The haunted Major Graham Mansion located in Wythe County, at the junction of Interstates 81 and 77, officially opened SpookyWorld on Oct. 8. Since that day thousands of people have flocked to see what scary adventure lay within its historic walls.
Deemed “officially haunted” by the Virginia Paranormal Society in 2007, the Major Graham Mansion is the only haunted mansion that really is haunted. From the Bloody Barn, Spooky Trail, Kids’ Krypt, and Haunted Mansion, horror looms heavy over this hallowed ground.
On Oct. 16, 1,100 guests came to experience the thrill of the spooky mansion. Almost 2,000 guests covered the ground on Oct. 23. The mansion is entering its last weekend for Halloween. Guests have their last chance this season to have their own experience nightly from Oct. 28 to Oct. 31.
While the numbers have been high, Josiah Weaver, owner, said the fun is not over yet. "This is just our second year doing this and we’re just getting started," said Weaver.
Parking for the mansion is free. Tickets for access to all of the haunted activities are $10 per person at the gate.
Squire David Graham, Major David Graham’s father, is the original owner who amassed this huge estate located in the Graham’s Forge community of northern Wythe County. Squire David was born in 1800. His father Robert Graham, immigrated to the nearby Locust Hill area by way of Pennsylvania and North Carolina from County Down Ireland in 1770 He served one year in the Revolutionary War.
In 1826 Squire David purchased the initial parcel of Cedar Run and an iron furnace from the Joseph Baker and the Crockett families. Joseph Baker’s cabin was located exactly where the mansion now sits. Based on Montgomery Courthouse documents, Baker was murdered by his slaves, Bob and Sam, on this very property in 1786. Bob and Sam were hung from a hickory tree on the hill overlooking the mansion and it is said they still roam these hills to date.
The open, second floor Georgian side porch facing Cedar Run Creek is the original entrance. The pillared portico reflects a definite Charleston architectural influence that includes exquisite woodwork and rope trim around the door.
The outbuilding to the left of the porch is the washhouse including the original fire pit, chimney, boiling caldron, drain, and rinse basin. The outbuilding directly behind the kitchen is the summer kitchen and slaves’ quarters. The winter kitchen is located in the basement directly below the hearth room. Although the hearth room is now an updated kitchen, it was originally used as a combination living room and dining room with all meals arriving via the dumb waiter.
In this room is also a huge, ornate mahogany mantle as well as a nearby warming oven. This “oven” was actually built into the radiator. Throughout the mansion lovely decorative and functional steam radiators can be seen. In addition, on the ceiling at the rear entrance there is the outline of a large circle, most likely the only remnant of the carbide lights decorative medallion. The opposing enclosed porch and storage rooms date this frame structure by virtue of the type of “horse hair” ceiling plaster and lathe work used prior to 1850.
Downstairs, the rooms are massive. The living room opens directly into the dining room with huge, floor-to-ceiling oak doors. Although the parlor has been somewhat updated, one can imagine the Graham ladies sitting and tatting in front of the massive sunny windows. The attached study and Victorian porches boast exquisite mahogany trim work and radiators, but it is the lingering mysterious family stories that diverts our attention now.