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The Ghosts of Aquia Church

What are the best ingredients for a good ghost story? Start with one creepy, 18th century church, add in one unsolved murder, and stir in one accidental death. Let it simmer for 250 years, and the end result becomes the legend of the haunted Aquia church in Stafford County, Virginia.

At first glance, the beautiful two story brick structure seems peaceful and inviting. But the church, with it's grand belfry, and adjoining peaceful cemetery, harbors a dark history. Soon after the revolutionary war, the church was abandoned due to lack of funding. When the church doors were reopened, the murdered body of a young woman was found in the belfry. It's not known exactly when she died, but it is reported that her hair was still in tact on her skeleton, as blond as it was on the day she died. Her blood stained the floor in the church for more than a century, until a new concrete floor was finally put it to cover it.

Soon after the woman's body was found, ghost stories began to filter through the small community. Parishioners refused to enter the church at night, and soon curious spectators began breaking in after dark, trying to witness the paranormal for themselves. During the 1920's, a vacationer to the area decided to investigate the claims herself. As she entered the church, an unseen hand slapped her face, leaving a bright red mark that is said to have lasted for days.

During the war, two soldiers broke into the church at night, not because they were trying to validate claims of the haunting, but because they had been traveling, and were tired. They fell asleep in the pews of the church, and woke to the sound of footsteps. They searched the church, but they were completely alone. Just as they were about to settle back down for some much needed rest, they heard someone- or something- whistling "The Campbell's are Coming". Once more they got up to search for the origin of the sound, but no one was in the church other than them. Sure that someone was playing a trick on them, one of the soldiers opened the door to peak outside, just in time to see the union army marching straight towards the church! As fast as they could move they climbed out of a window at the back of the church and escaped to the safety of the night.

Even after the war, rumors of ghostly appearances still surrounded the church. It's said that one young man, who claimed not to be afraid of ghosts, was dared to enter the church at night and walk all the way up to the belfry by himself. His friends handed him a hammer and nail, and instructed him that to prove that he could, in fact, brave the darkness of the church all the way up to the belfry, that he must nail into the wall as evidence. The young man, boasting that no ghost could get him, accepted the challenge, and in the cover of night headed into the church, alone. His friends were alarmed when they still had not heard from him the next day. Upon investigating, it was found that the young man had somehow accidentally nailed himself to the wall. Believing that the ghost in the belfry had latched on to him, it was assumed that he died of fright. Others believe that the ghost may have really appeared to him, causing him to scare himself to death.

Some claim that the young murder victim still haunts the church today. Footsteps can be heard running through the empty church, up to the belfry. Phantom struggling can be heard from downstairs, and a blond woman has been seen in the window upstairs. The former caretaker of the church claimed to have seen apparitions floating about in the graveyard at night time.

Is Aquia church really haunted? To find out you'll have to visit for yourself. But visitors must schedule a tour with the church in advance. After all, they wouldn't want to be responsible if you were to see something, and scare yourself to death!


Aquia Church

While in high-school, friends of mine and I went to investigate the legend of this haunted church two years in a row at midnight on Halloween night. On both occasions the police arrived. The first year we ran and got away. The second year we ran, but were forced to turn back as my friend left his car in the church parking lot. We were arrested, but the charges were dropped as we were minors. We did have the opportunity to walk the graveyard as well as run through the woods, however we never saw any ghost. But, that doesn't mean the Church 'isn't' haunted. I often desire one last 3rd attempt to witness the ghost (3rd time's a charm), but I have long since moved out of state. Perhaps one day.

aquia church

I went there went I was about 12 years old. I remember getting close to the church and a red light coming on and a shadow of a women went across, it scared me so bad I could not even speak. So for me I believe it is haunted.

aquia church

Hi, Ive never been near the church before.Is this all true??

Personal Experience

The area I grew up in Stafford Virginia is rich in famous history going all the way back to early settlement days with Pocahontas walking the shores of Aquia Creek. Ferry Farm was George Washington's boyhood home. Government Island was where Freestone was quarried for the Nations Capital, among other buildings in DC, and the Civil War saw a lot of activity in our area.

Right outside the entrance of the subdivision I grew up in is a very old church founded in 1654, and built in 1754 called Aquia Episcopal Church. Ever since I was a child I had heard stories of it being haunted, but never anything specific.

