October is the month for spooky stuff, so the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division will highlight some of the eerie, ghostly and creepy things from the past that might have crawled into the present. Overnight stays, fireside tales and scary movies are on the events list for this October.
Prince William County is home to a number of historic sites that all have some sort of supernatural and strange stories attached to them. The Ben Lomond Historic Site has a history of serving as a Confederate Civil War hospital and as the home to countless slaves. Over the years, people have claimed ghost sightings and other mysterious happenings there.
On Oct. 5, the division staff will present “Fireside Ghost Stories at Ben Lomond” around a campfire between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Admission is $5. Children under two are free.
On Oct 27, “Hospital Horrors” will be at Ben Lomond with guided tours every 15 minutes. People will tour the house and the grounds to learn about the grisly reality of a Civil War hospital, and hear the stories of doctors, soldiers and loved ones whose lives were changed by the war. Sights and smells may not be suitable for young children. Advance registration is suggested since the $10 tour slots fill quickly. Call 703-367-7872 to register.
Between 1822 and 1893, prisoners who were accused of everything from theft, to poisoning, to murder, were kept in the Brentsville Jail while awaiting trial. Many strange events occurred in those years, and people have reported seeing ghosts on the grounds of the Historic Brentsville Centre.
On Oct. 6, during the “Overnight Stay in the Brentsville Jail,” visitors will sit around a bonfire and hear the stories of the nearly 200-year-old building and the prisoners held there. Admission for the event is $75. Reservations are required for the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. stay. Call 703-365-7895 to register.
On Oct. 19 and 20, visitors to “Spirits at Brentsville” will be able to take a candlelight tour of the buildings and grounds between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. and meet several historic characters and hear their stories. The event is not recommended for children under 12. Admission is $10. Reservations are strongly recommended for the tours that run on the hour. Call 703-365-7895 to register.
On Oct. 13, people who attend the “Scary B-Movie Night” at Rippon Lodge Historic Site will be able to enjoy one of the top horror movies of the 1950s, The Thing from Another World. The movie, which starts at 7:30 p.m., may not be suitable for children under 6. Bring blankets and chairs. The movie is free. Donations will be accepted. Popcorn and beverages will be on sale.
On Oct. 20, Rippon Lodge will host the “Haunted Campfire” where people will be treated to long-lost scary stories of Virginia while sitting in the dark with only the campfire for light. Meet the guides at the lodge’s front porch at 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. to be escorted to the amphitheater to listen to the unnerving stories of yesteryear. The outside program is not recommended for children under 6. Dress appropriately for the outdoors and wear closed-toed shoes. Admission is $10. Advanced registration is strongly recommended. Call 703-499-9812 to register.
On Oct. 13 and 14, join the staff of Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park for the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Bristoe Station. See a Civil War encampment and watch artillery firing demonstrations between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Park historians will lead tours of a newly opened section of the battlefield. On Saturday evening, beginning at 7 p.m., there will be 1,000 luminary candles for every soldier who died at Bristoe Station. The event is free. Donations will be accepted.
Finally, on Oct. 27 and 28, hourly tours of the battlefield, led by Bristoe Station historians, will take visitors through the hallowed ground of cemeteries, battlefields and camps. Call 703-366-3049 for more information.
Visit the Prince William County Historic Properties website for more information and locations of each property.