors also say that Sarah Henry still lingers here, although she died Christmas Day 1784. Folks have felt her presence and heard her footsteps and the rustling of her petticoats.
Alta Vista Middle School (904 Bedford Ave, Altavista, VA 24517)
A ghost named “George” haunts this school. Reports are of the blinds and of doors opening and closing by themselves,
Annandale High Boy’s Restroom (4700 Medford Dr, Annandale, VA 22003)
Believed to be haunted by the ghost of a boy who committed suicide. Reports say that students have seen the dead boy in the bathroom mirror.
Round Tree Park (3411 Casilear Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042)
Known to many residents, there have been multiple sightings of a lady holding a baby. The woman is said to torment those who wander into the park at night. It is said that as fog rises she can be seen.
Wakefield High Theatre (1325 S Dinwiddie St, Arlington, VA 22206)
Reports are that when you sit in a balcony seat alone, with no one else in the theatre, you will hear the sound of a piano playing, despite the piano being in sight and no one being near it. Also, you may see twin spotlights shining on the stage, and if you continue to watch them, they will swing out and begin shining out on the audience (which isn’t possible for the lights in the booth), eventually coming to rest on where you sit in the balcony. Other reports include a young man walking back and forth along the catwalk over the stage. It is said that during the early 60’s, a young man who was a member of the theatre crew, fell from the catwalk during a performance and died.
Randolph-Macon College (204 Henry Street, Ashland, VA 23005)
At Randolph-Macon College, three places are rumored to be haunted. At Mary Branch, a girls’ dorm, at least two ghosts are said to reside. Doors open and close by themselves, and objects are moved or disappear. In the SAE Fraternity House, witnesses have described strange noises and apparitions of soldiers from the waist up, thought to be walking on the former floor (which was much lower). And at Wash Frank Hall, the apparition of a man dressed in period clothing was seen.
Inaccessible, unless you live in or have a friend who lives in the dorms.
Scotchtown Plantation (Ashland)
Nelson Auto Salvage Junkyard (Bassett, VA)
It is said that at night, passerbys will see headlights flashing on and off in the field. Other reports include the sounds of vehicle motors running, doors slamming, and radios playing.
Avenel Plantation (413 Avenel Ave, Bedford, VA 24523)
Built around 1838 by William M. Burwell and his wife Frances Steptoe, the historic home eventually, in 1985, was purchased by the Avenel Foundation, a non-profit organization known to restore and preserve historic Avenel. A ghostly Lady in White has been seen walking on the grounds and in the halls, and also has been seen from the outside through the windows. Other ghosts, including a phantom cat, are said to reside here; the cat has been heard meowing as well as seen. The phantom smell of tobacco also has been reported by witnesses.
Accessible for tours and for private paranormal investigations.
Holiday Inn, University / Blacksburg (900 Prices Fork Rd., Blacksburg, VA 24060)
This hotel lies on the site of a former plantation called Jacob’s Lantern. At Attitudes, the hotel bar and nightclub, laughter and voices can be heard after hours when the place is closed and empty. Guests often ask the hotel manager to turn the music down when no music is playing.
Lyric Theatre (135 College Ave, Blacksburg, VA 24060)
The historic theater opened in 1930, and at least some the weird occurrences here, some say, may stem from a workman who was killed during its construction. Employees have described footsteps on stairways, phantom muttering, cold breezes, and a woman shrieking, sometimes saying over and over “Let me out!”
Blacksburg Tunnel (Blacksburg, VA)
During daytime hours, a woman is said to walk through the walls of the tunnel and then vanish.
Tribble Farm (944 Cedar Hill Rd., Blackstone, VA)
An old farm house with both male and female spirits, including a child who likes to peek around corners at you. Photos have been taken of a lady in turn of the century (1800’s) clothing, and of a man dressed in military clothing. Light orbs are seen on a regular basis. An Army soldier stationed at nearby Fort Pickett, was shot, killed, and buried on the property in the 1940’s. It wasn’t until 20 years later that the sons of the murderer reported the incident and the body was exhumed. The body was returned to his family. Light orbs also seen in the barn. Reported noises in the home, and objects move on a regular basis.
