A Spooky Investigation into America’s 5th Scariest Haunted House

Shocktober has maintained its star status as most popular haunted house in Leesburg since debuting in 2010.

A Spooky Investigation into America’s 5th Scariest Haunted House

By: Carlin Lacques

If you haven’t heard of the infamous Leesburg haunted house, Shocktober, you must be new here. Teens and adults alike travel miles and miles to visit the local favorite, but Shocktober is much more than just a haunted house.

Most frightening haunted houses are converted from former residential homes, but the Carlheim Manor, where Shocktober is held, has a heartwarming yet haunting history.

The Carlheim Manor was built in the 19th century as a summer home for the Paxton family, which included Charles Paxton and his wife, Rachel Paxton, who grew their fortune through Charles Paxton’s working for the Bloomburg Iron Company, and eventually serving as its president.

The Paxton’s had only one daughter, Margaret Paxton, who married a lieutenant colonel, moved to New York, and had one son who died of diphtheria at just five years old. She died in New York as Ms. Margaret Parker.

After her daughter and husband’s death, Rachel Paxton stayed at the Carlheim Manor and opened a trust devoted to the establishment of the Margaret Paxton Memorial for Convalescent Children. Upon Rachel Paxton’s death in 1921, preparations began to convert the Carlheim Manor to a home for children. 

The Carlheim Manor functioned as an institution for children in varying vicinities up until 2004, and the Manor officially became considered a non-contiguous part of Historic Downtown Leesburg.

In 2009, the switch of the interior to a haunted house officially began when the Arc of Loudoun moved onto the property and launched significant repair initiatives.

The Arc of Loudoun is a local charity which “strives to bring about a just, equitable world for people with disabilities,” as seen on their website, (https://www.thearcofloudoun.org/ ).

Shocktober is the Arc of Loudoun’s largest fundraising event for each year and is run entirely by volunteers, primarily high school students.

Not only does Shocktober 100% benefit charity, but it has been deemed the 5th scariest haunted house in the United States by Travel and Leisure. 

Students love helping out at Shocktober each year, and give significant hours to support the cause. 

“Shocktober is a ‘family’ to many of our volunteers who come back year after year,” remarked Dianne Murphy, Public Relations Consultant for the Arc of Loudoun. 

With October coming to a close, time is running out to get the Shocktober experience. The last two nights to be scared straight are Friday, 10/29, and Saturday, 10/30. Head to the website, https://shocktober.org/ , to sign up and get more information on the spooky history of the famous haunt.