Manassas National Battlefield

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Historic Manassas National Battlefield Park contains an unfinished railroad ordered by Robert E. Lee. The Civil War-era railroad site is said to be popular with the spirit set, as several accounts of paranormal activity surrounding the area have been reported.

If you've had a paranormal experience here, or have any additional information about this location, please let us know!

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    Geographic Information

    Manassas Battlefield
    United States

    Get Directions »
    38.818841485254374, -77.5332005288086
    Prince William County, Virginia
    Nearest Towns:
    Bull Run, VA (2.5 mi.)
    Sudley, VA (2.6 mi.)
    West Gate, VA (3.1 mi.)
    Loch Lomond, VA (3.7 mi.)
    Manassas Park, VA (4.2 mi.)
    Gainesville, VA (4.6 mi.)
    Linton Hall, VA (4.7 mi.)
    Yorkshire, VA (4.9 mi.)
    Haymarket, VA (5.6 mi.)
    Manassas, VA (5.6 mi.)


    Please note: It is your responsibility to acquire appropriate permissions before investigating any location listed on this site. Private property should be respected at all times, as should all posted signs concerning trespassing, hours of operation and other local regulations. Many "ghost hunters" have been arrested because they failed to contact property owners and/or local authorities ahead of time.

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    Comments (39)

    1. I was on top of Matthew’s Hill by Grant’s headquarters one day in 2013. I was in the field by myself and enjoying the scenery. As I approached the middle of the field I was overcome by the smell of cigar smoke. I looked around to see who was smoking, but I was the only person on the field.

    2. My son and I visited the Manassas National Battle Field mid morning on August 5 2014. We left the visitor center after registering and as we walked toward the first sign near Henry Hill I smelled cigar smoke. I looked around and we were the only ones in the area. Of the people I could see off in the distance, none were smoking. The smell was strong like someone was smoking within a few feet of me and only lasted for a couple seconds.

    3. Like the others, I have been on the battlefield several times and smelled tobacco smoke. My experience was down at the Stone House on RT 29 when I smelled pipe tobacco smoke. I was pulled over on the side of the road looking at the Stone House when this occurred. There was no one near that the time and it was very early in the morning before the park was open.

    4. My nephew is a bit of an amateur paranormal investigator and loves to take his equipment to historical locations, in hopes of finding something interesting. I took him to Manassas Battlefield-I’m not sure the exact location, the walking trail went through a large clearing, past a hill through the woods to a small creek with a little wooden bridge. It was there that he caught on his voice recorder something that still creeps me out! My voice is heard asking “Is anyone here? Tell me your name” and then, as clear as day over my voice is a loud manly whisper saying “Its me…MICHAEL.” As though the person was holding the device closely to his mouth as he said it. We did not hear this until he was playing back the recordings in the car and it sent chills up our spines! Still does! If I had not been there, and I had not been the one physically holding the recorder, I never would believe it. But it was only he and I in the woods….well…apparently Michael was there, too!
      We can’t wait to go back and see if we can get anything else!
      He still has the recording-I need to find a way to get it online!

    5. oh my god I was at the bridge and we had a spirit box and a recorder and it sounded like I heard Micheal myself, I think he just wants company. im glad someone else heard the same voice I did. Micheal said though the spirit box “do you have a cigar” in a whisper, because I was smoking. and I cant find anything about him. I think he likes to talk when there is 2 girls and 1 guy THATS IT that’s who was with me. you and your nephew should try with water itc or heat channel, water itc is were you make a spash in water and take a picture of the ripples and you can see a face in the water sometimes, it works with a lot of investigators. and a heat channel is were you can take your hands, rub them together and hold them out to give the spirit energy. its a helpful tip I learned, and THANK YOU for this because i thought I was the only person that caught this voice.

    6. chris  |  

      So my brother and I were driving on 29 around 230 am, we were going across the bridge right near where you see a horse crossing sign. Around that time we noticed a figure fly from the woods in front of my jeep and I slowed down, thought I was just about to hit a deer, and drove right threw a big shadow my brother and I were stuned at what just occured til this day he will tell you we saw a what appeared to be a figure on horse back with a sword attacking my jeep

    7. I live about a mile from the Battlefields and my entire community is haunted. My neighbors and I all share very similar experiences. They range from knocking, electrical interference to being touched and sometimes assaulted in our own homes. We have EVP recordings and all of our photos that we take are overwhelmed with orbs. It’s a very active area.

