Doors that open on their own, candles that mysteriously move, and the unexplained wails of a baby—these are just some of the eerie encounters Joyce Garner and other Colonial Williamsburg employees say they’ve had with the supernatural over the years.
Joyce and her family have lived in Williamsburg for generations. Her roots run deep—all the way back to the late 1800s when her Grandma Fanny and Grandpa Fred lived in the Reid House. Joyce has been working as an interpreter for two decades and over that time, she’s collected quite a few tales that will raise your eyebrows and give you the chills. Are they legit? Could the Historic Area really be haunted? She shared some accounts with us. We’ll let you be the judge…
Mary Dickinson Shop
One evening, when they were closing up shop, Joyce says they brought in the six to eight hats that hang on a ribbon on the door and set them on the counter. Early the next morning, when Joyce went to open up, she claims all of the hats were scattered across the floor. Some would chalk it up to a blast of air but she’s convinced the spirits of children from the nearby Geddy House got mischievous that night.
In addition to those children Joyce just referred to, she says there have also been several accounts of a baby crying inside the Geddy House. There’s no indication as to whom that baby may be. Another oddity? Every now and then, if you take a picture of the front door late at night and use your flash, we’re told you may capture an unexplainable mist.
Peyton Randolph House
“That’s the scariest house,” Joyce whispered when recollecting stories of the Randolph House. According to her, employees have seen the apparitions of at least two slave children—one of them a girl. This spirit seems to steps out of the wall and looks at you as if to say, “Why are you in my house?” According to ghost author L.B. Taylor, Jr., this is also where a tour guide says she felt an “evil” presence try to push her down the stairs. Over the years, several people have reported waking up to a woman at the end of their bed, anxiously wringing her hands, as if to warn of impending danger.
A friend of Joyce’s who worked as an attendant was setting up for an evening program and called security to let them know which house they’d be using. She then placed all of the candles on the table in the Parlor Room and stepped outside to wait for the tour. When she came back in to light the candles, all of them had been knocked to the floor.
Joyce shared with us a personal encounter she had in this house—as she was setting up one night for a storyteller. She tells us there was still a fair amount of daylight left, so she closed the shutters to block out the sun. Next, she set up the chair and the candle holder for the actor and walked across to the south room to make sure everything was out of sight for the guests who were about to enter. When she re-entered, the large candle holder had moved to the opposite side of the room. That same night, they found sand along one of the benches as if someone had been walking on it.
Have you had any spooky encounters in the Revolutionary City? Share your experiences and pictures in the comments below!