Monday, October 02, 2017

Investigating Colonial Williamsburg for National Ghost Hunting Day, er, Night

National Ghost Hunting Day was Saturday, September 30, 2017, this year. The day part, I spent at Paracon at Ferry Plantation, as a vendor, selling my ghost books, the new fictional urban fantasy, How the Vortex Changed My Life and Paranormal World Seekers DVDs. It was a nice day in the 70s, spent with friends and I sold books, as did my PWS investigator, Carol Smith, had sold some of hers. But by 4:30 p.m. we'd left for Williamsburg for dinner and for Carol and her husband to check into the haunted Fort Magruder Hotel for Saturday night. Paranormal World Seekers had been invited as guest investigators for the Original Colonial Williamsburg Ghost Tour for that night. They would also be using a medium psychic, Bree, too.

After dinner at the Dog Street Pub, Carol’s husband drove back to the hotel and Carol followed Bill and me down the street to the
Bruton Parish church, stopping for me to take a couple of pictures along the way. Like at Dora Armistead’s house. The house was once in the area of the Colonial Williamsburg homes, but it was moved to its current location because it was built in the 1800s and not the 1700s. It is claimed that this did not sit well with Doris, whose spirit followed the house to its new location and now haunts the place. The bright moon hung in the sky, in a waxing gibbous phase.

We met a tour outside of the church, but it wasn’t the one with Angela Travetti. Eventually, she appeared. Once everyone for the tour made it, plus a few guides and the psychic, Bree (a very nice lady), they talked to us about live streaming, warning anyone not wanting to be live streamed on Facebook knew this when they paid and about what we would do. Bree was introduced and I was and we talked. Then, we began to walk. We stopped by the field beside the colonial courthouse. My camera caught what rarely happens, but in a couple of other paranormally active places, purple lines across the screen, that I saw first on my viewfinder. 

The next place would be some orbs, things like that. Some, nothing at all. We stopped at the Ludwell house. Where Lucy Ludwell supposedly haunts. The tour guide told he stories about it. The tour guide had me do a ghost box session, which I recorded with my digital recorder, will later upload and listen off my laptop, along with the couple of EVP sessions I did. Bree talked about her impressions, one that she did not get that Lucy was there. Using my ghost box, I didn't get any EVPs of Lucy talking. I snapped more pictures of the house.

This repeated until we came to the Peyton Randolph House— the most haunted house in Colonial Williamsburg. The house stood dark and imposing. Threatening. Something drew me, like someone calling me to come to it, and yet, fear clutched my heart, squeezing. “You’re not an urban legend,” I muttered to it. “You’re the real deal.”

I looked up at the roof and blinked, unsure at first what I saw. Mist filled the area, near the chimney, all this on the left side of the house. The stuff began to thicken and grow bigger, becoming like a cloud. Though the tour guide was telling the stories about the house to the tour group, I asked, “Anyone else seeing it? The mist? I see mist forming on the roof, by the chimney.” Carol admitted to not seeing anything up there, but Bree turned to me and said that she saw it too. Suddenly, it was gone. But before it had vanished, I took a couple of pictures. Sadly, the mist or cloud never appeared in them. Worse, during this time, I felt something trying to draw me closer. Bree said she was frightened of the place, but stepped onto the lawn. A guide told us it was private property (Colonial Williamsburg does own it)—though later, they did let the group come up to the side door on the side of the house. Personally, I wasn’t sure if it would have been a good idea for me to approach it, be at its side. Something wanted me there that night. I was asked once if I would let my team investigate a place with a demon. I said never. I didn’t think it was demonic, but something bad did haunt the place. My inner feelings warned me. I think it knew I had the energy for it. Later, at the side of the house, I harrowed my camera at the top windows in the dark above the people, particularly the one by the tree. Something glowed in that window and a guide assured me nothing was in that window. “You got something for sure,” he said. Later, on my laptop, I saw a figure. Zooming in, I saw her. A woman. One side of her face—what would be the left side—solid white, an eye, maybe the nose, her right side on the other side of the pane not there, but mist forming. Not as substantial as her face, I could see on her left side, what appeared to be the kind of gown a wealthy woman of the 18th century would wear, her hair put up too. She stared down at the tour group. If this was Mrs. Randolph; was she upset (I felt she was) at all, or only at the psychic and the male tour guide telling them the stories, both African American, as she had owned and abused slaves? I think I also caught not as glowing, a figure in the far-left window at front of the house, plus one first floor window two from the door on my right, had glowing stuff, plus one of the pictures had what appears like an animal’s face—maybe a dog?  It appears to me that way anyway. We eventually left the place and stopped at the big tree down the street, where the guide told us another story and I did get some orbs in one photo. The last place was the George Wythe House. The guide told the legend of Ann Skipwith. The one I debunked in my book, Virginia's Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and Other Haunted Locations. The excerpt from the chapter in the book:

She and her husband took up the residence in Mecklenburg, Virginia, but they visited the Colonial capital many times, sometimes for weeks at a time. During one of these visits, they attended a gala at the Governor’s Palace. The couple had an argument there when Ann thought her husband was consorting with her sister. She took off in a bad mood.

She bolted for the Wythe House, losing one of her slippers during her flight. Not stopping to find it, she rushed on through the front door of the house and bounded upstairs. The clock struck twelve at that moment. With only one shoe on, she made an odd clicking noise all the way up the stairs in that dark and empty house. The most interesting thing about this tale is if no one was inside the house at the time, how did they know she made a clicking noise, especially when years later the ghost stories started up with that sound being the focus? Some witnesses thought the sound came from someone with a peg leg.

Besides the fact that no one was home to even see how she entered or what she did, there are those who speculated that she committed suicide over her husband’s infidelities. But the actual truth is she died in childbirth in 1779. Peyton did marry her sister, Jean, eight to nine years after her death. Why wait that long after they were involved as supposedly they were? Another myth laid to rest is the fact that though Peyton and Ann paid extended visits to Wythe House, they never lived there. So, it is doubtful that Ann haunts the house. Whoever does, it’s not her. (Not concerning Ann, but a possibility who might be the one haunting his house, since he’d own it.). A short excerpt from the same chapter: How the owner of the house itself, George Wythe, died has spawned a story worthy of Edgar Allan Poe himself. It is told that his grandnephew poisoned him on anticipation of a great inheritance. But Wythe remained alive long enough to write this nephew out of his will. And George did not die in Wythe House but passed away in Richmond in 1806.

I did bring up my ghost box and got a male voice twice (no scanning radio waves either). I will have to listen to see what he said. We did leave there, and true last stop was the graveyard of Bruton Parish, so, some people took pictures over the wall. I did too—nothing supernatural oriented in any of those.

Below are the rest of the pictures—ones I did get something or suspect I did. The ones with nothing are not here.

Now, for the possible Mrs. Randolph picture, I might have captured. First one as I took the second one has the circled window. I tried to zoom in to make the window bigger and show her with my Word/publisher. Sadly, I didn’t. Sorry. 

And finally, thanks to a friend, the ghost woman in the portrait:

And a portrait of Mrs. Randolph can be found here and looks like the face of the spirit: I assume the spirit is of her older, of course, as she passed away January 31, 1783, and the portrait was done in 1755. 

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