Outside of the small town of West Point in the Tidewater region, there is a little known railroad crossing that is known as "Cohoke Crossing."  It is here where onlookers gather during the warm summer months of the year, hoping to see the mysterious yellow light that forms along the railroad tracks.  The light is described as a single yellow light, that looks almost like either a lantern or a headlight on an old-timey steam engine train.

There are a few stories surrounding this mystery light.  The first involves a brakeman that was allegedly decapitated in the 1800's while he was making his usual rounds outside the train, making sure the train was safe for travel.  During one of his nightly rounds, the man hopped off the train with his trusty lantern to check the connection between two of the cars.  However, when he leaned between the cars he was caught off-guard as the train suddenly moved, knocking him to the ground and decapitating him instantly.  This story is hard to prove, seeing that death records from the 1800's are either nonexistent or little to no use.  Plus, many believe that the light is larger than that of this decapitated man's lantern.

The 2nd story involves a Civil War train, filled with Confederate soldiers that disappeared before reaching it's destination.  The train was never found but odds are the train was ambushed by Union Soldiers and burned somewhere along the tracks.  So could this light be that of said train?  Could be, but nobody has ever gotten close to the light.  The light is also impossible to photograph, making it's existence known to those who brave the darkness in order to see it's flickering beauty.

A Richmond man (entire email linked below) describes his experience with the light by saying, "All five of us saw it at the same instant. Everyone gasped in shock at the exact same moment, which tells me it wasn't any kind of figment or our eyes playing tricks on us. That location is so remote from any civilization or traffic that it is pitch black and silent. Just being there is unsettling enough because it is so in the middle of nowhere. I could barely see my own hand in front of my face."  This man goes onto state. "It looked like a welding arc. It was bright and shimmered for about 3 or 4 seconds and vanished. It appeared very far away. The second time it appeared as red, moving from left to right and it illuminated the tops of the rails so it was easy to gauge it's distance. The light appeared to turn into several lights and they again vanished after about 4 seconds. It then appeared randomly four more times, each time moving closer to our location. The last two appearances were in quick succession about 10 seconds apart and they very clearly illuminated the ground underneath."

Whether this light is the headless brakeman, the civil war ghost train, or just some swamp gas, it's definitely a good place to visit if you're into the paranormal.

The Cohoke Light Discussion: http://www.astronomycafe.net/weird/lights/cohoke1.htm
Ghost Light Email (Quoted): http://www.ghosts.org/ghostlights/cohokelight2.html
World Wide Brian Article: http://www.worldwidebrian.com/2009/03/cohoke-ghost-light.html
Ghost Stories - Cohoke Crossing: http://www.virginiaoutdoors.com/article/more/1119
Daily Press Q&A: http://articles.dailypress.com/2007-07-27/news/0707270051_1_west-point-ghost-light

For the first time on this site, I am going to break away from ghostly claims and talk about something Josh Gates and his Destination Truth team would be interested in.  Old House Woods is roughly a 50-acre section in Matthews County that is home to some of the most unworldly claims in the state of Virginia.  Only a few investigation groups have been brave enough to wonder off into these woods at night, most of whom reported back with some unique and intriguing stories.

There are numerous stories about the woods so the easiest way to break them down is one at a time.  The first story involves a group of Pirates who washed ashore, seeking to hide their stolen plunder.  It is reported that the Pirates hid their gold in the woods then sailed off to acquire more gold.  However, their ship was damaged in a storm and the pirates eventually drowned. 

The next story is very similar to the first but involves the British instead.  In 1651, Charles II was going to move to Virginia so he sent some of his belongings (some of it was money) to Jamestown in preparation of his arrival.  However, his luggage never made it to Jamestown, instead the men who were hired to guard it, wound up in Matthews County and was stripped of their belongings by robbers.  The robbers made out with a good portion of the money and buried it in the woods.  They then left on their ship, hiding out on the water until things blew over on land.  However, their ship capsized, which cost the men their life.  Their treasure has never been found.

