“Spirit Rappings” in Port Republic

Posted on September 20, 2016 by


Not an OTD piece, today, but rather one which just caught my eye when looking for an OTD piece. While some might think it’s just a little early for ghost stories, this piece from the Jan. 21, 1854 issue of the Richmond Dispatch is still entertaining. Clearly, the author had a little fun, tying what was probably a wild story that surfaced from Port Republic, to a sense of regional pride in the perceived “political pull” of the famous “Tenth Legion”.* I have little doubt that the story likely came about as part of the “spirit rapping” craze of the era, brought on by the likes of the Fox sisters of New York. Of course, ghost stories were no stranger to the cultures of the people of the Valley.


*The portion of the Shenandoah Valley that Thomas Jefferson reportedly called the “Tenth Legion of Democracy” included the counties of Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Page.