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Northern Neck has its share of Halloween ghosts

That noise at night might - or might not - just be the wind!


October is the time for ghosts, and Virginia, it turns out, has plenty of ghost stories. In fact, if ghosts were going to be anywhere in America, it stands to reason that they would be in an area so rich in history.

The Ghosts of Virginia Vol. III recounts a number of spine-tingling tales, some of which occurred right here in the Northern Neck, or nearby.

For example, a couple moved into a house in Mathews County and the wife started having eerie feelings of another presence. Gradually, she began to catch sight of the apparition of a young, blond boy. When she described the figure to a neighbor, she was told such a boy had recently lived in the house, and had been killed in a tragic car accident.

The Hewick Mansion in Urbana is said to be one of the most haunted places in Virginia. The house, built in 1678, has been the scene of multiple apparitional sightings spanning several decades. Now a bed and breakfast, visitors occasionally hear the sounds of a giggling child and smell the aroma of pipe tobacco when no smoker is in the building.

Closer to home, The Ghosts of Virginia Vol. III describes the Bliley family of Heathsville and their old house that dates to the late 1800s. Several family members experienced strange occurrences, and the sighting of an apparition of an elderly woman. On one occasion the apparition allegedly moved down the hallway and into a mural on the wall.

But author L.B. Taylor Jr. says one of the state’s most spectacular ghost stories is centered in Northumberland County, near Callao, where a malevolent, evil spirit is sasid to have invaded a mobile home.

Lights would come on after being turned off. Objects would fly through the air. Objects would disappear and magically reappear. The jets on the gas stove would come on, filling the trailer with dangerous fumes. Occupants were scratched by an unseen being.

The owners said they felt they were living in a horror movie, but this spirit, they were convinced, was evil. Once the couple decided to hold a séance and lit a candle. No sooner they turned out the lights, they said, than a mysterious wind blew out the candle and the table began to shake. There were no more attempts to contact the spirit after that.

The owner never figured out what was behind the mysterious goings on, but he did learn the previous owner of the trailer was an elderly woman, put in a nursing home against her will. The day she died was the same day he bought the mobile home!
There are probably even more ghost stories about Northern Neck hauntings that have never made it into print. It stands to reason there would be ghosts, of course, because of all the haunted houses in the area. Well, we don't know for sure that they're haunted, but they sure look haunted as you drive past on a dark, Autumn evening.

We're not sure why there are so many abandoned homes in the Northern Neck, but you see them everywhere. One theory is that parents leave the house to all their children and the children can never agree what to do with the property, so it's simply abandoned, probably providing homes for the region's many ghosts.

Don’t believe in ghosts? Most people don’t. Except late at night on an October evening, when odd, unexplainable things happen, and things go bump in the night. Probably just the wind.

Want to celebrate Halloween in the Northern Neck? Here are some planned activities:

October 24 – Watch the Golf Cart Halloween Parade in Colonial Beach. Call Laura Raley. 804-224-2443 for details.

October - 29-31 hear haunted tales NS Scary stories, as well as tour a haunted museum; 4-8pm at the Westmoreland County Museum in Montross. www.westmoreland-county.org. 804-493-8440.

October 31 - Historical Haunts. Ghost tours of the Great House will be offered during this evening event. Activities include crafts and Halloween games. Program is for children & adults of all ages. Stratford Hall. www.stratfordhall.org. 804-493-8038

October 31- Kilmarnock Kandy for Kids. Safe trick or treating for families in Steptoe’s District in downtown Kilmarnock. Come in costume. Sponsored by the Kilmarnock Chamber of Commerce. Go to www.kilmarnockchamber.org for more information.

October 31- Halloween Activity/ Parade. The Museum at Colonial Beach and Colonial Beach Historical Society. www.museumatcolonialbeach.com. 804-224-7181

October 31- Reedville Safe Halloween Celebration for children. Sponsored in cooperation with Bethany UMC. Costume parade, games, spookanery and trick or treating. www.rfmuseum.org. 804-453-6529

October 31- Halloween Ball at the Hall. Costumes encouraged but not required. To be held at Festival Hall in Reedville. Adults only. www.rfmuseum.org. 804-453-6529