There are many Virginia-based urban legends about haunted places in Charlottesville. One such tale is about the Dunlora Mansion, which tells of witchcraft, violence, and grisly murder. It is said that over a hundred years ago, a group of Boy Scouts and their Scoutmaster stopped for the night in the woods on the Dunlora plantation. However, none of the children ever left alive. Was it the Scoutmaster who killed them all, or was it something far more sinister? We may never know, but the bloody legend persists.
When it comes to the Dunlora Mansion and other plantation hauntings, some questions don't have answers. Where is this ancient building, and did a witch live there? What happened to the Boy Scouts? Did any of this even occur at all, or is it something concocted without a shred of fact?
Whatever you believe, you can rest assured the stories will live on for generations to come. They will also endure when curious ghost hunters seek out the haunted land... even if they must illegally trespass to do so.
In the summer of 1920, six young Boy Scouts and their Scoutmaster set out for a camping trip in the woods near Charlottesville. It was the boys' first outing with this new leader. Unfortunately, the Scout leader was neither familiar with the forest they were hiking through, nor had he heard the tales of the mysterious witch or ghost in the area. For this reason, they unknowingly passed onto the witch's property at Dunlora and decided this seemed like a suitable place to camp for the evening.
At first, everything went okay. The group set up their tents, cooked dinner, and when night fell, they all went to bed. It was the last night the troop ever spent together... at least alive.
Late in the evening, the Scout leader stirred awake due to a strange noise. He thought something odd occurred in one of the tents nearby. Initially, he assumed it was just the boys playing a game or goofing around, and got up to tell them to cut it out and go to sleep. However, when the Scoutmaster went to the tents, he found they were empty.
The boys were not inside the tents, and there was no sign of what happened to them. Still thinking it was a prank, the Scoutmaster called out for the boys to return, but only received silence in return.
Now worried, he began to venture into the woods, screaming their names and searching for any sign of them. He found nothing at all, and he began to fear for the boys' safety. Then, in the distance, he saw a single light flickering. With nothing left to do, the Scoutmaster followed it, hoping he would find the boys there.
As he emerged from the woods, the Scout leader found he was standing in front of a large mansion or farmhouse. It was beautiful, but appeared abandoned. There was dust everywhere as he walked up to the porch, and spider webs lined the windows and doors. The front door was wide open, and as he entered, he saw the furniture was old and untouched.
He suspected the place was vacant. He searched the house, calling for the Scouts, but they did not reply. He found no sign of them. Turning to leave, he thought he heard a small voice - a child's voice - coming from the cellar of the house.
He descended the stairs and found a large empty room, with no one at all inside. He was again going to leave when he saw what looked like a Boy Scout's hat lying on the ground. Just then, he heard a sound from the stairs and turned around, hoping to find the boys there waiting for him. What he saw instead made him scream.
There, only inches from the Scoutmaster's nose, was the leering face of a witch. The light from the Scout leader's flashlight showed the witch smiling maliciously, her eyes gleaming and staring straight into her victim's soul. The witch's pointed teeth glistened in the darkness.
The Scoutmaster, as you might guess, shrieked and rushed out of the cellar, up the stairs, and out of the house. He fled back into the woods, searching for a road so he could get help.
Behind him, he heard sounds suggesting a pursuit. Even as he found the road, whenever he looked back, he could see the intense eyes of the witch getting closer. Once, when he turned around to run further from her, he saw something even more frightening: all the Scouts standing in a row on the dirty road.
Their eyes stared at him, unmoving. With all the boys' stomachs carved open and their entrails dropping out onto the road, it was about this time the Scout leader lost consciousness.