Is the Pohlig Box Factory haunted? Photo by Mike Freeman
This region has so much bloody death planted in its soil, in its soul, that one sometimes wonders if ghosts don't actually run the place. (Fights over regional cooperation: What's that if not a "residual haunting?") The following locales are rumored to be among the most active crash pads of the undead.
Henricus Historical Park
This is where local paranormal groups go to train. Oct. 19 and 20's Haunted Henricus festival, blending Colonial ghost tales with modern spirit hunting, is free, but register at henricus.org . There's a "sleepover" for the first 25 to sign up.
The Byrd Theatre
Numerous tales of the macabre surround Carytown's movie palace ( byrdtheatre.com ), including the apparition of a lost little girl. Byrd General Manager Todd Schall-Vess allows some paranormal groups to stay overnight. "Very rarely has a research group come in to investigate and not come out of here with something," he says.
Cold Harbor Battlefield
Some say that this site of a bloody Civil War battle now produces weird sounds and movement at night, as well as an otherworldly mist. Beth Brown, author of Haunted Battlefields: Virginia's Civil War Ghosts, has experienced the haze: "You walk in fog, it's different. You walk in this, it literally makes your skin crawl."
The ectoplasmic epicenter of this island, once the site of a Confederate prison, seems to be the hydroelectric plant, where visitors have encountered orbs, voices and shadowy figures.
Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Many claim to have heard phantom children playing in the Poe house ( poemuseum.org ), the starting point for Haunts of Richmond's "Shadows of Shockoe" tour ( hauntsofrichmond.com ). Another company, Capital Creepers ( eerienights.com ), also offers tours of local haunts by a 1920s-styled guide.
The Pohlig Box Factory
At times a tobacco plant, factory and Civil War hospital, this apartment building near St. John's Church (another much-cited haunt) is beset with constant door closings and dark figures moving around. The whole building isn't haunted — just one unit in particular.
Mary Randolph is probably Richmond's most famous ghost and certainly its most romantic. She reportedly prowls Tuckahoe ( tuckahoeplantation.com ), one of Virginia's oldest residences, pining for her lost love. Begging the question: Why isn't the Lifetime network all over this?