10 Best Myths and Urban Legends in Virginia

Every society has urban legends—stories of ghosts in the night, unrequited love, the past coming back to haunt the unsuspecting. Can you ever really be certain that shadow out of the corner of your eye isn’t the paranormal? These are the stories that sink into the fiber of a place. Here are 10 of Virginia’s best myths and urban legends to help make your day a little less mundane. 

1. The Bunny Man

Perhaps the most famous of Virginia’s urban legends is the tale of the Bunny Man. On Colchester Road near Clifton, Virginia, the Southern Railway overpass is known as the “Bunny Man Bridge.” While versions of the legend differ, the most well-known recalls a nearby asylum shutting down. During the prisoner transfer, one of the transports crashed, killing all but 10. Half-eaten, skinned rabbit carcasses began hanging from the trees surrounding the area. The culprit was chased to the Overpass, where an oncoming train hit him. Ever since, it has been said that his ghost still walks the premises, skinning rabbits and leaving them for unsuspecting passerby’s. 

2. Cavalier Hotel

The Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach dates to 1927. Ever since the first owner shot himself on the sixth floor, the marvelous hotel has been haunted by ghost stories. It’s said that Adolph Coors, of Coors Brewing Company fame, fell out of a sixth floor window to his death. Receptionists still report phone calls from an unoccupied sixth floor room. A young girl and her cat drowned in the pool, but still leave cat paw marks on the upholstery.

3. The Woman in Black - 2014

Just a few years ago, a woman dressed in flowing black robes and veils “became a social media phenomenon when she was spotted wandering a highway in Georgia. Initially she was little more than an eerie figure in a handful of photos, but as time went by it became apparent that the woman was on a journey.” She quickly became an inspiration to others, but the true nature of her journey, her identity, and her motives remain a mystery to most.

4. The Woman in Black – 1902

Not to be outdone, one of the most well-known Roanoke ghost stories involves another Woman in Black. At the turn of the 19th century, The Roanoke Times took to the story of a woman dressed in black who only made herself known to famous married men, writing about it frequently. Speculation as to the woman’s identity ran rampant, with most assuming she was the spirit of a scorned wife. There seems to be little connection between the two Women in Black, but can one ever be truly certain?

5. The Patrick Henry Hotel

The Patrick Henry Hotel is known for its share of ghost stories. Originally built in 1925, it operated until 1968, at which point it was converted to apartments. Throughout its time, reports of three men in the ballroom have run rampant. Mostly, the specters simply watch. Occasionally, one will play the piano. Apartments are still available in the building, so why don’t you check it out for yourself?

6. The Vampire of Hollywood Cemetery

The “Richmond Vampire” or the “Hollywood Vampire” tells the story of W. W. Pool, a vampire who escaped hunters in England in the 1800s and found shelter in a mausoleum next to Virginia Commonwealth University. The story is popular among students and makes for an interesting Halloween in Richmond.

7. The Byrd Theatre

The Byrd Theater is another favorite spot for Richmond ghost hunters. According to local folklore, the manager Robert Coulter died on the premises but never left. He can still be seen watching movies, and even barring the doors at night. In addition, a little girl is known to haunt the downstairs women’s restroom. No one knows the little girl’s identity. 

8. The Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum

The Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum in Gordonsville, Virginia, is home to “80 recorded incidents” of ghost activity. As one of the most used Civil War medical outposts, untold numbers of soldiers on either side spent their last days inside the makeshift hospital. “When Spirit Search Paranormal Investigations visited the abandoned train station [nearby], they recorded many EVPs and photographed several eerie shadows.” It is well known to the people of Gordonsville to avoid the hotel at night for fear of those who still walk the halls. 

9. Crawford Road – Yorktown

Crawford Road in Yorktown is infamous for the many ghosts that haunt it. Many stories of supernatural incidents occurring when driving on the road abound. Some say they radio turns to a loud, screeching noise, like terrified screaming. Others claim the windows fog up, except for handprints from the outside. Even more talk about the unhappy bride that hanged herself nearby on her wedding day that now visits passengers on the wayward trail. Crawford Road holds even more dark secrets, if you care to find out for yourself. 

