I confess. I couldn’t resist. I just have to do a “Haunted Houses of Richmond” Halloween blog. My normal source for the stories isn’t available (my daughter Anne borrowed the book) but Style Magazine’s Don Harrison did an article about the 13 most haunted places in town so I’ll steal theirs. Actually, I knew about most of them already so does that constitute stealing?
Byrd Theatre is supposed to have at least two ghosts, a little girl and the long-time manager, Robert Coulter. He’s been seen in the balcony mostly and that makes sense. He was always chasing us out of the balcony. I’m surprised my great-grandfather, Harry Stilson, isn’t wandering around one of Richmond’s theaters. He went almost every night, even taking moving pictures of a Tom Mix movie from the audience. I also have his movie of kids in front of the Byrd being herded away from Cary Street traffic by someone whose back looks a lot like Robert Coulter. Look for those restored movies at Richmond In Sight events coming up. They should be ready soon and I’ll be sharing them…at the Byrd as well as other places. Maybe Mr. Coulter will make an appearance.
The Pump House has been the site of numerous visits. In my blog, I mentioned that the Pump House was a destination for outings, that Richmonders would ride the streetcar to the Pump House to admire the city water system. Then they’d go upstairs to dance. Robert Bess describes some unholy dancers there as well: “There’s the ghost of Daniel Tetweiler, who hung himself, but there’s also a woman named Elizabeth … she is the most fantastic orb you will see. Also there’s Spectra, the apparition of a woman in white. She cuts loose with her energy force. Twenty-three different groups are traveling in her aura. The Pump House has water, steel and a slate roof. Plus there is iron all through it and it’s continuously moving, so it’s like a conductor. It will create a portal.” Below is one of Harry Stilson’s photographs of the dance floor of the Pump House.

Pump House Dance Floor view

Pump House Dance Floor view

Other haunted places include Henricus Historical Park in Chester, Hollywood Cemetery (I can testify that the lamb does NOT turn her head at night. Don’t ask me how I know.), Cold Harbor Battlefield in Hanover, and Center Hill Mansion in Petersburg, a new one to me. Author Beth Brown reports that supposedly at 7:30 PM every Jan. 24, you can hear a platoon of ghosts march up the stairs of the mansion and then march down. I’ve told you in the past about Wrexham in Chesterfield and you’d expect the Poe Museum to be haunted. It is…children run up and down the stairs and you can hear their voices. Well, you can if you’re there in the middle of the night. Not me. I am a scaredy cat. You spend the night in one of these scary places and tell me all about it. I’ll be the one with the night light on.
One thing that doesn’t scare me is the prospect of my second book coming out. Thanks to some very generous people, our project was funded and On the West Clay Line is available now. I took a leap of faith and put the printing costs on a credit card and thankfully now I can pay (most) of that credit card off. Now we just have to sell some books to clear the balance so take a look at our website http://www.richmondinsight.com to check out my books and notecards. Also look at the calendar for scheduled presentations. I’m just starting them again and if your organization needs a presentation, I’m free. Literally. Except for being at the Richmond Museums Holiday Shoppers’ Event at the Cultural Arts Center at the Beth Ahabah Museum & Archives area. Oh, yeah, and this Saturday I’ll be in Ashland for Train Day at Hickory Creek Antiques with the SNOW QUEEN. Yup. I’m in the big time now.
Now that I’ve thrown a few holidays into the mix, I’ll leave you with one more ghost story. Our family graveyard is outside my old bedroom in Bon Air. I saw strange things several times while I was growing up but somehow it just seemed like more family coming to visit so I don’t remember being scared. However, I DO remember a particular ghost that haunted the family compound…Septie the Ghost. Unusual name, huh? Well, my twin cousins kept talking about a little ghost named Septie and when questioned, they said that was just his name. It was only later that we realized that the SEPTIC tank was being worked on that summer and Septie’s name was probably attributed to talk overheard about the septic tank. I’d hate to think that all things that go bump in the night owe their origins to such mundane events. I’d rather shiver hearing about the haunted bride strolling in the gardens at Thomas Jefferson’s homeplace, Tuckahoe Plantation. Yikes!

I don’t know, though…my house, complete with tombstones and a friendly skeleton (maybe Septie’s cousin) waving from the grave, is pretty scary, too.

My welcoming committee waving from beyond the grave

My welcoming committee waving from beyond the grave

<img src=”https://hometeamrealtors.files.wordpress.com/2013/10

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