Visitors to Abingdon, VA know that this artsy mountain town is chock full of history. It was founded in 1778, just two years after the United States itself, and passionate preservation efforts mean that many of the town’s historic buildings are still in use.
With over two centuries of history in the downtown district, there are bound to be some ghost stories over the years. Guest blogger Donnamarie Emmert is intimately familiar with these stories, in her role as Abingdon’s official Haint Mistress. (For the uninitiated, a “haint” is Appalachian lingo for a haunt; in other words, a spirit, ghost, or bugaboo. They can be friendly…or not!)
According to the Haint Mistress, these are the five most haunted locations in Abingdon. Visit them on your own, or schedule a guided spirit tour with the Haint Mistress herself.
(Note: not all locations are open to the public.)
The Washington County Courthouse
The first courthouse rebuilt in Virginia during Reconstruction, our own courthouse boasts the likes of Miss Lucille (who does NOT like change), and the ever-vigilant Hatchet Boy.
The former Cave House
Conveniently located across the street from a funeral home, this 279 E. Main house boasted some of the liveliest practical joker ghosts in town. (Don’t forget the brick slave quarters just to the side where a small crystal chandelier would rotate like a Ferris wheel when the spirits were feeling contrary.) All of this activity may well be linked to the large limestone cave which can still be seen out back.
The Martha Washington Inn and Spa
Built in 1832 by the General Francis Preston family, the former Preston Hall boasts of its own numerous spooky tales. Apparitions floating down the stairs (not the bodies, mind you, just the legs), haunting violin music, and the blood stained floor? Just a very few of the ghostly goings on in one of Virginia’s finest four star hotels.
The ghost of founder Robert Porterfield is said to still watch shows in the main theatre, and who can blame him? Bob Porterfield is not alone in his love of this old brick building. He and a lively crew of ghosts still haunt their favorite building, making it a must visit stop for any visitor to Abingdon. (Just don’t be the last one out, okay?)
The oldest building in its original place in town, this building is more haunted per square foot than any other one. Murdered card players, the spirits of dead soldiers and the women who attended them, and one very lively female known as the Tavern Tart keep this landmark location hopping almost as much as the excellent cuisine. Come in for a great meal and a bit of history; leave with a full tummy and perhaps– maybe– a pinch on the bum from the Tart…..but only if she really likes you.