Located at 3944 Cameron Street in Dumfries Virginia, the Weems-Botts House has been a historical landmark since the 1700’s. Built in 1749, this house was originally built to serve as a vestry, a sacred place to keep religious items, for the Quantico Church. Along with the House, there is the Weems-Botts Museum Annex that is located on the same street; both are historical museums in Dumfries that showcase the history of the area.
The house is associated with Mason Locke “Parson” Weems and attorney Benjamin Botts. Weems bought the house in 1798 after meeting his future wife, Fanny Ewell in the town after he was traveling through on his book-selling tour. While owning and living in this house, he wrote a biography on George Washington, also creating the famous “cherry tree story” that is associated with Washington. In 1802, Weems sold the house to Benjamin Botts who was a practicing attorney and used this building as his new law office. He was known for defending Aaron Burr during his infamous treason and conspiracy trial. After Botts passing, the house went through multiple ownerships, such as to the Merchant family.
The Merchant family consisted of Richard, Annie, and their two daughters Violet and Mary. Mary was kept in confinement in an upstairs room (it was believed she had epilepsy) until the age of 26 when she died in 1906. Violet moved away but came back to take care of her dying mother and stayed in the house until her death in 1968.
After sitting abandoned for years after her death, the house was restored in 1975 and opened as a museum.
Along with the historical significance of this house, there is also plenty of paranormal activity that is said to take place here; it has even been featured on ghost shows such as Travel Channel’s
“Dead Files” in 2017 and Biography Channel’s “My Ghost Story” in 2012.
A popular theory of the ghosts that reside in the house can be traced back to the Merchant family that lived here in 1869 and many people believe that the daughters are two of the possible several spirits that reside in the house since they both died here. Reported evidence consists of the movement of antique dolls in the parlor room, windows open and close on their own, books move of their own, photographs on the wall falling on the floor or set up on a chair, a little girl voice that can be heard, and curtains fluttering by themselves. Along with this, the land itself is said to be haunted from Civil War soldiers that haunt the land and the nearby cemeteries.
Inside the house, paranormal investigators have captured several EVP’s, ghost photos, and recordings. Also, in Violet’s bedroom, the window is said to open and close on it’s own, and the spirit of Violet loves to play with children. Many investigators have said that they have felt touches on their arms and have heard voices in the house.
With all of the reported paranormal activity, the museum has launched a lock-in event that is run in October where paranormal enthusiasts can sleep over night in the museum and investigate. They have also started a hosting ghost walks in the area too which is a tour of the land and its haunted history.
My (Future) Findings and Final Thoughts
I have lived in Virginia for over 20 years and I have always seen the signs on the highway for the Weems-Botts museum. As someone who loves both museums and the paranormal, this has been a dream to investigate and explore! I have not been there yet, but once I do, I will update this post with my experiences… this has been added to the Ghouls Trip road trip!
I have been looking online for the various photos, EVPs, and evidence that paranormal investigators have collected, but I have been unable to find those uploaded online. The two TV shows that showcased the museum, I have also been unable to find as well. These will be ongoing searches for me to prepare for my future investigation in the house.
As I mentioned above, they host a Lock-In event in October and with COVID, the rules have changed. There are only 2 guests per tour and have to take COVID precautions to be able to attend. As much as I would like to visit, most likely, I will wait until after the COVID pandemic has passed. This is a future event I would love to attend and will in the future!
My Tips for Visiting
-Since I have not visited this museum yet, I do not have much to add but please do look on their website for hours, days open, and rules regarding COVID.
To Note: Some of this information has also been gathered through years of studying this location, talking to local investigators/locals, watching/reading every source, and hearing these rumors firsthand.