Why is Williamsburg Haunted?
Are You Ready for a Ghost Tour?
So what makes Williamsburg, Virginia one of the most famous places for hauntings in the country? Why are so many people curious to see Colonial Williamsburg and go on a Ghost Tour?
Well, just take a look at Colonial Williamsburg was like in 1936:
The History of Williamsburg:
Williamsburg sits close to Jamestown, which was the first successful English settlement in North America, and the capital of the largest English colony in America at the time, Virginia. Williamsburg would soon become the capital instead of Jamestown, but with that change came 300 years of history that led to Williamsburg being plagued with hauntings and strange paranormal activity.
1)Indian Burial Grounds - Witch and Devil Trials
You can’t talk about the hauntings of Williamsburg without referring to the Indian Burial Grounds. Williamsburg was created on sacred land, an Indian Burial Ground, to this day that sacred land sits under Williamsburg, and sometimes you can feel the spiritual presence that restless sleep beneath the town.
The Burial Grounds aren’t the only thing that led to the start of the haunted happenings of Williamsburg. The Witch and Devil Trials in 17th century Williamsburg led to the deaths of several men and women from a time long past. We can only imagine what those people went through during those trials.
2) The Public Gaol (Prison and Jail) - Visited on our Colonial Williamsburg Ghost Tour
Opened in 1704, the jail and prison in Williamsburg, The Public Gaol, lasted until 1910. Executions due to violent deaths and what many today would call torture took place in The Public Gaol. Some of the most notorious criminals throughout history were held in this prison. In fact, Blackbeard’s pirates were held in this prison in 1718 and most of them executed nearby on what today we call Capital Landing Road.
But that isn’t all. Several other hardened criminals were hanged at a location on Nicholson Street in Colonial Williamsburg. The large tree behind the courthouse still stands there to this day. There is no wonder that Williamsburg ghosts have been known to haunt the jail every night. If you’re looking for a true haunting experience, there is no other place to see than the Public Gaol.
3) War - Walk Through a Land that Saw the Full Extent of War and Violence
You can’t talk about Williamsburg without discussing the two wars that plagued it. Not only did these two wars shape Williamsburg, but they were also some of the most significant wars in the United States.
During The Revolutionary War, many buildings in the city, such as the Governor’s Palace, Wren Building, William and Mary President’s House, and several other places were used as hospitals for both French and Americans forces that suffered horrible wounds while fighting at the battle of Yorktown back in the late 1700s. Many soldiers died and were buried in the city, never seeing the end of these hard fought battles. Since those times, spirits of these fallen soldiers have reportedly been seen haunting the area.
But despite the violence and death that plagued Williamsburg in the Revolutionary War, it still did not compare to the destruction the city faced during the Civil War. The Battle of Williamsburg took place May 5, 1862, in which thousands were killed in a vicious battle. The Bruton Parish Church, Wren Building, Courthouse, several churches, and several private homes were used as hospitals for the wounded from both sides.
The consequences of the Civil War were significant. Mass graves were dug to bury the bodies, as well as amputation pits to bury the limbs. Many other houses served as headquarters or barracks for the Union forces that stayed within the city throughout the remained of the war. These are the very lands you will walk through during the Williamsburg Ghost Tour.
4) Years of life and death revealed in our Colonial Williamsburg Ghost Tour
Paranormal activity goes hand in hand with longevity. Williamsburg hauntings date back several hundred years, even before the 17th century, which includes the time the land was occupied by the Powhatan Indians.
In 350 years of people living, dying, killing, slavery, murder, torture and suffering that is enough to leave a long lasting mark on any area.
Williamsburg lost the role as being one of the most prominent cities in Virginia when the Capital was moved in 1779. The Civil War damaged the community and city so extensively that it never recovered until several centuries later. In fact, in some ways the city never healed.
Today, the streets are eerily quiet and the restored presentation of Colonial Williamsburg sends us back to a much different time. We aren’t reminded of the past, but instead Colonial Williamsburg feels as if you are walking through a city that has seen countless suffering and war. The streets at night are deserted, and stories of the land and the people who once resided within it remain untold.
When going on the Williamsburg Ghost Tour, the history, the secrets of the city and hauntings will be revealed that finally tell the full story of Williamsburg dating back to the Native Americans to the state the city is in today.
Williamsburg Ghost Tour is the most comprehensive and complete ghost tour that you will find in the area and it is far more different from the typical ghost tours found in other cities.
We have spent countless hours digging away at what makes Williamsburg tick and what led to these once sacred lands to now be filled with hauntings, spirits and strange activity that can’t be explained.
Come and join us on a ghost tour that you will likely never soon forget.
Check out this book for more haunted stories and explanations:
For an interesting book on the area's ghost stories, we recommend The Hauntings of Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown by Jackie Eileen Behrend from John Blair Publishing. They have provided and granted permission for some of the eyewitness quotes used on our tours.