Bud DeVere, former owner of The Frame House/DeVere Gallery, wrote his account of the ghostly experiences in these buildings in June/July, 2004 after giving a talk to a meeting of the Occoquan Historical Society. The Frame House, located at 205 Union Street, that closed shortly after the flooding of the Occoquan by Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
One day, Mr. DeVere’s neighbor John, proprietor of the Old Colchester House at 203 Union Street, surprised him by asking if he had experienced any ghostly activity in his shop. As they compared notes, it was obvious that both buildings were haunted. John explained that he had heard of a woman who lived at 205 who was supposed to have died in childbirth and that she was friends with the family that lived at 203.
Mr. DeVere reported that one night he and his sons were working late in the framing room upstairs, while Stasha, their sheep dog, was resting in the office across the hall. Stasha jumped up and poked her nose out the door. Wondering what had startled her, they all went to see what was happening. They were just in time to watch as a faint round glow whooshed out the office and down the stairs. Following quickly behind, they saw it disappear to the left. It had to have gone through the main showroom and out the front door, because the front door, that had been locked, was wide open!
John from 203 reported that he, too, had seen the faint round glow. After closing up his shop, he went upstairs to his office to work on the day’s receipts. All of a sudden, he heard three loud raps at the door. He went down stairs and found the door wide open and no one there. As he looked up and down the street, he saw a faint round glow floating down the street toward the river.
This was not the only ghostly happening at 205 Union Street. Mr. DeVere’s son, Craig, reported that he would frequently sleep in the shop rather than going all the way home after working late. He had placed a picture that he had just finished framing against the wall near the stairs. Around midnight he heard a noise in their supply room down the hall. Before he could get up to investigate, he heard footsteps running down the hall. The picture he had leaned against the wall fell down and the glass broke. Craig then heard footsteps running down the stairs. This time the door did not open. He was too startled to go back to sleep, so he decided to go home after all.
On another occasion, Craig was again sleeping upstairs. Around 2 a.m., he heard a noise in the showroom downstairs. He hoped that it was just the wind causing the old building to creak and sway, but all of a sudden the toilet flushed. He decided that perhaps the ghost had just decided to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night!
As have many merchants and residents of Occoquan, the DeVeres got used to sharing their homes and businesses with ghostly inhabitants. Many people just accept that they need to share their spaces.
Many thanks to Dolores Elder, Curator at the Mill House Museum, for this sharing this story. If you have a story to share about a haunting in Occoquan, please drop me an email at HauntedOccoquan@gmail.com. If it’s one that’s new to me, I will give you a tour for 2 people as a prize.