Monday, April 28, 2008

Haunted Governors Mansion

In August of 2006 my husband, daughter and I went on a "ghost walk" in Richmond VA. While a bit on the boring side one thing did stick out that I enjoyed. We were taken to the gates of the Governor of Virginia's home. I had heard the stories that the mansion was haunted, and was really excited to read this newspaper article that was printed just a few months after I took my photo showing some orbs.
Here is the article along with some additional information on the "mystery lady" that haunts the home.

Mr. Governor, it’s the ghost again
By CHRISTINA NUCKOLS, The Virginian-Pilot
© December 8, 2006

If there’s a paranormal “Do Not Call” registry out there, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine would like to sign up.

The governor told radio listeners Thursday that the ghost who supposedly has haunted the 193-year-old executive mansion in Richmond for more than a century seems to have taken up telemarketing.

“The telephone will ring once in the private quarters that we have at a very inconvenient time. It rings once, pick it up, there’s nobody there,” Kaine said on his monthly radio call-in show. “It’s always at the exact same moment.”

Legend has it the Gray Lady took up residence in the executive mansion in the 1800s after dying in a carriage accident as she was returning from a party at the governor’s home.

“The story is, she came back to the mansion because that was where she had her last happy moments in life,” said Amy Bridge, director of the executive mansion, the oldest continuously occupied governor’s residence in the United States.

Kaine wouldn’t reveal the precise timing of the calls to avoid “copy-cat poltergeists,” but spokesman Kevin Hall said they occur just after midnight on the same day of the week. Bridge said former Gov. Mark Warner also received the spooky phone calls.

Realizing that his listeners might be unnerved to hear about their governor’s supernatural adventures, Kaine assured them he has never seen the Gray Lady.

“I could have just really unwound my whole term as governor by launching into a description of my communing with the spirits,” he said.

Ghost of the Governor's Mansion in Richmond

By Mary Moss, published Aug 06, 2007

The Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Virginia seems an implausible place for a ghost to be seen, heard and felt. But in fact the earliest sighting of a ghost in the mansion is a young lady sitting in a window. This sighting took place in the early 1890's by then Governor Philip McKinney. He is surely a credible witness! Reportedly, the Governor had come inside, washed up in a bathroom, and entered a bedroom. He was startled to see a young lady sitting in the window. He checked with his wife and was told she had no visitors. When he rechecked the bedroom, the lady was gone. A search of the mansion ensued, but turned up no lady or any clues to her identity.

On another occasion, the ghost of the woman was seen by a Capitol police officer. The officer reported seeing a woman standing at the window of an upstairs bedroom where visitors were not authorized to be. He went up to the room to tell her she was not allowed in the room. When he entered the room she disappeared before his eyes, like a ghost.

In 1972, during the tenure or Governor Linwood Holton, a curious incident occurred that added to the ghost's credibility. Hurricane Agnes tore through Richmond that year, and caused a blackout in downtown Richmond, including the Capitol and the Governor's Mansion. Governor Holton reported that during the blackout someone or something moved several of the paintings in his bedroom. Could it have been the ghost of the Governor's mansion?

Another ghostly incident that occurred during the blackout was reported by Ann Compton, then with ABC television. She was ABC's White House correspondent at the time and was on assignment at the Capitol. She was called to the house by one of Governor Holton's staff secretaries. The woman showed her that the entire mansion was dark except for one light bulb in the ladies' stairwell of the mansion. It continued to shine throughout the blackout. They tried every light switch in the mansion to no affect. Compton reported that Mrs. Holton had told her she always thought there was a ghost in the mansion.

Another Capitol police offer had a hair-raising experience with a ghost in the basement of the Governor's mansion during Governor Dalton's tenure. The officer became curious when the Governor's dog, with hair raised on his back, began barking furiously at a nearby window. As he approached the window he felt a cold chill in the room. There was a summer heat wave at the time, but the officer noticed the window had frosted over and the curtains were swirling. Within moments the curtains stopped swirling and the frost on the window disappeared.

Who is this mysterious ghost? No one has ever determined the answer to that question. But her presence was apparently real enough on one occasion to scare a Capitol police officer so badly he quit his job! The officer was in the basement of the Governor's mansion one night and claims he distinctly felt something or someone touch his face. He was apparently so terrified he threw his badge down on the floor on his way out of the house.

The ghost of the Governor's mansion is one of the most famous ghosts of Richmond, Virginia. She has never been identified and apparently means no harm. The ghost of this poor woman recently endured the complete remodeling and refurbishing of the Governor's mansion. Since no reports of her presence have surfaced lately, maybe she's finally satisfied with what they've done with the place!

Is there life after death? I believe there is. I hope so, anyway, because I have a lot I want to accomplish, and I'm not sure I can do it all in one lifetime!

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