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Little girl and monk-like man haunt Winchester home

By Elizabeth Libby - Daily Staff Writer

(Oct. 27, 1995) Linda Russell's family has owned Thorn Hill at 407 N. Washington St. in Winchester, also known as the Byrd House, since the early 1950s. Although the house, originally built in 1787 by Judge Robert White, is said to have a number of ghosts. Mrs. Russell said she, her husband, and her parents have never witnessed anything odd.

But her son, Monford, 12, has.

Monford moved into the house a year ago with his parents. He's grown up all his life listening to ghost stories, which are chronicled in the popular book "Virginia Ghosts" by marguerite Du Pont Lee, written in 1930.

One evening as Monford began to ascend the stairs in his house, he said he looked down the hallway and saw the shadowy figure of a little girl. Two seconds later, she was gone.

"She had kinda long hair. She had no color," Monford said as he described the child who appeared to be about the same age as him. "I got scared," he said. "I thought it was my imagination."

Monford had a conversation with the little girl on a separate occasion, telling her that he had no choice, he had to live in the house, but that she didn't and she could move out.

So far there have been no more sightings.

According to "Virginia Ghosts," a little child has been seen standing beside a tall oak chair that used to be in the house. She is said to have died of diphtheria while sitting in the chair.

A number of other sightings at the house are reported in Ms. Lee's book. A "sweet-faced" woman" has been seen wandering about, and some people relate the story of the third-story ballroom being ablaze with light and figures moving about. Some people also have reported a monk-like man who wanders the grounds. Ms. Lee writes.

Mrs. Russell's not sure what to believe. "Some of us are more susceptible," she said, referring to her son. "I think it's probably his imagination, but I guess that's what he thought." If anyone would see them, he's the one."

Note: This story is reprinted from The Northern Virginia Daily's Oct. 27, 1995 Real Estate section.

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