The Lightfoot House is one of the best and most beautiful representations of the colonial era in Williamsburg. It remains one of the eighty-eight original buildings still standing in the area, and tourists and locals alike agree that the captivating architecture and the authenticity of the building emanate the vibe that colonial Williamsburg originally held.
Records show that the Lightfoot family lived at the home in the years between 1740-1838 and leased lots of the property out to various residents of Williamsburg. One of these tenants was William Peachy, whose family owned the infamous Peyton Randolph House. The home is now offered as housing to some of the most influential people who visit Williamsburg today, including celebrities and heads of state.
A Tidbit of History
The Lightfoot Family were owners of property in Williamsburg from 1740 until 1838. Evidence that Lightfoot maintained a residence in Williamsburg in 1740 is seen in a diary of William Byrd dated June 13th, 1740:
“I rose about 5… I visited Charles Carter and then Colonel Grymes, then went to the capitol and sat till 2 and then dined with Wetherburn and ate Scotch collops ….After dinner, I walked to Colonel Lightfoot’s where several ladies came. At about 8 I walked home, wrote a letter, and prayed.
The Lightfoot House passed hands a few times before it ended up where it is today, hosting haunts from its colonial days.
Renovations to the Lightfoot House
Throughout time, the home has seen a number of owners until about 1940 when it was turned into a tenement. It was also renovated during this time to reflect the authentic eighteenth-century feel.
In contrast to the other homes in Williamsburg the Lightfoot House is described as entirely unique — the doors of the home are off-center, the fireplaces are unique in their design, and the framing of the floor timbers were as well. The home also boasts a front-facing balcony and high ceilings.
During renovations, these interesting features were uncovered — these days, the only original features are the frames and the partial trim of two doors on the first floor, as well as the interior partition walls.
This authentic 18th-century home has provided luxurious accommodations to some of the most influential people visiting Williamsburg — however, people who are in the home on a more regular basis have reported some pretty strange phenomena, including housekeepers who find their freshly-made beds stripped, and staff finding items moved or missing on a regular basis.
One staff member even turned around once to see a strange man dressed in colonial-era clothing standing behind her. While its common to see people dressed this way during reenactments, the staff member insisted that this man wasn’t alive, she didn’t recognize him, his face looked sunken and dark, and in turn, she resigned right on the spot.
Other staff members and guests report seeing the apparition of a young woman walking about the home, while others complain of loud footsteps at night and the sound of laughter coming from certain spots in the home.
There isn’t much information on the ghosts that seem to reside at the Lightfoot Home. Who are they, why are they sticking around? Regardless of their reasons, guests and staff members alike agree that the home is harboring at least one poltergeist, or “noisy ghost.”
What is a Poltergeist?
It’s believed that once an unknown force begins to move objects, it’s to be considered a poltergeist. Various stages of these forces range from a simple annoyance to being downright dangerous, let’s say if the poltergeist is throwing kitchen knives.
A theory introduced in 1984 states that poltergeists fester in settings where a person is sensitive to the other side. When these people experience periods of extreme mental stress, trauma, or emotional distress, they release energy that allows a poltergeist to come into existence.
These people are unaware of their ability to create the poltergeist and are also unaware that they have allowed the poltergeist to come into existence. With this being said, Williamsburg has been the site of, not just one, but two violent wars in America’s history; the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War. Among other traumatic events, many of the ghosts that have been seen and the stories that have been told in this town come from these horrible times in history.
The Lightfoot House remains one of the most beautiful and authentic buildings in Williamsburg. It has housed a number of famous names since its restoration in 1940, some of which have seemingly stuck around.
Hauntings and other strange occurrences happen all over colonial Williamsburg. The sheer history of the city and the events it has borne witness to lend credibility to the hauntings that are reported today. Still skeptical? Why not join us for a historically accurate and hauntingly fun ghost tour in Williamsburg today?
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