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Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery paranormal

Photo by: Marianne Donley
Location submitted by: sdonley on 01/18/2018
DBA Approved: Y

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PANICd#: 1986

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George Washington Parke Custis, grandson of Martha Washington, acquired the land that now is Arlington National Cemetery in 1802, and began construction of Arlington House (the name is ultimately derived from the village in England.

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington , VA 22211
Phone: 877-907-8585
Open to the public: Yes

Lat: 38.8783252
Lon: -77.068671

Database Summary:

Demographic Rank: 6
History: 2
Stories: 2
Claims: 4
Evidence: 0
Resources: 4
Retrievals: 15588
Vistor Rating: 0.0
Votes: 0

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History information is some background and history about the location. This is meant to be a basic summary. Below the history records you will find sources in which you can click on to find out more information. There may be multiple history records per location.

Added by: sdonley on 01/19/2018 DB#:370

George Washington Parke Custis, grandson of Martha Washington, acquired the land that now is Arlington National Cemetery in 1802, and began construction of Arlington House (the name is ultimately derived from the village of Arlington, Gloucestershire, England, where Custis' family was originally from). The estate passed to Custis' daughter, Mary Anna, who had married United States Army officer Robert E. Lee. Custis' will gave a "life inheritance" to Mary Lee, allowing her to live at and run Arlington Estate for the rest of her life but not enabling her to sell any portion of it. Upon her death, the Arlington estate passed to her eldest son, George Washington Custis Lee.

When Virginia seceded from the Union at the start of the American Civil War, Robert E. Lee resigned his commission on April 20, 1861, and took command of the armed forces of the Commonwealth of Virginia, later becoming commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. On May 7, troops of the Virginia militia occupied Arlington and Arlington House. With Confederate forces occupying Arlington's high ground, the capital of the Union was left in an untenable military position. Although unwilling to leave Arlington House, Mary Lee believed her estate would soon be recaptured by federal soldiers. So she buried many of her family treasures on the grounds and left for her sister's estate at Ravensworth in Fairfax County, Virginia, on May 14. On May 3, General Winfield Scott ordered Brigadier General Irvin McDowell to clear Arlington and the city of Alexandria, Virginia, of all troops not loyal to the United States. McDowell occupied Arlington without opposition on May 24.

The Arlington House

At the outbreak of the Civil War, most military personnel who died in battle near Washington, D.C., were buried at the United States Soldiers' Cemetery in Washington, D.C., or Alexandria Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia, but by late 1863 both were nearly full. On July 16, 1862, Congress passed legislation authorizing the U.S. federal government to purchase land for national cemeteries for military dead, and put the U.S. Army Quartermaster General in charge of this program. In May 1864, Union forces suffered large numbers of dead in the Battle of the Wilderness. Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs ordered that an examination of eligible sites be made for the establishment for a large new national military cemetery. Within weeks, his staff reported that Arlington Estate was the most suitable property in the area. The property was high and free from floods (which might unearth graves), it had a view of the District of Columbia, and it was aesthetically pleasing. It was also the home of the leader of the armed forces of the Confederate States of America, and denying Robert E. Lee use of his home after the war was a valuable political consideration. The first military burial at Arlington, for William Henry Christman, was made on May 13, 1864, close to what is now the northeast gate in Section 27. However, Meigs did not formally authorize establishment of burials until June 15, 1864. Arlington did not desegregate its burial practices until President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948.

The Old Guard transports the flag-draped casket of the second Sergeant Major of the Army George W. Dunaway who was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

The government acquired Arlington at a tax sale in 1864 for $26,800, equal to $420,000 today. Mrs. Lee had not appeared in person but rather had sent an agent, attempting to pay the $92.07 in property taxes (equal to $1,400 today) assessed on the estate in a timely manner. The government turned away her agent, refusing to accept the tendered payment. In 1874, Custis Lee, heir under his grandfather's will passing the estate in trust to his mother, sued the United States claiming ownership of Arlington. On December 9, 1882, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Lee's favor in United States v. Lee, deciding that Arlington had been confiscated without due process. After that decision, Congress returned the estate to him, and on March 3, 1883, Custis Lee sold it back to the government for $150,000 (equal to $3,342,727 in 2018) at a signing ceremony with Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln. The land then became a military reservation.

President Herbert Hoover conducted the first national Memorial Day ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery, on May 30, 1929.

Added by: sdonley on 01/18/2018 DB#:369


Stories are just that. Stories and personal accounts that have been reported about the location.

Arlington National Cemetery is one of the most haunted sites in the country. This famous cemetery is the second to the largest burial ground in the United States. It is home to the graves of many American war heroes and two U.S. presidents (John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft). Over 300,000 are buried on these green, rolling hills. Over 7,000 funerals occur here per year, adding many new apparitions with each passing season. On average, there are 28 funerals per day at Arlington National Cemetery. This is also the only cemetery where servicemen from every war in U.S. history are buried. Many apparitions of these departed souls have been spotted roaming the cemetery at night.

The Custis-Lee Arlington Mansion and Robert E. Lee Memorial is a haunted spot located within the cemetery. This Greek-revival style mansion was the last resting place for the Union War dead. Before this, it was the pre-war home of Robert E. and Mary Lee. Several ghosts have been spotted here, including the spirit of Mary Custis Lee herself.

Dedicated to American service members who died without their remains being identified, The Tomb of the Unknowns is famous for its frequent changing of the guard ceremony. It is perhaps even more famous for its high level of paranormal activity.

Added by: sdonley on 01/19/2018 DB#:1368

Added by: sdonley on 01/19/2018 DB#:1369

Paranormal Claims

Here are the paranormal claims for this location. These have been found through Internet research, reports from members, or reports from personal interviews. To add a claim, please contact, and we will review and add your information.

Claim # Added Added By Claim
2696 01/19/2018 sdonley Apparitions have been spotted and photographed through the entire grounds.
2697 01/19/2018 sdonley The apparition of Mrs. Lee has been spotted at the Arlington Mansion.
2698 01/19/2018 sdonley Strange noises, sounds, and voices have been heard by visitors.
2699 01/19/2018 sdonley Strange lights have been seen and recorded throughout the grounds at night.

Paranormal Evidence

Paranormal evidence is based on claims that have been reported for this location. There can be several types of evidence; however, we have grouped them based on media type for better organization. Here you will find evidence that are logs, audio, video, or photographic.

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Additional Resources

This is a collection of Internet resources for this location. This section will house links to other websites that contain information related to history, claims, investigations, or even the location's website.

Wikipedia Entry
Added: 01/19/2018 By: sdonley
Wikipedia entry for this location.
The Ghosts Of Arlington: Arlington National Cemetery
Added: 01/19/2018 By: sdonley
The Ghosts of Arlington by Lieutenant S. S. Brown
Video: Wilson, Harding and a Nation Pay Respect to the Unknown Soldier (1921) - Ghosts of DC
Added: 01/19/2018 By: sdonley
Page shows some historical videos for the cemetery.
Arlington National Cemetery | The Witching Hour
Added: 01/19/2018 By: sdonley
On June 15, 1864, Brigadier General Montgomery C. Meigs, appropriated the estate grounds for use as a military cemetery with the intent to drive the Lee family from their property. His first orders to this end called for the interment of 26 Union officers outside the front door of Arlington House. Another of the first…

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