10 Haunted Sites in Virginia with True Ghost Stories

by Patricia Keppel | Posted: Oct 18, 2016

Comments: 26 Comments

Colonial Williamsburg Holidays

With significant historic destinations like Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, Jamestown, and Mount Vernon, Virginia draws countless visitors looking to learn more about the Commonwealth’s past each year. In addition to these monumental landmarks, if you walk more than a few feet in any direction in Virginia, you’re almost guaranteed to step foot onto hallowed grounds of an American Revolution battlefield or a Civil War site. But such a rich history also brings an eerie side effect: a long list of supposedly haunted sites. Virginia has more than its share of ghost stories, and we have compiled a few of the spookiest locations that are open to the public. Experience a truly haunted Halloween when you visit these ghostly grounds.


Ferry Plantation House—Virginia Beach


The constructed grounds on which the Ferry Plantation House resides date back to 1642, when the second ferry service in Hampton Roads began carrying passengers across the Lynnhaven River to plantations and the county courthouse along the waterway. After the ferry closed, several buildings were erected in succession, only to be torn down or destroyed. Eventually, the last buildings fell into disrepair and were all but forgotten by the living. But the previous residents are said to have never truly left the grounds; eleven spirits have been reported to haunt this house, including victims of a shipwreck that occurred in 1810.

After the city completed extensive renovations, the house was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register and now serves as a museum, allowing people to visit the historic grounds. This tour takes a terrifying turn during Halloween, when for several days, the museum holds the Stroll of Lost Souls, where guests learn the interesting history behind the property and the tragic tales of the ghosts that now call Ferry Plantation House their home.


Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery

stonewall jackson memorial cemetery

Lexington has numerous historic sites, but few are as creepy as the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, where the famous Confederate general was laid to rest. Take a tour of Lexington that ends in the cemetery with Haunting Tales, Lexington’s Ghost Tour, where entertainers dressed in old-fashioned attire take you back through the history of Lexington and the chilling tales that have many believing there are ghosts roaming the region, especially during Halloween. Some even swear they have seen Jackson and fellow Confederate General Robert E. Lee on his horse, Traveler, as they wandered down the now-unfamiliar streets of Lexington.


Gadsby’s Tavern Museum—Alexandria

Gadsby's Tavern Museum

Originally built as a tavern and inn for weary travelers to rest, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is the site of one of the most curious mysteries in Virginia history. In 1816, a young woman traveled to Alexandria on a ship with her husband, contracting a disease on her journey that led them to seek rest and rehabilitation at the inn. However, once brought to Gadsby’s, her health quickly deteriorated, and on her deathbed, she made all of the people that attended to her swear an oath to never reveal her identity. To this day, no one knows who she was, and she is buried in St. Paul’s Cemetery with a gravestone marked “Female Stranger”. Both the cemetery, located near Duke Street, and Room 8 of Gadsby’s Tavern are supposedly haunted by the ghost of the young woman, forever unknown yet never forgotten.


The Martha Hotel & Spa—Abingdon

martha hotel

For an overnight stay in a haunted house, book a room at The Martha Hotel & Spa in Abingdon. The building served as a hospital for wounded soldiers from both sides during the Civil War, and many unfortunately never left the hospital to return home. The Martha is said to be haunted by a few of these phantoms, apparently unfinished with the world of the living. Learn about the story of the Yankee Sweetheart, the Phantom Horse, and the Reappearing Bloodstains when you stay at the historic Martha Hotel & Spa this Halloween.


Hollywood Cemetery—Richmond

hollywood cemetery

Most cemeteries are at least a little creepy, but Richmond residents believe Hollywood Cemetery to be especially haunted. The landmark’s deceased residents include over 18,000 Confederate soldiers, two United States Presidents, the President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, and 25 Civil War generals. In addition to these important burial memorials, you’ll come across a large, cast-iron Newfoundland dog marking one small grave in the cemetery. The statue stands guard over the grave, holding the remains of a young girl who tragically died in 1862. Another strange site within the cemetery is the tomb marked W.W. Poole. The site seems similar to the other mausoleum style graves, but according to gossip and lore, the Richmond Vampire dwells inside the tomb. These local legends have Richmond residents believing that those buried in Hollywood Cemetery may not be resting in peace, but instead roaming the grounds at night, looking to prey on unsuspecting visitors.


