It is not known how long ago Spirits first began to inhabit Ferry Plantation House. There have been rumors of activity throughout the 20th Century and now into the 21st. We do know that the peninsula upon which Ferry sits has been lived on since at least the 1500s when the Native Americans, probably the Chesepian, who also built towns across the Lynnhaven River, used the area as hunting grounds. Our Director, Belinda Nash, personally found dozens of arrowheads while gardening out on the property and during the construction of the Old Donation Farms neighborhood construction crews found what is believed a Native American graveyard.
For many years, local residents said that even while the house was unoccupied, lights inside the house would turn themselves on. They still do, according to several Volunteers. One of the duties is go to every room in the house making sure the lights are off when Ferry closes for the day. Many times, when opening the house for the next day of tours, volunteers will find the lights on in the third floor.
In the pitch black darkness that surrounded the house in the days before the Old Donation Farms development was built, strange balls of lights could be seen, dancing around the roof.
For many years in the 1980s, the last owner of the house, Mrs. Howren, hired caretakers to watch over the house because she was moving to a nursing home. The caretakers would regularly see particular residual ghostly scene play out, usually on Saturday evenings. The spirit of an old African-American gentleman would come up from the basement , cross the room, and kneel in front of the west wall apparently intent on some long ago task. After a few minutes, he would rise up and go back through the door through which he came. Years later, restorations in that room revealed a fireplace behind the wall.
In the course of the investigation through EVPs, Paranormal investigators discovered that his name was Henry and that he had lived in the slave's quarters on the 3rd floor of the Old Kitchen. He'd lived out his entire life on the plantation even after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863. Further EVPs picked up by investigators from the 3rd floor suggest that he was content with his life, had nowhere better to go, and that his favorite pastime was "goin' fishin'!".
Docent Mrs. Nash used to bring her granddaughter Kathlene to Ferry from the time she was an infant. When Kathlene was a toddler, she would periodically mention the presence of a man with a beard wearing a dirty shirt and painting a picture on the 2nd floor landing of the staircase.
One day Mrs. Nash was given a copy of a watercolor of the Walke Manor house and farm as it appeared in the early 1800s painted from memory by General Thomas H. Williamson (1813 - 1888) the son of former owners Thomas and Anne Walke Williamson. We've since located a photograph of General Williamson and though he's not wearing a "dirty shirt", he otherwise seems to match Kathlene's description.
Caretakers reported that there were at least two children in the House during their time in the house. Two children, a boy and a girl, were seen by a former Docent on the 2nd story landing, pressed up against the wall at the top of the stairs. After their brief appearance, startling the docent, they disappeared.
One child favored by many Paranormal Investigators is Eric, a young boy who allegedly lost his life by falling from a low window in what is now known as the Conference Room. Children's voices have been picked up in that room, both as EVPs and as audible voices. Toys sometimes move on their own. Eric's demise had to have taken place after 1850, when the west addition was added to the house.
The little girl could have been the spirit of Bessie McIntosh, daughter of Charles F. and Isabella McIntosh, who passed away in 1860 at the age of 5? Bessie does fit the description of several sightings of a little girl with ringlets wearing Mary Jane shoes.
Port City Paranormal based in Wilmington, NC has investigated Ferry many times. The team photo-documents each room beforehand. In one of the photos of the Green Room, they noticed an anomaly in the window. They lightened the picture and zoomed in on the image. What they found standing in the window is mind boggling.
Another photograph taken in the Best Parlor shows a sad looking pregnant woman dressed in blue reflected in the window. There was no one in the room matching that description at the time the photo was taken.
We do know that Mrs. Charles F. McIntosh was eight months pregnant at the time of her husband's death in the Civil War serving in the Confederate Navy. He was the captain of the Ironclad Louisiana when it was destroyed by David Farragut's Union armies in 1862. Captain McIntosh died from his injuries on May 13th and his son Charles, Jr. was born the following June.
Many other paranormal teams have investigated Ferry over the years, some of their evidence can be seen below and on several YouTube videos.
Come Take a night tour of Ferry for our Friday Night Frights, or you can rent out the house for the night with a donation of $250 for up to 12 people. Bring your own equipment or one of our awesome locals teams may bring their equipment and guide you along a real investigation, if available.