I had a conversation with my friend Joannie this morning. She's the one that we'll be sharing the resort suite with in Fort Lauderdale. She's a good friend, has been for a long time now, one of the few good ones I've kept post-Fundytown.
One of the things we discussed is that I told her of my plan to hop a tour bus in Fort Lauderdale for a day in Key West with my pal Cindy. We've be talking about a Key West day for ages. I invited Joannie but had to warn her that a) we would be drinking copious amounts of cold adult beverages and b) there might be a few visits to paranormal hot-spots and a pilgrimage to the museum holding Robert the Haunted Doll.
I knew Joannie is still pretty conservative and still living part-time in Fundytown so I wasn't surprised she was not a fan of my plans. She wants me to put off the Key West trip until our co-family vacation is over. I'm not inclined to do that so I'm anticipating push-back at some point.
Rarely do I go looking for the paranormal, but Key West is like my visit to the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum five years ago. I cannot resist the allure. Plus the weather, scenery and beaches make it a day trip I must take.
One thing it did start me thinking about is all the insane paranormal places and experiences I have had here in good old Central Virginia, listed below not necessarily in order. None of these places have I ever gone attempting to have an encounter.
The Graffiti House - Brandy Station, Virginia: This is one of those places where the electrical energy is so strong that I usually get very sick to my stomach. I've been touched there, heard disembodied voices and once found what I can only assume was General Hooker telling me he's angry that people associate his name with prostitutes.
The State Theater - Culpeper, Virginia: Used to work for the theater chain that owned the State as well as the theater I worked at when I first arrived in Culpeper. My experiences at the State were when I was still trying to ignore and suppress the things that seemed to happen around me. The State Theater was built originally by Mr. Pitt and he's been seen by many people working there, including me. He's usually spotted in the balcony overlooking the place. The State is old, very old, dating back to the beginning of the motion picture industry invading every small town. Once while called in to start the film on a late night showing I looked over the balcony after coming down from the projection booth and saw that the entire theater was filled, blinked and looked again, only seeing some twenty or thirty people.
The projection booth was most interesting because it was straight up a very steep flight of stairs from the back of the balcony area. It was built for the days of the old carbon arc movie projectors, when films switched from reel to reel between two projectors. The projectionist had to stay in the booth while the film was running to pick up on the film cues (round circles at the end and beginning of the reels) and move from projector to projector to keep the film running without any lapses. So the projection booth at the State was built with a toilet in the center of the booth, which always made me laugh! One of the weirdest things about the projection booth was the rare times I got called over there to start a film I would lay out the splicer and other tools just in case the film broke, leave the projection booth to go work the candy counter and lock the projection room door. Later I'd come back and find that all my tools had been rearranged in the booth. I heard from others that ran the projectors that they had similar experiences.
Childhelp Alice C Tyler Village - Lignum, Virginia: Worked there about a year and had a handful of very unnerving experiences including whenever I worked alone in the main reception building I'd encountered the spirit of a small boy. Many times the electronic toys in the playroom in that building would turn on by themselves when this spirit appeared. Measured the EMF in the building and it was much higher than normal.
One of the cottages I would frequently hear the laughter and murmuring of a small boy in the locked office when no one was around.
Others I know have reported seeing and hearing things around the building that Alicia Showalter Reynold's body was found behind as well as seeing Civil War era soldiers at the pier near the Rappahannock River.
Route 3 Road - Lignum, Virginia - Both myself and a family member have seen Civil War era soldiers coming out of the woods where the lanes narrow from four to two. This has happened more than once.
The Hunton House - Madison, Virginia: Pre-Civil War hotel on the main drag it faced the quilting store I worked in. Many times at twilight I've glimpse a face or shadowy figure in the upper stories of the building. The building is devoid of residents with the exception of the caretaker, an elderly man who lives in a ground floor apartment.
The Old Tuberculosis Sanitarium - Madison, Virginia: Across the street from the Hunton House is a small white building sitting on Main St. that was used back in the 1800s as a place to quarentine tubercular patients. Frequently saw faces at the windows and heard noises coming from the completely empry building.
The Little Quilt Shop - Madison, Virginia: Worked at the shop, which was situated in an old church built in the 1800s. Doors would open and close by themselves, we would hear overhead footsteps in the choir loft and occasionally you'd hear snippets of hymns being sung. Building is empty and closed now.
Manassas Battlefield Park at Bull Run - Manassas, Virginia: Many times in my way to see my adult children I take a a short cut down an old Post Office road and the same road that the Yankees and Southerners marched down. I sometimes see the soldiers if I'm driving through the battle ground area at night.
There are more but it's late and I'm wearing out. Any Central Virginia ghost hunters out there? These might be good to start with.