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Haunted Hampton Roads: The ghosts of Virginia Beach’s Ferry Plantation House

Volunteers say there are 11 spirits who still live at the Ferry Plantation House. (Photo by Connor Worley)
Volunteers say there are 11 spirits who still live at the Ferry Plantation House. (Photo by Connor Worley)


Charles. Isabel. Bessie. Eric. Julie. Nanny. George. Cora. Stella. Belinda. Henry.

That’s 11 people,  full of joy, confidence and aspirations; stricken by day-to-day anxieties, fear and insecurity. 

They lived their lives in Hampton Roads.

They’re the 11 spirits — or ghosts, if you prefer — of the Ferry Plantation House in Virginia Beach.

Some of the spirits hang around the property. For Cody Green, that’s no big deal.

“I am considered hypersensitive. I see, hear, feel and smell every day,” Green said. “I don't make a big deal of it because I've done it my whole life. I don't consider myself a medium or anything like that.”

Green is one of the many volunteers at the Ferry House. They update and maintain the home’s condition, procure historical items and provide tours. 

The hardwood floors seamlessly drift from 1735 to 1999. The home was originally built to serve as the third Princess Anne County courthouse. It was the first brick courthouse for the county.

“The man that owned the land at the time, Mr. Smith, he actually donated two acres of land just to dedicate for the courthouse and the land around it,” said Kristen Ellis, another volunteer.

Decades later, the Walke family built a manor house and converted the courthouse into a kitchen.

The Manor house burned down in 1828, then two years later, George and Elizabeth Walke used the good bricks from the rubble to build the house that now resides on the Plantation.

One of the most prominent spirits that still drifts throughout the home is Henry. He’s the hero of that 1828 fire.

“In his 20s, he ran into the Manor house and saved people from the fire,” Green said.

Henry was enslaved. He was most likely born on the plantation.

The Walkes felt indebted to him after his courage during the house fire, though they still kept him in bondage for years. When the Civil War ended, he had nowhere to go, so the family offered the upstairs room of the Ferry Plantation House.

His presence still permeates the home. Near his quarters is an  H, heavily etched into a white, wooden wall.

“When they were restoring the house, they dug out about 10 layers of paint and found [the marking],” Ellis said. “It might’ve been the only letter he knew.”

Ellis said Henry died on the property. And ever since? He’s been the prominent spirit in the home. 

Green said the other spirits, like Belinda and Charles, come and go as they please. But some,  like Bessie, are tricksters.

Green once saw something extremely strange while giving a tour. A reluctant Navy man, grumbling his way through every room in the home, suddenly raised his arm and walked away from the group. 

“I say ‘Hey, man, what are you doing?’”Green said. “He goes ‘I don't know, something grabbed my hand just started pulling me through the house.’ It's funny that he stopped next to my son because, basically, Bessie was watching my son play a game.”

Even with all the odd noises, misplaced items and paranormal encounters, there are still skeptics that visit the house.

“I will quote [Cody]. He's the one that says … we're not here to convince anybody,” Ellis said. “As he always says, who doesn't like a good ghost story, whether you believe it or not.”

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Connor Worley is a Missouri native who creates long-form content in coordination with WHRO’s newsroom and other departments. WHRV listeners will recognize Connor as an occasional on-air host. Connor earned his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Print from the University of Missouri and a master's degree in Journalism and Audio at the Cronkite School of Arizona State. Connor enjoys the great outdoors, technology, and music. He lives in Virginia Beach.

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