What better way to celebrate the season of scary and pay homage to this old ritual than to venture on a ghost tour? The Washington DC area is full of haunted histories, sneaky spectres and terror-filled tales. The Leesburg Hauntings tour is one chillingly fun example of these popular tours.
The Loudoun Museum in Leesburg, Virginia, presents its annual ghost tours for one weekend each October, so reserve your tickets well in advance. The 1-1/2 hour walking tour departs every 15 minutes from Town Hall. (Tours leave on the dot, so don't be late!)
A guide will lead you through historic homes & businesses in Leesburg, as storytellers -- in costume -- relate the history of and ghostly tales of each site.
Past and presents sites visited have included the popular Glenfiddich House, the Courthouse and Lynch House -- all located on King Street.
Some of the haunted sites
Lynch House is said to be inhabited by several apparitions. Though the home's spirits are friendly, there is one poltergeist among them. The ominously dark Victorian dates to the mid-19th century. Paranormal activity at this house is a normal occurrence -- and flickering lights, papers mysteriously moving and a ghostly lady in white are permanent fixtures here.
Glenfiddich House is well-known for its history and hauntings. Not only did Robert E Lee once convalesce at this house, but so did a Confederate colonel named Burt. Wounded in the Civil War, Colonel Burt died at Glenfiddich. Gone but not forgotten, he makes his presence known with suddenly appearing bloodstains and items as well as intermittent knocking. Over the years, Glenfiddich House guests and staff have experienced its paranormal activity outside the home. You'll have to take the tour to find out more.
The Courthouse was the scene of a hanging. The ghost of the hanged man is said to haunt the courthouse. Anyone working there late at night will undoubtedly be made a believer by the creaking sounds, flickering lights and shuffling papers.
Ball's Bluff Battlefield/National Cemetery is the site of a bloody battle between Union and Confederate soldiers. Suffice it to say, it was not a good day for the Union soldiers who endured heavy casualties here. Only one of the 50 plus soldiers buried there has been identified. It is said that on the anniversary night of the famous battle (October 21 -- the original was in 1861), screams and fighting can be heard in these very spooky woods overlooking the Potomac River. I've been there during the day, and it's a little creepy.
Costumed storytellers intertwine history with folklore at each site. Stories occasionally spook and trip up the storytellers as often as visitors. Visitors become so entranced by these stories, many practically jump out of their skin at the mere suggestion of specters.
"We have some sites where the stories need to be updated each year because new occurrences are documented over the past year," says Peter Kelpinski, Hauntings founder and long-time member of the Loudoun Museum's Board of Trustees.
Kelpinski adds that the haunting tours are generally not appropriate for children under 10 years old. "We scare you the good old-fashioned way with the fine art of well-told ghost stories."
Tours take place rain or shine. Reservations are strongly recommended (note: Friday and Saturday nights sell out quickly).
More on the Leesburg Hauntings tour
Address: 16 Loudoun Street SW, Leesburg, VA 20175