The rest of the claims are truly outlandish.  People have reported a hovering ghost ship above the trees on stormy nights, a man is reported to have seen a Spanish soldier in armor walking alongside of the road that now runs through the forest, and British soldiers who died long ago are still known to roam around between the trees at night.  Balls of light floating about waist-high have been reported, a women with long flowing hair has been seen walking around, and finally there have been reports of unsolved missing persons cases that have never been solved involving people walking into the woods and never returning.

The Old House Woods have some of the strangest reported paranormal occurrences that I've seen so far and if even a few of them have actually happened, it's still enough to make this the most haunted place in the Commonwealth. 

Gettysburg Ghosts Investigation Report: http://www.gettysburgghosts.net/oldhousewoods.htm
StrangeUSA Info on Old House Woods: http://www.strangeusa.com/ViewLocation.aspx?locationid=10335
Midnight Society Blog Post on Old House Woods: http://midnightsociety.blogspot.com/2008/03/old-house-woods.html
Travel Stories: http://www.igougo.com/story-s1208256-Virginia-Old_House_Woods.html
Paranormal Universes Investigation (includes captured EVP): http://www.freewebs.com/paranormal-universe/investigations.htm

The Avenel House in Bedford has become a "right of passage" for Virginia based Ghost Hunting groups.  The plantation has become the most investigated and well known paranormal hotspot in the entire New River Valley. 

The House has a rich history of hosting Civil War Heroes and the social elite.  The official site (linked at the bottom) goes into further detail.

The original plantation known as Avenel was built circa 1838 by William M. Burwell and his wife, Frances Steptoe Burwell. Located in the heart of the city of Bedford. Avenel has been the centerpiece of social, cultural, and political life for over 150 years. Avenel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.
In 1906, Avenel was purchased from the Burwell family by J.W. Ballard. The home remained in the Ballard family until 1985 when it was purchased by the Avenel Foundation.
The foundation is a non-profit organization formed by a group of local businessmen and women whose mission was to rescue, restore, preserve and protect historic Avenel, a Bedford legacy and to make this unique landmark available for educational, social, business and other appropriate community uses. Almost 200 years have and the vision has remained. Avenel is one of Bedford's crown jewels that continues to make history each and every day.
There have been numerous counts of paranormal activity that is reported yearly by regional paranormal investigators.  The most told story about this lovely plantation is about the "Lady in White."  This ghostly apparition is said to pace around the property as if it were a sunny afternoon in the 1800's.  However, others have reported that the "Lady in white" also walks down the main hall of the home and can be seen through the upstairs window when nobody else is in the house.

Also, there have been reports that their are a few other apparitions that appear inside the home.  Nobody knows definitively who these apparitions represent but during a tour of the home, one of the investigators at Seven Hills Paranormal Society (the blog is linked below) saw a girl standing in the window above with her "hair up in a bun and high collared dress peering down at (us)."

There is also a phantom cat that roams the property.  On certain nights, investigators have heard rustling sounds and faint "meowing" coming from a few of the rooms in the house. 

The rest of the activity is chalked up through the forms of voices and smells.  Often the smell of Tobacco can be smelt at random times then slowly disappear.  

Take a minute to read some the links I have provided at the bottom and check out some of the stories these paranormal teams have about their nights inside the Avenel House. 

413 Avenel Avenue
Bedford, VA 24523
(540) 586-1814 


Seven Hills Paranormal Society Blog: SVPS: Blog
Roanoke Times Article on Avenel: http://www.roanoke.com/theedge/stories/wb/136085 
Bedford Paranormal Investigation at Avenel: http://www.bedfordparanormal.com/Avenel_Investigation.html 

The Cavalier Hotel was built back in 1927 and has a rich history of luxury, prominent guests, and tragedy.  One of the biggest questions that ghost hunters seek to answer is what causes the "ghost" or the memories of some people to stay behind when others pass and are never heard from again.  Its one that has many different arguments as well as little to no evidence to back up any of those theories.

