Old abandoned houses – or any abandoned buildings for that matter – have some kind of bizarre draw for many people. Maybe it’s the stories that seem to be lurking in the shadows. Maybe it’s the beauty of the decay that still can’t mask what the site once was. Or maybe it’s just a macabre fascination from watching too many horror movies as a kid. All I know is that good things usually don’t happen in abandoned places. So, whether you believe in ghosts or not, you have to admit, these places in Virginia certainly lend themselves to the possibilities…
1. The Barton Mansion, Richmond
This palatial home, named Corner Minor, was built in the late 1890s, but abandoned when its owner, James Barton, had to flee Richmond after unscrupulous business practices. Since then, it has been used as a home for unwed mothers, a polio hospital, a sanitarium and an old age home. As of 2014, there are plans for restoration. If only walls could talk, huh?
2. Renaissance Home, Fredericksburg
Busted windows and rotting wood are all the remain of this Renaissance replica home. The "house" is part of the ruins of the abandoned Renaissance Faire in Fredericksburg. Closed down due to a lack of business in 1999, the short-lived Faire once featured castles, moats and replica buildings like this one.
3. Selma Plantation, Loudoun County near Leesburg
The first picture, with a lone Victorian doll in the foreground, is creepy enough, even before you know the story behind Selma. The former plantation was best known as the home of Armistead Thomson Mason (b.1787 – d.1819), a U.S. Senator from Virginia, who built the original house and lived there until he killed in a duel in 1819. His widow and young son stayed on until a change in fortunes forced them to sell. The original house was destroyed by fire in the 1890s and the current mansion was built in early 1900s. Despite passing through several owners and developers, nothing seems to come of efforts to bring life back to Selma and today, it is one of Virginia's endangered historic sites. There's no denying its beauty, but it seems like good things simply don't happen at Selma - just sayin'.
Update: As of spring 2016, the Selma Plantation is being refurbished. New owners ask remind reader that trespassing is not permitted.
4. "Keep Out"…just in case you needed to be told twice
This old house in Wickliffe doesn't offer much in term of curb appeal, unless you are into dark, scary places covered in vines. You have to wonder what exactly went down here…
5. Ramshackle Ruins in Floyd County
To me, this house just SCREAMS backstory. Who built it? Who lived there? Why did they leave? What happens there after dark? Why don't we use the word "ramshackle" more often? So many questions. So few answers.
6. Holy Graffiti on an Abandoned House House in Louisa County
I'm not sure that an old house is the most effective way to get the scriptures out there…but then again, nothing wrong with warding off evil spirits with some holy reminders.
7. Empty Schoolhouse in Smithfield
If ever a place WAS to be haunted, it only seems fitting that it would be a schoolhouse.
8. The Winston Family Chapel, Winston (just outside of Culpeper)
I think we can agree that only a REALLY ironic ghost would haunt a house of worship. That is until you know a little more about this particular chapel's story. The chapel was built in 1908 by the wealthy Winston family as a memorial to a dead son. As local legend tells, the Winstons were rivals of the Somervilles, another family in the area. In true Romeo and Juliet fashion, two young lovers, one each from the opposing families, married and joined the rivals through future generations. Although the Winston patriarch who built the church stipulated that it was to pass down to Winston descendants only, today, all of the Winston family has passed away, leaving only Somerville descendants to inherit the Winston holdings, including the chapel. So, I'm just saying - if you WERE an ironic ghost looking for a church to haunt, this would be a good one.
9. Lonely House in the Woods of Franklin County
I don't know what would have been scarier, living alone in the woods in this house, or finding it empty as it today.
10. I don't think I WANT to know…
This photo was captured in an abandoned house in Virginia…for this particular one, I don't think we even need a shot of the house to know that it is just plain creepy. Like, really super creepy.
11. Wise County Orphanage
The idea of an abandoned orphanage is bad enough. Now throw in stories of paranormal activity and you've got yourself a proper freak-out. Now long closed, the old house sits empty…well, empty-ish. Rumor has it, passers by can hear the sounds of laughing children and see bouncing balls and floating lights, while ghostly figures are sometimes seen at the windows. Have fun with that.
Have you ever been to any of these sites? How about sites near you? Are there any old, abandoned houses or buildings that give you the heebie-jeebies every time you pass by? Let us know in the comments below!