As Halloween rapidly approaches and our TV screens are filled with scary movie after scary movie, it seemed an ideal time to post this story.

Picture this: a moonlit night, the air thick with history, and the hauntingly beautiful Fort Monroe bathed in an eerie glow. The clock strikes 10 PM, and a chill runs down your spine as the lamp posts cast dim light across the cobblestone paths. Sure, you don’t believe in ghosts, so you’d probably brush this one off as just another chilly evening. But for some locals or even tourists familiar with the paranormal sightings, the chill might be unrelated to the evening breeze.

Nestled on the shores of Virginia’s picturesque Hampton Roads lies a place shrouded in mystery. Fort Monroe, a venerable military installation with a history stretching back to the early 19th century, carries tales of valor, intrigue, and – some claim – the restless spirits of the past. As the sun sets over the Chesapeake Bay, the walls of this historic fort seem to whisper secrets of times long gone, sparking a debate between skeptics and believers about whether this historical site is truly haunted.

Fort Monroe: A Bastion of History

Built between 1819 and 1834, Fort Monroe was designed as a defensive stronghold to protect the entrance to the harbor and, by extension, the city of Hampton from potential invaders. With its formidable stone walls and strategic positioning, the fort played pivotal roles during the Civil War and beyond. It was, famously, the place where General Robert E. Lee’s fate was decided after he surrendered in 1865, signaling the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. The weight of history hangs heavily on the walls of Fort Monroe, giving rise to the idea that perhaps some remnants of the past have lingered.

Map of Fort Monroe, 1862. Note the difference in spelling the name of the fort. (Image source: Encyclopedia Virginia/Wikimedia Commons)

Tales of the Paranormal

As dusk descends and the wind whispers through the casemates, stories of strange occurrences and spectral sightings come to life. One of the most famous tales revolves around the spirit of a young girl named “Alice.” According to local legend, Alice was the daughter of a soldier stationed at Fort Monroe during the 19th century. Tragically, she fell to death from one of the fort’s parapets while chasing her bouncing ball. To this day, visitors claim to hear the faint sound of a child’s laughter and the echoing bounce of a ball when exploring the area, even when no visible presence can be found.

Similarly, spine-chilling accounts tell of shadowy figures drifting through the corridors, whispers that seem to echo from nowhere, and inexplicable cold spots that defy logical explanations. Probably the most famous account that most of you might have heard of by now is the wife of an officer who was killed by her husband for having an affair. In her 1972 book, “The Ghosts of Fort Monroe,” author Jane Polonksy recounted that the woman was married to a captain who was “stodgy and boring,” in contrast to her “very frivolous and lightheaded” character. So when the husband was away one weekend, the wife found a handsome young Soldier and took him back home only for her husband to surprisingly come back home, catch them in bed together, and shoot the wife, Polonksy said, who was also a former resident in Fort Monroe. Since then, the wife roams the fort in her white nightdress and walks around the boardwalk and into the “ghost alley” to look for the young man she brought home.

House near Fort Monroe
(Image source: US Army)

These are just some encounters that have sparked fervent debates between skeptics and those who believe in the supernatural, with each side passionately defending their stance.

Voices from the Past

Supporters of the haunted Fort Monroe theory often point to the residual energy left behind by the fort’s storied past as a plausible explanation for these eerie occurrences. The anguish of war, the emotions of soldiers separated from loved ones, and the imprints of the countless lives that crossed paths within the fort’s walls might have left a lasting mark on the environment, manifesting as ghostly apparitions or paranormal events.