Ready for a freak out? Try Virginia on for size. Just about 170 sites in the Commonwealth have made it onto the National Register of Haunted Locations.
Northern Virginia has well-known historic sites that are sure to be alive with spirits. Take a no-brainer like Arlington National Cemetery. The Old Post Chapel is home to a ghostly figure who sits in the bridal room (a one-time mourning room). It’s not uncommon to hear footsteps, voices, and see locked doors open wide. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
How can a place like the ca. 1785 Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria not have a few haunts? Known for prominent 1800s guests (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Marquis de Lafayette, to name a few), Gadsby’s has hosted another well-known guest – the woman of 1816. She has been known to lead those willing to follow up to a deserted bedroom. Upon arrival, followers have found an unburnt hurricane lamp that is warm to the touch, as though having been recently lit.
If you’re looking for an active ghost, visit the Weems-Botts Museum in Dumfries. The local ghost throws books and enjoys flipping the lights on and off. As if that’s not enough, the historical significance of Weems-Botts is that former resident Reverend Mason Locke Weems is the fabricator of the “George Washington and the Cherry Tree” story, and former business owner Benjamin Botts was Aaron Burr’s defense attorney.
You remember Aaron Burr, right? He was the third Vice President of the United States who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and then faced charges of treason when rumored to have plans to lay claim to the wild, wild west and secede from the U.S. [United States v. Burr, 1807]. It was Benjamin Botts who defended Burr during his treason trial. Anywho, the Weems-Botts Museum is an awesome place to be spooked!
Other notable historic haunts:
- Thomas Jefferson is reported to still walk his property, Monticello, whistling while he takes in the sites. Keep an ear out.
- And so it continues at Cold Harbor National Battlefield Park in Mechanicsville, where it’s said that the soldiers battling for the north fall night after night as they meet the waiting Confederate line.
- Speaking of Confederates, you can’t miss Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Interred are 18,000 Confederate soldiers, the President of the Confederacy (Jefferson Davis), more Civil War generals than any other cemetery (18 of them), two United States Presidents (James Monroe and John Tyler), and maybe even the Richmond Vampire! Take a few steps back if you wander near the tomb of W.W. Poole.
Hungry for more ghostly haunts? Check our feature article on Virginia.org.