Experience ghosts and spooky stories as the Loudoun Museum's Hauntings Tours return this year to downtown Leesburg.
The Loudoun Museum will host the event Oct. 18-19 and Oct 25-26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The guided tours leave Leesburg's Town Hall every 20 minutes and run about an hour or a little more, taking guests to various “spirited locations.”
Advance tickets are recommended.
Longtime volunteer Rick Etter told the Times-Mirror he has been a guide for 24 years. The tours began in 1991 and attract hundreds of visitors to downtown Leesburg every October. This is one of the Loudoun Museum's major fundraisers.
The Lynch House on Loudoun Street is where Etter normally provides his storytelling expertise. He said there is a ghost named Eliza who resides there, and it is one of the more “active sites” for ghosts.
He describes a variety of events that have happened there over the years, but one of the most spooky was when all of the umbrellas in a stand in the front foyer suddenly came out and fell to the floor.
“Eliza does not like it when we dwell on the Civil War era stories because that is where she lost her husband. So if we dwell on it, she will flash the lights in the house. When the umbrella incident happened a few people got scared and ran out of the house,” he said.
Etter says there are two other spirits in the Lynch House besides Eliza – including a male spirit on the first floor and a soldier on the third floor. They have heard laughter in the house, seen flickering lights in the window and once found drawers stacked against a door.
Each tour has five official stops. Another popular location is Glenfiddich House, also known as Harrison Hall, on North King Street.
In Sept. 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee stopped at the house to recuperate from injuries to his wrists while on his way to invade Maryland, a visit that the young Virginia Miller wrote about in her diary that was later found in the attic. A year earlier, Miller also wrote about Confederate Col. Burt’s visit on Oct. 21, 1861, when he was wounded during the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. His blood left a stain on the floor that visitors to the home say they can see late at night but not in the morning.
“Col. Burt is very active and has been known to go for a ride with people. He will get in the car – that's happened a couple of times on the anniversary of Ball's Bluff,” Etter said.
The tour concludes at Loudoun Museum’s historic log cabin where tour guides will detail the haunted history of the cabin and nearby historic buildings.
“We have people coming from all over the country for these stories and experience,” says Peter Kelpinski, Hauntings founder. “Leesburg has a fascinating history and spirited nightlife, and we want to share those stories with those on our tours.”
Tickets are available online at LoudounMuseum.org/Hauntings. Space is limited. All proceeds benefit the Loudoun Museum.