Monday, February 2, 2009
Ft Monroe is located in Hampton, Virginia. This fort was constructed between 1819 and 1834. The fort consists of six sides and has a moat around it. The fort was designed to protect the opening to the Chesapeake Bay. During the Civil War this moat was occupied by Union Troops.
Ever since I was a small child I always enjoyed visiting Ft. Monroe. I have so many fond memories. There was a swimming pool that was built right in front of the moat facing the Chesapeake Bay. My sister and I frequented this pool with some of our good friends. I always remember going out there to watch the awesome fire works display during Fourth of July. Not until I became interested in the paranormal did I find that beyond the historical documentation was there more to know about Ft Monroe. Many stories about ghosts have been told by those who have worked and or lived there.
One of the first investigations that I have ever done there during operational hours involved the sighting of Jefferson Davis' wife, Varina Howell. As the story goes, Jefferson Davis was a prisoner at Ft Monroe. After finding out this horrible news, Varina goes to Virginia to be near her husband. The ghost story that has evolved concerns Varina as she wanders the top of the fort, trying to catch a glimpse of her husband. It has also been said that you can hear her sobbing.
After several attempts to catch this phenomenon, My ghost hunting friend and I were unable to document it. We had a lot of fun trying though. It is very spooky up there, especially at sunset. Another eerie element is the animal cemetery!
Not only was Mrs. Davis a return visitor, so was Jefferson Davis himself. It has been said that people have seen his apparition in different parts of the Fort. Also during his incarceration there, he was held in chains and part of the legend is that people have often said that they have heard chains rattling in the fort.
Upon touring the fort, which includes the room of Jefferson Davis' imprisonment, I must say that there is not much to tell. The room is made of stone and furnished with a cot, table and chair. Right outside of his room are a few items he had with him, an ivory pipe and some books. Jefferson Davis was always under the supervision of union soldiers. When visiting this room, I could definitely feel an energy in there. It was amazing to know that some one of this velocity was kept a prisoner right here in Hampton Roads. Truly amazing.
Another great ghost story is "Ghost Alley." This is possibly a true story where a relationship goes bad. There has never been any documentation found to verify this tragic event. My former ghost investigator friend and I spent many a time trying to pick up on this "lady in white." Allegedly she was an officers wife that had an affair with another officer. The story is that he comes home to find them in "bed." He then chases them out of the house, down the back alley, and then proceeds to kill her. What has been seen is a woman dressed in a white night gown running down the back alley. I did pick up energy in that area of where she was allegedly seen running from her husband. Many of those that have lived in that row of homes state that they have seen her.
I have several personal accounts of ghostly encounters within the old fort. When I was about ten years old I had a friend that lived at Ft Monroe. Her dad was in the Army and they lived in one of the grand three story homes located on the fort. She used to tell me that her sister who was older, would never be alone on the third floor. They both said that they would hear weird noises. I spent many a night and never saw anything, but I never disregarded my friends ghostly story.
Another story told to me by a friend lived in another set of quarters inside the moat. My friend's dad was also in the Army. He told us stories of being home alone and being able to hear music and people talking on the second floor of the house. When he would go up there to checkout the situation, only to find no one there. He also said that things would be moved around. I remember being over there at his house for a party one time in high school and even though it was a celebratory event, the house, as I remember it, was quite uncomfortable.
Finally the most interesting story to tell came from the manager of the gift shop at the fort at Ft Monroe. I asked her if she ever experienced any phenomena. She told me that there were certain parts of the fort that she did not feel comfortable in. She also informed me that she can often hear the voices of children at play, running up and down the stone floor of the fort. The manager of the gift shop also told me that the store's location in the fort is the same place that used to be housing for military personnel and their families. She said that the gift shop was actually the bedroom area for the children that resided there. She told the story of coming in many a morning to find things strewn on the floor. The manager said that she makes it a point to say "good night" to the kids as she exits the gift shop for the day. She says as long as she acknowledges them things will remain in place at the gift shop.
I think Ft Monroe is a wonderful place to visit and highly recommend it on your next visit to Hampton. Other than the ghosts, the great thing about the Casemate museum is that the museum is free!