    8. My boyfriend and I went there for a picnic almost 3 years ago and into dark we headed back…we were walking thru a big open field… I can still remember to this day … (probably because it was so eerie but so cool at the same time) we heard a cannon being let off. nobody else was around us at the time but I know I heard it because my boyfriend and I looked at each other at the same time and we asked if each other heard it. I’ve also found some weird faint initials drawn into trees with hearts around them.

    9. My husband, sister-in-law from out of town, and I went to the battlefield grounds just this afternoon, and at around 3:45 while inspecting and lovingly touching the cannons, my sister-in-law and I suddenly smelled strong coffee for about 5 seconds. And I said “coffee” and smiled, thinking someone must be brewing and selling coffee inside the Visitor’s Center. And as soon as I said it the smell was instantly gone. The coffee smell was so raw and strong, yet I’m sure delicious if you put cream and sugar in it. The Visitor Center does not brew nor sell coffee.

      • That’s amazing. I am a dog walker and I take my dogs out to walk in the Battlefield at the Portici Home site, I’ve been going there everyday since winter started. Sometime in Jan (2017) I noticed a burnt toast smell. There’s not a restaurant within 1/2 mile of the site and I was in the middle of the field with the wind blowing. Yet, the smell stayed with me and it was STRONG. This happened 5 more times through Jan & Feb. Then, yesterday, I was walking the same site, just different section of the field and I smelled a VERY strong odor of blooming flowers. My first thought was “Wow.. it’s Spring!” and I looked around for the flowers and it’s basically still winter in the Battlefield. Nothing around me was blooming, much less any flowers. Several of my friends tell me what we experience is definitely paranormal. Your experience with the coffee smell comes closest to my experience. Yet.. the burnt toast smell isn’t like a “burnt toast” smell from a toaster in my kitchen. It was a different “burnt toast” smell. Just like yours was a different kind of “coffee” smell.

    10. While hiking the long connector trail from Matthews Hill (auto-tour stop 4) to the Stone Bridge (auto-your stop 12) I heard several sounds that seemed to mimic gunshots. I could not determine where the gunshot sounds are coming from or what is causing them. Most people who have been to the Manassas battlefield, (or as a matter of fact, any Civil War Battlefield in Virginia) could claim they have expirenced the same thing, and some even say this is a ghostly encounter. Was it a ghostly encounter?

      • i have experienced the same thing myself. Back when i visited the battlefield in late September 2015, i was hiking the wooded portion of the Matthews Hill Trail and heard a few sounds that mimic gunshots.

    11. I went to Manassas for first time this spring and still havent wrapped my head around it. I was about half way up unfinished railroad grade in the real bottom hardwood section when it got mega quiet (I’ve been hunting my whole life) and turned around to see a black mass maybe 10 yards from me. I say black mass but it was really clear just no face I should say but I clearly made out that union officers hat and not knowing to much have since found out that was the side union would have been on. Still makes the hair on my neck stand up

    12. I have attended several of the summertime evening ranger tours given at Manassas Battlefield. In 2015, I attended one such event, which ended by 8:30pm. Afterwards I went over to the unfinished railroad cut for a quick look around. As soon as I got out of my car, I noticed how eerie and quiet it was. The sun was setting and cast an ominous glow over the field. Off to my right in the closest tree line I heard what sounded like a civil war period rifle going off. This was soon followed by a low boom of a cannon. It was enough to get my attention!

    13. For many years I worked at a hotel down the road from the Battlefield. Many of our guests would tell us about encounters with ghosts in the hallways and even their rooms. I myself had an experience with something in the kitchen of the hotel where the huge floor fan began rocking back and forth by itself and was not turned on nor plugged in.

    14. Back in the 1970s, a friend of mine was on a school tour with several students. There was an open well by the house and she looked in it, bending over the edge. As she was doing this, some force grabbed her shoulders and was trying to pull her in. Several of the kids had to hold her and pull her back. The well has been capped since that happened, I think a lot of folks complained about the same thing.

    15. A few years ago I went to the battlefield with a guy I was dating, he was a big civil war buff. We were walking back to the visitors center because it was a hot summer day. I hear my name very clearly in a sort of loud whisper right next to my ear. I turned thinking it was my boyfriend. He was way back looking st a cannon, he swore he hadn’t said anything to me. I didn’t answer whoever it was a high tailed it back into the building.

