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John Frazer scarecrow

He only spent 11 months as innkeeper of the Rising Sun Tavern in Downtown Fredericksburg in the 1790s, but John Frazer’s presence in this historic building continues to be a subject of animated discussion more than two centuries later.

Frazer was the first innkeeper at the tavern, a structure originally built as a residence by George Washington’s brother, but used as a tavern from 1792 until 1827.

Frazer took ill and died in one of the upstairs bedrooms of the house, and many who have worked there over the years will tell you he never left.

From unplugging lights to tugging on gowns to stacking hats knocked off their hooks, stories of the lighthearted mischief of Frazer’s ghost have accumulated over the years.


Rising Sun Tavern will celebrate these hauntings on Nov. 4, from 6 pm – 9:30 p.m., during John Frazer Night.

Rising Sun Tavern keeper John Frazer died on the property shortly after opening the business in 1793, and some say he never left.  Join us for a “spirited” candlelight tour highlighting the life of John Frazer and his alleged afterlife pranks.  Timed tours are given each ½ hour.  Reserve your tour by emailing or phoning 540-371-1494 by November 1.  Tickets are $10, $8 for WHM members.

Looking for other ways to feel the Halloween spirit? Here are some other happenings around the region, with something to appeal to you, whether you think Halloween is for enjoying a good scare, or just for family-friendly fun.


Haunted Trail at Wilderness Presidential Resort – Saturday, October 21, Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28. Find details on buying tickets here. This is not recommended for children under age 10.

Fredericksburg Hauntings Tours – The focus with these is much more on history than on super-scary experiences. Tour historic Downtown Fredericksburg with a well-informed guide who can let you in on the stories that have led some to call Fredericksburg America’s most haunted city. Click here for tour information and to book tickets.


Halloween 5k and Monster Mile – Head to Stafford County’s new Jeff Rouse Swim and Sport Center in the Embrey Mill Development on Saturday, October 28 for the 3 races, starting at 7:45 a.m. The mile is for agest 12 and under, 5k is for all ages. Come see this new sports facility in this growing community and take a nice fall run. Find details and registration here.

Treats on the Streets – Bring the kids to Riverfront Park in Downtown Fredericksburg Oct. 28 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. this free event will include games, prizes and safety tips for trick-or-treating. You’ll also get a map of participating downtown businesses you can visit for special treats while supplies last.