The Exchange Hotel—Gordonsville

exchange hotel

The Exchange Hotel was built in 1860 beside an important railroad junction, offering passengers worn out from long trips a place to rest. Unfortunately, two years later the Civil War came to the region, and the hotel had to be converted into a receiving hospital. In less than a year, over 23,000 sick and wounded soldiers were brought to the Exchange Hotel, and by the time the war ended, the number had reached over 70,000. Although no exact numbers exist for the casualties that occurred within the hotel’s walls, over 700 people were buried on the surrounding grounds during the war. The hotel now functions as a Civil War Museum, with artifacts, uniforms, and firearms on display, but you may hear the faint moans and cries from soldiers that never left the premises when you visit. Take a candlelight tour of the museum and relive its dark past with the Night at the Museum Ghost Tours at the Exchange Hotel.


Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historic State Park—Rice

Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historic State Park: Hillsman House

Many of the places we have mentioned on this list had links to the Civil War, but few are as significant as Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historic State Park, where the last 72 hours of the war were fought. The battle was bloody, with nearly a quarter of General Robert E. Lee’s army either killed, captured, or wounded. In need of a makeshift hospital, the Confederates used the Overton-Hillsman farmhouse on the property, with the battle raging literally in the backyard. Bloodstains still mark the floors of the house, and countless soldiers were buried in mass, unmarked graves all over the property. If ghosts are real, they are likely hanging out around this spooky state park.


St. Albans Sanatorium—Radford

St. Albans Sanatorium

Sanatoriums were notoriously cruel in the early 20th century, using methods like electroshock therapy, lobotomies, and other archaic practices on the patients. The trials had no positive effect for the patients, who acted as test subjects for the doctors curious to see the results of such savage experiments without practicing on the general public. St. Albans Sanatorium was one such facility, and the tortured patients did not always survive the tests. Additionally, the property was the site of an extremely violent Civil War battle, and visitors today report hearing rifles or cannons firing and smelling gun smoke when walking the grounds. With so much misery occurring on the property, it is no surprise that St. Albans is considered one of the most haunted places in Virginia.


Colonial Williamsburg—Williamsburg

colonial williamsburg

As an early American settlement, numerous historic houses in Colonial Williamsburg are believed to be haunted by past residents. One such property, the Peyton Randolph House, housed the Peachy family, who rented the property to many guests during their residency, including a young unnamed soldier attending the nearby College of William & Mary. Unfortunately, the young man fell ill during his stay and never recovered. He died in the home, and today, there have been multiple accounts of visitors spotting a young man walking sadly through the house or hearing heavy footsteps above their heads, even though no one is upstairs. Take a complete tour of Colonial Williamsburg’s creepiest locations on the Colonial Ghost Tour, a roughly hour and a half moonlit tour of the haunted historic grounds.


Captain Timothy Hill House—Chincoteague Island

timothy hill house

Built around 1800, the Captain Timothy Hill House has been dated as the oldest house still standing on the island. The house avoided certain demolition in 1980 when new owners moved it from the original location, but the home’s mysterious past can still be felt by visitors. The home originally sat right by the water, where a young family member or neighbor carved likenesses of the passing trade ships on the rough wood exterior of the building. This early graffiti is still visible today. But what lead to the haunted history began with Captain Timothy Hill and his daughter, Jennie. Captain Hill favored Jennie above his other children, and wished to marry her to a wealthy, well-educated man. However, a young man named Tom Freeman who grew up with the family, was in love with young Jennie. When the Captain refused to allow the marriage, Tom became desperate and ambushed Jennie and her mother in a field. Although the details are unclear, Tom ended up shooting Jennie and her mother. While the mother survived, Jennie died from her wound, and Tom took his own life in despair. It is believed that Jennie still hangs around the house, pining for the promising future so suddenly taken from her.


There are dozens of historic sites in Virginia that are rumored to be haunted, and if you’re looking for a scare this Halloween, these eerie destinations are sure to deliver bone-chilling fun. Which peculiar places in Virginia do you visit for Halloween?




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Ayne says:

What? No Old House Woods in Mathews?

Mia says:

Exactly what I was going to comment!

deb says:

oh wana b there so bad looks very educational in the spirit realm

Tracy says:

Stuart Mansion in Elk Garden…. The slave quarters and overseer’s house particularly. My son in law to be and his family lived in the overseer house for 4 years, they were constantly seeing a soldier walk up and down the steps in the house, heard footsteps on a floor that was not used and at times could look out the window and see a slave woman hanging by her neck from a tree….. A tree that actually wasn’t there. As for the Martha, the stories are true and the place is chilling. I live ten minutes from it and when my husband was younger he helped replace some floor and carpet in the Martha. The blood stains continously come back, no matter what happens. That is just the tip of the iceberg of the Ol Martha.

jeff says:

I live near this place too and it is creepy even in the day time.

