Many people live a long time in Virginia Beach without knowing it is a famous center of ghost activity.
According to some observers, sailors still lament drowning at sea. Slaves complain about a life of toil. Indians hover near their burial grounds. Members of the military haunt ships and battlefields. Even the fun, festive Cavalier Hotel has dark legends.
Ghosts may have died prematurely and now they hang around to protest the injustice. Or perhaps they have messages for us.
What we know for sure is that thousands of people travel to Virginia Beach not for sun and surf but to encounter our ghosts.
One popular destination is the Old Coast Guard Station, built in 1903 and now a museum. The building began as a life-saving station where crews of “surfmen" were on duty around the clock to rescue people from sinking ships. The Old Coast Guard Station offers a Ghost Walk program.
William Hazel, the museum’s Administrative Director, says, “I have enjoyed working in the museum field for almost 20 years now. I love these old buildings and never get tired of being so closely connected to history. By far, the Old Coast Guard Station is the most active I have experienced when it comes to things I can't explain.”
Hazel recalls a vivid experience from last summer: “Early in the morning, I was climbing the watchtower stairs on my way to clean the Tower Camera that we feature on the website. A distinct cold air sensation...very, very cold air, came across my left shoulder and upper arm. It made me stop in my tracks. Keep in mind the tower is not air conditioned, has no vents, and is very hot in the summer….This is something that others have reported feeling in our watchtower. On numerous occasions, we hear footsteps and floor boards creak when there is no one in the Museum. One time, the steps were so loud, our co-worker from downstairs at the admissions desk called to ask if someone had come into the museum and was in the upper gallery.”
Hazel reports that he has had four encounters in the last year.
Another famous destination is the Ferry Plantation House on the Lynnhaven River. The director there is Belinda Nash, author of “A Place In Time,” a story of Virginia’s only convicted witch tried by water (“witch duck”) and found guilty in 1706. The trial took place near Ferry Plantation.
Belinda Nash says, “On a daily basis people come to tour the historic house to hear the history of the area. We don’t know why the house has so much to tell, but as hundreds will admit she—meaning the house—wants to be heard. People from around the world spend Friday night in the hope they will experience a ghost.”
Nash is comfortable with the thought of having ghosts around her. She loves being at the Ferry Plantation House. “You actually have a relaxed feeling about you as soon as you are told what is happening. People that are open to the spirits will sense them. Sometimes you are just cleaning, as old houses get dusty, and all of a sudden the smell of sweet pipe tobacco will wisk in front of you. The old gentleman in the parlor is trying to get your attention…The sounds of the night happen quite often. It seems that the slaves continue to work after dusk. It may be the wind in the trees playing tricks but the wind does not put words to the low muffled sounds that we hear. As I always tell everyone, ask permission as I do, before entering a building that may have the presence of spirits. We are the intruders interrupting the past.”
COSMIC PERSPECTIVE: An option trader, well-known in Manhattan, became obsessed with UFO phenomena and often declared: “If just one UFO story is true, it changes everything!”
We can add with greater conviction: “If just one ghost story is true, it changes everything.” Indeed, ghost stories are perhaps more significant. A ghost is a soul. If you have souls, then you have a spiritual or supernatural universe.
Ferry Plantation -- website
Old Coast Guard Station -- website
"Va. Beach's haunted history is remembered" — newspaper article by Paul Clancy