    16. I am a local in Northern VA and I walk dogs for a living. I take my dogs frequently to Manassas Battlefield to hike around the fields. We go to the same place pretty much all the time. The fields we walk in is the Portici home site and where the old graveyard is. I don’t always have this experience, but I smell cooking or burnt toast smell, very strong, in several spots around the field where the old Portici house was and at the cemetery. Since Jan 2017 through February I’ve smelled the “burnt toast” smell five or six times. Yesterday, March 30 2017, I was walking my dogs the usual places and a VERY strong odor of blooming flowers overcame me. I’m like, “Whoah!! It’s definitely Spring!” but I looked around and there is NOTHING blooming. I mean, it’s pretty much still winter out there. A few trees near the road had some blooms starting to bud, but I was no where near the trees and there was nothing blooming around me in the field. Yet, the smell stayed a very long time. Has anyone else experienced this? Especially the burnt toast smell?

    17. Several years ago, my parents and I visited the battlefield on our way home to Ohio from North Carolina. When we went to the Unfinished Railroad area, my parents stayed by the parking lot to read signs or something while I ventured down the path at the location. I walked maybe about 200 or so yards down the path along the cut then turned around. Once I started heading back towards the parking lot I heard a loud boom. To me, it sort of sounded like a cannon, but there was a construction project going on just up the road, so I just assumed the sound came from that. Now the weird part that still gives me chills today is after I heard whatever that sound was, after walking another 20 or so yards back down the path I, without a shred of doubt in my mind, heard someone running up behind me. I turned around and saw nothing but the trail and woods behind me. Later that evening on the car ride back home, I was reading a Civil War ghosts book I had gotten from the visitor’s center at the battlefield and was half shocked to read about the ghost of a Zouave that supposedly darts around that area….

    18. So I noticed some people talking about stuff at the unfinished railroad. Yea tonight me and my friend were out there. The monument near groveton, the one that’s posted in the picture above actually. So it was pretty much about dark, just a little highlight left. And we were way out from where we parked and were going to take a different trail back that was faster . Prolly like 820 Or 830pm, and started down that trail, which is the trail from the monument, if your facing it looking down the hill and the side with writing on it is in front of you , go back and to the right down that trail, that’s where we went, and my friend was telling me of the last time he was out there with our other friend they had heard wolves barking or what sounded like wolves fighting. This he heard maybe a month before. But as we started down that trail, and it’s was basically dark at that point 830 ish, we heard it. He had told me wolves, and when I heard it, didn’t sound like no wolves, or dogs. It sounded like people screaming, or people making animal noises, I didn’t say anything to keep it less creepy. Told him what I thought after cause he was like,” yea, that’s what we heard bro, what do you think?” We were headed straight for it too, going that direction if you looked to the right where the edge of the woods starts, it was a little ways away, that’s where it was. I said we record it, the noise, but it stopped when we went to record. We turned around and went another way. Either , to me , it sounded like people screaming in pain or something weird, or people making animal or wolf nooses. I also, as I read others say, hear what sounded like cannon fire or a gun going off twice. Way weird. Super high energy place.
      But has anyone ever heard weird screaming out there at all or around dusk? It was weird yo. Way weird.
      Much love people’s.

    19. We lived on the border of the National Park about a mile North of the Stone House for 33 years. Our family had paranormal experiences from the day we moved until the day we moved out. It was normal to hear foot steps and voices that seemed to be having a conversation (no matter how hard we tried we could never make out what was being said). Everyone in the family used to hear our names being called on a fairly regular basis and every so often we would hear the sounds of the battle – the sounds of horses pulling along the heavy caissons and the marching of a thousand men. The percussion and the vibrations could even be felt under our feet! On two occasions there was an apparition of a young soldier sighted in our home! There are so many stories that happened over the 3 decades we lived there but never was it frightening or ominous. We were startled but that’s it. Sharing our home wasn’t a problem and when we left we couldn’t help missing them just a little.

