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Ghosts and Haunted Houses
in Madison Virginia

A Research Report by Teresa L. Mills

Table of Contents:

Home Page


What do ghosts
look like?

Why do ghosts
haunt houses?

What houses in
Madison County
are haunted?


Works Cited
and Consulted

Links to Other
Web Sites


Why Do Ghosts Haunt Houses?

Contrary to popular belief, most ghosts are not seen in graveyards, but in houses and buildings. Ghosts seem to have a variety of reasons for their hauntings:

  • Some people believe that ghosts are trapped on earth because they do not yet realize that they are dead. There are those who believe that they can communicate with these ghosts and help them move on.

  • Some ghosts remain when their bodies have been improperly buried, or not buried at all; thus, seeking a proper burial.

  • Some ghosts seem to return to re-enact some crisis from their former lives--usually their death scene.

  • Some ghosts were a victim of a murder and feel they cannot move on until their attacker has been found and brought to justice.

  • Some ghosts return to seek revenge, or remain to punish the living for crimes against them or against their descendants.

  • Some ghosts are believed to be trapped by unfinished business: they return to complete some task left undone, to fulfill a promise made while alive, or to convey useful information to the living.

  • Some ghosts appear to remain on earth for the purpose of communicating danger to someone living, or to convey useful information to someone living.

  • Some ghosts appear to have strong emotional ties to a site.

  • Some ghosts appear to be worried about the loved ones left behind, and return to comfort grieving family members, or to give advice to them.

  • Many people believe that a ghost remaining in this world is a clear punishment. Evil-doers remain among the living after death because they have not earned the right to eternal peace and rest.

  • Sometimes there does not seem to be a reason for the haunting, or the spirit merely wishes to continue on.

Many ghosts stories have been told about Lessland, which is located in Orange County, Virginia. In an interview with Mildred Tyner, she told the interviewer that Lessland has been in her family since 1847. In the nine years that she has lived at Lessland, she said that she has not had any ghostly encounters, but she said that other people have. "I guess it depends upon your awareness and perception," she says. "All the neighbors believe that the place is haunted. It is the best security system you could have." Mrs. Tyner shared a fascinating story about her daughter's experience with a ghostly visitor:

One evening my daughter was upstairs sewing. She glanced out the window, and saw a man looking in through the window at her. Two days later, I received a picture of the tombstone of James Cooper Dickerson, who had been married to my great-grandmother. I thought that this was a bit odd. I located some old family photographs of James Dickerson and showed them to my daughter. She exclaimed, 'That is the man I saw looking through the window' and identified the ghost as Mr. Dickerson from the family photographs that I showed her. (Tyner)
Mrs. Tyner's great-grandmother is buried at Lessland, and Mr. Dickerson is buried in Caroline County. What reason could this ghost have for haunting Lessland? Perhaps the ghost of James Cooper Dickerson has returned to Lessland to search for his wife in the hope of being reunited with her.

Interview with Mildred Tyner

ghosttable of contents


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