However, it seems like a place with large amounts of tragedy always seems to be labeled as haunted.  The Cavalier Hotel has seen its share of deaths and it too, like many other places in this world, has been labeled as haunted.

The hotel has a glorious history as it opened in 1927 and was designed to be the most luxurious hotel in the state of Virginia.  Located along the beach, the Cavalier brought thousands of tourists to the Virginia Beach area until the US Navy took over the building during World War II.  In 1973, the Cavalier opened it's brand new extension, which is located on the beach line.  Today, the Cavalier Hotel is only in operation for a few months out of the year.  The rest of the time it is spent locked in time, home to only it's memories and ghosts that are said to inhabit the place. 

The hotel has seen seven former U.S. presidents stay in one of their suites within the walls of the Old Cavalier Hotel.  The History section of this hotels history page states "Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon all enjoyed the luxury, the tradition, and the view that only the Cavalier can provide." Mickey Rourke, star of Iron Man 2 and The Wrestler, has also stayed here before a trip to Europe.

So what caused this lovable Inn to become haunted.  Well most of the stories seem to have avoided or been lost since the opening of the hotel.  However, some claims have been made by guests who have stayed in this hotel on numerous occasions.  First, there is a bellhop or what appears to be an African American hotel worker who stands on the steps before the sixth floor telling visitors to not go up to the sixth floor because "there are ghosts up there."  This is by far the most serious claim since not only do you have a voice but this man is showing up as an apparition.

Next, you have the story of Adolph Coors (the owner of the Coors Brewery) who plunged to his death from the sixth floor of this hotel building.  Many people who stay on the sixth floor of this hotel say they experience cold spots, voices, and even the sound of flesh slapping the pavement below.  Nobody knows whether Coors committed suicide or was killed.  He died in 1929, which was during the middle of Prohibition.

The hotel has also seen numerous guests call the front desk complaining about a cat wondering the halls late at night.  No cat as ever been seen or found for the past half-century.  There is a local rumor about a girl who brought her pet cat with her when she stayed here.  However, one day the cat got loose and wound up falling into the outdoor swimming pool causing the little girl to jump in after it.  Both the girl and the cat drowned.  Although an apparition of a little girl is not something that has been reported at the hotel, the sound of the cat is something that is reported on a regular basis.

Guests have also seen a white lady in the lobby, dragging a suitcase behind her.  They've also stated that their towels have the tendency to change colors on occasion, their toilet will flush randomly, and the elevator will run when nobody is around them.


4201 Atlantic Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA 23451


Official Site and History: http://www.cavalierhotel.com/history/index.cfm 
Real Haunts Article on the Hauntings: http://www.realhaunts.com/united-states/cavalier-hotel/
Message Board discussing the Hotel: http://www.ghostvillage.com/ghostcommunity/index.php?showtopic=7050
Blog Entry on the Cavaliers Hauntings: http://www.haunted-places-to-go.com/haunted-places-in-virginia.html
Hampton Roads Article from 2010: http://hamptonroads.com/2010/03/historic-cavalier-make-paranormal-experts-feel-home

In almost every ghost book about the state of Virginia, the author includes a short tale about a haunted junk yard in Bassett, Virginia.  The place sounds terrifying and a rather perfect place for us ghost hunters to spend the night. However, none of these books mention where the ghost yard is located or where this story even originates.  

Curious, I took this upon myself to figure out where this haunted scrap shop was located and thanks to the new street view on Google Maps, I think I may have found a suitor.   Auto Salvage Co. Nelson is located in Bassett and is really the only Junk Yard in the area.  If there is a haunted salvage yard in Bassett, Virginia then this would be it. 


