Haunting of Arlington House – Arlington, Virginia

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 6 January 2024
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Introduction of Arlington House

In the lunar embrace of Arlington, Virginia, beyond the façade of Arlington House is a spectral tapestry woven with strands of mystery and history. The weathered walls dance with shadows, and the air becomes more eerie as the clock strikes the witching hour. The very earth you walk on carries stories of a turbulent past in which the echoes of lives lost in the chaos of battle continue to resound.

Arlington House, 1864 Marker
Arlington House, 1864 Marker – Credit hmdb

History of Arlington House

Arlington House, located in Arlington, Virginia, was constructed between 1802 and 1818 by George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted grandson of President George Washington. Intended as a tribute to the first president, the Greek revival mansion took sixteen years to complete. After Custis’ death in 1857, the property passed to his daughter, Mary Anna Randolph Custis, who later married Robert E. Lee.

Between 1802 and the Civil War, nearly 100 individuals were enslaved on the Arlington House estate by the Custis and Lee families. The lives of these enslaved people, including the Syphax, Burke, Parks, and Gray families, are explored through exhibits and the slave quarters on the property. Despite extensive research, there are no reported ghostly sightings of Robert E. Lee within Arlington House. The mansion, now located in Arlington National Cemetery, continues to echo with the haunting stories of those who endured slavery on its grounds.

After legal battles, Arlington House was returned to the Lee family in 1882, only to be sold to the U.S. government in 1883. Today, the National Park Service oversees the property, highlighting its historical and cultural significance. Designated a memorial to Robert E. Lee in 1955 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, Arlington House serves as a tangible link to the Civil War era.

Historic Arlington House – Credit npshistory

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Ghostly Sighting – Ghost of Robert E. Lee

While researching “Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War,” there was no mention of ghostly sightings of Robert E. Lee, the revered Army of Northern Virginia commander. Yet, an intriguing twist emerges when examining the haunted history of three homes linked to General Lee. Although Lee himself isn’t reported as a ghostly presence, an eerie atmosphere envelops these residences, challenging the expected narrative of the dignified Southern family.

As we delve into the haunted tales of General Lee’s residences, a different side unfolds. Despite the absence of reported sightings of Lee, his family’s homes reveal a haunting legacy. Light Horse Harry Lee, Robert E. Lee’s father, appears as a complex figure, a hero of the American Revolution with a tumultuous life marked by gambling and financial struggles. The Lee family, maintaining dignity, hides a history of scandals spanning generations, including “Black Horse” Harry Lee’s indiscretions.

Arlington, seized early in the Civil War and now part of Arlington National Cemetery, transcends its role as a resting place for Union war dead. It becomes a dwelling where the echoes of the Lee family’s past stir restlessly. Several sightings of Lee family ghosts within the mansion add an eerie layer to the historical narrative. The unseen yet deeply felt spectral presence leaves an indelible impression, intertwining the Lee family’s legacy with an ethereal, haunting aura.

Enslaved Spirits – Haunted Slave Quarters

The eerie stories at Arlington House don’t stop with Robert E. Lee’s family. Almost one hundred people were held as slaves here between 1802 until the American Civil War. This is a storehouse of secrets and misery, not just a palace.

The exhibits within Arlington House reveal the harsh lives of the Syphax, Burke, Parks, and Gray families, unfolding a narrative that lingers in the air. The two slave quarters, standing silently, tell a chilling story of bondage. But it doesn’t end there. As you explore, the National Park Service’s interpretation takes you into the shadows of the past, where archaeological finds not only expose the harsh reality but deepen the mystery surrounding the enslaved. Yet, the eeriness doesn’t stop at artifacts.

Whispers speak of lost souls, enslaved spirits aimlessly roaming the vicinity. Sometimes seen, as if still seeking purpose, these spectral remnants of the past add a shiver to the already haunting atmosphere. The air thickens with the weight of history, and the unseen presence of those who once toiled on this land becomes palpable.