Fast forward to about 1990/92 time period. I had recently moved back to the area after being released from active duty service in the Marine Corps, and was dating a young woman who along with her parents were regular members of the congregation at the time. This particular Sunday I attended the worship service was a big to do event marking some milestone in the church's history. There were Civil War rein-actors that spent the night outside between the church and church cemetery complete with an authentic campsite....... The next morning prior to service I was eager to check out the soldier uniforms, the campsite, and to talk with the members that were getting ready to take part in the afternoon events. Father Kerr was giving direction to the groups leader about plans for the service when at some point in the conversation the gentleman brought up that they all had noticed that there was a orange - reddish light in the belfry that kept turning on and off at various points during the prior evening when all of the rein-actors were enjoying the campfire. He made a half joke about it being a ghost, but stated that there is probably a loose bulb in a light socket making the light flicker on and off.

Without batting an eye Father Kerr told him "Oh, that's just Blond Beth! The ghost of a young woman who was She was probably just checking you out, curious why Civil War soldiers have returned after such a long absence.... By the way! There are no lights, or electricity in the belfry." Turns out that a young blond female was murdered during the Revolutionary War days and her body left to rot in the Belfry, only to be found after the church re-opened years after the war was over. Her skeleton with hair still attached was all that was left.

The look on their faces (And I'm sure mine as well) was priceless. I even thought Father Kerr might have been pulling our leg. After the service was over, I had to see myself. I climbed the ladder stairs up to the belfry, pushed the hatch open and lifted myself up inside halfway to look around. Immediately I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and an uneasy/queasy feeling in my stomach like I wasn't alone. I also couldn't help notice that there was no signs of electrical wiring, switches, or lightning anywhere to be found inside this belfry.

Peersonal Experiance

ok soo this dude up here is writing a freaking harry potter book i really dident wanna finish cause that much writing is od like forreal forreal. i know i dont use grammer thoo but i dont care. So anyway alot of my friends talk bout that church and i live right down the street by it sooo yea not my favorite place to live but I knew people that went into that church and told me storys about it. Most of the storys were about them seeing the woman in the window and footsteps but i so belive in their i wont to go in it but then again, aint nobody got time fo that. Theres a dead person barried in my neighborhood to! =O

I have seen her

I grew up in Stafford County and my mother was a memeber of this church. I had attended services with her there as a child hoping to see or hear something, but never did. However. Went there one night with some friends and even walk through graveyard is creepy. One side of the church was much colder than any other side. And when I stood in front of the church I seen her appear in the window and completely frooze up couldn't move or talk. I completely believe it is haunted.

The Lady in the Window

I remember reading about the church in an architecture book given to me that was published by the University of Illinois from the architecture department. It was a very old book that was found at a garage sale. So when I moved to the area for work in the design profession, I lived in Stafford and worked in Alexandria and planned on visiting the church first chance I had spare time.

I just purchased a Mustang GT that was just washed and waxed and I was going out for a ride and said I’ll check out the Church of Aquia. I parked at the front of the church and decided to look at the grave yard area walking through the stone and looking at the dates, not for morbid reason but for historical ones and then I'll visit the church.

I remember hearing that George Washington attended the church as well as Thomas Jefferson and had their own personal seating in the church from friends that lived and attended the church in the area for several years. I looked at the grave stones and then walked towards the church admiring the structure and looking at the dates carved into the church and was fascinated, again, by the history. So and so loves so and so, 1778, amazing I thought. They did that back then too!

I got into my immaculately polished mustang and looked up at the church out of the passenger window and to the left of the church door I seen a face of a person, feminine, transparent and funny to my vision with a boney tip nose looking at me and smiling slightly. I assume that it was the caretaker of the church and I remember making hand jesters and waving hi and implying that I was only looking at the church, admiring it and that I was not someone up to no good. I looked up again and the person was gone! At that point, the strangest thing happened to me. I became very overwhelm by grief and sadness for several minutes followed by trembling. It was almost like it came from nowhere. I thought, what is happening to me?

After collecting myself, I started my car and place it in gear and droved off. I remember telling my friends that I visited the church and they said why did you do that? I said, that is a very historical church building mentioned in several architecture books because of the layout and design. I then said, I seen someone looking out of the window at me in the church and they became very odd and quiet and looked at each other and didn’t say anything. I never knew why they acted so strange until I learned that the church possibly had an apparition.

