Getting ghostly with L.B. Taylor, Jr.


Kenmore in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Several people have reported ghostly sightings, which may be Colonel Fielding Lewis, George Washington’s brother-in-law. Image courtesy of Walter Smalling, Historic American Buildings Survey, Wikimedia Commons.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I confess to being a skeptic, myself. I haven’t actually seen a ghost but I did have a semi-paranormal experience once (read on to the end). I think the vast majority of ghost stories have a logical explanation; perhaps the ghost’s witness was under stress and made a genuine mistake or someone else mistook the normal noises of a building settling for something else.

But then there’s those other times where sounds or sights cannot be explained in any logical way…so I’m prepared to keep an open mind about ghosts. You never know. Back in 1776, some people would have scoffed at the idea that we could hold a box in one hand and communicate with virtually anyone in the world. And now look at us — we whip out our smartphones, send out a tweet and anybody in the world with a computer or smartphone can see it.

I like the ghost story books of L.B. Taylor, Jr., a Virginia author, because he blends history and true ghost stories so wonderfully. He doesn’t make judgments about each ghost story, but presents the facts and lets you decide for yourself. Most of Taylor’s books are centered around Virginia ghosts, such as The Ghosts of Richmond, The Ghosts of Charlottesville and Lynchburg, The Ghosts of Tidewater and The Big Book of Virginia Ghost Stories. I was surprised to find out that some of my favorite historic sites to visit, including some in the D.C. metro area, have reports of paranormal activity. Whoa.

So if you’re in a ghostly mood this October — or if you’re just a history lover — Taylor’s books are well worth your time. I recommend reading them in a well-lit, non-spooky room, in a cozy chair by the fire, with your feet propped up and your favorite hot or cold beverage nearby.

As for my own paranormal experience that I mentioned at the beginning of this post: One fall morning, I was taking a walk along a country road. I heard what sounded like a horse clopping along behind me. The hair stood up on the back of my neck (so I knew I’d heard something) but when I whirled around…nothing was there. So I shrugged and continued with my walk.

Weeks later, I’m walking along the same road at the same time of day and this time, I saw a male deer whose hooves made the same noise as I’d heard during my earlier walk. So I concluded that what I’d heard was a deer.

But here’s the ghostly twist: Both sides of the road were covered with shrubs, leaves and other woodsy debris and it would have been impossible for a deer to trot through them without making any noise whatsoever. So how did the deer vanish without my hearing it?

I still can’t explain that.



Filed under Writing

14 responses to “Getting ghostly with L.B. Taylor, Jr.

  1. Your paranormal experience sounds spooky! Now I want to check out L.B. Taylor…I’ve never had one of my own, but my hubby and I did take a terrifying ghost tour in York, and they showed a photo of a little ghost girl that looked pretty real, and I can’t explain how they could have faked it. I don’t know that I necessarily believe in ghosts, but I do believe in energy and that when we die, our energy has to go somewhere… Beyond that, who knows?

  2. I’ve not heard of L.B. or anything he has written, but he definitely seems to be one I’d enjoy. Thank you for your information and for sharing your strange, ghostly experience. I’ve always believed October to be the greatest month for tales of ghosts and other “unexplainable” things. And I’m not a great fan of Halloween, either, but the entire month seems to lend itself to spooky and weird! Is it because it’s time for harvesting all the stuff that was alive and thriving just a short time ago? Whatever, good stories near a crackling fire, with a good drink at hand, some rain pattering on the roof and windows, this time of year is wonderful.

  3. Excellent post! I’ll definitely look for a L.B Taylor book. I love a good spooky tale.

  4. I’ve got an old book from my grandmother called “Virginia Ghosts” — it includes a farm still in my family that is haunted by the “white lady of Avenel.” My brother swears he has seen her while visiting there and playing with cousins in the twilight.

    I’ll be on the lookout for L.B. Taylor, Jr.

  5. Teresa Richardson

    I am a self-professed L. B. (Bob) Taylor, Jr. groupie. I have EVERY one of his books and have read them all to shreds. I even have a copy of the out-of-print “Haunted House” Scholastic book.I have met him three times, and it felt like I was in the midst of royalty. I have taken his Colonial Williamsburg ghost tour so many times that I think I could lead one on my own. I have two questions that’s hope you can help with. Is Mr. Taylor still living? And how can I contact him? I have two honest-to-goodness ghost stories to relate, and one very humorous “non-ghost” story. I would appreciate your help with this, and would not mind chatting with you about some of your ghostly experiences.

    • I think he’s still alive. As for contacting him, maybe you could send a letter to his publisher and ask them to forward it?

      • Teresa Richardson

        Well……after writing this, I got my courage up and called the most recent phone number I could find for him. Guess who answered???? Mr. Taylor himself!!! I was completely tongue-tied. Once I found my voice, he and I had a rather pleasant conversation for over 30 minutes. He seemed embarassed that I had actually read every single one of his books, but he sounded proud when I told him I had hard-backed copies of both of Ms. DuPont Lee’s Virginia Ghost Books. I promised to send him my “ghost story” by email, and he actually sounded as if he was looking forward to reading it. He even remembered meeting me way back in 2003!!! I guess you just never know!!!!

  6. That’s amazing — good for you! I hope I get the chance to talk with him myself one day — I’ve spent lots of entertaining hours in his books.

  7. Teresa Richardson

    He says he has a couple of new books coming out — one on the Ghosts of Roanoke, and Ghosts of Virginia 14 & 15. Hey, maybe MY story will be in one of them!!!!!!


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