Spirits of the (American) Revolution

As the Fourth of July approaches, Americans of every shape and size prepare for picnics, fireworks, and the inevitable surge of patriotic fervor that accompanies the celebration of the founding of our country.  The Founding Fathers and others associated with the American Revolution loom larger than life in the minds of millions across the country, but in certain regions, the historic figures are much more tangible.

In fact, some say their spirits have never moved on.  For whatever reason, their spirits have either never moved on or have been spotted at major events throughout our country’s history.  Some are easy to believe….others, well, take a look at the list of below and decide for yourself!

#1 Alexander Hamilton

There may be no more famous figure from our history right now than Alexander Hamilton, the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury and writer of a large portion of the Federalist Papers in support of the newly written Constitution.  Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip hop infused musical based on Hamilton’s life is the hottest ticket on Broadway.

Hamilton famously died after being mortally wounded in a duel with then Vice President Aaron Burr.  He was treated by Dr. John Francis at Number 27 Jane Street before being moved to his home across the street.  He died shortly after.  Hmilton’s home no longer exists, but according to locals, he may have gone back to the doctor’s home which still stands.

Witnesses have reported seeing a man in 18th Century clothing who is obviously upset.  He slams doors and has been known to approach the living in a confrontational manner.  He paces the halls and walks up and down the stairs, never at rest.  Descriptions of the spirit very strongly favor the deceased Treasury Secretary.  Never one to sit still in life, either, Hamilton’s spirit has also been observed near his grave, though the sightings here have been more subdued.

Could it be that Hamilton has never accepted his death?  From what we know of his determination in life, it’s entirely possible.

#2 George Washington

Leader of American forces during the Revolution and first president of the newly minted United States of America, George Washington may be the most recognizable of the Founding Fathers outside of Benjamin Franklin.  However, it wasn’t until a new war dawned on the continent almost one hundred years later that Washington’s ghost first appeared.

It was the Civil War and Union soldiers outside of Gettysburg, PA were attempting to hold back Confederate forces.  Suddenly, without warning, the Union soldiers reported that none other than Washington himself appeared on the battlefield riding a gleaming white horse brandishing a fiery sword.

“Fix bayonets! Charge!” the spirit exclaimed.

The Union soldiers charged down the hill, pushing back Confederate troops into a full retreat.  The northern states were never invaded again during the War, and to this day residents of  Gettysburg report seeing a horseman on a white stallion galloping across the former battlefield.

#3 Benjamin Franklin


Writer, inventor, philosopher, economist, bawd.  Ben Franklin was the quintessential man about town with a sharp wit and way with the ladies.  Franklin played a large role in the Continental Congress and was a proponent of not only the Revolution but also the abolition of slavery.

Franklin is indelibly tied to his time in Philadelphia where he was eventually buried next to his common law wife, Deborah Read, and it’s in the “City of Brotherly Love” that his spirit has been seen numerous times.  While some sightings fit the norm for these types of hauntings, others are as colorful as the man himself.

It seems that Franklin is spending his time around the Philosophical Society’s library.  People have reported seeing Franklin’s ghost roam the library and even, at one point, rushing toward a bookshelf just before a set of books fell.  It’s the statue of Franklin in front of the building that serves as the source of the most outrageous claim, however.

In the late 1800’s several people reported that the toga clad statue of Franklin seemingly came to life and danced around the area in front of the library!  Others reported seeing the statue walking the streets of Philadelphia as though taking in the sights.  Strange, but true, they claimed!

The legendary walking, dancing statue of Franklin

#4 Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson seemingly had it all in life.  The man who penned the Declaration of Independence and who would later become the third president of the United States spent a great deal of time traveling in service to the new government he helped create, but he always returned to Monticello, his stately home in Virginia.

It’s no wonder that his spirit is often seen there to this day.  The home operates as a museum, now, and staff and visitors have both reported sightings of Jefferson roaming the halls of his home and whistling while seemingly lost in thought.

Other have taken pictures while on tour only to have a shadowy figure of a very tall man appear in their photos.

#5 Aaron Burr

Aaron Burr’s former carriage house has been converted to a restaurant and it seems the former vice president, congressman, and dueler who killed Alexander Hamilton isn’t having it.

The restaurant, aptly named One if by Land, Two if by Sea, is a cozy, romantic restaurant where many a couple has gotten engaged, but it isn’t without its hazards.  Employees and diners at the restaurant have reportedly witness dishes crashing violently to the floor on their own, and a few have even had their chairs pulled right out from under them.

Let’s call it romantic dining with “peculiar atmosphere”.

What say you, readers?  Have you ever visited these locations?  And if so, have you ever encountered these American Revolution ghosts?  Let us know in the comments!

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