Have you ever experienced something you couldn’t explain? Perhaps objects end up in places they don’t belong, or doors slam shut suddenly. Ghosts come in many variations – sometimes as a vision or a cold chill shooting up your spine, or heaviness in the air accompanied by the feeling of being watched. It’s an eerie sensation for most, but others seek these experiences out! If you’re one of those people who get a thrill from encountering the supernatural, here are your safest bets to explore in the Shenandoah Valley.
Paxton Manor, Leesburg, VA
This elaborate, 20,000 sq. ft. manor, originally known as Carlheim Manor, was built in 1872 by Charles R. Paxton. Throughout the history of the manor, it has been refurbished into many things, including an orphanage and childcare center. The manor is rumored to be haunted by a list of its’ previous tenants, including the original owners, orphan children, and a man said to have been exiled from Leesburg for animal husbandry and mutilation. If you’re a brave soul, you can visit this place in October during “Shocktober” festivities.
Cork Street Tavern, Winchester, VA
Built in the 1830s, this building has lived through the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the Prohibition; it’s natural to assume that the place has had its fair share of dark moments. Rumored to at times have been a brothel and a speakeasy, it is now a restaurant. Employees have reported seeing things fly off shelves and hearing voices when no one is around, as well as being locked in the women’s restroom. There have even been reports of women tripping where there is nothing in their path – courtesy of a woman-hating spirit. The Cork St. Tavern is open 7 days a week, so stop by for good food and equally good frights!
By the Side of the Road B&B, Harrisonburg, VA
Once home to one of the early leaders of Mennonite Church, this bed and breakfast was also used as a hospital during the Civil War and housed Union General Philip Sheridan. Rumor has it that the spirits here like opening and closing doors, running up and down the stairs at 2 a.m., and making strange noises throughout the day. If you’re interested in taking advantage of the building’s history, stay a weekend and enjoy the experience – complete with whirlpool tubs and a gourmet fireplace breakfast!
Harpers Ferry, WV
It’s no secret that Harpers Ferry is home to one of the largest groupings of paranormal activity phenomena in the valley. Of course, with its violent past during the Civil War, it comes as no surprise that ghost tours are offered here year round. Described as “spooky,” the Harpers Ferry ghost tours are appropriate for all ages! For pricing information and schedules, click here.
Not too far from Harpers Ferry, Shepherdstown also offers plenty of chances to encounter the supernatural! Available to you is the Shepherdstown Mysteries Walk: a 90-minute guided tour through the oldest town in West Virginia. Now being featured in Destination America’s “Ghosts of Shepherdstown” featuring paranormal researcher Nick Groff, the tour includes haunting tales of unrequited love and murder, frontier days, legends and ghostly tales! Interested? We thought you might be!
Apollo Theatre, Martinsburg, WV
Built in 1913, the Apollo theatre hosted both vaudeville and the “new motion picture craze” sweeping the nation. Today, the theatre hosts stage productions, and possibly an old ghostly manager from the 1920s – Charlie. Visitors and actors report smelling cigar smoke before performances, and he’s even been seen walking around the block. If you’re interested in supernatural phenomena and stage productions, look no further!
There are plenty of chances to encounter the paranormal in the Valley. With its chief source of ghosts being traumatized Civil War soldiers, you also get a mix of gruesome stories of death and mischievous decisions that ultimately lead to the ghosts we’ve come to know at the aforementioned destinations. Go Blue Ridge Travel encourages you to meet them, if you dare…