If you’re looking for the top 10 most haunted places in Alexandria, we have the stories for you right here! Alexandria has a rich and intriguing haunted history that dates to the first Native American settlers.
Incorporated in 1749 with a history of slave trading, freedom, wars, murder, and death, Alexandria has many haunted, historic locations. Streets, buildings, cemeteries, and the land itself are saturated with history and the paranormal.
Established in 1785, Gadsby’s Tavern has tales to tell! As a port city, Alexandria provided food and lodging to many seamen and travelers. Two mysterious travelers, a man and a woman, stopped at the port because the woman was ill. Tended to by the wives of two locals, no one, not even the doctor, was allowed to see the woman’s face. She died a few weeks later in her room, and that’s where the mystery thickens. The man had her buried in a nearby cemetery with a headstone simply naming her a “Female Stranger.”
The story and speculations surrounding the restaurant and hotel add mystery to the history of the Alexandria tavern. Who was this mystery woman? Speculations range from a politician’s runaway daughter, a woman kidnapped by pirates, and a tale of unrequited love.
From black magic, love triangles to pirate kidnapping, the tales of the Female Stranger abound. Her ghost frequents room eight, where she died. She stands at the window holding a candle, looking longingly for the life she once had that few knew. She roams the halls of the inn, searching for the man who stayed by her side until she died.
The Clock Tower at City Hall
In 1817 the city of Alexandria built a clock tower at the City Hall that became home to the “Devil-Bat.” The creature is said to protect the area around his home, which includes the City Hall. It’s notorious for the story of terrifying a boatload of thugs that arrived one night and started riots at the City Hall, threatening to destroy it. As the rioting crowd of men caroused up and down King St. breaking windows and screaming wildly, a bystander called out to the creature, “Devil-bat, Devil-bat! Keep this crowd back!” Suddenly, out of the dark sky, the Devil-bat swooped down upon them from the bell tower. The men all ran for their lives, saving City Hall!
Some say a huge skunk laid dead in the road after the encounter. It’s believed it was the skunk that scared the men away. Whether it was a bat in the belfry or a dead skunk in the middle of the road, the Devil-Bat legend is part of the history of the City Hall bell tower to be told for years to come.
John Carlyle House
John Carlyle, one of the founders of Alexandria, built his beloved Carlyle mansion in 1752. Another structure, Greens Braddock Hotel that once sat on the adjoining property, was torn down, but the history remains. The properties were used for military purposes, including a hospital for wounded and dying service members.
Strange deaths occurred on the property in further years, adding to the mysterious history of the property. Where the is death and tragedy, there is hauntings.
Carlyle’s second wife, Sybil, was a jealous woman. Carlyle’s love for his first wife, Sarah, drove her insane. Burning all of Sarah’s belongings, Sybil attempted to erase her existence. Folklore, similar to “Bloody Mary,” is a dare for girls named Sarah to ring the doorbell at the Carlyle house yelling, “Sarah! Come outside!” The ghost of Sybil appears in the gardens behind the house, screaming in anger. There seems to be many a spirit that roam the property.
The Schafer House
Not a particularly sweet story, the building on North Fairfax Street was once used by the Schafer family as a candy store and residence. The house has tales of two tragedies. Christian and Susan Schafer’s youngest daughter Laura died on the eve of her wedding, consumed by a fire that started from a broken oil lantern she was carrying. Hot oil ignited on her dress, and she ran out of the room for help, and her foot caught on the top stair sending her tumbling down. The swift movement fanned the fire which consumed her body from head to toe. Laura succumbed to her burns seventeen hours later.
Distraught with grief, her fiancée Charles Tenneson shot himself in the head four hours after Laura died. The sad and tragic ending to a love story none can compare to, not even Romeo and Juliet!
Laura’s ghost is seen dressed in her wedding gown, weeping, and looking forlornly out the window. Perhaps she is waiting for her beloved Charles to sweep her up and marry her. Charles’s ghost is in the alleyway behind the liquor store, where he committed suicide. While Laura’s ghost appears sweet and unfrightening, Charles remains in a bad mood, often scaring people and telling them to “Get out!” Charles obviously wasn’t in good “spirits” after the gruesome death of his beloved.
Colonel Swope’s Townhouse
Colonel Michael Swope was a Commander of the Pennsylvania Brigade of the Continental Army captured by the British in 1776. He endured several years of incarceration. His disdain for all things British was immense. After Swope was released, he packed up his family and moved to Alexandria in 1784. Swopes built his dream home with luxuries such as crown molding throughout the house, a music room, and a library. A garden wall put in by Swope and his neighbor remains today.
