Radford’s St. Albans welcomes scare seekers and ghost hunters

New River Valley News

RADFORD, Va. (WFXR) — People seeking a scare for the Halloween season can find it at the old St. Albans Sanatorium in Radford.  It operates as a traditional haunted house but in a non-traditional venue, one that some believe is home to real ghosts.

St. Albans was built as a Lutheran boys’ school in 1892.

Even before that, the land was the site of a reported massacre in 1775, a refuge for rebel soldiers during a violent Civil War battle. Afterwards, it became a sanitorium in 1916 and the scene of numerous deaths.

Organizers use its macabre history to help generate a foreboding atmosphere for its Halloween haunted house.

According to the current director of operations at St. Albans, Marcelle Hanauer, “We think we are one of the scariest haunted houses around.”

Every year, dozens of volunteers gather to give paying fans a good scare.

The event, while spirited, has a grander purpose in mind. The money raised from the event goes to preserve the more than 100-year-old historic building.

The current owner bought the property to save it from the wrecking ball in 2003, but some believe he saved more than just a structure.

St. Albans is considered to be one of the most haunted locations on the East Coast.

It’s that distinction that brings out ghost hunters every October. They are not looking for rubber-masked monsters. They are investigating, real live spirits — if you want to call them that.

On Halloween night, volunteer ghost hunters pair with patrons to tour the facility using the tools of the trade which include electronic spirit boxes.

According to Hanauer, it is a popular and exhilarating event.

“Some people will tell you they get their hair pulled. They will hear voices,” said Hanauer.

She believes no matter if people come to St. Albans seeking thrills from fake ghosts or a real encounter from the beyond, they will enjoy the experience.

“There is something about this building once you come into this building, you naturally fall in love with it, and you want to keep the doors open,” Hanauer said.

The St. Albans haunted house is set for weekends through the month. The ghost hunt is set for Halloween night. 

You can find more information online at the St. Albans Facebook page.

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