Virginia is no stranger to haunted legends and rumors of cursed places. Whether it’s a hotel room, theater, abandoned building, or mansion, there are spots that seem to have acquired quite a reputation. In a state with so much history, this fact comes as no surprise. What is a bit surprising is how persistent some ghost stories seem to be, suggesting that they might be more than just stories. Here are eight such places with a truly terrifying history.
1. Chatham Manor (Fredericksburg)
Completed around 1771, Chatham Manner was once a thriving plantation visited by noteworthy guests such as George Washington and even Abraham Lincoln. This site is considered to be haunted for its role as the site of a slave rebellion and also a war time hospital, but perhaps the most chilling tale is of a love story gone wrong.
A young English girl was sent to Chatham when her parents disapproved of her suitor, who was able to sneak away to America with the girl. It is said that George Washington himself heard of this misconduct and had the young man arrested. The girl was sent back to England, never smiling again. She claimed on her deathbed that she planned on returning to Chatham, the only place she was ever truly happy. On the anniversary of her death on June 21st, she can be seen as a ghostly figure walking down to the river wearing white.
2. Ball's Bluff Battlefield (Loudoun)
This 223-acre park is the location of the country's third-smallest National Cemetery and is simply breathtaking. This was the site of the Battle of Ball's Bluff, which took place early in the Civil War in 1861. Today, it is the final resting place of 54 soldiers who lost their lives here. It's also said that some of these spirits continue to haunt the grounds of this National landmark, which also features reenactments. Photographed above is a shot from the 150th anniversary of the battle.
3. The Chamberlin (Hampton)
This historic building was once a luxurious hotel, although it has since been renovated to accommodate senior living facilities. The nine-story building can be found on Fort Monroe and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Legend has it that the top story of this building is haunted which is why it has been closed to the public. One chilling tale is of a girl who was trapped on this floor when the building caught fire and was killed. Her apparition makes itself known still, whether she is heard banging on the walls or seen peering through the window.
4. Belle Grove Plantation (Middletown)
Completed in 1797, Belle Grove Plantation was the home of a Revolutionary War veteran by the name of Isaac Hite Jr.. While this site is beautiful, it is also said to be haunted by the spirit of a woman dressed in a black dress, covered by a veil. She stands in the window of the top floor, peering out over the land. Most believe that she was a former resident of the plantation.
5. Civil War Medical Museum (Gordonsville)
What once served as a hotel in 1860 was quickly transformed into a hospital for Civil War soldiers. This site is actually considered to be the first triage hospital in the country. The building closed down in 1865 and its last patient, a Union corporal, is said to still haunt the premises today.
6. St. Alban's Sanatorium (Radford)
The St. Alban's Sanatorium is one of the most frequently-visited spots among paranormal investigators. The site originated as a boys' school in 1892 and eventually transitioned into a mental institution in 1916. Today, the site is abandoned and is slowly deteriorating. The spirits, however, are very active and include patients, former students, and even staff members.
7. Mary Baldwin College (Staunton)
The gorgeous Mary Baldwin College is a four-year liberal arts institution for women. Originally known as the Augusta Female Seminary, the campus was founded in 1842. There have been several claims of a ghostly siting of a spirit known as "Richard," who appears as a soldier in a blue uniform. There have also been reports of a handprint mysteriously appearing on the window of the room where Mary Julia Baldwin herself used to reside.
8. Major Graham Mansion (Wythe)
Accessing Major Graham's Mansion outside of Fort Chriswell involves a series of back winding roads, giving you the sense that you are quickly approaching something from a horror film. Paranormal investigators who have spent time here report that it is riddled with haunted activity, most likely provoked by an incident that occurred in 1786. That was the year when two slaves killed their master and were consequently hung on a nearby tree. Ever since, the mansion has been haunted by these spirits and the feeling of despair.
As is true with all claims of hauntings, finding proof is difficult unless you have experienced something first hand. However, there’s no denying the eeriness that stems from so many reports of paranormal activity surrounding these historical Virginia locations. If you’ve visited these sites, be sure to share your experience (haunted or not!) with us.