Spend the night with spirits

Live like a ghost hunter at one of these overnight options.

trans alegheny lunatic asylum
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum // Photo by Ben Sanford

It has been said that spirits are most active at night. Put that theory to the test at one of these haunted stays by hanging out until the wee hours of the morning.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
71 Asylum Drive, Weston, West Virginia
$100 per person

As if the name itself isn’t enough indication, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is one of the most haunted spots on the East Coast. The asylum housed patients with mental illnesses for over 100 years, eventually closing down due to deterioration of the building. In the 1950s, the asylum, which was only constructed to fit 250 people, was occupied by as many as 2,400 patients at once, leading to poor living conditions. While there aren’t any records of inhumane treatment of patients, the overcrowded state of the asylum was enough to leave some troubled souls hanging around.

Overnight stays at the asylum begin at 11:30 p.m. and last until 6 a.m. You will be given a tour of the four-story building and then will be released to scour the asylum as you please. Tour guides will be available to assist with any ghost-hunting endeavors, but you’re free to roam the building by yourself or with your friends if you so choose. Outside equipment and photography is encouraged, and there is a lighted safe area for anyone who needs a break from the dark, old hallways and rooms.

Point Lookout Lighthouse
Point Lookout Lighthouse // Photo by Christy Bright

Point Lookout Lighthouse
10350 Point Lookout Road, Lexington Park, Maryland
$50 per person

The Point Lookout Lighthouse sits at the entrance of the Potomac River in Maryland. It was built in 1830, constructed to warn ships of the shallow shoals at the edge of the river. There are several rumors of imprisonment at the lighthouse during the Civil War as well as tales of ghosts of the sailors who died in storms when the lighthouse operators neglected to turn on the light. The first official claims of paranormal activity came in the 1970s, when residents of the lighthouse said they heard people walking on the floors above them, watched lights turn on and off inexplicably and saw doors slam with no one behind them.

Overnight stays will not be offered this fall while restoration projects are being completed, but the tours are expected to be reopened once the construction is finished. These stays last from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Volunteers can offer a brief overview of the history of the lighthouse but will not lead any investigations or provide equipment. It’s up to you to take on the building on your own and draw conclusions about the spirits that reside there.

St. Albans Sanatorium
6248 University Park Drive, Radford
$60 per person (minmum 10 tickets)

The history of St. Albans begins long before any buildings were constructed on the land. In the late 1700s, the area was inhabited by Native American tribes at war with each other. The chilling tale of the Draper’s Meadow Massacre left several restless spirits whose lives were mercilessly taken from them. A boy’s school was built there in 1892, where it’s said that bullying was a big issue and several students are rumored to have committed suicide.

The horror stories don’t stop there, however—the building was later converted into an insane asylum. Several documented suicides occurred on the site, and the murder of Gina Renee Hall in 1980 was committed nearby, with her blood-stained car found right down the road. St. Albans offers the opportunity to get groups of at least 10 people and conduct private investigations of the sanatorium. This overnight stay isn’t for the faint of heart, and you must be at least 18 years old to participate. Guests will receive a guided tour of the building before being released to hunt for ghosts and spirits on their own. The stay lasts from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Paxon Manor
Paxon Manor // Photo by Rachel Roseberry

Paxton Manor
601 Catoctin Circle NE, Leesburg
$100 per person ($85 per person if buying four or more tickets)

Built in 1872, Paxton Manor is home to myriad ghosts from several eras of American history. The estate is located less than a mile away from Civil War battlefield Ball’s Bluff and was also a children’s convalescent home and an orphanage at different points over the past century. There have been rumors of both soldiers and children being heard or seen within the house and on the grounds. The spirits of those who may have died there are still around today, and you have the opportunity to discover them for yourself.

In addition to the haunted tours with actors scaring you throughout the house, Shocktober at Paxton Manor also offers the chance to conduct your own paranormal investigation four times a year from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Members of the Mid-Atlantic Paranormal Investigators will give you a rundown of the basics of ghost hunting and then lead you through an extensive tour of the house. In groups led by the investigators, you’ll be able to see for yourself whether the haunted rumors are true. The MAPI members will have their own equipment, but you’re invited to bring your own as well.

Other haunted stays include:

The Martha Washington Inn: 150 W. Main St., Abingdon

The Glencoe Inn: 222 North St., Portsmouth

Edgewood Plantation Bed & Breakfast: 4800 John Tyler Memorial Highway, Charles City

By The Side of the Road Bed and Breakfast: 491 Garbers Church Road, Harrisonburg

The Wayside Inn: 7783 Main St., Middletown

Lafayette Inn: 146 E. Main St., Stanardsville

The Black Horse Inn: 8393 Meetze Road, Warrenton

Belle Grove Plantation Bed & Breakfast: 9221 Belle Grove Drive, King George

Boxwood Inn: 10 Elmhurst St., Newport News

Olde Towne Inn: 9403 Main St., Manassas

(October 2017)