It seems that here in Prince William County, things can definitely go bump in the night. Every once in a while it’s good to set the politics aside and check out what else is going on in the world around us, or in the netherworld around us in this case. What better on a snowy Sunday than a good ghost story or two!

I have long heard people talk about apparitions and strange occurrences happening out in the battlefield. Stories have been featured on the History Channel and other cable spots about ghostly happenings at the Stone House which served as a hospital during the Civil War. It makes sense that war and death might create the perfect setting for specters and paranormal events.

However, today’s News and Messenger takes us to the other side of the county to the Weems-Botts Museum in Dumfries for our scare of the week. All sorts of tales from the dark side are supposedly happening over there—so much so that a team of ghost busters was brought in last fall to investigate and document some of the paranormal phenomena.

Unexplainable events sometimes happen almost with regularity at the Weems-Botts Museum, which was the former home of the Merchant family. The home was built around 1750 and was used as a book store and law offices until it was bought by the family as a residence.

Today, windows have been known to open and close on demand, dolls move, books change location, pictures fall off walls and apparitions have been seen of people long since dead. The ghost busters, Supernatural Investigators of Virginia, have declared the house very active.

A group of ghost hunters recently visited the museum to prove what Cardinale and Young and many others already know.

There appears to be something other-worldly about the historic old house, often referred to as the “most haunted house in Dumfries.”

Seven members of the Supernatural Investigators of Virginia spent a night in the building last fall. They came away with what they believe is evidence of the paranormal.

“I would characterize it as a very active house,” said Tracey Burnett, one of the founding members of the Harrisonburg-based group. “It is the first place we have gotten so many EVPs.”

Among ghost hunters, EVPs are known as Electronic Voice Phenomena.

The crew of ghost hunters said they captured 18 voice recordings during their overnight visit. On the tapes you hear: “Hello,” “Get out of my house,” and “Can you hear me? I’m not dead.”

The group will be back in Dumfries on Saturday to present its findings to the public at 7 and 8:30 p.m. in the Dumfries Town Hall Council Chambers. The free lecture is sponsored by Historic Dumfries.

Dumfries isn’t the only site for strange phenomena. While religious in nature, Woodbridge also has had its brush with the supernatural. In 1992, St Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge had weeping statues of the Virgin Mary. These religious events brought many people into our area to witness the miracles that seemed to be associated with one of the priests at Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.
(Click here to read more about this case)

Have any of our posters ever experienced anything that just couldn’t be explained? If you have, please consider sharing. Is Prince William County a vortex for the unexplainable?

[UPDATE: According to Katherine Gotthardt, Bristow Manor is also teeming with paranormal activity.
Her article appeared in News and Messenger a week or so ago. Please enjoy. Click to link.]

23 Thoughts to “Ghost Busters Proclaim Evidence of Paranormal in PWC”

  1. El Guapo

    I’m sleeping with the lights on tonight.

  2. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Gotthardt wrote it….and the ghosts aren’t all Corey Stewart’s fault? That IS paranormal!

  3. Moon-howler

    Most of those ghost dudes were before Corey Stewart’s time. Good one, Slow.

  4. Moon-howler

    One of the rooms at the Olde Town Inn is also supposedly haunted. I am not sure which room number it is.

  5. I seem to remember that Broadlands Farm on Vint Hill Road in Nokesville had some stories of paranormal activities surrounding it. Back in the ’60s a book was actually compiled about some of the various hauntings around Prince County and, according to the story, a young lady during the Civil War received word that her fiance was killed and then hung herself from the staircase there. It’s said that, at a certain time of year (most likely when she died), a young female apparition in flowing white garb has been seen floating down the staircase and disappearing at the bottom. One family who had resided there reported hearing their piano playing late at night…with no one there, upon investigation. There is also a tale of a family that attempted to hang a portrait of Abraham Lincoln in the manor house which couldn’t seem to stay on the wall, no matter how well it was fastened…so they finally just stuck it in the attic.

  6. Correction: Prince WILLIAM County

  7. Moon-howler

    Thanks, AWC. Now the hair on the back of my neck is standing up. I have never experienced this kind of paranormal phenomena myself but the people I have talked to who have believe it happened with every ounce of their being. Is Broadlands Farm still there?

  8. I believe it is, although I haven’t been out that way for quite some time.

  9. You know, Moon-howler, there are really quite a few stories of paranormal activity around Prince William County, primarily stemming from the brutal fighting during the Civil War years. Probably one of the oldest, and most well-known locally, comes from the “Old Stone House” on the corner of 29 and 234. It was also a hospital for wounded soldiers during the war and saw some truly horrific, and very bloody, “surgeries” performed by army surgeons who could barely be considered doctors. All that pain and suffering apparently left its mark on the building and there are MANY stories of hauntings, many witnessed by park service personnel.

    Then you have Bull Run Mountain, the scene of a great deal of fighting between Northern and Southern pickets. I was told by an early resident of the Mountain back in the 80’s that he and his family had encountered wandering spirits there dressed in both the blue AND the gray…and he got the distinct impression that they didn’t realize that they were dead. Freaky, huh?

  10. Moon-howler

    Very freaky. The stone house has been featured on one of those history channel ghost shows. It appears that we are surrounded by it.

