If you're local to Richmond or live close enough, I'm sure you've heard of Pocahontas Parkway or Virginia State Highway 895. The official Pocahontas Parkway website touts itself as a safe "shortcut over the James River" and is a fast pass to the Richmond Airport. But did you also know it is insanely haunted?
I only ask because you'd be surprised how many people don't know what's happening around their town. Myself included. There's an impressive amount of evidence and eyewitness accounts, even from the news, to back up the spooky theory and present a compelling argument for a hot debate topic.
Construction of Pocahontas Parkway--or "Poca-Haunted Parkway"--- started back in 1998 and opened to limited traffic in 2002. Once the bridge opened, a truck driver doing an overnight noticed three Native American men standing in the road. They held torches and headdresses. The trucker saw two more men on the side of the road after the first group. When he got to the toll booth, he told the attendant about the men, thinking they were protestors.
Before the construction of Pocahontas Parkway, an investigation was launched by archaeologists from the College of William and Mary. The team learned the planned area for the highway ran right across historic Powhatan and Arrohatak land. What artifacts they collected could be dated back to 3500 BCE.
Because of this discovery and the fact the highway plans continued, some thought local tribes might have been protesting the highway, but the local Nansemond tribe said, "nope."
Newspapers, including one in Australia, guessed it was the spirits of Native Americans.
There have been ghost sightings since construction started
During construction, there were sightings, too. "Ghost Riders" seen at the ends of roads on horseback disappeared once the workers ran over to confront them.
By April 11, 2002, the ghost sightings were so frequent they earned a spot in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The official article tells the story we already covered about the truck driver, plus some other accounts. A story that stood out to me came from Ron Hadad, who runs Hadad's Lake picnic grounds close to the toll plaza.
"I've been here for 37 years, " Hadad said. "My mom - we all thought it was funny - she lived in this house before me. She said she used to hear a lot of hooting and hollering.
"I've never seen any Indians myself, " he said. "But I've seen my mother's face."
Horrifying. Not to mention all the accounts from toll booth workers, including the report one night after the first sighting. Even some locals who've lived near the property have heard "whooping" and drums.
I'm interested to know your thoughts since so many people do and don't believe the stories. Do you think Pocahontas Parkway is haunted?
"File:2017-07-07 15 03 46 View east along Virginia State Route 895 (Pocahontas Parkway) just east of Laburnum Avenue in Richmond Heights, Henrico County, Virginia.jpg" by Famartin is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0