Top Ten Haunted Places in Richmond

Posted by blogger in RVA Ghosts
14th street bridge, Richmond

Richmond is old, which in supernatural circles means; great!!! That’s the actual fringe scientist approved nomenclature. Why is that? Because old means spooks, specters, creepy crawlers and hauntings… and, if you add to that spicy mixture the hot pepper known as war, not once but twice – Revolutionary and Civil – you get the equivalent of Yahtzee. Down by the stretch of land that composed the 13 Colonies, every place is haunted and might as well come with a Census of the number of wraiths per household. Real estate agents should give prospective clients a dossier with a pedigree on what kind of poltergeist they are buying. Museums in the 13 Colonies are like Haunted Happy Meals, you’re always going to get a cheap trinket with your nuggets; in this case, one covered in ectoplasm. So, with that said, let’s get this party started. Here are the top ten haunted spots in Richmond.

Richmond is one of the oldest settled regions in the country, it’s swaddled in a rich history and one that pre-dates European colonists. It’s also a history bathed in blood, one whose canvas is full crimson brush struck. One filled with ghosts.

Top Ten Haunted Spots In Richmond

10. The Byrd Theatre

At least two phantoms haunt the Byrd

“One is a little girl who is seen frequently in the women’s bathroom. The other ghost is Mr. Coulter – Byrd manager from 1928 to 1971. He’s seen in several places but mostly spotted in the balcony.”

Todd Schall-Vess, manager.

The Byrd Theatre is supposed to be one of the most ghost-infested joints in the city. There have been multiple ghost studies taken in the theatre that have uncovered EVP proof of a little girl talking and an older male voice.

9. Hollywood Cemetery

Hollywood Cemetery
Hollywood Cemetery. Source: Wikimedia.

 

Cemetery and ghosts… yeah, I know it’s a bit of a cliche but there’s a reason why it’s so trite. Spirits of every shape size and pedigree walk this rather legendary cemetery. The most famous one is a dog. 

Yes, the cemetery has a vast graveyard, with around 18000 Confederate soldiers, 25 Civil War Generals, 2 United States Presidents and the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, every single one said to come out at night and do their own version of Burning Man, but the hot ticket item in the property is a dog. Given your Facebook feed, is it so hard to believe? 

In the burial ground, there is a large cast-iron sculpture of a Newfoundland dog standing over a small grave. This is the tomb of a young girl who died under unfortunate circumstances in 1862. The dog, her pooch back in the days, is said to attend her resting place and can seldom be heard barking and growling at night.

8. Byrd Park Pump House

New Pump House, Richmond Virginia, general view of the house from north.
Pump House, Richmond Virginia. Source: Wikimedia

 

Where do I begin? Well, first you have the ghost of Daniel Tetweiler, who hung himself. Then you have the scary shade of a woman named Elizabeth. If that wasn’t enough you also have Spectra, the apparition of a woman in white. AND IF THAT wasn’t enough you also have what can only be called an entourage of phantoms that follow said woman in white. 

Did I mention the orbs of light that have been photographed? The Pump House is the equivalent of Disney for ghost enthusiasts. 

7. The Waverly House

Waverly House was constructed between 1770-1800. There have been dozens of sightings of all manner of specters on the property. The most famous of them is that of a sad, elderly gentleman sitting on the stairs.

Some of the past tenants and occupants of the residence have met him and on exhaustive research, they have recognized the chap as Benjamin Green, a former resident of Waverly House.

Mr. Green served at a bank where a sticky finger operator stole $500,000. Green was suspected of the crime. No evidence was turned up and Green was cleared of the accusation. Nonetheless, his public reputation was tarnished. He had to move out of town and some speculate that he never got over abandoning his cherished home. 

And, as a chipper add on, the surrounding landscape is said to be haunted by the ghosts of wounded soldiers. The house served as a hospital during the Civil War. 

6. Julep

Julep’s is one of Richmond’s most beloved eateries. It’s a culinary icon of the place. But, it didn’t start as a gourmand’s dreamscape. From its inception, it was quite different. Back in the 1820s, Julep was a weapons shop; a 180º if there ever was one.

In 1826, an assistant gunsmith named Daniel Denoon was torpedoed in the chest by the owner of the shop Mr. James McNaught. Shot point-blank. Denoon’s ghost is said to haunt the restaurant. 

Workers, construction employees – during the renovation – and patrons have reported noises, unexplained thumps, and shadows near the area Dennon took his final breath. Julep is one of the most haunted spots in Richmond.

5. Museum Of The Confederacy

The Museum of the Confederacy was once the White House of the Confederacy. While Lincoln was in the Capitol getting Grant to relate his brand of booze:

“Well, I wish some of you would tell me the brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.” 

Honest Abe.

Jefferson Davis was on the property pondering how a man with such an ardor for the sauce was beating his forces black and blue. 

The Museum now displays a range of civil war artifacts, documents, photos, and confederate books. For history buffs, it’s a must. The eidolon Gasper said to haunt the museum’s halls is none other than the ghost of Jefferson Davis’ 5-year-old son. 