Lover’s Leap (Blue Ridge, VA 24171)
It is said that anyone who passes over this bridge will see the ghost of a young girl crying, saying “I love you” or will see a young man jumping off the bridge. Legend has it that the two were lovers and their families did not approve. The two decided they would rather die than to be kept apart, so they jumped off the bridge while holding hands and whispering, “I love you.”
TWA Flight 514 Crash Site (18715 Blue Ridge Mountain Rd., Bluemont, VA)
A forested area where people have heard screams and seen glowing apparitions moving around. Visitors have reported weird activity associated with a large limestone rock located at the site, and people have reported being pushed by unseen entities.
Boissevain Road (Boissevain, VA)
Reports are that footsteps can be heard, following alongside in the fields.
Civil War soldiers can be heard calling out commands and then firing, also confederate soldiers have been seen walking through the graveyard behind the church. The church is also said to be haunted.
The Old Mansion / Bowling Green Farm (200 South Main Street, Bowling Green, VA)
The ghost of Colonel John Waller Holmes, who built this house in 1670, haunts his old home, some say. His daughter Sophia has been witnessed around the property as well, usually riding in a coach to visit her father’s home. And one more ghost who resides here is a Mrs. Woodford, who died of a heart attack when her husband scared her by putting on a jack-o-lantern costume. It is said that you can still hear her screams coming out of the downstairs bedroom. Another interesting happening here: The sound of phantom hoof beats is said to presage a catastrophic event. Other eerie things are said to occur here as well.
Bridgewater College (402 E College St, Bridgewater, VA 22812)
Cole Hall at the est.-1880 Bridgewater College is rumored to be haunted by its namesake, Dr. Charles Knox Cole. Built in 1929 by Cole’s daughter, Mrs. Virginia Garber Cole Strickler, the hall is an auditorium, and Mr. Cole’s ghost is said to attend the plays shown there. The ghost sits in the balcony, and in lieu of applause, once flickered the lights rapidly when he enjoyed a play. At this time, a cold spot appeared on the balcony.
Virginia Intermont College (1013 Moore Street, Bristol, VA 24201)
Reports say Virginia Intermont College may have ceased operations in May 2014, but if it truly is haunted, a ghost probably wouldn’t mind. The historic college is rumored to be haunted by a former student named Vera who, as legend tells, became pregnant through an affair with a professor in the 1800s. The distraught girl hanged herself after the professor left her on her own, and in doing so, she knocked over a lamp and started a fire. Witnesses say that although the building was fully restored, at times the room she then occupied appears to revert back to its past charred state.
Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre (12229 Bristow Rd., Bristow VA 20136)
Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, explored on an episode of TV’s Ghost Hunters, is said to be haunted. The complex includes an 1822 courthouse and jail, 1830 farmhouse, 1875 church, 1928 one-room schoolhouse and the Brentsville Tavern archeological site. Knocking sounds and apparitions have been reported in the jail, as well as the sound of voices. Ghostly figures have been seen in the courthouse windows as well.
Southern Virginia University (1 University Hill Dr, Buena Vista, VA 24416)
The former Southern Virginia College, now Southern Virginia University, is said to be haunted by a young boy who rides his bicycle up and down the hallway of the fourth floor of a woman’s dormitory carrying a red balloon. Some also say his mother’s ghost haunts the third floor, looking for him, and calling for him in the bathrooms. And from the Tower Room, witnesses say strange noises can be heard behind its always-locked door.
Midtown Café (Buena Vista, VA)
Reports are of cold spots, sounds of children crying, and sightings of shadow people.
