Most Haunted Places in America: Haw Branch Plantation
The Haw Branch plantation in Amelia Virginia was first settled in 1735 by Colonel Thomas Tabb and his wife Rebecca Booker. The Tabb’s started with a modest single trading post and turned that into being one of the largest landowner’s in Virginia with over 15,000 acres. With a history that has stretched over 270 years, is it any wonder the Haw Branch plantation is one of the most haunted places in America.
The mansion that currently sits on the land was built in 1745. The large estate was reduced following the Civil War and ownership passed through many hands. Eventually the plantation sat unoccupied and the mansion fell into ruin. The mansion and property, now 120 acres, was bought in 1965 by the McConnaughey’s and they started a very detailed restoration.
It took a crew of up to 25 men three months to finish the restoration and in August 1965 the McConnaughey’s moved in. It was approximately 3 months later that the paranormal activity began. This lead Mrs. McConnaughey to say, “I’m not a believer in ghosts myself, but I have to say I can’t explain some of the things that have happened here.”
The mansion has had what most come to expect from a haunting, footsteps during the night, noises, sounds of something heavy falling, a fragrance of roses in one of the upstairs bedrooms and an apparition of a women. Haw Branch also has some very unique paranormal activity involving a portrait that was prominently on display.
The house seems to have a residual haunting where the family is awaken by a spine-chilling scream emanating from the attic. This only seems to happen on a specific date and in 6 month intervals. Also within the mansion is a woman who has been identified as Harriet Mason, their great-grandmother. Other apparitions have also been seen. A man who was seen walking out of the barn with a lantern, when approached the man disappears and it has been claimed that the lantern remains suspended in midair. In and around the mansion, visitors have reported a man in riding boots who says, “Help Me” and what is described as a skinny man who walks around with a limp.
The most stunning account of paranormal activity involves a portrait. The portrait is of a woman named Florence Wright. She was a distant relative and the portrait was given to the McConnaughey’s by a cousin after being in storage for 20 years. The portrait was said to be a pastel but according to Mrs. McConnaughey, it was old and dusty and looked as if it was done in charcoal. She cleaned up the frame and hung the portrait in the library above the fireplace.
It was soon after that voices of women could be heard coming from the library. The voices were investigated numerous times but no one was ever in the library. After a few months of this phenomenon, Mr. McConnaughey was sitting in the library and noticed that there was color coming back to the portrait. Experts in art were called in to investigate from the local colleges but none could give a logical reason for this to happen.
A psychic was then called to investigate and he sensed Florence Wright spirit attached to the portrait. He also claimed that she was the one restoring the color to the painting. She apparently would change the color if she liked the place she was being stored and she must have liked Haw Branch because today the portrait is displayed in full color.