Spooky Sightings Scare Students

We’ve all heard Loudoun County referred to as horse country and wine country, but what about ghost country? From pre-revolutionary homes to historical sites dating back to the Civil War, plenty of mysterious happenings have been reported. Some are classic tales of soldiers haunting their battle fields, but others are a little more personal, as our own students recount their own experiences with what they think are ghosts.
Sites in Loudoun County hold top positions for being the most haunted in Virginia, according to the website, “Haunted Places,” which lists sites of spooky sightings. Hauntings and Happenings of Loudoun County, a book by Frank Raflo, the late politician, journalist, and historian, tells in more depth of the supernatural activity that Loudoun holds.
Balls Bluff Battlefield is a site that is reportedly haunted. Located in Leesburg, it is thought to be haunted by some of the 54 union soldiers buried there. In this battle, a commanding officer of the Union was given false reports of an unprotected enemy camp. He launched an attack that failed miserably and caused the subsequent loss of 54 soldiers’ lives, including his own. Perhaps these soldiers wander Balls Bluff Battlefield seeking another chance, revenge, or to be made known by local residents.
Frank Raflo tells of a group of teenagers in the 1950s who experienced these ghost soldiers firsthand. These young people were about to embark on a spooky journey around the gravesite, but were halted by the sound of a bone-chilling scream. The group ran to the car, starting it with no problem. Preparing a speedy getaway, they realized that the car would not move forward. It felt as those the car was being held back, and no amount of pressure on the gas pedal would cause it to budge. Finally, the car lurched forward, sending the group of teenagers speeding quickly home. When they reached the home of one of the group members, they examined the back of the car to see what was holding it up. Upon the wide bumper of the car was the unmistakable imprint of two muddy hand prints. This well-known tale of Balls Bluff has both spooked and intrigued locals to this day.
Loudoun County was the site of many civil war battles, due to it being a good stage for attacking the major towns of Winchester and Harpers Ferry, as well as a good point for the Confederacy to launch an attack upon the Union Capitol in Washington D.C.. Dirt Roads wind through Loudoun County, dating back to pre-civil war era, and many of them were marched on by Union and Confederate troops-and may still be today. Junior Jess Hornyak lives on such a road herself, and recounts her unexplainable sightings.
“Coming home at night, my headlights shine at the base of this hill, and there is always this form like thing that moves left and is almost like a white reflection. I have completely stopped and tried to figure out what my headlights are shining off of, but there’s nothing around besides trees. The way it moves left even though my car and headlights are still going straight is so creepy.”
Other students have recounted a similar experience as Hornyak’s of seeing a supernatural figure, but they can not so easily drive away from it. Sometimes, the site that is being haunted is their own home.
“My house used to be a slave house. It burned down and then was rebuilt, and then after it was rebuilt we bought it. We have an older side of the house that’s always ten times creepier at night,” said sophomore Krista Connolly of her old home. “I see people and the lights randomly turn off.”
Freshman Andrew Hale has had very similar sightings to Connolly’s, as he lives in a historic
home in old town Waterford.
“When I first moved in, I saw this man walking around with a hat on. At first I thought it was my dad, but it was around midnight and my parents were asleep. Later, they saw him too.”
More frequently though, Hale will notice that, “a lot of the electronics in my house turn on randomly”.
In Hauntings and Happenings of Loudoun County, Raflo tells of houses in nearby Waterford, one of which is next to a cemetery. The current owners of the old home were warned of the “cold” aura held by the home when they moved in, so they sought to change the atmosphere. The woman of the house, “began an active campaign to make the house a center of activities,” and eventually the home became a “warm” place. As Raflo suggests, perhaps the existence of ghosts is simply based on whether or not they are believed in and accepted.
As a hotbed for history, Loudoun County has seen the emergence of tales and legends that have lasted through the present day.

The Connolly’s old slave house
The Connolly’s old slave house