Is historic Petersburg tavern haunted? A cat seems to think so.

Posted at 2:21 PM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 14:46:32-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Along picturesque High Street in Petersburg, sits a quaint, but elegant house that has served as a witness to a lot of history.

Dodson’s Tavern has been around since at least 1789, and during its heyday, attracted a number of famous faces.

“Aaron Burr came here in 1804, three months after he killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel,” said Bob Kennedy, who has owned the house with his wife since 2015. “[Marquis de] Lafayette, 1824, he too was inside the house.”

Dodson’s Tavern

Dodson’s Tavern

The building also has a certified artillery scar from the Civil War, and it’s documented that Robert E. Lee ate there more than a few times.

But while the distilled spirits stopped flowing years ago, other types may still be floating around.

Before signing the ownership papers, friends came out of the woodwork to warn the Kennedys about the rumors concerning their dream home.

“They told us immediately that it was, could be occupied by ghosts or haunted from other people from the past,” said Bobbi Kennedy. “We were more interested in the home than the ghosts."

Bobbi and Bob Kennedy

Bobbi and Bob Kennedy

Still, when Bob and Bobbi received the keys, they were also given a lengthy portfolio, compiled by previous owners, detailing a number of events that one might describe as paranormal.

“Some things have happened here that are a little dicey, little scary,” said Bob.

Like the team a pair of Petersburg police officers responded to a burglar alarm at a then vacant Dodson’s Tavern in the 1970s.

“I swept that [front] room, it was clear, no one there, no sounds,” said Greg Ozmar, a retired police captain.

“We had started down the foyer towards the back of the house, we heard a distinct loud slam behind us.”

Inside Dodson’s Tavern

Inside Dodson’s Tavern

When he and his partner turned around, they saw a pewter trivet on the floor. Just a few seconds prior, it had been on the hearth in the front room.

“I guess it wanted to follow us,” said Ozmar. “Their aim was decent enough, they missed us."

While the Kennedys thoughts of ghosts and a haunted home are not a true concern, they say one of their cats seems to think that something is going on.

“She’ll go in alert, you know, her ears go up and she stares everytime at the entrance to that doorway [from the family room to the hall],” said Bobbi. “I don't hear anything, see anything, but she does this very often.”

CBS 6 senior reportrer Wayne Covil outside Dodson’s Tavern

CBS 6 senior reportrer Wayne Covil outside Dodson’s Tavern

But there is something else that the Kennedys have witnessed, but can’t explain.

When they moved in, the couple was told stories about pennies flying off mantels and the stairway landing. So Bobbi placed a penny on the handrail at the top of the stairs.

That penny has never moved, but recently, she noticed something next to it.

Dodson’s Tavern

Dodson’s Tavern

“Just happened to glance over at the penny on the railing and there was a 1959 Roosevelt dime sitting there,” said Bobbi.

She’s interrogated her husband, children, and friends who have been inside the home, but all claim they had nothing to do with the dime showing up.

Whether or not they are actually living in a haunted house, the Kennedys say they’re just happy to reside within the walls of history.

“Until I really see something and then I will believe it,” said Bobbi.

“Things have been going well, if there are ghosts, we seem to be on their good side."

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