4. Tuckahoe Plantation 

Residence and cabin at the Tuckahoe Plantation, photographed by Frances Benjamin Johnston
Residence and cabin at the Tuckahoe Plantation, photographed by Frances Benjamin Johnston. Source: Wikimedia

 

Tuckahoe Plantation was once the childhood home of Thomas Jefferson. The joint was built between the years 1730 and 1740. It is in a way the quintessential plantation of the South; picture-perfect. If you imagine what a plantation might look like, your mind will most likely draw up a sketch of Jefferson’s home. 

It’s also up to its eyeballs in ghosts. 

“Tuckahoe’s ghosts have been cited for 100 years or more.”

L.B. Taylor, author of more than 20 books on ghosts, including several columns of The Ghosts of Virginia.

One of the most sighted and cited ghosts in the area is that of a disembodied bride, who can be witnessed taking strolls down the garden path.

3. Cold Harbor

Earthworks photographed after the battle
Cold Harbor. Earthworks photographed after the battle. Source: Wikimedia

 

Aside from Gettysburg, Cold Harbor is considered to be one of the most haunted battlefields in the entire United States. And why is this only number 3 in our top ten haunted spots in Richmond countdown? Cause I have a surprise for the two other slots. 

Anyway, Cold Harbor is where General Lee celebrated one of his final victories over Grant. 

The area was once awash in blood and riddled with corpses and body parts. It is a National Park and quite a popular place to visit… also, it’s one of the most ghost-filled haunted spots in Richmond and quite possibly the United States. 

2. Highland Springs

I said I had a surprise for the number two and one vacancy in this top ten most haunted spots in Richmond’s written tour, didn’t I? Presenting…

The Story of the Werewolf of Henrico.

To some a laughing matter, as one reporter has labeled the sightings “Only a couple people think they’ve seen it, and they can’t spell for sh**t.” To others a threat to their safety. 

A strange creature has been “spotted” in the Highland Springs area around the Confederate Hills Recreation Center. A monster six feet tall and covered in gray-white hair. Reported as having “the body of a human and the face of an animal.” 

The lupine lunatic Werewolf of Henrico can stand on its hind legs and, like all of its kind, tends to come out only when the moon is full. 

The kicker… those that don’t believe in werewolves – cause werewolves aren’t real – claim that the being is either an alien or bigfoot. 

Fringe scientists believe that the werewolf of Henrico is in fact a spectral manifestation. A shapeshifting ghost similar to the Japanese Obake. Why? Because of the manner in which it disappears, who it doesn’t interact with material objects, and more importantly – like Pennywise – how it has a tendency to manifest as people’s fears.

This theory is back up by the last story in our top ten haunted spots in Richmond Tour…

1. Church Hill

 

The Church Hill train tunnel was sealed in 1926 after a collapse.
The Church Hill train tunnel was sealed in 1926 after a collapse. Source: Wikimedia.

 

Surprise number two… and quite possibly evidence that Richmond is in fact dealing with an Obake. 

The Vampire Of Richmond.

In 1925, Church Hill underwent a massive cave-in. Rocks, soil, and Mother Earth swallowed up a train tunnel. The tunnel collapse while a passenger diesel was inside. Theories abound as to what cause the incidents. It left a score of ghosts haunting in the area BUT the real horror story predates the cave-in. 

Richmond, up until the late 19th century, had a vampire problem. For years locals were certain that a fella’ by the name of WW Poole had been a vampire. In 1922, Poole kicked the bucket… or so they say. He was placed in a crypt at Hollywood Cemetery. Natives started staking – get it? – the spot. Eyes turned to the tomb just in case Poole decided to prove the urban legends right. 

Poole, the story goes, noticing that his “secret lair” might as well have a Neon sign saying “Vampire Den” flew the coop and hid inside Church Hill. 

Fast forward a couple of years, the city decides to expand the train tunnel. Poole gets upset… Tunnel collapses. 

When the tunnel fell, reports claim that a nightmarish creature – think death metal album cover – clawed its way out while rescue crews were on the scene. A creature covered in blood, jagged teeth, strips of decomposing skin, the whole nine-yard. The monster turned to the bewildered firefighters, flashed its red eyes – saw teh axes and burly men –  and made a run for it. 

The Vampire zoomed through Richmond, vaulted the cemetery gates, and stormed – never to be seen again – into WW Poole’s sepulcher. Vampires, mass hallucination, or Obake…. You be the judge. 

For more scary tales check out our blog.

Featured Image Source: wikimedia

Sources:

https://richmond.com/entertainment/richmonds-urban-legends/article_85098414-d1f6-5aad-8945-cd08a0789cca.html

https://www.nbc12.com/2019/09/16/richmonds-most-haunted-buildings/

https://www.wtvr.com/2019/10/25/haunted-richmond-ihas

https://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/the-13-most-haunted-places-in-richmond/Content?oid=1626515