Virginia has been a central location for much of American history, including a large number of Civil War battles — its place in history also makes it home to a plethora of haunted locations.
In Richmond, old buildings, shops and cemeteries have sparked stories of paranormal activity. Haunts of Richmond hosts walking tours around the city to explore and share stories of famous haunted locations with spectators.
Haunts of Richmond Ghost Tours has been operating for 14 years. In 2004, founders Scott and Sandi Bergman started the business as a haunted house attraction.
The success of the initial project led the Bergmans to transform their attraction into full-blown walking tours. They already had information pertaining to the historical side of the hauntings because the haunted house attraction was based on the area’s history.
Chris and Beth Houlihan started as employees, but took over the company as president and vice president three years ago.
“Beth was a tour guide and I have actually always been somewhat behind the scenes,” Houlihan said. “Really what I do now is marketing, finance and handling all aspects of keeping the tour company overall moving along.”
The company has a series of tours that focus on different neighborhoods in Richmond said to have paranormal activity. There are currently four walking tours, including “Shadows of Shockoe,” the original tour, which explores the haunted history of locations in Shockoe Bottom such as The Poe Museum, Rosie Connolly’s Pub and Restaurant, Remnant Church — which served as one of the most utilized hospitals during the Civil War — and Mason’s Hall.
Paranormal activity at The Poe Museum in particular has been a popular topic of discussion for many employees and visitors over the years. From “Jonathan,” a little boy that likes to play tricks on the employees, to the spirits of the other children that are seen in the garden, the tour has myriad stories to offer about The Poe Museum.
The group conducts tours in Church Hill, Capitol Hill and has brought back a tour focused on the many landmarks around Franklin Street. Despite their success, the Houlihans are constantly researching new material to add to the tours.
“We’re always trying to keep our tours up to date,” Houlihan said.
Tours can be booked at hauntsofrichmond.com. Adult tickets are $14 and entry for children under 13 is $10.