Enjoy this guest post by Allison Michelle Dienstman of Colonial Ghosts, a historic ghost tour through The College of William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia!
Many visit Virginia to tour its historical landmarks, from George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, Colonial Williamsburg, or the Jamestown settlement. Indeed, as one of the thirteen original colonies, Virginia has seen everything from Indian massacres to pirate raids, the American Revolution to Civil War battles.
With so much history hidden in its cities and backwoods, it comes as no surprise that many of Virginia’s historical locations have the reputation for being haunted. Some spy the ghosts of Native Americans floating under the moonlight. Others have seen the apparitions of colonists walking through the hallways of their former residences. With so many accounts of paranormal activity, it seems hard to deny that Virginia has some of the most haunted locations in the United States.
A few miles south of modern Richmond along the James River sits Henricus Park. The historical park brings history to life with model colonial buildings and Native American homes along with reenactors that recreate the former settlement.
Photo Source: Wikipedia
Although settlers founded Henricus in 1611, for centuries Native American tribes fought against each other over the land, valued for its proximity to the resources of the James River. Eventually, the Powhatan tribe emerged triumphant and controlled the land… that is until the settlers arrived.
One evening, the warriors from the Powhatan tribe led a surprise attack on the local settlers. The bloody massacre became known as the Powhatan Uprising and left some 400 settlers dead.
Several hundred years later, those who lost their lives for control over the land continue to haunt their final resting place. Employees working at Henricus Park have spotted a female colonist walking around the premises, before vanishing into thin air before their eyes. As one staff member recalls:
“By the time I got to the door, there was no one there,” he says. “I didn’t have anyone on staff who even looked like that. That was the first big hint as far as thinking something [paranormal] was going on there.”
Paranormal investigators often visit Henricus for overnight investigations, open to the public. Their EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) recordings have captured the sounds of a man speaking in a Native American language. Another time, an investigator snapped the photo of a shadow person in one of the park’s buildings.
Williamsburg, Virginia attracts tourists and locals to its original, restored colonial buildings and authentic reenactments of life during the colonial period. Yet many who visit Colonial Williamsburg have seen a lot more than just reenactors on their tour.
Photo Source: Flickr
One of Williamsburg’s original buildings, The Peyton Randolph House (above), has earned a reputation as one of the most haunted places in Virginia. Built in 1715, the building first served as home to Peyton Randolph, a prominent politician and the first President of the Continental Congress. Many famous figures from the American Revolution visited the home, including Randolph’s cousin, Thomas Jefferson.
Since its construction, many people lived and died in the house, some in very tragic ways. During the Revolutionary War, the home doubled as a hospital for wounded soldiers where many young men likely passed away from battle wounds. Later, two men dueled to their deaths after getting into a terrible argument. After the Civil War, a former Confederate soldier died from illness in the Peyton Randolph House while attending the College of William and Mary.
In the 19th century, a small boy died here after falling from a tree. Strangely enough, a young girl met a similar fate after falling from a second story window. Could a curse over the house have caused the untimely deaths of so many?
The site of so many tragic deaths often has frequent paranormal sightings. Visitors see the glowing figure of a man dressed in eighteenth century clothing floating through the house. Others hear the mysterious sound of boats echoing through the corridors. Many have seen strange activity and moving curtains from the second story window (see video below). Could the young girl continue to play in the last room she stood before she died? Those who wish to find out can take a ghost tour of Colonial Williamsburg to see for themselves if the former residents continue to haunt the Peyton Randolph House.