A Haunted Exchange

The Exchange Hotel in Gordonsville, Virginia is a beautiful older hotel. While it’s been eight years since I have visited this location, I doubt it has changed much. When I visited it, it still looked like it was set up for service in 1860’s. 

The area that the hotel sits on use to be a popular pub. After the pub burned down in 1859, the owner decided to take advantage of the close railroad station and build an upscale hotel. Travelers on the train had to get of the train while in Gordonsville so that they could exchange their current tickets for the next part of their trip. Meanwhile the trains would refill on wood for the fireboxes and water. The Exchange Hotel wasn’t the only hotel in the area but it was the nicest. For $1.25 a night, guests could have their own room. A cook downstairs provided dinner and breakfast for the travelers. 

Unfortunately things for the United States would soon change. Do to it’s location to the railroad, the Confederate Army took control of the hotel and changed it into a hospital in March, 1862. They built more buildings on the land to make areas for a blacksmith shop, a cooper shop, surgical services, and a place to hold the dead until they could be prepared for burial and transfer back to their home for burial. While opened as a hospital, there was a staff of half a dozen doctors and around 30 nurses as well as other staff members. Although it was a Confederate hospital, Union soldiers were treated as equals and received the same care without judgement. Around 70,000 soldiers were treated there with less than 700 deaths which was surprising for medical care at that time. The hospital, which is considered the first triage hospital, would lay new patients out on the lawn while doctors determined who should receive immediate care there or who would be able to make the train journey on to Charlottesville, Lynchburg, or Richmond to bigger hospitals. The hospital was closed in October 1865. After that, it was converted back into a hotel until the 1940’s.

Many types of paranormal activity have been reported over the years. Making it a favorite of paranormal investigators to explore and interact with. People have reported doors closing or opening of their own accord. Shadow people have been seen. Women dressed as nurses have been seen walking up and down the stairs. Workers have reported seeing a set of child size footprints on the floor after mopping. Guests have mentioned seeing a man in civil war clothing sitting on the side of a cot on the third floor. He talks to them and tells them of his home and how the war was for him. Guests assume he is a reenactor but the staff tell them that they don’t have any that day. Another spirit that is seen and heard often is Anna. She was a cook that worked there. She is often seen in and around the summer kitchen. She is has been recorded on evps and a few people were able to capture her image in pictures. Another spirit that is seen fairly often is Emma. She is seen and heard on the third floor. She seems to be a younger child maybe around 6 years old. She has been photographed a few times. Children visiting the hotel have been reported playing with her. Child’s laughter and toys moving have been reported. 

I have written before of some my experiences at The Exchange Hotel but I didn’t mention the name of the location at the time. This is the location that I had some of my biggest interactions with Al at. This was before I knew he was an attached spirit to a piece of jewelry I wore. I had gone there with a paranormal team out of Wilmington, NC for an overnight investigation. When we first arrived at the location, our hosts gave us a quick tour around the property. Then we all gathered in the dining room area to get our equipment ready for the investigation. While we did that, one of the hosts was telling us more about the history of the hotel. As I had mentioned in the post about Al, that night I was a little out of it and depressed from dealing with a break up so I wasn’t paying as much attention to everything going as we got ready. I was just focusing on putting my personal equipment together and checking batteries when one of my team members who was preparing the video camera ready gasped and started recording me. I glanced around the room and everyone was staring at me and not talking. It was only then that I noticed that my hair felt like it was moving which it shouldn’t have been because for investigations I keep my hair in a bun and use a headband to pull my bangs back. Knowing from everyone’s reaction I knew something was going on so I tried my best not to react or move. I didn’t to scare off whatever spirit was messing with my hair. This went on for a few moments before everyone suddenly relaxed and the girl who was filming me showed me the footage. The video (which I don’t have access to anymore because I am no longer apart of that team) showed my headband being pulled up from the bottom points. Then it was slid forward on my head to sit like a crown on my head. While that was most likely Al (and not one of the local spirits) trying to cheer me up, that wasn’t the only activity we had that night. We had another encounter with Al in the sitting room on the second floor. You can more about that in here.

As we explored the house, we did have other activity happened that from the local ghosts. On the third floor, we used some of the toys left for Emma to try and interact with her. I had also brought some hard candies with me to encourage to come out. We left some of the candies out (some wrapped and some unwrapped) and a ball while we downstairs to do some EVP sessions. We left a camera and voice recorder to record while we were gone. We captured the ball rolling slightly and an unwrapped candy on a wrapper shifting a little on the video. We also got what sounds like a faint giggle on the recorder. In one of the rooms on the second floor, three of our members saw a large ball of light (the size of a tennis ball) go across the room. We tried to rule out a passing car by sending team members out to try using different vehicles to drive in front of the hotel but we were unable to recreate the light anomaly. We also heard footsteps on the stairs when we stood by them but none of the voice recorders were able to record the sounds. Two members saw a shadow figure dart from the sitting room into the hallway. We also heard humming outside but couldn’t locate the source. 

The Exchange Hotel has been one of my favorite places to investigate due to how much activity we were able to experience. I would love to go back and do another investigation. If I was able to arrange for an overnight investigation there, would any of y’all like to join me? Let me know in the comments below. 

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