10. Evington’s Lost Locomotive: The Gorilla Train

On the night of Feb. 5, 1952, a Barnum and Bailey circus train was derailed by Lynchburg, Virginia. Animals of all kinds met their end, but of 50 gorillas on the train, 35 escaped into the nearby woods. None of them were ever recovered. Ever since, stories of the missing gorillas swinging from trees, howling in the night, and chasing local wildlife have been reported. The story of the Gorilla Train captured the imagination of the locals up through the 1980s, when the last report was filed. Did the Gorilla Train really run of the tracks? Don’t go in the woods alone!  

Virginia Search
Best Things To Do Near You
Best Things To Do Near You
Oct
22

Total Terror Haunted Attraction

7:00 PM
Powhatan County Fairgrounds Powhatan, VA
Learn More
Oct
22

Blood Lake Haunted Trail

7:30 PM
Windy Hill Golf Course and Sports Complex Midlothian, VA
Learn More
Oct
22

BoDeans

8:00 PM
The Tin Pan Richmond, VA
Learn More
Oct
22
Oct
23

Total Terror Haunted Attraction

7:00 PM
Powhatan County Fairgrounds Powhatan, VA
Learn More
Oct
23

Blood Lake Haunted Trail

7:30 PM
Windy Hill Golf Course and Sports Complex Midlothian, VA
Learn More
Oct
23
Oct
23
Oct
23

BoDeans

8:00 PM
The Tin Pan Richmond, VA
Learn More
Oct
23

Madison Cunningham

8:00 PM
The Southern Cafe & Music Hall Charlottesville, VA
Learn More
Show More
Best Places To Go Near You
Best Places To Go Near You
1732 Popes Creek Road, Colonial Beach, VA
George Washington was America’s first and greatest hero whose leadership was crucial to the establishment of the United States as an independ... Read More
17263 Southern Planter Lane, Leesburg, VA
Morven Park is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is operated in the public interest by the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation, Inc. Morve... Read More
21668 Heritage Farm Lane, Sterling, VA
About Us:The Heritage Farm Museum is a non-profit organization which works to promote and preserve Loudoun County's agricultural heritage through e... Read More
101 Cave Hill Road, Luray, VA
About Us:Since discovery in 1878 by a tinsmith and a local photographer, visitors by the millions have made Luray Caverns the most popular cave in ... Read More
9285 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, VA
The Museum was established in 1923 by American Legion Post #25 (The Braxton/Perkins Post) as the American Legion Memorial Museum. The City of Newpo... Read More
163 Yorktown Road, Newport News, VA
Lee Hall Mansion is the only large antebellum plantation house remaining on the lower Virginia Peninsula. Completed in 1859, Lee Hall Mansion was ... Read More
305 Mason Avenue, Cape Charles, VA
Mission Statement Our mission is to encourage and promote education, interest, and appreciation for the Fine and Performing Arts through quality in... Read More
221 High Street, Portsmouth, VA
Welcome to the all new, totally renovated, Children’s Museum of Virginia! They’ve added 12,000 square feet – total of 72,000 &nda... Read More
One Memorial Place, Norfolk, VA
History: Founded in 1939 as the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, the Museum experienced explosive growth in 1971 when automobile heir and art c... Read More
7637 North Shore Road, Norfolk, VA
History: The Hermitage Museum and Gardens consists of an early 20th century historic house museum with a world-wide art collection and contemporar... Read More
300 Washington Boulevard, Fort Eustis, VA
The museum was opened in 1969 with displays left over from a recruiting exhibit. Within ten years, a Foundation was organized to raise private fund... Read More
One Waterside Drive, Norfolk, VA
Mission Statement: Nauticus inspires and educates with engaging & interactive experiences that celebrate our connections with today's maritime... Read More
1201 East Clay Street, Richmond, VA
Mission Statement: The Museum of the Confederacy's mission is to serve as the preeminent world center for the display, study, interpretation, comme... Read More
Show More
Select a Virginia town to find
the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Bristol County
Buena Vista City County
Charles City County
Charlottesville City County
Chesapeake City County
Colonial Heights City County
Covington City County
Danville City County
Franklin City County
Galax City County
Hampton City County
Harrisonburg City County
Hopewell City County
Lexington City County
Loudon County
Lynchburg City County
Manassas Park City County
Martinsville City County
Newport News City County
Norfolk City County
Norton City County
Petersburg City County
Poquoson City County
Portsmouth City County
Powhatan County
Radford County
Roanoke City County
Salem County
Staunton City County
Suffolk City County
Waynesboro City County
Winchester City County