Located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Rising Sun Tavern was built in 1760 as a home by George Washington’s brother, Charles, and later turned into a tavern in 1792. After this property was sold to John Frazier in 1792, he established the building as a tavern with it becoming extremely popular with all social classes in Fredericksburg. While serving food, the tavern also had bedrooms upstairs were people could stay the night. This served as a tavern and place to stay for travelers until the 1820s, under various owners after Frazier had passed. Currently, the building is owned by the Washington Heritage Museum group where it is preserved with other historical buildings in the area that all serve as museums. In 1964, the building was designated as a National Historic Landmark and open for tours Friday-Monday.
With all older buildings, there is always some sort of paranormal activity to occur in these locations. The main paranormal tale is that the last tavern owner, John Frazier, is still said to hang out around the building, pulling pranks on both employees and museum visitors. His wife is also said to be haunting the building as well, both positive spirits. People who are dressed in period clothing have said they felt someone tugging at their coats or their time period hats will be taken off. People have reported feeling a presence in the various rooms and watching doors open and close by themselves. There is also said to be another spirit on the second floor, where the bedrooms are, that does not like to be disturbed and will make itself known. A common activity for this spirit is turning off and on all of the lights on the second floor and messing up any bedsheets or clothes that are laid out for the museum tours.
I took the historic tour of the Tavern over the weekend and greatly enjoyed seeing the building. Walking inside, there was no photography permitted, so all of my photos were taken outside where it was allowed. The historic tour consisted of a tour guide, dressed in period clothing, taking us to the various rooms such as the parlors, upstairs bedrooms, tavern keeper’s office, and dining room, while talking about the history and the significance of the tavern. During the tour, she mentioned that last tavern keeper, John Frazier, and his wife were said to still haunt the tavern. I asked if she had any experiences with this during her time working there and she replied she had not, but her coworkers have. She also noted that people will come in for a tour and “feel the presence” of the spirits. I didn’t want to ask further questions as the topic seemed to frighten her, so we continued on with the tour and learned more about the history of the building. Overall, I didn’t experience anything paranormal, but I was only in the building for an hour.
Tips for Visiting
- During COVID, a mask must be worn in the building at all times. They are also first come, first serve tours. While my wife and I were on a tour, the tour guide put a sign on the door that a tour was in session.
- You can buy a ticket online or in person. You can purchase the Heritage Pass that allows access to all of the tours in these various buildings.
- Currently, they are open Friday-Monday, 12pm-4pm.
- There is NO photography allowed inside the building.
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.