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Virginia

A famous haunt in Charles City, Virginia, is Shirley Plantation. The stories there center around a haunted painting that now hangs in a second-floor bedroom. The portrait is of Martha Hill, daughter of the man who built the house in 1723. The painting is about all that remains of Martha, because most of her belongings went with her to England where she died. But by 1858, family descendants started noticing an unusual property of her painting. Whenever it was removed from its spot on the second-floor, the frame would start shaking violently. They moved it to a bedroom on the third floor, stored it in the attic, hung it on the first floor, but the portrait was never "happy" unless it was back in the second-floor bedroom. In 1974, the Virginia Tourist Office put the touchy painting on display at Rockefeller Center in NY, along with other items related to psychic phenomena in VA. Martha Hills’ portrait created quite a sensation. People walking by on the street reported it moving constantly. It swayed back and forth so violently that other exhibits were also vibrating, and the phenomenon was documented on the NBC Nightly News. The painting caused such hysteria that it was removed from the display, though that did not dampen Martha’s spirit. Dozens of office workers near the storeroom in which the painting was locked heard incessant knocking sounds coming from the room. When officials retrieved the painting, its frame was so badly damaged, that it had to be sent to Linden Galleries in Richmond for repair. The same eerie vibrations were reported by workers there. Finally, the portrait was returned to Shirley Plantation, where it hangs today, peacefully, above a mahogany chest in Martha’s second-floor bedroom.

Another Virginia paranormal hotspot is the Old Town Inn in Manassas, just outside Washington, DC. Recently, a family vacationing from Griffith, Indiana, were caught in a violent thunderstorm one evening and sought lodging at the inn. They were assigned Room 54 of the century-old hotel. The thunderstorm had knocked out TV reception, so the husband, wife, and ten-year-old son sat in their room, talking about their trip. Suddenly they heard the sound of something crashing to the bathroom floor, but when they investigated, they could find nothing wrong. Again they were interrupted by the sound of breaking objects in the bathroom. Again, they could find nothing broken. Shortly after going to bed, the wife was awakened by a strange tugging on her mattress. The odd sensation continued, and she decided to wake up her husband. She told him there was something strange going on and insisted they trade beds. Before long, her husband was experiencing the same sensation. He jumped out of bed, searched around the room, and found nothing. He told his wife that there must be mice in the room, crawled back into bed, and soon fell asleep. His wife lay in the dark, trying to sleep. Then, in amazement, she watched her sleeping spouse levitate off the bed and fall to the floor. She tried to explain to her dazed husband that some force had thrown him to the floor, but his incredulous stare made her drop the subject and get back into bed.They got up the next morning, hoping to get an early start. The husband was putting his clothes on, and his wife had already dressed and was busy blow-drying her hair. The man walked to the window and peeked out: it was pitch black outside. He looked at his watch and realized it was only 1:30 A.M. The bewildered couple undressed and went back to bed. Finally came the light of morning. The family dressed and went downstairs to the inn's restaurant. After breakfast, the husband stopped at the front desk to ask if there was a problem with rodents at the inn. He related what had happened to manager Janie Pugh, who smiled and said: "Oh, that's Miss Lucy up to her old tricks. She usually stays in Room 52 but sometimes wanders into rooms nearby." Miss Lucy's antics had been witnessed by both employees and guests alike. Meanwhile, his wife and son waited at their table in the restaurant. A lady wearing an old overcoat and a nightgown came up to them and asked where to get food to go. The wife pointed to the cashier. The lady came back in a few minutes to thank her for being so kind. Curious about the lady's odd behavior, she watched her walk away and brush past her husband, who was returning to their table. "That old lady who just walked by you is weird," the wife said. "What old lady," replied her husband, "I didn't see anyone."

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