Mottley Law Firm October 2019


THE MOTTLEY CREW REVIEW | (804) 823-2011


slaves. However, the spirits of those lost souls won’t rest easy. Many have reported seeing the disembodied heads of slaves and the ghost of one particular little girl who died in a basement there. When visiting the cellar, people often feel something pushing and pulling on their clothing. Major Graham Mansion is the site of two horrifying tales that many wish were just other pieces of East Coast folklore. The first involves Joseph Baker being murdered by two of his slaves. After his remains were found in a barrel of moonshine, the two slaves were hung on the same property. MAJOR GRAHAM MANSION, WYTHE COUNTY Major Graham then built his home on the bloodstained land. His wife later suffered from depression and eventually went insane. Major Graham, unable to cope, shackled his wife to the basement. She died there and looms as a ghostly presence in the house to this day. SWANNANOA PALACE, AFTON It’s been said this estate is haunted by the wife of the original owner, James Henry Dooley. After Walter Russell bought the estate, he repurposed the mansion as the University of Science and Philosophy. Since the closing of the school, visitors have seen ghosts performing strange rituals. These are believed to be Illuminati rituals, as it was rumored Walter Russell was

Horror and mystery have fascinated me ever since my sixth grade teacher got me into Stephen King novels. I remember reading “The Shining” at such a young age, and I couldn’t sleep for days. While the Grady twins can only scare me in my dreams, plenty of real-life haunted spots right here in Virginia are just waiting to draw you in. COLD HARBOR BATTLEFIELD, MECHANICSVILLE I grew up in Mechanicsville near multiple battlefields, including Cold Harbor Battlefield. And my Dad was the first principal of Cold Harbor Elementary School. I also spent a lot of time exploring Civil War entrenchments in the woods behind my house when I was a kid, where I never felt quite alone! So this one is near and dear to my heart. Best known as one of the most haunted battlefields in the United States, this area has tormented soldiers and visitors alike. During the battle of Cold Harbor in 1864, more than 18,000 soldiers were lost, wounded, or killed. Today, many who have traversed the once-bloody battlefield experience the unexplainable, including possession, excruciating pain, and a dense fog that dissipates as quickly as it descends. What makes the mist so concerning is that, while called “Cold Harbor,” the land is miles away from any significant body of water. BACON’S CASTLE, SURRY During the colonial period of this house’s use, the property lodged as many as 300

connected to the infamous cult. It’s not only Mrs. Dooley that is said to still roam the halls, but Mr. Dooley and servants have also been seen walking the estate, as well.


Behind the walls of this immaculate two-story mansion lurks an unfathomable amount of misery and pain. Bought by Peyton Randolph in 1754, the house is home to a series of mysterious deaths from freak accidents, murder, and even strange illnesses. Hauntings became more prominent in the 1960s when it served as a lodging house. Many guests reported being shoved, tugged on, violently shook, and even brutally attacked in the middle of the night by apparitions. Even a security guard was once trapped in the basement by some hostile force. Visitors beware — these are just some of the best areas to venture to this Halloween season if you wish to sleep a little less. Have you had any ghostly encounters? If so, be sure to share them with me next time you’re in the office. As you can tell, I love a good mystery. -Kevin W. Mottley | 1

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