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Gadsby's Tavern

Explore the haunted secrets of the famous Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria. Come see it all with our experienced guides here at US Ghost Adventures.

Before Washington D.C., Alexandria was Virginia’s central business, political, and social hub. It makes sense, considering it rests on the port of the Potomac River and the National Highway. The highway was a direct link to Philadelphia, the nation’s then capital city.

But in this charming and vibrant city, there’s something else that lurks in the shadows. You’ll find it at Gadsby’s Tavern.

Join US Ghost Adventures and discover the spooky and fact-based historical details of Gadsby’s Tavern. Our tour of haunted Alexandria unveils local tales for a unique way to see a city. 

The Tavern’s History 

The Gadsby Tavern opened in 1782, during Virginia’s economic boom after the Revolutionary War. The tavern’s location was right in one of the busiest areas of Alexandria. As a result, the patrons were some of the most influential figures in the city who wanted to let loose. 

Some noteworthy patrons include the first president George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison, to name a few. The tavern’s owner, John Wise, decided to add a three-story hotel and ballroom to the property. 

Wise eventually sold the tavern to an English businessman, John Gadsby, who generated significant wealth from the establishment.



The Tale of the Female Stranger

One of the most infamous stories surrounding the Gadsby Tavern is the female stranger. The story starts when an older couple arrives in Old Town, coming from somewhere in the Caribbean. The woman was wearing a dark black dress and appeared incredibly sick. 

The couple eventually checked into the City Hotel. Based on their appearance, the couple seemed to have some wealth. Although the woman came across as severely ill, she was quite beautiful. 

The two checked into room 8. However, the man shoved the doorframe so hard, the number 8 on the sign turned sideways into the infinity symbol (a well-known bad omen at the time). 

After checking in, the man’s behavior became increasingly unsettling. He never told any employee of the hotel his or his wife’s names. It was incredibly odd behavior, especially considering those who did learn the couple’s identity were sworn to secrecy. 

Two doctors arrived to try and treat the sick wife but failed. She passed away a few weeks after checking in. Her husband organized a tombstone that contained beautiful carvings and a poem for her burial. However, even her tombstone didn’t contain her official name, only referring to her as “The Female Stranger.”

For many years after her death, there were reports of her still residing in the hotel above the tavern. However, she’s not known to be a sinister spirit.

Haunted Alexandria, VA

Gadsby’s Tavern is only one of several haunted locations throughout Alexandria. There are countless thrills to discover in this historic Virginia city. 

For a spooky good time in Alexandria, come check out our Alexandria ghost tour. Gadsby’s Tavern is one of the several haunted sites to see along the way. 

About US Ghost Adventures

Since 2013, US Ghost Adventures has offered entertaining, historic, and authentic ghost tours of America’s most haunted cities. We deliver fun yet honest accounts of hauntings across the nation for curious people of all ages. Our ghost stories are based on historical research, but that doesn’t mean they won’t send a chill down your spine.

This video gives you a small taste of what you might experience on your ghost tour — subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more.

US Ghost Adventures also offers virtual tours, a self-guided mobile app, and an Alexa voice app