The Shirley Plantation

THE SHIRLEY PLANTATION
THE LONGEST LIST OF THE LONGEST STUFF AT THE LONGEST DOMAIN NAME AT LONG LAST

The story of the Shirley Plantation.

If you ever find yourself in Virginia and looking for a good story, you can still visit the Shirley Plantation, which was built in 1723, to find one. It is here that you will find a portrait in the second bedroom and while the story behind the portrait is interesting and a little spooky, you won’t experience any of it. Not as long anyways, as when you look at the portrait you’re standing in the second floor bedroom of the Shirley Plantation.

The home was originally built by Edward Hill III, who built the home for his daughter Elizabeth although his sister, Martha, also stayed there for some time. Martha later traveled to England and while there, met an Englishman who she married and lived with in England. However, she left behind a few things and one in particular, was a portrait of a woman that was so striking, one was immediately drawn to her when in the room with her portrait. Although no one quite knows why, the woman in the portrait over time became referred to as ‘Aunt Pratt.’

Martha eventually passed away but the portrait remained in the house. It was in the third floor bedroom one day in 1858 when the family members in the house heard a very loud rocking noise from that bedroom. Going into the bedroom they saw the portrait rocking very hard against the wall where it hung. Not knowing what would cause it to do so the family moved it into the attic, where the rocking only became much, much worse. Word soon got out about the ‘infected’ portrait that resided in the Shirley Plantation however not soon after that, the Civil War also broke out.

During the war, the plantation, like many others, was turned into a hospital for wounded soldiers and was an especially prevalent one given its close location to the James River. During this time, Aunt Pratt’s location or activity went unnoticed as it was a time of war. The war did finally end and Aunt Pratt was brought down to the first floor, where the portrait was still for quite awhile. However, she eventually grew restless once again and the rocking continued. It was at that time that it was placed in Martha’s second floor bedroom, where she seemed happiest and made not one move.

That portrait has actually been studied as being some sort of phenomenon and was actually part of an exhibit at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. However, Aunt Pratt was so discontent there that she began shaking and rocking so aggressively that she actually caused the Seal of Virginia that she was placed next to, to swing back and forth. The portrait was immediately taken out of the exhibit and placed in a crate to be shipped back to its original location. That night, workers in the storage area that she was placed claimed to have heard crying and rocking coming from inside the same crate that the portrait was placed in. The next morning, the portrait was found lying outside its crate, outside of the storage room.

Before being shipped back to the plantation, it was taken to a gallery in Richmond, Virginia to have its frame fixed. Workers at the gallery said that they heard bells while the portrait was on the property, although there were no bells on the property. The sound of the bells went away when the portrait was returned back to the Shirley Plantation, where Aunt Pratt was quickly placed back into Martha’s bedroom on the second floor. This is where you can see her at peace today.


The Shirley Plantation

The Shirley Plantation

The Shirley Plantation

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