200 Murray Hill Ln 
Bassett, VA 24055 


View Larger Map

The Wayside Theater has obviously seen better and more profitable days.  Yet, the theater continues to crank out numerous plays a year to it's patrons who forgo the silverscreen in order to view a live play instead.  Before the motion picture came along, plays were the norm for late night entertainment in this country as well as in Europe.  However, our culture has changed since the invention of cameras and it has not been kind to the old-style theater industry.

Middletown has a couple local paranormal hotspots but in this post we will focus on the story behind the haunting of this theater.  The story goes that the ghost that is said to haunt the building was an old caretaker, named "George," who died back during a small fire in the 1940's or died during renovation (could not confirm either report).  The caretaker was an African-American who is said to haunt the stage and the balcony where most of the black people were permitted to sit at that time.  Actors and actresses have also reported the feeling of being followed as well as the feeling of dread or being watched in the theater basement.

The most interesting phenomenon that occurs happens in the balcony at seat CC1 where George was reported to sit at every play.  After closing, some of the workers march through the theater making sure all seats are raised.  However, employees of the theater have reported that when they arrive in the morning, seat CC1 is often lowered while all the other seats stay in their upright position.

There is a good chance that this "George" could still be roaming through the theater, seeing that it's not unusual for spirits to remain in places where that person had a strong bond or presence. 


7853 Main Street
PO Box 260
Middletown, Virginia 22645


Official Site: http://www.waysidetheatre.org/who.htm
Article on the Theater: http://www.ourstrangeworld.net/index.php/main/article/flirting_with_theatre_ghosts/
Article on an Investigation at the Theater: http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2008/09/paranormal-investigators-stake-out.html

The state of Virginia has numerous haunted roadways throughout the Commonwealth but none are as interesting as Walney Road in Chantilly, Virginia.  

The story began back before this windy road was paved when one night, a passing vehicle ran over a man out for a leisurely night stroll, killing him instantly.  Afraid of what might happen, the driver fled the scene and police were never able to determine who the killer was.

Since then, the road has been paved and homes have been built along the stretch of road.  However, interesting and rather creepy sightings have been recorded for many years by those who travel this road frequently.  Legend has it that if you're driving down this road at night you may see the ghost of this man, frantically seeking out help on the side of the road.  If you drive by, you will see the figure twice more and if you don't pull over to help, the man will appear inside your car and force you off the road.

Perhaps this is a true story and it's definitely one worth checking out if you're brave enough to drive down this road during the night.  However, to me, it sounds like a rumor that spread rapidly due to the high amount of accidents that occur on this road every year.  The road is windy and dimly lit, which can cause cars to loose control if they are traveling at too high of speeds.

But who am I to say.  The people who live around this area certainly believe it and I guess its best to say you should stay clear of driving on this road after the sun goes down.

Want to hear more about this story?  Check out this book at Amazon.com now.
Weird Virginia

In our previous two blog entry's, I've focused on two of Abingdon's most well known establishments within their historical district.  For this third entry, we will focus on what is known as the oldest building still used for business west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Tavern Restaurant is a great place to spend a Friday or Saturday night with the family, enjoy some wine, and eat some great food.  The history of the building is intriguing as well as the tavern served as a hospital during Civil War times and has seen its share of tragedy.  The Tavern's official website (linked at the bottom) breaks down this lovely buildings history.

The Tavern, the oldest of Abingdon's historic buildings and one of the oldest west of the Blue Ridge, was built in 1779. It was used from it's beginning as a tavern and overnight inn for stagecoach traveler's. The Tavern has had such guests as Henry Clay; Louis Philippe, King of France; President Andrew Jackson; and Pierre Charles L'Enfant, designer of Washington D.C.

The first post office on the western slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains was located in the east wing of The Tavern. The original mail slot is still in place and can be seen today from the street.

