It doesn’t have to be Halloween to appreciate a good ghost story. Virginia has a tumultuous and fascinating history, so it’s no surprise that it’s home to some of the most haunted places in the United States. From abandoned orphanages to haunted wineries, you’re not short of places to get the heebie jeebies. Here are seven of the most haunted places in Virginia.
Haunted Places in Virginia
1. St. Albans Sanatorium
St Albans Sanatorium is not only one of the most haunted places in Virginia but the entire Eastern US. The sanatorium has a brutal past, first starting out as a Lutheran school for boys. It was a horrific environment, where bullying was encouraged. Many students took their lives as a result of the relentless bullying, some of whom are thought to haunt the creepy halls.
It became a sanatorium in 1916; supposedly a more “idyllic” approach to an asylum, where the patients would live happily and receive the treatment they needed. But it wasn’t like that at all. The patients were subjected to inhumane torture and treatments, essentially treated like lab rats. Many of the patients took their own lives as a result of the barbaric abuse or they’d lost their lives from dangerous lobotomies and other ‘treatments’. There are reports of ghost sightings, hearing footsteps, hearing voices, and items flying inexplicably.
2. Swannanoa Palace
For a combination of historic architecture and ghost stories, Swannanoa Palace strikes a fascinating medium. The beautiful building was built by James H. Dooley and inspired by the Villa Medici in Rome. It took eight years to complete, so visitors can really appreciate the artistry. When the owners died in 1920, the building took on many roles, from a country club to a university. The most prominent ghost is said to be James H. Dooley’s wife, Sallie Dooley. Visitors say they’ve not only heard footsteps and whispers, but they’ve actually seen Sallie, as well as staff and groundskeepers.
3. Bacon’s Castle
Bacon’s Castle dates back to 1655, making it one of the oldest buildings in Virginia. The building has a particularly colourful history, with its role in the Bacon’s Rebellion, tales of affairs, secret romances, and years of slave abuse, so it’s really no surprise that many tortured souls remain here. Visitors say they’ve heard voices and cries, heard footsteps, felt something touch them, seen objects flying, and even seen a ghostly figure. If you want to check it yourself, the Castle provides guided haunted tours.
4. The Martha Washington Inn & Spa
During the American Civil War, the Martha Washington Inn became a makeshift hospital. It’s seen its fair share of gruesome injuries and many soldiers died during this time. Apparently, not all of them really left. There were many tragic romances between the soldiers and the nurses, the most well-known story being that of Beth. Beth used to play the violin for her lover until his death and due to an outbreak of typhoid, hers wasn’t far behind him. Visitors say they can hear the violin and have seen her wandering the halls, looking for him. After the war, it went back to being a hotel. You can still stay there today… if you’re brave enough.
5. Elbow Road
Residents of Virginia Beach can all agree on at least one thing – don’t step foot on Elbow Road. An old lady referred to as Mrs Woble is said to roam the street, bloody, battered, trying to get home. Her body was never found after her murder, but some say they’ve seen her ghastly spirit walking up and down the road. Another spirit apparently lurks on this road; a young girl who drowned in a nearby lake. Legend has it that if you visit the road at night and sit on the hood of your car, wet footprints on the ground will make their way toward you.
6. The Winery at La Grange
The spirits at the Winery at La Grange have got a mischievous reputation. Doors closing, random gusts of wind, hearing voices, and glasses clinking together are just some of the ghostly happenings at this winery. It’s still in operation today and the staff are reportedly well aware of the spirits. Benoni E. Harrison used to own the winery and the staff often leave out a glass of wine for him on the fireplace and the wine inexplicably disappears more quickly than possible through evaporation. The staff have many stories of ghosts playing tricks on unsuspecting guests, they’re said to have a playful nature. Wine tasting and spooky ghost stories? Sounds like a great night to us.
7. Wise County Orphanage
If any of the haunted places on this was to look like your typical haunted house, it’s the Wise County Orphanage. As the name suggests, the building was a home for abandoned and orphaned children in Virginia. It was abandoned in 1920, but not much is known about this building. Which makes it all the more creepy. Daring ghost hunters say they’ve heard children giggling, seen bouncing balls, and seen lights flickering. They also say they’ve seen ghostly figures standing in the windows.