Virginia is for lovers, but Richmond, Virginia is for lovers of history. The city is carpeted with historical locations. With history comes ghosts, and we have the best stories for you on the Richmond Ghosts walking tour. From Edgar Allen Poe to the dark chapter of the Slave Trade, Richmond is dripping in dark history and the past’s macabre ghosts. Every tour is hosted by a local, passionate guide who is knowledgable about Richmond’s ghosts and incredible history.
Richmond Ghosts is not sensationalist and doesn’t feature anyone in costumes. We believe that a well-told story of the fascinating and spooky past is more than enough to put you in the mood for a good scare. Nor will anyone jump out and frighten you on your tour; the dark stories of the past are scary enough. Each story you will hear will also paint a vivid picture of the past of Richmond, from its earliest days to the brief period in the early 90s that it was the murder capital of America. The past’s complex stories are best illuminated when you can picture the people who made them happen, like the slave revolt of 1800. It’s enigmatic leader, Gabriel, leads a disastrous revolt that ends at the gallows. The place he drew his last breath features on the Extended Richmond Ghosts haunted tour.
As well as the darkness, there is light here, but it too is haunted by the spirits of the past. The cause of making a more perfect union was given a major boost here. A church in Richmond hosted two of the first three Virginia Revolutionary Conventions. Notable delegates to the second Convention included Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. The historic venue is most well-known for the ‘give me liberty, or give me death’ speech made by Patrick Henry, a well-respected local attorney, farmer, and politician. His fiery words tipped the balance to persuade the governing body to send Virginian troops to the War of Independence.
As well as a key role in the War of Independence, Richmond was the seat of power for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Once that was over, Richmond bloomed. Thomas Jefferson designed the original parts of the impressive Capitol building. At one point in the Antebellum period, Richmond was the most densely populated city in the South. Richmond also had the countries first successful electrically powered trolley system. The busy port meant Richmond was a major rail hub, with the country’s first triple rail crossing, three separate rail lines crossing on top of each other, over 50 vertical feet of iron and steam.
This key role in our nation’s history has given Richmond plenty of things to do and see for today’s visitor. The spellbinding Virginia Holocaust Museum does a great job of contextualizing the genocide of the second world war. They bring it to life through one family’s journey, that of the museum’s founder, Jay Ipson. The museum is in an old warehouse on the James River’s shore, just across the road from the Libby Prison, a civil war jail for both Union and Confederate captives. The jail holds a fascinating story of daring-do, rats, and ghosts, which features on your standard Richmond Ghosts tour.
Downtown Richmond museums include the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a great way to spend an afternoon. Richmond’s dining scene is also exploding, with exciting new restaurants popping up in the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood.
After the museums all close in the late afternoon, but before the restaurants open, you might find time to get in one more activity, a sweeping taste of all of Richmond’s historical flavors. The best way to do this; book your place on the Richmond Ghosts tour, a great activity in Shockoe Bottom. Tours are well-reviewed and run by professional guides, passionate about sharing this amazing city’s history and it’s best ghosts.
Richmond’s history goes back before European settlers, the Powhatan Indians occupied the land Richmond is on before Settlers from Jamestown, much further down the James River, relocated to the site for a brief period. After much conflict with the local tribes, the settlers prevailed, and William Byrd III laid out the current city grid in 1737.
By this time, the area had already seen much bloodshed, the Henricus settlement, about 17 miles down the James River, and the nearby Falling Creek Ironworks, established by the Virginia Company of London, were often harried by local native tribes. Many were killed in the skirmishes. If not at the hands of the embattled tribes, then disease, starvation, and misadventure often put the settlers back years in their efforts to establish a prosperous colony. The newly established city of Richmond continued to be no stranger to death with the start of the slave trade shortly after its founding. Add to this troubled past difficult times in both the War of Independence and the Civil War, and it starts to make sense why a rising tide of spirits call Shockoe Bottom their home.
Flood-plagued Richmond has lost countless time, money, and souls to the James River. It has burst its banks’ hundreds of times during the history of the settlement. Finally, tamed in the 1990s, the James River has dominated life and death here. It’s the main reason Richmond has been a center of trade, and commerce in the region for hundreds of years, bringing planters and factories, visionaries and scoundrels to its doors. Although it must be said, many of the ghosts in Richmond are the result of plain old human misadventures and crimes of passion.
For hundreds of years, the downtrodden and weary of Richmond have beaten a path towards Shockoe Bottom, its whiskey bars were the curse of the town, and for a while, this was the red-light district of Richmond. It attracted the very worst of humanity. In the late 1970s, the Briley Brothers brought their own curse to Richmond, killing ten victims over the course of a mere seven months. The brothers terrorized Richmond, and their ghosts haunt the atmospheric Jefferson Park with its scenic outlooks over the modern skyline. They aren’t the only serial killers to have prowled Richmond; you can hear about the others, and many more ghosts, on our fact-packed Richmond Ghosts tour.
Richmond might have been chaotic during the Civil War but these days we try run an orderly tour.
This is a family tour, imagine your Grandma was along for the ride
The spirits of Richmond don’t need much provoking to come out and haunt us, but let’s try not to make an eternity longer than it has to be.
The James River runs fast through Richmond, try and keep your dry feet, and stick with the tour group.
We have some great ghost stories, please watch your step so you don’t become a feature of our tour.