Oct 14, 2022 - Things to Do

Richmond's real ghost tours

an 1812 drawing of the fire of 1811 - big building, big flames, lots of people screaming

An an illustration of the burning theater in Richmond drawn in 1812. Photo: Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

Who needs teens dressed up in bloody makeup chasing you through a woodsy patch of the suburbs when Richmond has its own terrifying ghost stories?

The intrigue: OK, fine. We city dwellers still need haunted forests, but if you want to hear some true tales of hauntings in Richmond, there are tours that do just that.

What's happening: As an old city marked by plenty of death and tragedy, evidence of hauntings, ghosts and paranormal events can be found throughout historic records, Chris Houlihan, co-owner of Richmond's longest-running ghostly tour group Haunts of Richmond, tells Axios.

Those tales include Nancy Green's, one of at least two Richmonders who had a premonition ahead of the Richmond Theater fire of 1811, in which 72 people — including Green — died in what was then the deadliest tragedy in American history.

  • Richmond ghost stories and other paranormal experiences like Green's can be heard at some of these very local, very terrifying walking (and one cruising) tours.

Check them out. If you dare.

😱 Haunts of Richmond

With five creepy tours for the season, plus optional pub crawls and a TukTuk tour, the oldest haunted tour group in Richmond is still the biggest. Each 90-minute walking tour is focused on a specific part of Richmond and its haunted past — and present.

  • Choose from Shadows of Shockoe, Church Hill Chillers, Haunted Capitol Hill, Creepy Tales on Campus (at VCU) and Phantoms of Franklin.

Details: Wednesdays to Sundays through Halloween. Start times vary between 7pm and 8pm.

  • Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door, $15 for kids.
👻 Richmond Ghosts

Does famed writer and Richmonder Edgar Allen Poe haunt the Shockoe Bottom museum named for him (even if he never actually lived in it)? What about the cursed and bloody history of the oldest still-in-use commercial building at 1719 E. Franklin St.?

  • The Richmond Ghosts walking tour covers those and parts of Church Hill (Richmond Vampire, anyone?) in its 60 to 90-minute spooky tour.

Details: Nightly through Halloween, starting at 8pm. Leaves from 17th Street Farmers Market.

ğŸŽƒ Eerie Nights Ghost Tour

Starting from its home base at 17th Street Farmers Market, Eerie Nights features 19th century costumed and ghouled-out guides taking guests on a 90-minute walk of all the haunted spots near Shockoe and downtown.

  • Recommended for mature audiences only — and there's a promise of bawdy tales focused on Shockoe Bottom as the onetime red light district of RVA.

Details: Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, plus Sunday and Monday of Halloween weekend.

🙀 Eerie Canal Tours

The Riverfront Canal Cruises has an annual, kid-friendly, 20-minute cruise with creepy tales of haunted and historic Richmond.

  • Little ghouls and ghosts get a special candy treat.

Details: Saturday Oct. 29, 5-9pm. Tours leave every 30 minutes from the Canal Walk Turning Basin.

  • Tickets: $6, free for kids age 4 and under.
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