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Richmond's Haunted History


With over 400 years of history, Richmond has seen its fair share of dark and ghoulish events. The city even boasts ties to the famed horror writer, Edgar Allen Poe! This October, local historians are visiting the library to share their expertise on Richmond’s haunted past. Read on to find a program to attend and books about the River City’s spine-chilling history.


  • Author Talk: Dr. Ryan K. Smith's Death and Rebirth in a Southern City
    • Saturday, October 7, 11AM-12PM at Tuckahoe Library
    • Virginia Commonwealth University History Professor Ryan K. Smith will discuss his recently published book, Death and Rebirth in a Southern City: Richmond's Historic Cemeteries, and the complementary web-based project Drawing on extensive oral histories and archival research, Smith's work covers St. John's churchyard, African burial grounds in Shockoe Bottom and Shockoe Hill, Hebrew Cemetery, and Hollywood Cemetery, among others. Books will be available for purchase and signing after the talk. This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Library.
  • Poe and Madness
    • Tuesday, October 10, 7-8PM at Glen Allen Library
    • Many of Edgar Allan Poe's most popular tales explore the subject of madness. Ever interested in the newest scientific advances, Poe examined the minds of insane narrators and commented on the state of mental hospitals during his time. This presentation from The Poe Museum takes a look at these works to discover Poe's own thoughts on mental illness and the fine line between sanity and madness.
  • Haunted Henrico
    • Wednesday, October 11, 6:30-7:30PM at Tuckahoe Library
    • From legends of an innkeeper's spirits and lost treasure in Tuckahoe to the west, to tales of a haunted highway in Varina in the east, Henrico County is host to many ghostly stories. Join Haunts of Richmond as they emerge from the shadows of the city's center to share some haunting tales of Henrico County's past to help celebrate the spooky season.
  • Poe in Richmond
    • Thursday, October 19, 7-8PM at Libbie Mill Library
    • While many cities claim Edgar Allan Poe as their own, Poe considered Richmond his hometown. The River City is the alpha and omega of Poe’s literary legacy. It is here where he wrote his first lines of poetry, got his first job in journalism, and gave his last public reading before his death. This presentation follows Poe through his many years in Richmond to show how the city influenced his greatest works. Presented by The Poe Museum.

And while not focused on local history, our local friends from Henrico Rec and Parks, History Division will be joining us to discuss the history of female horror authors.

  • Historically Speaking: Women Writers and the Birth of Horror
    • Saturday, October 28, 2-3PM at Libbie Mill Library
    • Recommended for ages 16+. From the earliest days of Gothic horror with writers like Mary Shelley, to 20th-century authors such as Shirley Jackson, women have been key architects of the horror fiction genre. Mary Satterwhite from Henrico County Recreation and Parks History Division will discuss female authors of horror and inspire your spooky season reading list.  This program is held in partnership with Henrico County Recreation and Parks, History Division.

Plus, get in the spooky spirit by attending some of our other programs throughout the month!


If you want more information about Richmond’s haunted past, check out these books in our collection. They’re filled with bloodcurdling history that will make you want to sleep with the lights on…

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