This place is more than just a historically significant mansion—it’s a location where the scars of pain are still felt. The spectral images of the captive spirits, appearing to be lost and in search, give the past an unsettling sense of realism. Arlington House remains a somber witness, not only to the passage of time but also to the spectral legacy that never goes away.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage of Arlington House

Well-known for its historical significance and enigmatic atmosphere, Arlington House has captivated the interest of numerous people, appearing in a number of films and television programs centered around the paranormal. In the compelling series “Phantoms of the Past: Unveiling Arlington’s Ghostly Secrets,” when detectives probed into the spooky tales and spine-chilling encounters within its walls, one such noteworthy portrayal occurred.

In the realm of literature, Arlington House has left an indelible mark, featuring prominently in works such as “Haunted Inns and Hotels of Virginia” by Susan Schwartz and “Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths, and True Tales” by Pamela K Kinney. These literary pieces unravel the spectral narratives woven into the fabric of the house, providing a captivating journey into its ghostly past.

Arlington House continues to be a popular attraction for history buffs and others who are interested in the paranormal even today. All those seeking an intense contact with history’s enigmatic and ethereal embrace are drawn to it by its mystery, which is firmly ingrained in both popular culture and media.

How can I visit Arlington House?

With the assistance of our certified tour guide, who provides an immersive walking tour of Arlington National Cemetery’s sacred grounds, set out on a moving journey through American history. Admire the valiant warriors of the United States as you meander around the biggest military cemetery in the country, a somber final resting place for more than 400,000 veterans of various wars.

This comprehensive tour encompasses the fronts of Iraq and Afghanistan, the World Wars, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, the Cold War, and America’s Civil War. Witness the solemn precision of the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a moving tribute that unfolds before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Explore the highlights of Arlington National Cemetery, including the iconic gravesite of President John F. Kennedy, and Arlington House—the historic home and national memorial of General Robert E. Lee.

Guided by an experienced and knowledgeable tour guide, your journey is not just a walk through history but a narrative woven with engaging anecdotes and stories that bring the cemetery’s rich history to life. With respect for your privacy, your guide ensures a personalized experience, allowing you to absorb the gravity of Arlington House and its surroundings at your own pace. Book your tour now for an enriching and memorable exploration of this significant national memorial.


A spooky silence descends around Arlington House as the heavy door creaks shut behind you, lingering like a ghost in the night. History’s ethereal residue sticks to your senses and leaves a lasting impression on your spirit. It seems as though the ghosts of long-dead residents are calling out to you from the shadows to recall the unfinished stories painted on the walls. The ethereal atmosphere of the House continues as you leave, a silent witness to the mysterious stories that reverberate through time, tempting visitors to understand its ghostly mysteries. The frigid wind brings with it the echo of the past.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is Arlington House located?

A: Arlington House is situated in Arlington, Virginia.

Q: Are there any reported ghost sightings at Arlington House?

A: Yes, several sightings of Lee family ghosts have been reported within the mansion, adding an eerie layer to its historical narrative.

Q: Can visitors explore the slave quarters at Arlington House?

A: Absolutely. The two slave quarters, located on the north and south ends of Arlington House, are open for exploration, revealing the haunting stories of those once enslaved.

Q: Is Arlington House haunted by the spirits of the enslaved?

A: Whispers of lost souls, spirits of those once bound to toil, are said to roam the vicinity. Some visitors claim to have witnessed these spectral figures, adding an eerie dimension to the haunting legacy.

Q: Are there legends about Robert E. Lee’s ghost at Arlington House?

A: Strangely, there are no reported ghostly sightings of Robert E. Lee within Arlington House. However, several homes General Lee lived in during his life are reputed to be haunted by Lee family members.

Q: What is the significance of Arlington House in the context of the Civil War?

A: Arlington House, seized early in the Civil War, became a last resting place for Union war dead. The mansion itself is considered an abode of the dead, where echoes of the past stir restlessly.

Q: Are there any scandalous legends associated with the Lee family at Arlington House?

A: The Lee family’s venerable lineage is marked by scandal, extending through generations. Light Horse Harry Lee, Robert E. Lee’s father, led a tumultuous life filled with gambling and financial struggles, contributing to the family’s complex history.

Q: Is a tour guide available for Arlington House, and what does the guided tour include?

A: Yes, a licensed tour guide is available for Arlington House, providing a comprehensive and informative walking tour of the historic grounds. The tour encompasses key highlights such as President JFK’s gravesite, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and Arlington House — the home and national memorial of General Robert E. Lee.

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