Brenda Trimback says:

This is in Virginia Beach, Virginia, The address is at the bottom of this post.

The Cavalier Hotel was built back in 1927 and has a rich history of luxury, prominent guests, and tragedy.  One of the biggest questions that ghost hunters seek to answer is what causes the “ghost” or the memories of some people to stay behind when others pass and are never heard from again.  Its one that has many different arguments as well as little to no evidence to back up any of those theories.

However, it seems like a place with large amounts of tragedy always seems to be labeled as haunted.  The Cavalier Hotel has seen its share of deaths and it too, like many other places in this world, has been labeled as haunted.

The hotel has a glorious history as it opened in 1927 and was designed to be the most luxurious hotel in the state of Virginia.  Located along the beach, the Cavalier brought thousands of tourists to the Virginia Beach area until the US Navy took over the building during World War II.  In 1973, the Cavalier opened it’s brand new extension, which is located on the beach line.  Today, the Cavalier Hotel is only in operation for a few months out of the year.  The rest of the time it is spent locked in time, home to only it’s memories and ghosts that are said to inhabit the place. 

The hotel has seen seven former U.S. presidents stay in one of their suites within the walls of the Old Cavalier Hotel.  The History section of this hotels history page states “Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon all enjoyed the luxury, the tradition, and the view that only the Cavalier can provide.” Mickey Rourke, star of Iron Man 2 and The Wrestler, has also stayed here before a trip to Europe.

So what caused this lovable Inn to become haunted.  Well most of the stories seem to have avoided or been lost since the opening of the hotel.  However, some claims have been made by guests who have stayed in this hotel on numerous occasions.  First, there is a bellhop or what appears to be an African American hotel worker who stands on the steps before the sixth floor telling visitors to not go up to the sixth floor because “there are ghosts up there.”  This is by far the most serious claim since not only do you have a voice but this man is showing up as an apparition.

Next, you have the story of Adolph Coors (the owner of the Coors Brewery) who plunged to his death from the sixth floor of this hotel building.  Many people who stay on the sixth floor of this hotel say they experience cold spots, voices, and even the sound of flesh slapping the pavement below.  Nobody knows whether Coors committed suicide or was killed.  He died in 1929, which was during the middle of Prohibition.

The hotel has also seen numerous guests call the front desk complaining about a cat wondering the halls late at night.  No cat as ever been seen or found for the past half-century.  There is a local rumor about a girl who brought her pet cat with her when she stayed here.  However, one day the cat got loose and wound up falling into the outdoor swimming pool causing the little girl to jump in after it.  Both the girl and the cat drowned.  Although an apparition of a little girl is not something that has been reported at the hotel, the sound of the cat is something that is reported on a regular basis.

Guests have also seen a white lady in the lobby, dragging a suitcase behind her.  They’ve also stated that their towels have the tendency to change colors on occasion, their toilet will flush randomly, and the elevator will run when nobody is around them.


4201 Atlantic Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Tamara says:

This is truly a beautiful place. I have been a few times. The first being my schools ring dance. For someone who loves history and hauntings this is perfect.

Rebecca says:

What ? No Cavalier Hotel in VA Beach?

$hawn says:

How is crawford road in york town not on here???? that placed is seriously disturbing…..even in the day time!

Tabitha Ramseyer says:

Edgewood plantation in Charles city is also a very haunted location. I use to work there, unfortunately the owners don’t tell the whole true history of the house when giving their tours but you can find the whole history at the local historical center and I have so many evps from there as I use to run the public ghost hunts there when they would have them.

Mia says:

My family used to own Edgewood and my mother grew up there. All of that ghost business is nonsense made up by the next owners.

Glenda F. Camp says:

Inaccurate info re St. Albans. Being sensationalized.

Concerned citizen says:

Yes ma’am you are correct!!! I hate that they are telling such lies about such a wonderful place!!

Jay says:

It is not a wonderful place. They performed electroshock therapy there and horribly tortured people with their archaic medicine.

Linda Dwyer says:

Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon. Unless they have changed it to Martha Inn.

donna says:

this is very interesting, finding new places to feel the spirits. most walk the earth during the day as they did when they were alive. if you want to know who that woman is there at gadsby’s tavern, i can tell you, when i get the chance to get up there. i’m a clairvoyant empath, very sensitive to spirits. they come to me to tell me how they died and who they are.

Bella says:

How did you know you had this gift to feel , talk to spirits