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These 8 Unexplained Phenomena In Virginia Will Baffle You

Unexplained happenings, whether natural phenomena or man-made mystery, have long been a source of entertainment and intrigue for many people. Even those who don’t believe in the supernatural can find themselves drawn to stories that defy scientific description. Likewise, stories of human acts, whether kind or just strange, lead us to question motives and possibilities. The following 8 stories from Virginia cover everything from sightings of mythical creatures to mysterious tombstones – but they all remind us that mysteries are everywhere – even in Virginia.

1. The Grave of the Female Stranger, Alexandria 

In 1816, a fresh grave appeared at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Cemetery in Alexandria. In it lay the remains of a young woman, buried by her assumed husband, who quickly vanished from town the next day. The tombstone was not inscribed with a name, merely the phrase “To the Memory of a Female Stranger.”

To this day, her identity has never been uncovered, however, many speculations have been made. Some claim that she was European royalty while others say she was an English noblewoman who eloped with a British officer. Others, still, insist she was Theodosia Burr Alston, daughter of Aaron Burr who was supposedly lost at sea and the “husband” was, in fact, a pirate with whom she had run off, leaving behind her husband, Governor Alston. The following video takes a closer look at the mysterious marker that is the only clue the stranger left behind.

2. Mysterious booms sound off in Central Virginia. 

According to WTVR CBS 6 News, residents in Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, and Prince George counties all reported loud booming noises in the early morning of June 10, 2015, lasting for nearly 10 minutes and becoming so loud that the windows shook.

According to other sources from around the state, the noises have been going on long before the June 2015 incident. The following report from January 2014 investigates mysterious noises occurring in Colonial Heights. Similar “mystery booms” have been reported not just in Virginia, but across the country and around the world. And yet, to date, the noises defy logical explanation.

3. Bigfoot with her baby in Bedford?

It really doesn’t matter if you believe in the legend of the Sasquatch, or “Bigfoot” as he, or in this case “she,” is most commonly known. The fact is that your disbelief will never persuade faithful Bigfoot hunters around the state that these elusive creatures don’t exist. When a Bedford woman called a local 911 dispatcher with the news that she has seen a Bigfoot carrying a baby of the same species, it’s no surprise that the dispatcher later admitted that he had never had a call quite like that one. Watch the following brief video for more.

4. “The Woman in Black” returns home to Winchester.

You may remember hearing stories on the news and across social media last year about a mysterious woman in black that was seen walking across Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and, Virginia. Although she had come to the media’s attention months before her walk ended in July 2014, it was not until she finally stopped her walk for good in Winchester that she was identified as Elizabeth Poles, a local resident. Her walk is believed to be religiously inspired, although Ms. Poles will not comment.

After a popular Twitter hashtag, #womaninblack, tracked her last year, a Facebook page, Where is the Mysterious Woman in Black?, continues to follow her and posts news about recent sightings in places like Culpeper, Bull Run and Charlottesville. Although her motivations are unclear, she continues to inspire people in Virginia and around the country, many of them stopping to offer assistance when they see her – although they are always turned down.

5. The Beale Ciphers and buried treasure in Bedford.

While we’ve covered this story before on Only in Virginia, it is one that never loses its appeal. When the little-known prospector Thomas Jefferson Beale discovered a mother lode of gold and silver in Colorado, he returned to Virginia to bury the loot sometime between 1819 and 1821. Estimated to be worth tens of millions, Beale protected his treasure with three coded messages that, when cracked, would provide its location. He left the messages in a locked box with Robert Morriss of Lynchburg, only to be opened if he did not return within 10 years. When Beale was never heard from again, the ciphers were examined, but to date, only the second cipher has been broken and the treasure’s whereabouts remain a mystery. The following video provides a fascinating look at the treasure, the legends that surround it and the mystery of the man that was Thomas J. Beale.

6. Edgar Cayce and his mysteriously accurate predictions. 

Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) has been called the most documented psychic of the 20th century. He was known as the “sleeping prophet” for his ability to go into a dream-like sleeping state in which he saw visions leading to more than 14,000 documented  psychic readings, including accurate predictions of events like the Stock Market crash of 1929, World War II and much more. In 1931, he founded the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), headquartered in Virginia Beach. In addition to offering conferences, tours, and retreats, the site contains a library with more than 75,000 volumes, including all of his documented psychic readings and predictions. The following video takes a look at some of Cayce’s most profound predictions and offers a hint of what you might find at the A.R.E.

7. UFO Sightings in Ashburn?

UFO sightings are perhaps even more popular, and often more unbelievable, than Bigfoot. But what this man in Ashburn captured on video does make you question reality just a bit – or at least wish you had a more reasonable explanation. On New Year’s Eve 2013, an Ashburn man spotted strange lights in the sky above his home. He lives near Dulles International Airport, so airplane lights are quite common, but these were like nothing he had ever seen. Watch the following interview from WJLA ABC 7 and then decide for yourself. Extraterrestrial life or easily explained phenomena?

8. The Ghost Light at Cohoke Crossing, West Point

For more than 100 years, residents and visitors of the small town of West Point in Virginia’s Tidewater Region have told stories of a mysterious light that appears along the railroad tracks at a point known as Cohoke’s Crossing. Two popular legends surround the light. The first claims it’s a lantern carried by the ghost of a brakeman accidentally decapitated while working on the line. A second story claims that a train filled with Confederate soldiers went missing near this location during the Civil War. Supposedly ambushed by Union troops, the light could be the “ghost train” still traveling the tracks. Or it could simply be swamp gas. Regardless, the legends prove more enticing than scientific discovery, and the following video shows a rare capture of the light by a couple of explorers much braver than me.

What do you think of these stories? Are there explanations beyond what appears on the surface? We would love to hear about any unexplained phenomena you know of in Virginia – from strange noises, lights or events to unsolved mysteries. Let us know what you know in the comments below!

Anna Strock
Virginia staff writer for Only in Your State, freelance writer and journalist. Even though Anna has lived other places, somehow Virginia is where she always seems to land.