To this day, I can still see the face in the window smiling at me as if looking almost through me but also remembering the overwhelming sadness that mysteriously came over me. Since then, I have had a lot of career struggles misfortune and negativity in my life and I wonder if the visit to that church and the grave yard had something to do with it.

There is electricity/lighting in the Vestry Tower (not "belfry")

I am a regular member of Aquia Episcopal Church, and am very familiar with the ghost stories about the woman, and the soldiers being "warned" of the approaching army. Hadn't heard about the man who apparently was murdered there. I serve as a lay eucharistic minister and we put on our cassock/surplice in the Vestry Tower - it's not a belfry, never had a bell. There is lighting in the area where we vest, and inside the attic, and has been for as long as I can remember. Been a member of the church since 1990. It's worth a look inside the attic where you'll see the wooden boards with the markings characteristic of hand-hewn lumber. Beautiful construction. It's not scarey. And, there is no "ladder" that goes up to the Vestry Tower. There is a staircase, a bit narrow but definitely not a ladder!


Absolutely love this place. To me it is very calming and peaceful. But then again my family is buried here. Meredith, Bankhead, Lee, & Moncure.

No ghosts except for the Holy Ghost.

Please do not come to the church on Halloween night. We have to stand guard every Halloween night because a few people come to see ghosts. Those stories are all bunk. We are a regular church and the cemetery is closed at night. Please respect our wishes.

True Story

While in Stafford high school in the 1980s, two car loads went to the Aquia Church to see if the stories were true. We walked the graveyard and saw nothing but graves, we looked all around the church up in the windows to see if the spirit of the woman would be there. We still saw nothing. Out of boredom we went back to our cars to talk for awhile and forgot all about the ghost stories we had heard, while talking and laughing time went by pretty fast. Around midnight the lights on the entrance poles, which they were out the whole time we were there, proceeded to blink a total of three times. By the second blink I got in my car and started to leave. It is proof this church is haunted. Me and everybody who was there saw it with our own eyes.

Another True Story

My family attended this church and are buried there. I have visited and attended service there many times, beginning in the early 1960's. I have been there at night. Never have I seen nor experienced anything other than the vandalism of headstones and beer cans and liquor bottles strewn about in the grave yard.

In the mid 1980's I worked with a young adult who would go with his friends to the Aquia Episcopal Church and sit in their cars late at night looking for "ghosts". He said they never saw anything other than the moon, an occasional owl, and the County Deputies who would run them off.

Aquia ghost

I know the ghost spirit moved over to Forsail Cove in Aquia Harbour community. I am with the Ahrs. There was a ems call for a person choking on the above named street. The 911 caller stated they saw a young woman holding her throat. When the caller looked back, the woman was gone. The woman was dressed in all white. Just like the woman that was murdered in thr late 1700s.

Aquila attendee 1978-1989

I grew up going to church there from elementary through high school. Both stories are ones I heard while going there. Although I was hard pressed to believe the nail one, I did see the lady in the window to the east side of the belfry tower late one night after an EYC function. We used to hang around in the graveyard after. And yes, I have been in the belfry. Creepy feeling...


Sooo people believe in "God" the greatest power of all time but not in ghosts, entity, Angelic spirits, Spirit guides, and Demons.... yea,OK!
I and about 14 other people saw the lights blink , and if you want to stay at a haunted hotel go to the motel on Rt in Stafford across from the car wash about 3/10 of mile before the Rappahannock River Bridge. Hotel is on the left if you are heading South. That place scared the you know what out of me and my ex husband.


I was curious about the area so I checked out a book from the library. Kind of interesting, though. This information is taken nearly word for word from the book "The Ghosts of Virginia" (copyright 1993 by LB Taylor Jr) , first volume, in the section on the Fredericksburg. Chapter 26 (pages 126-130) is entitled Terror in the Aquila Belfry, and it's all about Aquila Church.

Next time just cite your resources, use quotations when necessary, and Use Your Own Words for the rest.

I don't know if it's true

I live in Aquia Harbor and every day I pass the church but I have never seen anything, I have been told as a child it was haunted but I never knew the story. I have been in the cement art but never inside.

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