Marion, Virginia

The Octagon House

An abandoned eight-sided home built for a plantation owner during a brief octagon craze in the 1850s. 

The Octagon House of Virginia, also known as the Abijah Thomas House, is an abandoned home that sits in the countryside just outside of Seven Mile Ford. It was built during the brief period in the 1850s when octagonal houses were extremely popular across the country.

The eight-sided house was built using bricks made on the property by slaves. When it was built, it sat on a 400-acre plot of land owned by Thomas, a textile plant owner and property tycoon who owned many slaves. Local legend includes tales of their ghosts haunting the property, especially its ominous “dark room.”

The structure itself is two stories tall, with eight brick sides. It has 17 rooms and 10 closets, but its most unsettling feature is an apparent storage area referred to as the dark room, which was supposedly used to punish and imprison slaves. Although red stains are visible on the walls and floors of the room, one historian believes these are the result of food spillage rather than blood. 

Regardless, the dark room and the mistreatment of slaves have yielded grim urban legends about the house. Many who have visited the site claim to have seen ghosts, heard the sounds of shackles moving, and seen blood dripping down interior walls in the house. Another popular legend is that the spirit of Abijah Thomas himself comes back to the house every December 1st in an eerie, blue-white light form.  

The Octagon House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, and is currently owned by a local resident who has been trying to raise funds to restore it.

Know Before You Go

If you have an interest in visiting, you should know that the property is posted with No Trespassing signs, and you will be in violation of the law if you proceed on to the property.  Also, all of the ground floor openings on the house have been boarded up recently, so you will not be able to venture inside the house.