Paranormal Travels, Abingdon, Virginia

Sherri Granato By Sherri Granato, 7th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Paranormal>Ghosts & Spirits

The Martha Washington Hotel & Spa, located in the historic district of Abingdon has been dubbed one of the most haunted buildings in the entire state of Virginia, giving the antique monument an important role in keeping ghost hunters on their toes.

The Haunted Historic Abingdon Ghostwalk & the Martha Washington Hotel & Spa

Ghost hunters traveling through the historical state of Virginia will be ecstatic upon discovering that one of the most haunted locations in the state is an inn where they can rest their weary heads after a long day of tracking spirits. In fact the Martha Washington Hotel & Spa, located in the historic district of Abingdon has been dubbed one of the most haunted buildings in the entire state of Virginia, giving the antique monument an important role in keeping ghost hunters on their toes. The prestigious and highly distinguished mansion was originally designed and built by war hero Brigadier General Francis Preston in 1832 for a staggering $15,000 dollars as a private residence for his large family that included nine children. His wife Sarah Buchanan Preston was the daughter of General William Campbell who was a militia leader during the American Revolutionary War.

The mansion originally sat privately nestled in the Great Appalachian Valley and was the picture perfect location for raising children; however furnishing their new home with its many parlors and a grand stairway that was the envy of many proved to be costly and challenging, but well worth every penny. The great care given to every last detail is still evident today as the entry to the inn along with the parlors are reflective of the 19th century as very little has been changed throughout the years. During the year of 1858 major changes occurred to the residence from the mansion being sold to the residence becoming a first rate college for women. The institution was named in honor of the first lady Martha Washington and quietly sustained through the Civil War and later the Great Depression; however the War Between the States changed innocent school girls into serious nurses desperately needed for treating injured soldiers during the bloody battle of the Civil War.

Sadly the Martha Washington College closed during the year 1932 after declining enrollment, possibly from the effects of the Great Depression and from the hundreds of people afflicted by typhoid fever forcing alternative measures in order to survive, and at the time a higher education just wasn't on that list. Ownership of the mansion changed hands at a steady pace and at one time the Martha Washington even served as a theater that housed actors from Ned Beatty to Ernest Borgnine who were in the infancy stages of their careers. Ghost stories were a common theme throughout this time as everyone from the nurses to the staff and even the actors were subjected to strange and unexplainable events that kept the paranormal stories growing at a steady pace. Ghost soldiers with pain etched in their faces were seen walking the halls aimlessly at all hours of the day and night.

By 1935 when the mansion opened its doors as the Martha Washington Inn it had a reputation for ghosts frequently loitering on the property, officially dubbing the historical building as one of the most haunted inns in the United States. One story that has drawn attention is the ghost of a Union soldier who had been shot in the head and sought treatment at the makeshift hospital. He had tied his horse to a tree on the estate's property along the south lawn. The soldier succumbed to his injury during the night while his horse stood guard while waiting for his owner's return. The horse eventually gave up and disappeared into the nearby woods. A ghost horse roaming the grounds has been spotted by hundreds of visitors only to discover that it vanishes into thin air when they get too close to the site where he appears.

Violin music can be heard playing off in the distance, believed to be coming from nurse Beth, the kind hearted woman who cared for and eventually fell in love with a wounded Union soldier. She played soothing music for him up until he passed away. Beth also perished just three short weeks later from typhoid fever. Her apparition is normally witnessed by guests in room 403 at the inn. Secret tunnels appear to be an open portal for guests from the other side to enter the Martha Washington as they see fit, and one very brave Confederate soldier and confidante of General named Robert E. Lee used the tunnels and secret stairs to visit his sweetheart who at the time happened to be a student at the college. Sadly he was killed in front of his girlfriend by two on guard Union soldiers who were alerted as to his entering the building. The bloody aftermath left on the floor from the soldier's body continually reappears still today no matter how much effort is given to remove the bloody reminder from more than a century and a half ago.

What could be more obvious that a ghost is in the house then an open trail of mud on the floor from soiled boots tracks left behind from an apparition that vanishes into thin air as he is hobbling along on his crutches down the hallway? Cold spots, orbs and rattling doorknobs have a mind of their own in the Martha Washington, and don't be surprised if you come across the wounded ghost soldier seeking treatment for his head that has been split open. His anguish is quite possibly more freaky then his actual presence.

Ghost stories that have merit eventually leak to bigger sources where proof of paranormal activity come into play. The Travel Channel caught wind of the very haunted Martha Washington and decided to feature the inn as a part of their collection on the most haunted inns in America. The Appalachian Ghostwalks Haunted Vacations Ghost and History Tours offers an experience into a spooky experience that leads you through a paranormal escapade and a learning experience that you are likely not to forget.

Haunted Historic Abingdon Ghostwalk: You will be introduced into a positive perspective concerning ghosts, paranormal and all that deals with the afterlife throughout the historical section of Abingdon, including the Martha Washington Hotel & Spa. For information on joining in on the festivities that include a "ghostwalk" and historical tour of state landmarks and sites along with discount tickets to the inn. For more information call: 423-743-9255.

The Martha Washington has come to be known as a hotel and spa rather then an inn these days due to the many quality services offered to guests. Fine dining and special events from weddings to corporate meetings are all held at the Martha Washington. Massage, facials, body treatments and a salon can all be located at the spa where world class treatment is offered to guests so that they may unwind and savor the enviable Virginia serenity. Known as a gateway to the past, much consideration was put forth when an $8 million dollar renovation in 1984 opened the Martha Washington Hotel & Spa into a new direction by offering guests Superior and Deluxe Rooms as well as Suites. Theater & Spa Packages are available as is Suite Deals and Indulgences. The packages vary in prices and offer everything from massages to three course meals and breakfast for two. For more information go to:

Location: 150 West Main Street, Abingdon, Virginia 24210. Phone: 276-628-3161


American Revolutionary War, Apparition In Room 403, Brigadier General Francis Preston, Civil War, Ghost Hunters, Ghosts, Ghostwalk, Great Depression, Haunted, Hotel, Martha Washington College, Music, Paranormal, Spa, Spirits, Typhoid Fever, Union Soldier, Violin Music

Meet the author

author avatar Sherri Granato
Sherri has lived in several haunted properties, including a morgue turned basement apartment. Instead of fearing the paranormal, she has opted to embrace, investigate and understand it.

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author avatar Margaret Michel
9th Aug 2014 (#)

Love the history behind spooky tales!

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