Alexandria, Virginia, settled by a group of Scottish merchants May 11, 1749, is a city rich with history. George Washington was a frequent visitor there, and even drilled his militia troops in the Market Square.
Gadsby's Tavern Museum consists of two buildings, a ca. 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Hotel. The buildings are named for Englishman John Gadsby who operated them from 1796 to 1808. Mr. Gadsby's establishment was a center of political, business, and social life in early Alexandria. The tavern was the setting for dancing assemblies, theatrical and musical performances, and meetings of local organizations. George Washington enjoyed the hospitality provided by tavern keepers and twice attended the annual Birth night Ball held in his honor. Other prominent patrons included John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Marquis de Lafayette. http://oha.ci.alexandria.va.us/gadsby/
Report by: Gail Works, FPRF Investigator
I had a wonderful three-week trip that I took with my soon-to-be-13-year-old son this past summer. During one of our historical tours through Gadsby's Tavern in "Old Town" Alexandria, I had a rather amazing encounter with a spirit known as the "Female Stranger." In the early 1800's, the story tells of a young couple who arrived at the Alexandria port and stayed at Gadby's Tavern. The woman was quite ill, and eventually died. The husband begged the townspeople never to reveal her name, and they complied. She was laid to rest in one of the local cemeteries under the name of "The Female Stranger," but she had been seen walking the halls outside of her deathbed in Gadby's Tavern, as I discovered for myself the night we took a lamplit tour of the Tavern. The Tavern is now part museum and part restaurant, and we got to see all the old rooms and hear stories of how these areas were used during Colonial times. The museum guide did not want to discuss the Female Stranger with me, as she was not part of the Colonial era, but as we looked into one of the nicer rooms, I felt that prickly feeling on the back of my neck that signaled to me we weren't alone. I stood in the hallway next to the bedroom and snapped my first pic. Then I spoke to the spirit and asked if it would show itself to me. The series of photos I took is pretty amazing -- after the initial shot, the next few shots were dark -- real dark, as though something was sucking the power right out of my camera. With each shot, the pics got lighter. About the fourth frame, I got two of the most beautiful orbs flying right me! The last shot I took was when I felt we were alone again, and everything returned to normal. (I'd put the pics in, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how to import them into this text!) I was able to later confirm that the room we'd been standing outside of was indeed the room where the mysterious Female Stranger had breathed her last! Perhaps she and her husband were paying the Tavern a visit that night....