During the past two centuries, The Tavern has served as a tavern, bank, bakery, general store, cabinet shop, barber shop, private residence, post office, antique shop and restaurant. It even served as a hospital for wounded Confederate and Union soldiers during the Civil War.
In 1965, The Tavern was acquired from the Thaddeus Harris Family by Mary Dudley Porterfield, wife of the founder of the Barter Theatre. The Harris Family had owned The Tavern for more than 100 years.
In 1984, The Tavern was restored to its former glory by a local attorney Emmit F. Yeary.
In 1994, it was opened under the management of Max Hermann who moved to Abingdon in 1993 after having served twenty years with the United States Air Force. Max is a native German and lives in Abingdon with his wife Kelly.

 Of course a place of this stature would not be complete without a few ghost tales.  "We Be Haints," which is a website dedicated to the history of this lovely town discusses the hauntings that can be found at The Tavern.

Down the street from the Cave House is the oldest, and according to Emmert, the most haunted building in Abingdon. The Tavern dates from 1779 and Emmert says that it's packed from the rafters to the cellar with ghosts. In Emmert's words, The Tavern is "corrupt" with ghosts. Foremost among the resident ghosts is "The Tavern Tart," a young prostitute murdered at The Tavern by a client. Emmert says the Tart still has an eye for men and loves to, ahem, pinch or grab a man's backside. She'll also watch out the window and stare at men as they cross the street. But she's a vindictive, jealous spirit and there are certain women she doesn't like. (Sorry ladies: you'll have to take the tour to find out if you qualify.) And there are many other ghosts at The Tavern. Emmert recommends a visit to The Tavern for a good meal and a nice chat with the wait staff about their own encounters.

If you're looking for ghosts, this would be a good place to start.  The Tavern seems to have some type of paranormal activity, especially since the ghost seems to be possessive of something or someone with in the building. Sounds of footsteps can be heard and are mostly reported by the staff after closing time.  Objects have been moved, tables have been moved during the night and certain mumblings sounds can be heard when the restaurant is empty.  Like I said, if you're looking for ghosts, this is the place for you.


222 E. Main Street
Abingdon, VA 24210
Phone: 276-628-1118 


Official Website:http://www.abingdontavern.com/
Article from Google Docs: Ower of the Tavern Interview
Video Evidence from an Investigation at the Tavern: Haunt Master Club
We Be Haints Article: http://www.webehaints.com/reviews.html
20 Page Haunt Master Club Investigation Report: http://www.hauntmastersclub.com/OurHunts.html#anchor_227

Need a place to stay just outside the Tennessee-Virginia line, then the Martha Washington Inn is the place for you.  The hotel has a rigid history or murder, warfare, and heartbreak that leads it to be one of the more interesting hotels in the commonwealth today.  The official site for the Inn goes into detail about the history of this establishment.
The Martha Washington Inn began life as an illustrious home indeed! It was built in 1832 as a private residence for General Francis Preston and Sarah Buchanan Preston and their nine children. In 1858 the Preston family home was purchased for the incredible sum of $21,000 dollars in order for the mansion to become an upscale college for young women.

The “War Between the States” was soon to have a dramatic effect on the college. Schoolgirls became nurses and the beautiful grounds became training barracks for the Washington Mounted Rifles. Union and Confederate troops were involved in frequent skirmishes in and around the town with the college serving as a makeshift hospital for the wounded, both Confederate and Yankee. Despite the devastating effects of the Civil War, the Martha Washington College survived. However, the Great Depression, typhoid fever and a declining enrollment eventually took its toll. The Martha was closed in 1932, standing idle for several years.

In 1935, The Martha Washington Inn opened as a hotel and throughout the years has hosted many illustrious guests. Eleanor Roosevelt, President Harry Truman, Lady Bird Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Elizabeth Taylor are counted among the many famous guests who have frequented the hotel. Fortunately, much of the inn’s historic charm, antiques and architectural detail were preserved, even though its future was at times uncertain.

In 1984, The United Company, representing a group of dedicated businessmen, purchased The Martha Washington Inn and began an eight million dollar renovation. Aware of this historic landmark’s importance to the town of Abingdon, the restoration was carefully designed to preserve and enhance much of its original splendor and architectural detail.

