The Haunted Brothel

Rare photograph of the “Baby House” as it was being demolished.

The area surrounding Williams Mill in Scott County, Virginia, has seen many changes in the past century. Perhaps the most notable is the demolition of several historic houses in the 1970s to make way for new land development. The McClelland house was one such casualty. Unfortunately, the incredible history surrounding this home was also nearly forgotten.

Joe McClelland lived in the house during the 1890s, when the home’s supernatural activity became widely known. The home was older even then, and was known for its past as a bawdy house. The home had frequent owners after the original builders moved out, and if rented, had even more frequent tenants. McClelland knew the house was originally a brothel, but didn’t believe anything was wrong with the house itself. It had been years since the cathouse closed and only a few locals could even remember it. The building needed a little repair work, but nothing that was too difficult for him to manage. He moved in with his family and they began returning the home to a livable state.

They soon realized their home was not like others. Muddy hand and footprints appeared on their sheets as quickly as they changed them. They were tiny prints, like those of an infant. Strange noises and infant cries were frequently heard. Tiny handprints appeared on furniture when there were no infants or small children in the house. Joe’s nephew, Floyd McClelland, visited to help his uncle work on the house. He was unable to stay for long. Every time he tried to go to sleep, the covers were yanked off him and pulled into the floor.

Sometimes the family heard crashing and rumbling. Sometimes they heard something dragged across the floorboards. At first, Joe thought the dragging sounds came from vermin. He pulled up the floorboards to look under the home and found several spots where something appeared to be buried. The family dug them up and found tiny human skeletons wrapped in burlap. Every one had a small hole at the crown of its head. The family assumed the working women killed their babies by shoving a hatpin through the crown of their heads.

It wasn’t just under the floorboards. A short time later, several fishermen were at the pond next to the house. One among them pulled up a glass jar containing infant remains. It had been weighted with rocks and tossed into the water. Before long, the fishermen had found a number of jars, all with the same gruesome contents.

McClelland’s family continued to suffer the unusual activity and, finally, his wife grew ill. She died soon after her symptoms began. McClelland saddled his horse that night to inform her father. A growling creature soon arose from the bushes beside his home. It was almost as big as his horse. He emptied the pistol into the monster, but bullets didn’t sway it. The creature neared and the horse bolted when was within arms-length. Fortunately, it couldn’t keep up with the steed and he soon left it behind.

McClelland immediately moved his family after his wife’s death. He never witnessed the creature again. From all known history, the house remained empty until it’s razing.

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