Our Ghost Hunts at the The Octagon Mansion at 585 is not for the faint of heart.
Christened as one of the scariest places in Virginia, the 1870 Octagon Mansion is shrouded in history, mystery, and paranormal activity.
Are you brave enough to face the spirits of the past who reside here?
Dr. Henry Quincy Adams Bowyer purchased a lot on West Main Street in 1866 and began construction of the unusual house by 1870. He sold the uncompleted house to the Rev. Dexter A. Snow in 1874.
The house is a rare example of Octagon construction championed by architectural theorist Orson S. Fowler, beginning in the mid-1800s.
The curious diagonal passage in the house may be an adaptation of a cellar room arrangement devised by Fowler. James Lucian Gleaves added side wings to the house in 1890 and the apartment duplex behind the house was once the mansion’s carriage house.
An addition to the property was reportedly constructed over eight graves.
Perhaps the bloody history of Wytheville has left its imprint on the house. On July 18, 1863, the mounted Union brigade of more than 800 men approached the small town of Wytheville which was important during the civil war because of a nearby lead mine and the railroad that served it.
Residents had been warned of the impending attack. Men, women, and children were prepared to defend the town. Men of military age were away in the various confederate units, leaving only men too young, or too old for military service, and women and young children to defend the town.
In the end, a force of about 120 civilians volunteered to defend their town alongside 130 soldiers. The Union cavalry, led by Colonel Toland, entered the town first and was ambushed. A bullet went through Toland’s heart, killing him instantly. Cavalry commander, Colonel William H Powell, was injured and left to die and became a prisoner of the Confederates. One Union soldier described the road as an “avenue of death”.
Today the house holds six decades of Civil War and American history memorabilia amassed by John Cushman. Cushman and his wife Deborah have renovated the 8,800-square-foot home to display John’s collection which includes Civil War band uniforms, newspaper front pages dating back to the 1700s, cameras that showed the tragedy of war, and pictures and portraits that defined the times.
Also among the collection are authentic Civil War guns, flags, books, photos, letters, signatures, furniture and swords.
There is also a snippet of fabric from Lincoln’s burial covering. Inside the library, there is a 128-volume set of books that outlines every Civil War battle, telegram, order and more for both sides. The Uniform Room houses two British uniforms from the Revolutionary War, a British drummer boy uniform, and Civil War uniforms for both Union and Confederate soldiers.
As you pace down the halls of this haunted mansion, you feel eyes peering at you from all angles. Whispers of your name will echo through the rooms.
You will constantly want to look over your shoulder in anticipation of a living being standing right there.
Finally having the realization there is no one else on site, the cold chills and feelings of touching will shock you back to reality. Those trying to get your attention are in fact past Civil War soldiers!
The Octagon Mansion at 585 is not just haunted because of its daunting history, but the Mansion is brimming with historic antiques. It is believed that these items hold residual energy from highly emotional or violent events they have encountered.
Filling this mansion, these items range from drums used during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, bullets from Gettysburg, a Civil War bugle, flags flown at homes designating how many sons and fathers in the household were fighting in the Civil War and a tintype photo of Abraham Lincoln with his family.
Previous paranormal activity ranges from poltergeist activity, evps, apparitions, and audible noises!
There have been reports of rocks thrown at investigators, as well as those just visiting for historic preposes. The locked front doors have even flown open to let their guests know, it is time to leave.
One unique experience many have had within this haunted mansion include the feeling of being “shot in the back” by an unseen soldier.
Other documented occurrences include being touched by cold fingers, screams from the past, disembodied voices.
Are you ready to spend the evening in one of the most haunted locations in America?