In 1995, The Martha Washington Inn joined The Camberley Collection of fine historic properties. Sensitive to their role as stewards of a long and enduring legacy, Camberley maintains the inn’s strong ties with the Barter Theatre and the community of Abingdon. Today The Martha Washington Inn stands as gateway to the past, providing those modern amenities expected by today’s traveler amid the genteel elegance of period antiques and furnishings.
Most of the hotel's paranormal vitality stems from the old Cival War days when the building existed as a girls nursing college.  There is an alleged headless horse that gallops outside on moonless nights, looking for its fallen rider.  There is a legend of bloodstains that could never been washed away, even when the carpet was replaced.  People have seen apparitions of Confederate soldiers on the hotel's grounds. 

However, the most intriguing story involves room 403.  A college student named Beth who attended the college was ordered to help out a cival war soldier named John Stoves, who had been shot multiple times.  Stoves found out that Beth could play the violin and asked if she could play for him to help lessen his intense pain.  As John moved closer to death, Beth began to fall in love with the soldier.  Within a few days the soldier died from his shrapnel wounds.  Heartbroken, she too soon died of what is presumed to be typhoid fever although some said she died of a broken heart. This is why on some nights, strange violin music can be heard by guests who are staying around room 403.

150 W Main St
Abingdon, VA 24210
Haunt Master Club Info: http://www.hauntmastersclub.com 

The town of Abingdon is chalk full of haunted hotspots but in this post we will focus on one of the most well known establishments in the town; the Barter Theater.  The Theater is still in operation today, as it holds numerous plays throughout the year.  But, no 170 year old theater would be complete without a few ghost tales to go along with the singing and buzzing of local actors and actresses.  The theaters official site (linked at the bottom of this article) goes into detail about this wonderful establishment.
The Barter Theatre building was constructed in 1831 as a new location for Sinking Springs Presbyterian Church.  The earliest theatrical event known to occur here was a production of the Virginian on January 14, 1876, the proceeds of which were used for building repairs. In 1890, the Sons of Temperance transferred the building's title to the Town of Abingdon , to be used as a town hall for the benefit of the citizenry.

In addition to offices, the town used the building as a fire hall – hence the fire alarm on the roof that sounded as needed at any time, day or night. When the fire siren sounded during a Barter performance, the actors were instructed to freeze their position on stage and to resume the action when the alarm concluded. The alarm remained on the building until 1994 when the fire department went to a system of electronic communications to alert fire fighters.

Many of the interior furnishings in the theatre are from the Empire Theatre of New York City. Robert Porterfield learned that this New York City theatre, constructed in 1875, was slated for destruction. Porterfield had one weekend in which to carry away furnishings and equipment for use at Barter. He came away with $75,000 worth of seats, lighting fixtures, carpeting, paintings, and tapestries. The lighting system at the Empire, designed and installed by Thomas Edison, was used at Barter Theatre through the mid 1970's.
Tri-Cities Paranormal investigated the Barter Theater and broke down the hauntings a little further.  Their findings are also linked at the bottom of this page.

The Barter Theatre, which is home to two spirits. One is said to be the founder, Robert Porterfield, who brought unemployed actors from New York to start the theater during the Great Depression. Although Porterfield died in 1971, actors have claimed to see him in the audience. Another spirit, alleged to be malevolent, has been said to chase actors from dressing rooms.

Supposedly, there was a ghost of a confederate war soldier haunting the premises. According to legend, if he showed you his wound, then you would be dead within 48 hours!
The theater has been through a lot in its 170 year history so if you're looking for something paranormal, the Barter Theater would be a good place to start.  However, if you just want to take in a play, well then this would be the place for you as well.

127 West Main Street
Abingdon, VA 24210-2809
(276) 628-3991

Official Website: The Barter Theater 
Tri-Cities Paranormal Case: http://www.tricitiesparanormal.org/barter.php