Virginia has such a long, rich history that it’s no surprise that we have dozens of locations that are thought to be
haunted. There’s one ghost here, though, that will break your heart with her chilling, mournful tale.
Patrick Henry married his childhood sweetheart, Sarah, in 1754. In 1771, the couple moved with their five children to a plantation called Scotchtown.
Shortly after moving in, Sarah gave birth to their sixth child.
Soon after her child was born, Sarah began to show signs of mental illness.
She would be dead just four short years later.
Patrick visited a hospital in Williamsburg, the only facility in the area that accepted mentally ill patients. He was appalled at the conditions he found.
He decided that he would keep Sarah home at Scotchtown.
As Sarah's condition worsened, she began to be dangerous to herself and others. She was moved down to the basement and locked in two rooms.
A servant kept Sarah company, and cared for her, but she was so intent on harming herself that she had to be confined to a "straight dress" - a contraption similar to a straight jacket.
Servants and slaves soon found out about Sarah's condition and were convinced that she was overcome by evil spirits. They refused to enter the home.
Sarah died in February, 1775 and was buried on the property.
Her grave was unmarked, as was the tradition when someone with mental illness died. Even today, no one knows the exact location of her grave.
Many people feel that the ghost of Sarah Henry still resides at Scotchtown.
Visitors and staff hear strange noises. Once, during a tour of the home, several people were standing in a room right above the basement where Sarah spent her last years. Suddenly, a loud, shrieking scream emanated from below, startling the guests, who ran from the house in terror.
Staff reports that several items have moved about the home while it is locked and empty.
A tea caddy and teapot were moved from one room to another; a candle dating to the period from one the Henrys lived in the home was also found moved from its original location.
Visitors report seeing a woman in a long, white dress emerging from a basement door at the back of the home, and walking toward a building that once housed servants. Others have seen candlelight in the windows of the home at night.
Staff giving tours sometimes has difficulty opening the door to the basement, reporting that it seems as though someone on the other side is holding it closed. Other paranormal events include the sound of footsteps in the attic and on the staircase and an occasional sighting of Sarah herself. Motion detectors and security alarms often go off by themselves.
Have you visited this beautiful, but haunted estate? It’s located at 16120 Chiswell Lane, Beaverdam. You may take a tour on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m.