    20. I lived in Manassas all of my childhood. When I was 17 a group of high school friends left a party that had been busted up by the cops. Two or three car loads of teenagers pulled over in the battlefield grounds parking lot just off rt 234 and rt 29. We decided to innocently hang out there until we could regroup and find another hang out location. It was a pleasant evening and we got out of our cars to talk. This was in 1989 or 1990, so during this era there was not a lot of traffic and population on 234 headed towards Centreville. It was fairly desolate compared to now. We had not been drinking and were not under the influence of any kind. As we were talking some of us hopped the 3 wooden slat fence, which was not meant to keep people out, it was merely aesthetic for the battlefield. There were a few picnic tables place close to the parking pull-off area, which we gathered on to sit. There was a blanket of fog over the field and as we peered out into the foggy and dark battlefield, we noticed a few glowing orbs moving slowly about. To the best of my memory they were glowing a greenish-yellow light. I estimate that these orbs were floating waste high, and each about the size of a basketball. They were staggered in position, not all lined up together. As we called attention to them we noticed approximately four or five moving gracefully in the field before us. They moved back and forth and side to side. We weren’t completely afraid but more confused as to what they may be. I think we felt safety in our numbers, because there were at least seven or eight of us. Some of us said we were going to walk out to investigate but no one ever did. We just quietly watched as they moved gracefully. Kids during this time did not have cell phones to take pictures. Within minutes the police pulled into the park pull-off and asked us what we were doing. They made us leave. As hard as this is to understand, rather than tell the cops what we were seeing, we were too frightened by what the cops were going to do to us for being there. In the 80’s and 90’s it was common practice for cops to search your car for alcohol, and/ or load you up and bring you home to your parents front door if they were suspicious of you. Not one of us had parents that would have appreciated this so we politely told the officers that we were just meeting up to go to a friends house and we quickly left. This memory stayed with me for 29 years and I still wonder if we had witnessed ghosts or is there some other natural phenomenon occurring in that foggy battlefield. I also wonder if any of my forgotten counterparts still have recollection of that night. If anyone else has ever had this experience in the Manassas Battlefield, please respond.

    21. I have been an investigator for well over 2 decades, so I’m no stranger to ghostly occurrences. I went with a friend to the battlefield and did a standard hunt. To tell you the truth, there wasn’t anything and we got bored and left. Later that night, I heard something move in my bedroom, which caused me to sit up and look around. It wasn’t until the next morning that I noticed that a lamp in my dresser was about 18 inches to the left of its normal position. Even then, I wasn’t thinking that anything was going on. About a day later, I came home and found 7 refrigerator magnets on the floor. It was then that things seems odd to me. About 2 hours later, I was speaking o my brother on the phone when I heard later right behind me. I stopped in mid-sentence and my brother had heard it too. Within a few days, things went crazy around my house. Cabinet doors found open, lights going off on their own, toilets flushing on their own, disembodied voices that were heardnot only by me but by my then girlfriend. I lived alone so I knew I wasn’t responsible for the occurences. It got so bad that my girlfriend wouldn’t enter the house. I finally started going through a ritual to clear the house. -reading bible verses, asking the spirit to leave. I am retired military; combat decorated. And I honestly was a bit scared because the activity see me malevolent. This had a
      sinister feel to it. I was considering moving to a hotel. Finally, after a couple of weeks, I came home one day and it literally had changed. Whatever it was, it had lost interest in me and had left. I never had another occurence in the house. Be careful with that battlefield. All sorts of netherworld spirits, attracted by the unimaginable pain, suffering and death that happened there, could become just as interested in you. I certainly wouldn’t hunt there without significant experience. Its not child’s play.

    22. I got up before daylight the summer of 2006 and went to the left of the stone bridge at daybreak to retrace the path of my Louisiana ancestors (twin brothers with one dying on the first morning of the 1st battle) and came to a foggy field with deer grazing and I found a board wedged between two trees. As I sat down on it to get my bearings and while looking at a map, I was startled by an old heavy set farmer not 10 steps away dressed in brogan shoes and a faded denim jacket and he had a Scottish terrier on a crude rope. Startled I asked if I could help him and he said that he just wanted to rest and sit down beside me. I could not believe that he had made it to that field some 200 yards through the woods before me because I was the 2nd person to the parking area. I felt uncomfortable and so asked the man his name and asked if he knew where the Carter Farm/cemetery was and he replied that he had been coming there everyday for 30 years but did not know their location. I then excused myself by saying that I had to go and headed towards Matthews Hill. He had said he was from Bristoe Station and I cannot figure how he could have beat me there at the very break of dawn since he seemed to be about 80 years old. After I returned to Louisiana the incident continued to bother me and I recalled that he had said his name was Barnard and so I tried to locate him or his family via phone calls of people named Barnard but could not and even called the Park ranger and told him that he must know anyone who had been there every day for 30 years? He had no clue and so either I saw and spoke with a real person who was agile and quieter than a deer or I spoke to someone out of the 19th century because he was head to toe in farmer’s garb of that day. I wonder if anyone else has ever heard of this and I have waited 12 years to relate this story. I am a pastor and would feel quite foolish if I mistook a real person for an apparition that was completely real. I know this does not fit what I would have expected on a CW battlefield.

