Hauntings from the Selma, Mansion

One Staunton location that is not on any of our ghost tours but mentioned
often is the Selma Mansion, located on Selma Blvd.
If you are visiting Staunton, it is a must see to simply drive by and marvel at.
The house dates back pre civil war and is a beautiful plantation home and is
known as being haunted, very haunted. The mansion now serves as an
apartment house but during its day, it was one grand plantation here
in the town and valley.

Selma's appearance immediately after the civil war ..

The house is haunted by a confederate soldier that was shot and died in the
house during the civil war. The story below comes from the Staunton
News Leader and Charles Culbertson (historian and author).

The story is a tragic one. In the waning days of the war, when Union incursions
into the area were frequent, a woman and her son – a Confederate soldier
– were staying at Selma as guests. One day, without warning, a Union
soldier appeared on the property, spied the young Confederate,
and chased him into the house.

The Confederate ran into the dining room, and it was by the
elaborate hearth in that room that the Union soldier caught
up with him. A shot rang out, and the Confederate soldier fell,
spilling his blood onto the floor. He was taken upstairs to a bedroom
where, some time later, he died.

In the years that followed, servants in the house nervously
mentioned that they had seen a young soldier in a gray uniform
on the stairs, entering the dining room or standing by the
blood-stained floor by the hearth “as if he were a member
of the family circle.” His presence was so clear that, once, a new
servant asked if she should set a place at the
table for the “gentleman.”

“What gentleman?” she was asked. “Why, the soldier gentleman,”
replied the servant. The nameless Confederate’s presence was only
haphazard at first, but in the 1870s he began to make himself
more and more noticeable to those still in the land of the
living. One guest wrote later that he was “polite, attentive, as though
listening to the conversation of the family, but not taking part.”

His form, noticed one writer, was “so clear and distinct that
he was often mistaken for a living man, his manner was so
calm and casual, his presence so convincing, that residents
often accepted him.”

But guests staying overnight did not so readily accept this
ghostly Confederate. He reportedly appeared regularly in the
bedroom in which he had died, scaring the daylights out of
people staying there. Soon, no one wanted to lodge
overnight in Selma.

The Selma ghost became widely famous after being described
in a number of articles and books. He received perhaps the
most attention after his story was told in
“Virginia Ghosts,” by Marguerite Dupont Lee.

In 1982, a “release” ceremony was held in an effort to get the
Confederate to move on to a proper afterlife. The woman
performing the ceremony found the ghost lingering in the attic
– not neatly attired in his gray uniform, but appearing as a series
of “blotches” hanging in mid-air.

“I’d never seen anything like it,” she said years later. “This
was a soul that literally was dissipating. All the other energy
forms I’d dealt with stayed true to their own coherent
structures. This one was breaking up.”

She struggled with the spirit of the young Confederate, who didn’t
want to leave. By force of will, she got him to “move toward the
light.” With a “sigh of resignation,” the long-dead soldier moved
on to the afterlife that had been denied it for nearly 120 years.
At that moment, a clock in the house struck midnight.

Since that eerie night in 1982, there have been no further
sightings of Selma’s unhappy young Confederate.

But there may have been more than one ghost haunting Selma.
The house had been purchased in 1856 by Col. Hierome L. Opie.
He was grievously wounded in 1862 and lost a leg; he would
die of his wound at Selma. According to Marguerite Dupont
Lee, his ghost wandered the house searching for his missing leg.
His ghost is also suspected of titling mirrors and picture frames.

Since no formal “release” ceremony was ever known to be held for
Col. Opie, perhaps his ghost yet haunts the elegant old
mansion, which still stands.

Below our own guide, the esteemed Matthew Willis explains a bit
more about the Selma Mansion on an episode of Haunted Travels.

Copyright 2024 © GHOSTS OF STAUNTON & Marty Seibel