As the leaves begin to shed their green in favor of a more expansive color palette, our senses slowly become attuned to a different spirit flowing through our coastal city. With a rich history that predates the foundation of our country, Virginia Beach has bared witness to the triumphs and tragedies of many lifetimes and, in some places, that history lives on - well, in a manner of speaking. Here are some of Virginia Beach’s most haunted spots to help you get into the spooky spirit.
With such an intricate history, naturally ghosts are said to have been spotted by many who have walked through The Cavalier’s grand lobby. The piano in the opulent Crystal Ballroom would play with no one seated at it. A long lost cat could be heard scratching and meowing at guest room doors. A kind, old bellman had, on many occasions, been seen on the stairs leading from the fifth floor to the sixth, warning of ghosts ahead, only to vanish when guests turned to question him. Even famed brewer, Adolph Coors, whose lifeless body was found below his sixth story window in 1929, had been spotted walking the corridors in the dead of night.
The Ferry Plantation property dates back to 1642, earning the house that stands there today, rebuilt in 1830 after the previous dwelling burnt down, a spot on the Virginia Landmark Register. It’s also no stranger to visits from colonial- and civil war- era ghosts that frequented the old house in life, including victims of an 1810 shipwreck, a former painter who called it home, a former lady of the house who met her end falling down the stairs in the early 1800s, a former slave named Henry, and Sally Rebecca Walke, who mourns her Confederate soldier fiancé. Visitors can check it out for themselves throughout the year.
Va Beach locals warn motorists to never stop on Elbow Road, for risk of encountering the restless spirit of Mrs. Woble, an old lady who lived in a house along one of the sharp bends of the road, who was murdered here, although her body was never found. While no one is exactly sure what happened to Mrs. Woble, drivers often report seeing a woman walking along the road, bloodied, battered and searching for her home.
A second spirit found along Elbow Road is that of a little girl who is said to have drowned in a nearby lake. Legend has it that if you stop your car on the road at night and take a seat on the car’s hood, the wet footprints of a child will begin to appear, moving towards the very place where you sit!
In the early 1700’s, the shores of the Chesapeake Bay were home to fearsome pirates, including the most famous pirate of all. The area, ideal for scanning the calm bay waters for treasure-laden merchant ships and Navy vessels on the hunt for pirates, made it a favorite lookout for one Captain Edward J. Teach, or Blackbeard himself. As the story goes, after the sacking of a particularly bountiful merchant ship, a Navy ship was spotted coming from the west, before the Teach and his men had time to enjoy their prize. After burying their treasure in the dunes of the beach, the men fled through the narrow inland waterways of the park, back out to the ocean, before sailing to their hideout in North Carolina, intending to return to reclaim his gold when they were clear of the warships. It was never to be, however, as the Navy caught up with Teach off of the Carolina coast, in the Outer Banks. A bloody battle ensued and ended when the pirate captain was beheaded at the hands of Lt. Robert Maynard.
Though many have tried, the lost treasure of Blackbeard remains a mystery to this day. Legend has it that while his death occurred in North Carolina, his spirit has returned to protect that which he holds most dear. The beaches of First Landing are a beautiful place for a late afternoon stroll, but watch your step. Stray too close to where his treasure lies and you just might find yourself staring through the headless specter of the most infamous pirate to ever sail the high seas - back to protect what is rightfully his.
Housed in a former U.S Life Saving Station built in 1903, the Virginia Beach Surf and Rescue Museum preserves our coastal city’s maritime history through exhibits on local surfing legends, super storms that have hit Virginia Beach, shipwrecks, local lifeguards and more. Many of the museum’s staff report experiencing otherworldly phenomena in the old building, which is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. Some have heard maniacal laughing attributed to the Witch of Pungo, Grace Sherwood, disembodied spirits of shipwreck victims who were often laid in the attic until the bodies were claimed, and even phantom footsteps leading up to the guard tower. For the full scoop, join the museum for the Ghost Walks, every October, which includes several additional spots along the beach and boardwalk.
Virginia Beach’s Princess Anne Country Club, which was founded in 1916, is home to a number of spirits. The spirit of a beautiful bride is said to haunt the club’s halls and is usually preceded by the music of the ’20s. During a recent remodeling job, construction workers claimed they would hear clinking glasses and the arranging of silverware as if someone were setting the dining room for a meal. The country club is also said to be the home of a few less-friendly spirits of men who chase people away from the building, including a particularly grumpy ghost often seen wearing a cape. Down the street from The Cavalier Hotel, the Princess Anne Country Club is only open to its members, and their family and guests.
Built in 1791, The Adam Thoroughgood House is not lacking in paranormal activity. Employees of the historic cottage, as well as visitors, regularly report seeing a red-haired woman wandering the grounds, clad in various Colonial-era dresses and a male spirit, dressed in a brown suit, who pops up from time to time. The playful spirits are apparently fond of moving things around the house, as well, including candle sticks and even heavy furniture. Once, staffers witnessed the four glass domes covering Christmas candles lift up, unaided, and crash to the ground. Keep a keen eye out when you visit and you just might leave with a ghostly encounter of your own!