Friday, February 6, 2015

Aquia’s Blonde Beth

There are many stories about various Episcopal Churches being haunted. One site on the web mentions 20 different Episcopal churches across America that have ghosts connected to them. One of these is Aquia Episcopal Church located in Stafford, Virginia.

Aquia Episcopal Church
Aquia was built in 1757 and this churches’ architecture is one of the few true examples of a Greek cross structure from colonial times. Thomas Jefferson was one original member of this church.

Just after the Revolutionary War this church was shut down for a number of years because of lack of funds. During the Civil War, Aquia was used briefly as a field hospital and provided services for Union soldiers.

Today this church is a thriving Episcopal Church with an active membership. The structure is a designated National Historic Landmark and the church offers historical tours to the general public.

Part of this church’s interesting history is about the ghosts that are said to remain. These stories are so well known that the members of this active community church today, remind people who seek paranormal activity to please respect their church and stay away.

A Mysterious Murder

One ghost story told often about Aquia Church is said to be the result of a murder.

Vestry Tower
When the church was re-opened after the Revolutionary War the remains of a young woman were found in the Vestry Tower, Note: some accounts state this small tower was a “belfry” but it never contained a bell so it is a vestry.

It remains a mystery as to who killed this woman and why but what is known is she was left to rot in the vestry. When she was discovered all that remained was her skeleton and her blond hair.

One gruesome legend connected to this story is that this woman’s spilt dried blood remained on the vestry floor for over 100 years--despite efforts to clean it up.

Another legend states that there have been so many people who have said they encountered this ghost that many others refuse to go near this church at night.

Eyewitness Accounts

More believable are several eyewitness accounts from people who state they heard or saw the ghost of this unfortunate young woman--who in more recent years has been dubbed Blonde Beth.

A common story is that members of the church have heard footsteps running up the narrow stairs that lead to the vestry. A custodian that worked in the church stated he sometimes saw a female face floating over the churches graveyard at night.

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One man who discovered an old book about the churches history at a garage sale was so intrigued him he decided to take the tour. He had not heard the ghost stories.

As he was leaving the church’s parking lot he glanced up and saw a feminine face looking down at him from the window in the vestry. He described her face, “as transparent, with a boney nose.” He stated she was smiling at him.

In the early 1990s Aquia celebrated the rich history of the church one Sunday afternoon. One group that was invited to participate in this celebration was a troop of Civil War reenactors.

This group arrived on Saturday night, pitched their tents and built a campfire between the church and the graveyard.

A member of the church went over to talk to this group the next morning before the church service. The priest at the time was Father Kerr, he was there talking to the leader about the day’s events.

During the course of this conversation one reenactor brought up the strange sight he and several others had seen the night before. While sitting around the campfire they had seen a strange orange--reddish light flickering on and off through the vestry window.

This light continued to turn on and off throughout most of the night. The soldier jokingly told the Father, “It must have been the ghost.” He then stated it was most likely a loose bulb in a light socket that had been flickering.

To his surprise Father Kerr stated without skipping a beat, “Oh, that’s just Blond Beth. She was probably just checking you out, curious why Civil War soldiers have returned after all this time.”

The Father’s next statement shocked the group. “By the way, there are no lights or electricity in the vestry.”

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