Though this year marks the actual 13th annual Hauntings, so will next year and the year after that.
The Loudoun Museum’s Hauntings will provide stories of history and lore a week before Halloween on Oct. 24-26. The Hauntings will be conducted during an hour-and-a-half walking tour of historic buildings and sites in Leesburg to relate tales of death, drama and dueling from the Colonial period through the Civil War.
Fifteen costumed interpreters will lead the tours, making five stops in the historic district of downtown Leesburg that will include three “haunted” houses. The tours will begin at the Leesburg Town Hall and continue to the first stop at the E.V. White House, located at the corner of Cornwall and Liberty streets. There, the interpreters will talk about the history and customs of All Hollows Eve and Halloween and of the origin of lore and its difference with history.
“This sets the stage for taking people to examples of lore and where it may have come from,” said Marybeth Mohr, executive director of the Loudoun Museum.
THE E.V. White House, which happens to be painted pink, is named after the late Col. White. The colonel returned to Loudoun as a Civil War hero and in 1888 opened the People’s National Bank. When he died, he reputedly had the largest funeral in the county.
“The people who live there say things move,” Mohr said.
The next stop is at the Glenfiddich House on North King Street, a building that during the Civil War was called Harrison Hall after the owner and is now the location of the Miles Lehane Group Inc. consulting firm.
In September 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee stopped at the house to recuperate from injuries to his wrists while on his way to invade Maryland, a visit that the young Virginia Miller wrote about in her diary that was later found in the attic. A year earlier, Miller also wrote about Confederate Col. Burt’s visit on Oct. 21, 1861 when he was wounded in the right hip during the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. His blood left a stain on the floor that visitors to the home say they can see late at night but not in the morning. “She was so worried about him, and he was worried about ruining her home,” Mohr said about Miller.
The third stop is a half-block away at the Lynch House, which is owned by Tom and Martha Lynch. The owners’ son kept seeing a ghost, called “the lady,” in his bedroom. Two relatives who visited the house in 1977 and slept in the room also saw the ghost. They did not speak to each other about it and told the owners the next morning. The owners believe that the ghost may be the widow of a previous owner of the house.
The last two stops involve reenactments, one of the famous Mason-McCarty duel and the second of Civil War medical practices on the field, conducted by local acting troops and museum volunteers.
The tour ends at the Loudoun Museum, where tour leaders will talk about memorial and burial practices of the 19th century. Each year about 1,000 people take part in the tours. Last year, there were 1,200 participants during two nights of tours.
“We filled up pretty quickly, so we expanded it to three nights,” Mohr said. “It generates a lot of excitement about a topic of history that is fun and odd.”