These three spots on the historic Yorktown Battlefield have long been known for the colonial ghosts that wander and haunt the grounds.
After a 22-day siege, the British military, under the command of General Charles Cornwallis, finally surrendered to the American army in Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781. With the help of the French Navy, American General George Washington was able to corner Cornwallis and his army and trap them in the city. While it has been almost two and a half centuries since the Siege of Yorktown, some swear that the colonial ghosts of the British and American soldiers who died there still haunt the city to this day.
This time of year, a lot of people head out to historic locations to try their hand at ghost hunting. With Halloween coming up, we've compiled a list of some of the most haunted colonial spots in Yorktown so you can get out there and hunt for colonial ghosts ... if you dare!
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Surrender Field is the spot where Cornwallis formally surrendered to the American military. When the surrender was officially signed, many of the exhausted British redcoats reportedly broke down emotionally. The redcoat band began playing the song "The World Turned Upside Down," highlighting how improbable it was for the rag-tag American army—mostly comprised of untrained militia—to defeat the strongest military the world had ever known. Today, visitors to Surrender Field have reported hearing that same song playing, with not a single instrumentalist in sight. As if that wasn't creepy enough, some have even reported hearing cannon fire and seeing ghosts dressed as colonial soldiers. If you're a history buff and love ghost hunting, this spot needs to be at the top of your to-do list.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Before Cornwallis was defeated, American and French cannons shelled Yorktown for three straight weeks. During the battle, a man named John Turner was gravely injured, hit by a stray bullet while he was tending to his family's fields. Turner was rushed to the Moore family's house where his wife, Clara, struggled to keep him alive. Ultimately, John Turner succumbed to his wounds and was actually buried on the Moore property. Clara wrote a poem for her departed husband, which currently adorns his gravestone.
"Ah cruel ball so sudden to disarm and tear my tender husband from my arms. How can I grieve too much what time shall end by mourning for so good so kind a friend."
Courtesy of A Haunting We Will Go
To this day, visitors report seeing a female ghost, dressed in a long dress, wandering the grounds and weeping. She is believed to be the ghost of Clara Turner, still mourning the untimely death of her husband. This is not the only freaky sighting. In one of the Moore House's bedrooms, possibly the room where John Turner passed away, visitors have reported seeing a body-sized indentation in the bed, as if someone had been lying on it.
On the morning of October 17, 1781, General Cornwallis informed the American forces that he wanted a ceasefire so that the two sides could negotiate terms. Ultimately, he chose the Moore House as the location for these negotiations, adding even more historical significance to this haunted house. Today, the Moore House is a museum that sits on the Yorktown Battlefield and is managed by the National Park Service. During the fall, they typically offer tours on weekends.
Photo courtesy of the National Park Service
During the Siege of Yorktown, British General Cornwallis and his officers took shelter from the shelling in this house. The property belonged to Thomas Nelson, a colonial general who not only signed the Declaration of Independence, but also later went on to become the governor of Virginia.
When word leaked out that the upper echelon of the British Army was hiding out in his family estate, Thomas Nelson made the difficult decision and ordered the American cannons to focus their fire on his home. Many British soldiers in and around the house were killed by the cannon fire. One of those soldiers was believed to be in the stairwell when he took shrapnel. Guests have reported strange paranormal activity on and around that stairway, doors randomly slamming shut, strange cold spots, and creaks when no one should be upstairs.
While the home was not totally destroyed in the shelling, it still shows scars from that bombardment. The National Park Service purchased the home in 1968 and restored it to its original colonial appearance. However, no restorations can change the history of this iconic landmark or shoo away the colonial ghosts that still haunt it.
Have you been to any of these places? Have you experienced anything of the paranormal nature? Tell us in the comments!