When Swope died, his body was shipped to Philadelphia and laid to rest in the family vault. However, his presence returned to his home when a yellow fever epidemic was cause for the vault to be dug up and moved. From that moment on, ghost sightings became common. The ghost of Colonel Swope, wearing his colonial uniform, has answered the door of the townhouse to greet guests upon their arrival.
Green’s Mansion House
The John Carlyle House is a well-known building in Alexandria, but it didn’t always occupy the double lots alone. Directly in front of the house once stood Green’s Mansion also known as the Braddock Hotel. The hotel is long gone, but ghosts from the few who died there still haunt the property. Some believe they’ve seen the ghosts inside Carlyle House as well.
When used as a hospital in 1862, a young Union soldier jumped to his death, fevered and delirious he was being chased. His spirit remains around the property, along with his painful cries.
In 1905. It’s unknown what a visiting guest was doing on the platform above the courtyard. However, he somehow plummeted to his death. Guests of the Braddock house found his body, and he had reportedly been dead around twelve hours before being seen. His ghost roams the courtyard in confusion, a common occurrence when a spirit doesn’t realize it died.
When Patrick Buckley came to Alexandria and became a historic tour guide, little did he know his fate would be sealed. Said to be drunk, Patrick stepped from a window and fell to his death. Patrick’s ghost is seen on the grounds as well. He, too, may not realize what happened and that he died.
One of the most haunted places in Virginia, Woodlawn Plantation is a ghost story that ties into ex-presidents. The home was originally built in 1805 for Martha Washington’s granddaughter. The plantation has passed through the hands of many owners since it was built, and many of them seem to be hanging around after death.
George Washington haunts the halls of Woodlawn himself. Witnesses say Washington takes moonlit rides on his white horse sashaying up and down the drive.
One owner, John Mason, had a wooden leg. It’s believed it’s him causing a thumping noise coming from the stairs.
An antique armoire’s doors open on their own. Many have also felt hands on their shoulder and strange noises in the room. Furniture moves around on its own accord. Sounds of footsteps, banging noises, whispering voices, music playing, doors slamming, items flying off of shelves, doors locking, and pictures falling from the walls are reported at the plantation house.
The Woodlawn Plantation is a real paranormal playground, and the spirits seem disinterested in leaving any time soon.
The Ghost of Red Hill
The haunting on Red Hill begins with a reclusive couple who once lived high up on the bluff. The husband was a Captain, and life on the open sea was by no means glamorous. Disease, pirates, and unscrupulous captains on a mission to undercut the enemies, coming home after a journey was a hopeful expectation that often went unfulfilled.
Like many sea captain’s women who waited for their husbands to come home from sea, this particular story had the ultimate dreaded conclusion. This captain didn’t return home one day. No one knows why he didn’t return, theories evolved he was struck with an illness, or he died at sea. So overcome with grief, the woman decided she couldn’t go on without her captain. She shot herself in their garden.
Her ghost still roams through the small remaining patch of gardens she once tended waiting for her captain to come home. It’s said she is saddened and won’t speak to anyone, disappearing when approached. She lived in seclusion in life and now lives in seclusion in death.
The mansion was built around 1800 and around 1824 Thomson Mason won the house in, of all things, a card game. There he and his wife began raising their two children William and Ann. And then tragedy struck.
William and Ann loved to play in the garden on the Colross grounds. A game much like hide and seek called foxes and goose was a favorite of the Mason children. While playing the game, William decided to hide in the chicken coop. The wind outside began to blow fiercely and took down the coop onto William killing him instantly. Two days later, Ann was found drowned in the bathtub.
Eerie hauntings soon became noticeable. The vault where the Mason children were buried had a lock on the gate that unlock on its own. Children’s playful laughter, giggling, singing, talking and restless antics is heard throughout the entire block of the property.
Clem of St. Asaph Street
A popular ghost story is Clem of St. Asaph Street stems from the early 1900s when a man named Clem fell in love with a woman named Rose that didn’t share the same feelings for him. When she became involved the local butcher, Clem flipped his lid and vowed revenge. Your classic scenario of “If I can’t have you, nobody can have you.” Clem went to Rose’s home and slit her throat. Thinking a murder-suicide was the best option for them to be together, Clem slit his own throat. But Clem never met up with his beloved Rose in the spirit world. You see, Rose didn’t die from her wound. She passed out from shock and loss of blood but survived the grueling attack of vengeance.
As if the story isn’t creepy enough, now Clem is seen prowling St. Asaph Street with a bloody razor looking to finish the job.
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