Linden House Bed and Breakfast Plantation (11770 Tidewater Trail, Champlain, VA 22438)
Reports say that this historic bed-and-breakfast is no longer open for business. When it was, it was often visited by ghosts. The building was known to harbor mysterious aromas, and footsteps were often heard on the 3rd and 4th floors. Strange lights, orange and yellow in color, were said to travel through the hallways.
Walney Road (Chantilly, VA)
Supposedly, years before this winding road was paved, a hitchhiker was killed along the road. On Wednesday or Thursday nights at 11:30, if you drive down the road and see a hitchhiker, it is recommended that you stop. He will appear up to three times, to give you a chance to pick him up. Rumor has it that if you don’t stop to pick him up, a car will come out of nowhere and kill you.
Berkeley Plantation (Charles City, VA)
This was once the home of Benjamin Harrison V. The home is said to be haunted by Benjamin’s father and two sisters, who were tragically killed in 1744 by a lightning strike when they tried to close the window during a storm. Benjamin, who was an infant at the time and was being carried in his sister’s arms, miraculously survived.
Shirley Plantation (501 Shirley Plantation Road, CHarles City, VA 23030)
The very first house on the plantation was built in 1613–reportedly the oldest house in the U.S. But it’s the mid-18th-century house here, possibly owned by private residents, that has a ghost story involving a painting in a second-story bedroom. It’s a portrait of Aunt Pratt, and its story began in 1858 when the portrait was put away in the attic. After that, weird knocking sounds came from the attic throughout the day, increasing daily, until the residents at the time put the portrait back up. But in 1974, the portrait was taken off the wall again to be shipped to a New York City conference about items associated with paranormal phenomena. While in its exhibit, the portrait began to rock crazily in front of many spectators. Further, when the painting was locked up at night, it somehow escaped, and was found the next morning outside its storage container and pointing toward the exit. When the portrait was shipped home again and placed back onto the wall, the eerie occurrences stopped.
Edgewood Plantation (4800 John Tyler Memorial Hwy, Charles City, VA)
At this 1849 plantation house, Lizzie Rowland is the ghost in residence. It is said that she is waiting for her beloved soldier to return from the Civil War. Her ghost is said to peek out from behind a curtain in an upstairs window, watching and waiting. Edgewood Plantation was featured on TV’s Ghost Hunters.
Operates as a bed and breakfast, open for special events and private paranormal investigations.
Monticello (931 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy, Charlottesville, VA 22902)
People believe that Jefferson has never left his beloved Monticello and they claim to see Jefferson’s ghost wandering the grounds and also to hear whistling, something that Jefferson was prone to doing as he toured the property.
Open during the day for tours.
Castle Hill Manor (Charlottesville, VA)
Built before the Revolutionary War in 1765 by Dr. Thomas Walker, reports are that guests who have stayed at the manor have been aroused and frightened in the middle of the night by uncanny noises or footsteps. Some guest over the years have seen a female and describe her as a pretty, young woman who is sometimes playful and whose main goal is to disturb the people that she doesn’t like sleeping in her room. However, other guests whom she does like have slept in peace in the room. In the early 1800’s, a prince and princess lived in the house and held many parties. Guests were always awakened by the sounds of chairs moving across the floor, of glasses clinking, and of footsteps walking swiftly across the floor.
Mitchie Tavern (Charlottesville, VA)
Tandem Friends School (Charlottesville, VA)
The “Old Building” of the school was supposedly used as a Civil War hospital. There have been numerous reports of a Confederate soldier that walks through the upstairs hall.
Parker’s Battery (Ware Bottom Spring Road and Ramblewood Drive, Chester, VA)
Parkers Battery was part of the Confederate defenses known as the Howlett Line, and saw frequent battles. It was occupied by Confederate forces until the fall of Petersburg, and some may still remain today. Witnesses describe apparitions of soldiers in the bunkers, and the soldiers are said to look either very unhappy or very confused.
MUCH MORE TO COME!