Monday, November 30, 2015

'Colonial Ghosts' Williamsburg: The Lightfoot House

Many visit Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia to get a sense of history by seeing original buildings from the former colony along with reenactors dressed in eighteenth-century clothing. Founded in 1639, this city has stood the test of time and remains a popular place to live and visit. Like so many other places with a long history, tales of real ghost stories have emerged.

The Lightfoot House

For almost three-hundred years, the Lightfoot House stood nestled in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. As one of the 88 original buildings in Williamsburg, tourist and locals visit the Lightfoot House to enjoy the structure’s authentic eighteenth century architecture.

The Lightfoot family first lived in this home between 1740 and 1838. Since its restoration in 1940, many prominent guests have stayed here including foreign heads of state and celebrities. Guests and workers at the house often experience strange phenomena.

Frequently, maids who neatly make the bed, turn around to find the sheets and covers thrown on the floor. On one such occasion, the cleaning lady froze in shock when she saw the figure of a man dressed in eighteenth-century clothing. The maid insisted she had seen a ghost, and quit that same day. Could this man be a member of the Lightfoot family who used to reside here in the 1700s?

The Lightfoot House isn’t the only place in Williamsburg where people experience paranormal activity. The Williamsburg Public Gaol has also been rumored to be haunted. The Public Gaol served as Williamsburg’s jail from 1707 to 1910. Within the walls of the Gaol, thieves, runaway slaves, Tories, and spies served out their sentences. The jail’s infamous guests also included the pirate Blackbeard’s crew, who stayed here while they awaited trial and execution for looting ships off of the coast.

Today visitors can tour the Public Gaol in the daytime or at night during a haunted ghost tour of Colonial Williamsburg. Those visiting the former jail experience strange noises. On one such occasion, a guest noticed a ball and chain hanging on the door. Suddenly, the ball and chain began to sway entirely on its own. Perhaps some of the prisoners are still serving out a life sentence beyond the grave.

In another part of Williamsburg, stands one of the most haunted buildings in town, The Peyton Randolph House. Built in 1715, the Georgian style mansion became home to the prominent political figure, Peyton Randolph, who became famous for serving as the first president of the Continental Congress. Many famous revolutionary figures stepped foot inside this house including Peyton’s cousin, Thomas Jefferson.

During the war, the home doubled as a hospital for wounded soldiers. It seems many people met tragic ends at the Peyton Randolph house. In the 19th century a young boy fell to his death after climbing up a tree. Later a young girl died here after falling out of a second floor window. A former confederate soldier also died from illness while attending the College of William & Mary, Later in the 18th century, two men killed each other after getting into a heated argument.

Of course, a place where so many lived and died tends to attract paranormal activity. In fact, while Revolutionary General, Marquis de Lafayette, stayed in the home in 1824, he reported waking up suddenly to the feeling of a hand on his shoulder and the sound of strange voices. Later guests have witnessed seeing the glowing figure of a man, heavy boots trudging through the house, or the mysterious movement of furniture.

Do the former residents of Colonial Williamsburg continue to haunt this restored historical town? Come find out for yourself… if you dare!

I wish to thank Colonial Ghosts for this blog post. We have entered into a partnership with Colonial Ghosts - awarded 'Best of Williamsburg Tour Operator 2015' and noted as one of the Top 10 Ghost Tours in the US. They also have a blog at Tours, History, and Ghost Sightings Blog. I've been to Williamsburg several times (yeah, I'm an American / British history nut)...but I will definitely take the Colonial Ghost tour the next time I'm there.

Photo Source:

Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations

Historic Haunts of the South

Insiders' Guide to Williamsburg and Virginia's Historic Triangle

Colonial Williamsburg: A Pocket Guide

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