Top 10 Haunted Places in Cville
Charlottesville has a rich presidential history, as the home of both Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. The city has seen war, as not only a place for quartering captured British troops but also as a home for the injured during the American Civil War. The city is the home of the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson, and part of this list of haunted places in Cville.
While Charlottesville itself has a lot of history and ghosts, some towns surrounding the area are worthy of a mention due to their own colorful histories that even loosely tie into the story of Charlottesville. Gordonsville was a common stopover place for early train systems, while Staunton laid claim to being the home of a very strange and spooky sanitarium.
The Exchange Hotel
While not located in Charlottesville proper, The Exchange Hotel is a short half-hour drive from the city, located in Gordonsville. In the mid-1800s, when railroads were first built in the United States, the railway became a primary mode of transportation. It was nothing like traveling the rails today – it was a rough ride that required some relaxation between stops. The Exchange Hotel was one of those stopovers.
Because the hotel saw so many weary travelers in the early days of the railways, it’s no surprise some of those travelers stuck around after death. Not only that, but in the 1860s, during the Civil War, the hotel was turned into a triage hospital, which was a common occurrence during wartime. It seems that at least 80 paranormal incidents have been recorded since the late 1980s.
Another short drive from Charlottesville will take you to Staunton, where you can visit the Dejarnette Sanitarium. Shuttered in 1996, the sanitarium was opened in 1932 as a place to practice eugenics – the sterilization of humans to keep them from procreating. It was a dreadful practice, but had many followers, including Dr. Joseph DeJarnette. When the sanitarium moved in the mid-90s, they changed the name to the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents as a way to step away from DeJarnette’s beliefs and practices.
From being a place where those deemed unsavory or unfit to be part of society, to becoming a children’s hospital from 1975 until the building was abandoned, there was a lot of negativity within those walls. It’s not surprising that visitors to those empty halls and rooms feel a negative and heavy presence. There are bound to be some ghosts left behind.
McCue murdered his wife, or so it was believed when he was tried and convicted without much evidence against him. Fannie, Sam McCue’s wife, was strangled and shot, resulting in her death in 1904. McCue hanged for his supposed crime in 1905 – but there’s a chance he didn’t do it. There was a different suspect at one point, but that person was quickly forgotten when it was decided McCue must be guilty. After all, he was a ruthless attorney set at collecting the debts of local folks who probably had it out for him.
The fact that McCue and his wife’s presence have been felt, and ghosts described as them have been seen at Comyn Hall, could have something to do with the misjudgment. Perhaps they’re both looking for answers or searching for one another.
In the vein of New Jersey’s Jersey Devil, Charlottesville has it’s own otherworldly spook that locals refer to as the Moon Ghost. This mysterious black figure has been spotted at Church Hill in southern Albemarle County, at least once on the roof of the John Schuyler Moon property. The ghostly being had also been seen roaming the roads in the area. The name of the ghost comes from the fact that it seemed to strictly haunt the moon family.
The Moon Ghost sightings date back as far as the mid-1800s. And, while college students and townsfolk alike have tried to hunt the creature down, no one has captured the ominous shadow being yet. Some call the creepy figure a poltergeist because the family reported missing items in the home and strange noises when the haunting first began.
Castle Hill Manor
Hans Holzer, a paranormal hunter and author, wrote about many places in his various books about haunted houses and ghosts, and Manor House, also known as Castle Hill Manor, was one place he visited. While there were many owners prior, the home was lived in by author and poet Amélie Rives Troubetzkoy, who is buried on the property.
Because the home is now privately owned and not open to visitors looking for ghosts, it’s difficult to find information on the hauntings. However, some people claim Troubetzkoy haunts the home, as well as a perfumed specter who was there before the author’s death. Hans Holzer himself felt at least a couple of spirits in the pink room.
Monticello is a well-known name in Virginia, as the former home of Thomas Jefferson and a plantation where as many as 400 slaves passed through during the times of slavery. Plantations, as anyone who has ever done paranormal research knows, often come with hauntings.
Thomas Jefferson had a not-so-secret romance with Sally Hemings, one of his slaves. Her living quarters were discovered in 2017 and leave much to be desired. The space is relatively small and paints a vivid and sad picture of what life was like for slaves. While there have been reports of Jefferson sightings, including a chapter in Hans Holzer’s “Ghosts,” and of hearing his whistling, it’s pretty likely that Hemings roams the plantation as one of the bumps in the night – remodeling and uncovering secret places in homes often rile up spirits once resting.
Ash Lawn was the home of another president and one of the founding fathers, James Monroe. The home sits on 535 acres and is now a museum. A former plantation with the typical history, the property is now a host of cultural and artistic events.
But, dwelling among history buffs and creatives lurks ghosts of the past. Though not many working within the walls of Ash Lawn report any spectral occurrences, some people have reported a particular rocking chair rocking all on its own. Whether or not that rocking chair is still there is open to question, but who’s to say the ghost was attached to the chair and not the plantation?
In Holzer’s “Ghosts,” the paranormal investigator looks at the ghost stories of Michie Tavern. He visited the tavern with a medium who was able to see and communicate with numerous ghosts in the building. She saw folks dancing and enjoying life, among her visions of the ghosts within the tavern’s walls.
The tavern was originally located in Earlysville, a few miles from where it now sits. It was an epicenter of activity in it’s heyday. The tavern was centered between the homes of Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and James Madison, making it a common stop for all three of these historical men.
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is attended by more than students and faculty – many have reported seeing otherworldly sights within those hallowed halls. One area of the school that seems to have spirits hanging about is the library, where there have been two ghosts spotted. One is possibly a confederate surgeon, and the other is believed to be the ghost of a physician.
The library isn’t the only haunted spot on campus. The Anatomical Laboratory, known as Stiff Hall, has reportedly had strange smells permeating from it for years that are unexplained. One would expect some sort of unsavory smells from a lab nicknamed “Stiff Hall,” but you should be able to trace a scent, and these smells seemed to come from nowhere.
Could Mount Eagle be one of Albemarle county’s most haunted places? A ghost hunting team was invited to the residence by an owner in 2014 to do some research on what may be lurking in the night, in the dark. The team was called in because people in the old plantation home had experienced hearing footsteps where no one was, sounds of cupboards opening and closing in the kitchen, and even a man standing over a baby’s crib before vanishing. The second floor and basement seem to have the most activity.
Who haunts the Mount Eagle Plantation? Everyone has their own guesses, but the home was completed in 1790 and passed through many hands in those many years between then and now.