The Haunted Colonial Williamsburg Village
The mission of Colonial Williamsburg is to be a center for history and citizenship, encouraging national and international audiences to learn from the past through the preservation, restoration, and presentation of 18th-century Williamsburg and the study, interpretation, and teaching of America's founding democratic principles.
The Middle Plantation, located between the James and New York Rivers, was founded as the new capital of the Virginia Colony in 1699, after the Capitol Building in Jamestown burned in 1698. Middle Plantation was then renamed "Williamsburg" in honor of King William III. The College of William and Mary, located in Williamsburg, is the second oldest establishment in America for higher learning. This institution was utilized by such great men as John Marshall, Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler and James Monroe. Also, our first president, George Washington, received his surveyor's license from this very same school! This College was a temporary host to the Virginia colony's government while a new capital was being constructed nearby. In 1780, the city of Richmond became the "new" capital of Virginia, as it stands today.
Williamsburg is also famous for establishing the very first mental hospital in the country. In addition, George Washington assembled here the Continental Army in 1781 before his raid on Yorktown (a significant military move that won America's Independence). It was the site of the first attempted canal in America, and used as barracks and hospital by the Confederate Army (and later the Union Army) during the American Civil War.
But the haunted history revolving this revered location's goes back many, many years ... to the point of it's first design. It travels back to the Reverend Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin.
The Reverend Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin, the clergyman usually given credit for the idea of Colonial Williamsburg, once told newspaper columnist Ernie Pyle, “I wouldn’t give a hoot for anybody who doesn’t believe in ghosts.” That was in 1936, while Pyle was visiting Williamsburg’s Restoration. He liked Goodwin—a pipe-puffing, quiet-spoken and disarmingly engaging cleric who could charm birds out of trees and money out of misers. But Pyle seemed surprised that the city’s leading minister believed in ghosts, and one suspects his remark was a joke that he had used in many another context.
But could Goodwin really have put stock in spirits? And, if he did, was there something out of step with theological doctrine in the proposition that souls supposed to be safely in heaven were wandering the streets of Williamsburg talking to the parish priest about terrestrial history? Pyle wrote that it was when Goodwin “was alone, in the starlight, strolling in the night, talking with the ghosts, that he learned about Williamsburg.”
In 1936 he wrote to an inquirer from Pittsburgh answering her question about the ghosts she had heard haunted the Parish House—now the George Wythe House on Williamsburg’s Palace Green—where Goodwin had his office. Built about 1750, it stands just north of Bruton Parish Church and its burial ground. Legends had it that the hauntings involved as many as three ghosts. Goodwin’s correspondent wanted descriptions. He said “they are very elusive ghosts and refuse to be delineated or described within the limits of any paragraph. The only way,” he told Miss Gibbs of Pittsburgh, “is to come here and hold communion with them.”
Here below listed some of the haunted stories into the several sections, including the Williamsburg Colonial Houses, inns you can stay in!
Peyton Randolph House...
The Peyton Randolph house is believed to be the most haunted in Williamsburg. Visitors to the historic town make daily reports of specters peering out of the windows at them, strange knocking sounds, footsteps, moaning, sounds of glass breaking and disembodied children laughing.
College of William and Mary...
At the College of William and Mary, sightings of a female apparition have been reported numerous times over the years. The spirit, called Lucinda, died in an automobile accident while on her way to star in a play called "Our Town" which was to premier on campus. The apparition of a Revolutionary War soldier also makes an occasional appearance in and around the building. This former patriot died of gunshot wounds on the thrid floor. An apparition of a French soldier also lurks these spaces. The colleges' first president, James Blair, in 1969 reportedly was the first to find him. Mr. Blair awoke in the middle of the night to find the specter standing at the foot of his bed!
The apparition of the eccentric and mentally disturbed, Lucy Ludwell, still visits her former family home. The lady was dubbed "Crazy Lucy" due to her peculiar behavior and obsession with bathing many times a day. Lucy took over the house in 1805, after the death of her grandfather. Today she must still believe she belongs in the home and the sounds of her bathing have been heard by many in the empty second floor bathroom.
Disembodied footsteps have been reported here, as well as, furniture being moved, cold spots, people being shoved by unseen hands, tapping sounds and strange clicking noises. The apparition of a woman in a satin gown has been coming out of the bedroom closets, as well as sitting at a dressing table combing her hair.
The Brick House Tavern...
Where one can stay as an alternative to the Colonial Williamsburg hotel, has reports of paranormal activity. It is located on Duke of Gloucester (DOG) Street. It has sixteen rooms; all have private, full baths. The Brick House has always been used as lodging. In 1770, the innkeeper, Mary Davis, advertised “12 or 14 very good lodging rooms” and also noted that the first-floor rooms were reserved for ladies and the rooms above for gentlemen. That meant that for the price, you were entitled to a meal and a place to sleep. That did not mean you would have a private room, not even a private bed for that matter. The standard price meant you would be sleeping with perfect strangers, in the same bed, in a room that would house about twenty people. If you had enough money to pay for “private accommodation,” you would sleep alone in your bed, but there would be multiple beds in the same room. Though supposedly you sleep alone in your bed at the building now, the spirits still seem to want to do it like it is 1770, and share the bed with you! Stamping of footsteps are heard, the sweet odor of tobacco smelled (and it’s a non-smoking building!), keys jangling, shadowy figures seen, lights turned on and off, faucets played with, and one woman mentioned about a man’s “stink.” When this woman woke up and saw a man in breeches and long, greasy hair, she felt sorry for him, until he tried to kiss her!
Market Square Tavern...
Is located on the Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg, next door to Market Square and the Magazine. It has operated as a place of lodging since the eighteenth century. There are eleven rooms in all. Tapping from inside the walls have been heard by guests over the years. Is it by paranormal means or animals inside the walls? It is next to grounds, which has the magazine on the other side. This spot held the Greek Revival Church, scene of horror during the Civil War. Many body part amputated in that church. Over two hundred bodies were buried in a mass grave—and are still believed to be buried there today. It was a hellhole of a place. Though the church is no longer there, spirits of wounded soldiers are seen roaming the place and their cried of anguish have been heard.
101 Visitor Center Dr.
Williamsburg, VA 23185
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