Ghost in My Suitcase is sponsored by the Haunted Shirt Club...
click the banner above to learn more!

The Ghost of the Female Stranger

During a visit to Alexandria, Virginia, we heard of an old public house named Gadsby's Tavern. It was built in the 1770's and it boasts that nearly all of the founders of American Independence enjoyed the warm tavern hospitality there. In fact, the tavern goes as far as to say that no public building in America is more intimately associated with the struggle for independence and establishment of national sovereignty. For nearly a century it was a center of political, social and cultural life in this important colonial seaport community. Hey, with all those credentials, how could we resist a visit!

There were scheduled tours, so we signed up for one and also scheduled dinner. The tour was very historic, but there was one room upstairs that we were not allowed to enter. While taking a walking tour of the town later, though, we were told of a ghost that haunts that particular room. The legend goes something like this...

In 1816, a ship sailed into the port at Alexandria carrying a man and his beautiful wife. The woman was horribly ill, and the couple were taken to one of the most posh and respectable places in town, Gadsby's Tavern. They rented a room upstairs, above the ballroom, and she was given the best medical care that the town had to offer at the time. Despite the efforts of the doctor and his nurse, the woman died - but not before extracting an oath from all those attending: her identity was never to be revealed.

She was buried in St. Paul's Cemetary, and her table-top tombstone was inscribed: In memory of the female stranger, died October 14, 1816, age 23 years 8 months. Her husband disappeared suddenly, leaving all the bills from the boarding, medical care, and burial unpaid. The secret of the woman's identity was never revealed, even though those who knew it were left with the unpaid debt of over one thousand dollars.

It was not the last time that the woman was seen, however. She sometimes appears in the window of the upstairs room holding a candle, and can even be heard pacing the floors when the tavern is quiet. The ghost of the female stranger has also been spotted in the ballroom and on the stairways, holding her candle and wandering mysteriously along.

When we returned to the tavern for dinner, we didn't see or hear anything ghostly at all, but everyone that we talked to sweared that the ghost is really there!

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
134 North Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

voice 703-838-4242, fax 703-838-4270

Ghost in My Suitcase is sponsored by the Haunted Shirt Club...
click the banner above to learn more!

Click here to return to the Ghost in my Suitcase page.

All text and photos copyright 2001-2016 by 23 House Publishing. "Ghost in my Suitcase" is a trademark of 23 House Publishing. No portion of any article or other writing in this electronic publication, or photographs or images, may be copied, used or otherwise taken by any person or organization for any purpose or reason whatsoever without the express written permission of 23 House.