  11. TWINAD

    You all are freaking me out! There have been many winter days when I’ve been out walking in the battlefield alone (nice enough to not freeze, but not warm enough for the trails to be busy). I’m sort of re-thinking that idea now…:)

  12. Moon-howler

    Twinad, I don’t think anyone has ever been accosted in any way by spirits out there. Maybe you aren’t susceptible to them? Not everyone is. I would continue the battlefield walks. The departed ones probably like the company.

  13. 40 yrs in Woodbridge

    Weems-Botts Museum has offered a tour and a lock in on Friday and Saturday nights during the month of October. I think the cost was $50 or $75 a person. I have wanted to do this for years however was little reluctant, now after reading this report I don’t think I would have it in me. Spooky!

  14. Moon-howler

    There sure are a lot of superstitious people contributing to this blog…and I am one of them. I think I would be totally chicken to do a lock in. I might be chicken if they left the door wide open even.

    No one has reported a first hand experience yet. We are still looking for some brave soul to step forward.

  15. TWINAD

    No first hand report here, but I have one from both my parents. My mother’s parents had a lakeside cottage in NH which they handed down to their three children. My uncle loved the place and spent as much time as possible there. He died on the dock early one spring about 10 years ago and his ashes are still in the cottage.

    Both my parents were in the kitchen one morning and THEY BOTH HEARD someone bounding up the steps from the basement. My Dad is pretty deaf and even he heard it! And they were the only ones there. Weeyoooweeeyooo.

  16. Censored bybvbl

    I haven’t had any unusual experiences with ghosts, but I have a sister who seems to attract them.

    A few years ago she and her husband moved into an old house. After going through their walk-through and finding the house totally empty, they returned that weekend with their moving van. After moving boxes for several hours, her husband came downstairs with an old shotgun which he said he had just found in one of the closets they had looked into – and found empty – earlier. Weeks later they found objects moved from where they had left them and my sister swears she’s heard a young girl’s voice. Their cleaning lady, who used to live in the house as a child, said that a young girl had lived there with the original owners.

    This same sister was carrying two large cake boxes from the grocery one day. She had no free hand. A car sped around the corner and into the lane where she was walking and then turned quickly toward a parking spot right where she was walking. She said a man appeared out of nowhere and slapped the hood of the car with his hand to get the driver’s attention. The driver stopped short of hitting my sister. When she looked to thank him, there was no one there. Angel or ghost?

  17. Moon-howler

    Those are pretty unearthly things. How bizarre. I wonder how many of us have had incidents where we dismissed it, and made up a rational explanation and just moved on and forgot also.

    These are great contributions.

  18. Chris

    My mother said growing up here in Manassas that Annaburg Manor was said to be haunted. The manor was vacant during the 1940’s and into the 1950’s, and kids would go inside. She said she never saw anything.

    Poor Richard,
    Are you out there? Have you heard of this?

  19. Special Sis

    I have not experienced anything myself, but have an older sister who has what we in our family always referred to as, “special abilities”. These abilities include photographic memory, the ability to read what people are thinking, and hearing voices. (No, she doesn’t have schizophrenia!) When I was little and we would play games like Trivial Pursuit, she would think intently and the answer would come to her from trying to read our thoughts. (I know this sounds nuts, but I’m really not kidding.) So, my brother and I got to the point where we would think silly things instead of the answer to the question, like “Wile E. Coyote… Wile E. Coyote…” (from Looney Tunes) to try to keep her from seeing the answer via our thoughts. She would then say to me, “I keep thinking about Wil E. Coyote, stop it Becky!”. I kid you not. We used to do mind reading games with cards and she would guess what I’d drawn most of the time, to the point that we stopped doing it as it started to creep us out. She would also occasionally hear people speaking to her and there would be no one there, this, of course, was not something she enjoyed. I can remember her saying to me many a time when I was little, “Did you hear that?”. When I would respond that, no, I hadn’t, she’d become upset. She is very musically gifted, a devout Christian, and was salutatorian of her class. I think her mind was just more in-tune with things that others just don’t see or hear. In any case, I’m thick as a plank when it comes to this stuff and therefore lost many a game of Trivial Pursuit to her!! 🙂

  20. What you’re describing, Special Sis, is psychic ability rather than paranormal activity. Psychic ability is a well-studied phenomenon thought to be related to the capability of some people to utilize a far greater percentage of their brain capacity than others. This does, however, theoretically have a relationship to the PERCEPTION of paranormal activity…which might explain those voices she used to hear.

  21. Moon-howler

    Hearing something that is out there sure seems like a paranormal experience to me. Special sis, did she outgrow her abilities or are they still going on as strong as ever?

    I think esp is a form of paranormal activity. I don’t know what the folks at Duke think though.

  22. The difference between psychic and paranormal, scientifically speaking, is that one is theoretically within human, thereby physiological, control (psychic ability: ability to utilize more of the enormous capacity of the brain than the average human being) whereas the other is theoretically outside of the realm of human control. You may be thinking of some cases of “poltergeist” activity which have been thought to stem from the latent, subconscious telekinetic (one example of psychic ability) projections of teenage (or pubescent) angst.

  23. Extra Sensory Perception is a form of psychic ability.

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