      I will feel foolish if I did yet want to know the truth if anyone knows this man or his family or if he is now deceased. For Christmas that year I received a book as a gift on CW battlefields and at the bottom of a Manassas photograph it said that it was taken by a CW photographer named Barnard. Coincidence? I don’t know. I pray that the answer will be revealed this side of heaven.

        • It could have been this man but he seemed a bit heavier from my recollection and perhaps a little older. I don’t know the age of this man in this photo when it was taken but the man I saw was white haired. It was just at daylight because I could only see the white tails of the deer in the field in the dawn and fog. May I ask who this is a photo of and his relationship to the battlefield? Thanks for pursuing an answer and I would love to know the whole story of this area and incident if anyone knows.

    23. I went to the battlefield in 2017. My first trip with my kids! As I got out the car and I looked towards the field near the cannons! I saw a man in a dark blue military outfit on riding this beautiful brown horse! I started to run and I told the my daughters look there is a man reenacting a solider! I said hurry! My boyfriend was like babe what are you talking about there is nothing! I said right over there and when I look back at them and back where I saw the horse and man gone! I said maybe they went into the woods! Boom at the end of the field they a plaque with information of captain Jackson! My whole body went pale! Right where I saw him their stood this plaque! All of us were shocked! My kids saw shadow of hiding behind trees and we also heard gunfire! I will never forget our first visit! It’s defiantly haunted! Btw I did have a ghost follow me home that night stayed at my house for about a week! True store’

      • Carl Leatherman Jr  |  

        I lived in Centreville in the early aughts (sometime between 01 and 03 when moved back to NC), and used to walk the trails near bull run. I was there one October near sunset, and as i started back to my car parked on the other side of the bridge, i happened to hear a horse and turned to look back.

        Behind me i saw a somewhat androgynous looking man (very fair skin) with long, curly auburn hair riding the largest brownish quarter horse i’ve ever seen. He was wearing a grey cw era uniform with a yellow sash around his waist, and i remeber him stopping right at the base of the bridge. He stared straight at me, never saying a word. After what seemed like minutes, he gave the horse a nudge and they turned and rode off into the nearby woods.

        Needless to say, i bolted to the car, somewhat uncertain of what i’d seen.

        I think this man may have been the same one you saw.

    24. My girlfriend (Kelly) and I have been visiting the Battlefield since winter of 2016. We have had several experiences since then. Kelly was the first to see what seemed to be an apparition of a woman dressed in a nurse gown. We had driven just past the Stone House from Route 29 towards Matthew Hill when she saw the nurse from the waist up. The nurse stepped onto the road then disappeared. On another visit we were parked in the unfinished railroad parking lot and Kelly saw a black mass that was above the ground go into the woods. A few months later, we were driving by Deep Cut and Kelly witnessed 2 golden brown orbs zig-zagging down then vanished.

      I have also seen a woman dressed in a nurse gown. Kelly and I were driving to Deep Cut from Route 29 (near Dogan’s House) around 10pm. It had just finished raining and I noticed a woman crossing the road near a small bridge. I had only seen her bare feet and the bottom of her gown. She was a dull blue and grey. She vanished and I saw mist float into the air.

      One of our last encounters was this past Summer. We parked again at the unfinished railroad due to rain. I had just recently bought a ghost app called “Ghost Hunter M2” and was testing it out. Dusk was approaching and we continued asking questions. After a while we received the word “cannibal” followed by a loud shriek outside. We quickly left.

      Our last encounter was this last December. We were walking the trail on the unfinished railroad after it had just rained. We were walking across a bridge and heard what sounded like a cannon boom. At first we thought it might have been a car crash but soon after heard another boom. We left fearing for our safety.

      Has anyone else seen a woman with a nurse gown or heard shrieks?

    25. At the Stonewall statue we picked up a deep voice on the recorder that said “chase”, also on top of Henry House Hill, when we asked if the weather was like this on the day of the battle, a southern voice clearly says, “I got killed I couldn’t tell ya”… some of my favorites!

    26. Over many years in N Va., I have traveled Rt. 29 hundreds of times through Manassas Battlefield. In the area between Rt. 234 and where Rt. 29 widens to four lanes, headed east, I have smelled strong cigar smoke numerous times. This has always been from dusk until one or two A.M. The odor was strong, as if it was being blown into my car window from close by. I have not seen any sign of people when experiencing this cigar smell.I have wondered about this for probably the past 50 years or so.

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    Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.