Things start to get a little spooky in October. Whether it’s the onset of cold weather, the endless stream of horror movies, or just early observance of Halloween traditions, there is more talk about hauntings during the month of October than any other time of the year.
But here’s the catch: Hauntings (if you believe in that sort of thing) aren’t restricted to just 31 days on a calendar. Case in point: haunted wineries. Old, storied farms with deep-rooted traditions are perfect locations to get a sense of the paranormal. Isolation and hauntings go hand in hand, just as isolation and farming go hand in hand. Throw in a bottle of wine and human kind’s penchant for exaggerated storytelling, and you’re just asking for a spirit sighting (and we’re not talking about the drinkable kind of spirit).
Many wineries are fully aware of this. Some embrace the haunted-winery distinction, while others capitalize on it. Either way, there’s no escaping the stories. Here are the stories of five haunted wineries to visit if you’re ever in need of a little scare.
Bartholomew Park Winery in Sonoma, California
History matters at Bartholomew Park. The location has been everything from a women’s prison, to a hospital, to a morgue, Sonoma Magazine writes. All three are high up on the list of places that can create some tortured souls.
According to legend, the location that was once the morgue is now where lost souls gather (of course). In 1970, the body of one of the former inmates was found in a basement wall. So, yeah, the location dabbled in a little bit of afterlife destruction before it became the purveyor of the fermented souls of grapes.
Then again, maybe there weren’t any hard feelings. Maybe these ghosts just had the foresight to stick around Sonoma until it started making world-class wine.
Belvoir Winery in Liberty, Missouri
The Belvoir Winery is located on the former location of the secret society known as the International Order of the Odd Fellows, or I.O.O.F. Members of I.O.O.F. were leaders in their community and took care of orphans and elderly people in need during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Three of the original buildings still exist — the administration building, old folks building and old hospital — as well as a cemetery, which holds almost 600 human remains.
Hospital? Cemetery? Secret society? This location is literally just asking for a haunting. Belvoir Winery takes full advantage of that fact and gives guided ghost-tours around the winery. There have also been a number of paranormal investigators who have tried to nail down which ghosts are haunting Belvoir, and they’ve found plenty of evidence to prove ghosts are jumping around all over the place (you know, if you believe in that sort of thing).
Miles Wine Cellars in Himrod, New York
A man in black (who is definitely not the man in black) and a woman in white allegedly haunt the halls of Miles Wine Cellars. If you believe the legends, the now-ghostly duo lived in the Greek revival-style mansion long before it became a winery. Now they slam doors in the tasting rooms and rip comforters off beds.
Doug Miles and Suzie Hayes, the owners of Miles Wine Cellars, have consulted with clairvoyants and have decided not to poke the ghosts in this case. That doesn’t mean they’re not acknowledging their presence, though. In 2003, Miles Wine Cellars released a wine called Ghost, which is a blend of Chardonnay and Cayuga.
Zephaniah Farm Vineyard in Leesburg, Virginia
Much like the rest of this list, Zephaniah Farm Vineyard has had plenty of time for ghosts to settle in. The manor house was originally built in 1830, according to Northern Virginia Magazine, and is plagued by the ghost of Mattie Nixon.
Miss Mattie inherited the land in 1903 and proceeded to marry a veterinarian named William Casilear. Casilear didn’t have the same appreciation for people as he did for animals, and he murdered a poor tenant farmer who let the cows out.
“Mattie seems to come out when there are people who are about to get married because she didn’t have a great experience,” owner Bill Hatch told Northern Virginia Magazine. Beleaguered couples beware.
The Winery at Marjim Manor in Appleton, New York
There’s accepting that you and your property will be forever-haunted, and then there’s capitalizing on said haunting to the fullest extent. The Winery at Marjim Manor is doing the latter.
This winery claims that five people and a dog ghost named Duke are “regular visitors” to the winery. There’s a full-on DVD that goes over the history and legend, and a current sightings page keeps track of the spirited claims from both visitors and paranormal teams.