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The walking dead: The UMW Historic Preservation Club's annual Ghost Walk is set for Oct. 26-27.
Linda and Jim Matheny hear about Fredericksburg's haunted past from Jacob Abosbitan on the Olde Towne Carriage Ghost Tours.
The Graffiti House is calling in the Transcend Paranormal team for its open house Halloween party Oct. 27.
The Rising Sun Tavern is one of the first stops on the carriage ghost tour.
Visit three of Fredericksburg's most historic cemeteries.
BY BRIDGET BALCH
Built on the battlegrounds and graves of Revolutionary and Civil War figures, Fredericksburg is home to many souls with unfinished business.
As the leaves change and pumpkins are carved, Halloween tends to bring their history back to life.
If all you've got planned to get into the spirit of the day is eating chocolate and watching scary movies, it's time to open your eyes to the spooky possibilities.
Here are a few local and regional events to help you celebrate Allhallows Eve with the spirits of the past as they revisit their old haunts:
Stratford Hall, the birthplace of Robert E. Lee and the home of the historically significant Lee family, will be providing Halloween entertainment for kids and adults alike on Saturday, Oct. 27, 6 to 8 p.m.
This annual two-hour event is packed with refreshments, Halloween-themed crafts, tarot card and palm readings, trick or treating around the buildings on the plantation and a ghost tour.
"Stratford has been around so long, you can imagine it has haunted stories that have been passed down through the years," said Jon Bachman, education events coordinator.
For the ghost tour, guides dressed in 18th-century garb bring the groups through the house and grounds while telling stories of those who haunt the historic plantation.
"There's stuff for adults [and] there's stuff for kids," Bachman said.
The event is family-friendly, and visitors are encouraged to dress in Halloween costumes.
Stratford Hall, 483 Great House Road, Montross. $5 for adults and $3 for children. 804/493-8038; stratford
FREDERICKSBURG CEMETERY TOUR
There's no creepier place to be on Halloween weekend than a historic cemetery, but, on this tour, no one will jump out at you and scream "Boo!"
"It's not your typical ghost tour," said Trip Wiggins, president of the Rappahannock Colonial Heritage Society, who or-ganizes the cemetery tour.
The tour, guided by costumed historic interpreters, will focus on discussing the lives of those who lived in Fredericksburg in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
"It's a way to share Fredericksburg's history," Wiggins said.
The tour groups will ride a trolley to Fredericksburg's three most historic cemeteries: St. George's Episcopal Church, the Masonic Cemetery and the grave of Mary Washington.
Refreshments will be provided.
Tours meet at the Fredericksburg Visitor's Center on Caroline Street on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 11 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Suggested donation of $5 for adults and $1 for kids. Contact Trip Wiggins, 540/371-3906 or
CARRIAGE GHOST TOURS
With old town Fredericksburg's history of famous Revolutionary and Civil War figures, the undead are sure to make an appearance.
The Olde Towne Carriage Ghost Tours take brave souls in search of ghosts through downtown while sharing the spookiest of Fredericksburg folklore, including the stories of the Woman in White, the Ghost of Chatham and the Ghost of Fielding Lewis, George Washington's brother-in-law.
The tours are family-friendly and run hourly from
SPIRITS OF THE
Used as a hospital by both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, the Graffiti House has seen more than its share of paranormal activity.
The second floor walls of the house bear the inscriptions, messages, drawings and signatures of Civil War soldiers, hence its name.
Those not daunted by an otherworldly presence are invited to an open house Halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Events will include marshmallow toasting, ghost stories, screenings of an episode of "The R.I.P Files" featuring the Graffiti House and a visit from Transcend Paranormal, a paranormal investigation team from Richmond, who will display their equipment and discuss the findings of their investigation of the Graffiti House.
"We're going to be highlighting some of the paranormal experiences we've heard about," said Peggy Misch, a representative of the Brandy Station Foundation, which runs the Graffiti House.
Graffiti House, 19484 Brandy Road, Brandy Station, about 40 minutes west of Fredericksburg on State Route 3. Free; refreshments provided. 540/727-7718; brandystation foundation.com.
Presented by the University of Mary Washington's Historic Preservation Club, this guided tour of Fredericksburg's most haunted sites brings the history to life.
As student tour guides tell the ghost stories, the subjects, from Hugh Mercer to the maids who started the fire of Fredericksburg in 1822, appear to re-enact the stories for themselves.
Although generally family-friendly, beware of mischievous poltergeists popping up to scare their victims.
"It'll be fun," said Kate Gibson, one of the student tour guides. "It's more funny than scary."
The Ghost Walk meets at the James Monroe Law Offices Museum, 908 Charles St. on Friday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 27, from 5 to 10 p.m. $6 for adults, $4 for UMW faculty, staff and students with school ID, $3 for children 6 to 12 years old and free for children under 5. For reservations, email umwghost
If you've grown tired of all of Fredericksburg's ghost stories, it's worth the drive to experience the witch trials and ghost pirates that Williamsburg has to offer.
The Tavern Ghost Walk, which is family-friendly, and Ghosts Among Us, which is not recommended for the faint of heart, are guided tours that bring the visitors through the hauntings of the historic sites of Williamsburg.
The Tavern Ghost Walk meets nightly through October and November and is $12 for adults and $7 for children under 12. Ghosts Among Us meets almost daily throughout October and November and tickets are $14.
You become a juror at Cry Witch, a program that re-enacts the 1706 trial of Grace Sherwood, putting her fate in the hands of the audience. The program is not suitable for children and is offered most weekdays in October and November. Cost is $16.
Meet the crew of the famous pirate Blackbeard, who was tried and hanged in Williamsburg, and hear their personal tales of the legend in Pirates Among Us. The program is offered Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in October and November and tickets are $14.
For more information and to buy tickets, visit colonialwilliamsburg.com.
Bridget Balch: 540/374-5444
If you like your ghost tales with something sweet, the family-friendly Spooky Stories by the Shore might be the outing for you. Enjoy roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate with some incredibly scary guests Friday, Oct. 26, at Motts Run Reservoir. Rain date Oct. 27. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight. Cost is $5 per person; preregistration is required. Children must attend with paying adult. Fredericksburg Parks & Recreation, 540/372-1086.