The Haunting of Matthew Whaley

Does Mattey still walk these halls?


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Matthew Whaley Elementary School was established by Mary Whaley in the early 1700’s.  However, the school was known as “Mattey’s School” at the time, in honor of her late son Mattey Whaley. Mattey was born in 1696 and died at the very young age of 9 in 1705 due to what many believed to be pneumonia.

After her only son’s death, Mary turned the grammar school Matthew attended into a free school for local boys. Mary Whaley eventually left for England, leaving the school to the Bruton Parish Church, where Mattey and his father are currently buried. When Mary died, she left her money to the school, but due to legal problems it wouldn’t receive the money until many years later, in 1870. Mattey’s School was eventually sold and torn down. In 1859, The College of William and Mary rebuilt the school in Colonial Williamsburg, on the grounds where the Governor’s Palace now stands. The school honoring the late Matthew Whaley stood where William and Mary built it until the 1920’s, when Colonial Williamsburg bought the land. That school was torn down to make way for the historical rebuilding of the Governor’s Palace, and the new “Matthew Whaley” was built near there, where it still stands today.

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The school has 486 elementary school students, from kindergarten to fifth grade. Matthew Whaley is also home to many staff members, some of whom have been working at the school for years. Over the years, there have been many whispers floating around about strange occurrences at the school. People have reported hearing the footsteps of children in empty hallways and restrooms, children playing in the attic, and even seeing small figures playing on the playground. There have also been stories of the supposed ghost of Mattey Whaley playing pranks on the classrooms, like writing on chalkboards or whiteboards. Some people also believe that the ghosts of two boys that were lynched on the grounds of Matthew Whaley also haunt the school. The African American boys had been killed because of their race, and it is said that you can see them playing with Mattey in the hallways and on the playground.

Brooks Coleman, who attended Matthew Whaley from kindergarten through fifth grade, claims to have witnessed Mattey’s ghost pranking the classrooms, on multiple occasions. He said, “The projector screens would always fly up during class when no one was near them. One time in second grade.” He went on to say, “The whole projector screen fell off its hinges and almost hit a student.” Cooper Coleman, who recently graduated from Matthew Whaley last year, confirmed Brooks’ story saying, “I also saw projector screens fly up during class.” When asked about the supposed haunting of Matthew Whaley, Stephanie Carroll, who has taught at Matthew Whaley for seven years now, told a story that will send a chill up your spine. She said, “Three years ago a UPS guy came to drop something off.When he came inside he told the front office lady, Joyce,  that there was a boy standing in the middle window on the top floor. The staff knew kids couldn’t access the top floor”, she continued to say, “so they sent Mr. Greene and Mr. Beatty to investigate. They didn’t see anything, but Mr. Greene got scared and ran out. The UPS guy hasn’t come back since.” When asked if any of her coworkers have seen or heard anything, Mrs. Carroll reported that other teachers have heard kids running and laughing where kids weren’t supposed to be. Whether or not Mattey Whaley’s ghost roams the halls will remain a mystery, but there is no denying that the stories that come out of the elementary school are quite haunting.