Graffiti House

History:

Located in Brandy Station Virginia, the Graffiti House was constructed in 1858 by James Barbour and is one of the only remaining structures that was built before the American Civil War. The house was built near the Orange & Alexandra Railroad and because of this, the house was considered a strategic location that was both used by the Union Army and Confederate Army throughout the Civil War as a field hospital. Before being used in the war, local families used to live in this house.

Throughout the war, different soldiers would stay in this house and would end up signing or doodling on the walls. These writings and drawings were only discovered in 1993 when the owners of the house were tearing down the walls and rebuilding parts of the house. Once these were discovered, renovations were halted immediately to preserve the history but unfortunately these were only discovered after over half of the walls had been torn down, destroying a lot of the historical graffiti on the walls. The Brandy Station Foundation purchased the house in 2002, making its mission to preserve what was left of the historical graffiti on the walls. When the foundation acquired the house, it was in terrible condition and was falling apart. But now, it is in beautiful condition thanks to the foundation keeping this historic home alive.

(The house before renovations, credit to the Brandy Station Foundation)

On the second floor of the house, the walls are covered with charcoal and pencil drawings and signatures left from both armies including pictures of men and women, their autographs, and inscriptions about the battles they fought in. Below are just a few of the dozens of drawings/signatures that can be found in the house.

(Photo drawn on the wall of a Confederate soldier with a pretty cool mustache, photo credit to Jaunting Jen on Yanks Caught Hell)
(Drawn photo of the “Dancing Lady”, credit to Jaunting Jan on Yanks Caught Hell)
(Sgt. Allen Bowman’s signature, credit to Wikipedia)

Haunted History:

Being such an old location with plenty of powerful history and tragic events, there have been several accounts of paranormal activity within the Graffiti House and on the land itself. Usually when there are renovations taking place within an old house, that is said to stir up spirit activity… but unusual things have been happening within the house even before renovations. It is said that there are strange events documented from the last 50 to 60 years.

One report that has been told throughout the years is that in the 1930’s when two young girls were living in the house, they were decorating the Christmas tree and witnessed all of the ornaments moving in a clockwise motion by themselves. According to L. B. Taylor Jr. in his book, The Big Book of Virginia Ghost Stories, there have been several variations of activity from footsteps upstairs and appearances of a face from the windows. Taylor also documented in his book that a volunteer at the house saw a cloudy mist forming in a chair in an upstairs room that slowly took the shape of a man.

Another story is that in 2007, the Virginia Paranormal Institute was invited to investigate the house after a volunteer admitted to the house being haunted. Everyone in the group was said to have experienced something paranormal during the investigation. The website Colonial Ghosts stated that, “ghost hunter Jackie Hicks felt a force tightening around her wrist; journalist Donnie Johnston witnessed a picture frame move on its own; and the team’s ghost-detecting instruments were racing off the charts” (Colonial Ghosts). Along with the house, the land itself is said to have paranormal activity. This site had so much tragedy and death due to the war and so many men died, it is prime grounds for hauntings. There have been many accounts as activity has been reported for over 50 years and this can be considered one of Virginia’s most haunted locations.

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(Photo of the Graffiti House from Wikipedia)

My Experiences and Future Investigation:

This is one of the locations on the Ghouls Trip to investigate in the future and after COVID, for safety and health reasons. I live about an hour away from the Graffiti House and have never heard of it until I did some research about the paranormal locations near, and I am not disappointed about finding this!! This future and potential investigation is very exciting to think about and I cannot wait for an opportunity to learn more about the history of Virginia and meet the ghosts that reside in the house and on the land.

This will be updated in the future and on our Ghouls Trip road trip list.

My Tips for Visiting:

  • According to their website https://www.brandystationfoundation.com/ the Graffiti House is open by appointment only during the COVID pandemic.
  • By calling their volunteer coordinator at 703-895-4083, you can schedule a tour.

Hauntingly Yours,

Hannah

Work Cited:

https://colonialghosts.com/graffiti-house/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti_House

https://www.brandystationfoundation.com/

“The Big Book of Virginia Ghost Stories” by L.B. Taylor Jr.

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