A paranormal researcher and writer is really like a gardener. They tend to stories that have been cultivated by others: they add and correct facts, update reports of paranormal activity and generally tend to these stories. They also seek out seeds of information and work to grow these into full stories. If a story isn’t tended it may simply pass into the realm of legend.
Pamela K. Kinney works hard tending the large garden of ghost stories that is found in and around the Historic Triangle of Virginia. Her recent book, Virginia’s Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, & Other Haunted Locations, covers a region that has served as a cradle of the nation and a burial ground for so many who fought to create and preserve this union. Here are found battlefields and plantations, taverns and churches, historic hotels and Holiday Inns; all with a palpable sense of deep history. This is a region where spirits swarm over the land, reminding us of the lives they once lived.
This spiritually fertile ground has been well tended by other authors from the aristocratic Marguerite DuPont Lee in her Virginia Ghosts (first published in 1930) to the prolific L. B. Taylor, Jr. and his many volume Ghosts of Virginia. Kinney endeavors to tend stories that were first documented by these authors, adding new reports of activity and her own impressions and experiences at each of these locations. She covers such notable hauntings as Shirley and Berkeley Plantations, Williamsburg’s Ludwell-Paradise House and Peyton Randolph House, the Yorktown Battlefield and Fort Monroe.
But Kinney does a good job tending to much lesser known locations as well, including the modern hotels along Richmond Road, Rosewell Plantation and Bluebird Gap Farm. I was particularly impressed by her chapter on the Crawford Road Bridge in York County. It’s a somewhat forgotten place with a chilling history. I know this is my first introduction to this story and I cannot locate another published source on this location. Kinney has taken a location that’s poorly documented online and grown a wonderful chapter on it.
Not only does Kinney cover the spiritual side of the area, but she includes chapters on sasquatch sightings, UFOs and the Cohoke Light. She’s created a marvelous guide to the supernatural in this extraordinary region of Virginia. With her previous books on Virginia ghosts, Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths and True Tales and Haunted Richmond, Virginia, I hope Pamela will continue her marvelous work in this state’s spiritual garden.
Virginia’s Haunted Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, & Other Haunted Locations by Pamela K. Kinney, published by Schiffer Publishing, $19.99.