Ten years ago, Mitch Kirsner saw his first ghost at Victorian Station.
The century-old Victorian home, built by a Swedish immigrant and Hampton Institute students in 1897, was a nighttime music venue. Kirsner, owner of the now-closed record store Fantasy, was watching a band when he felt something on the back of his neck. He looked up and saw a young girl in a long, white dress looking out a window on the landing.
“I looked at her for 15 or 20 seconds maybe,” he said. “And I kind of realized she wasn’t really there.”
There was no window either.
Victorian Station once stood next to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. There are stories it was a brothel or a “house of ill repute” in the early 1900s, local historian Tim Receveur said.
Since then, the pink-and-cream Phoebus building, known as “The Big Pink,” has been a tea house, breakfast bistro, coffee shop, music venue and more. Now, the Discovery Channel show “A Haunting” is filming the first episode of its eleventh season there.
The show retells personal accounts of hauntings and ghost stories, showrunner Laura Marini said.
“It’s up to us to kind of weave their story with dramatic recreations,” she said.
The episode filmed at Victorian Station is based on a real story: A a couple buys a restaurant — the Brentwood — in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but finds out it’s haunted.
Marini said the Brentwood originally was a Victorian home a man built for his wife. After he died, his wife believed his spirit remained.
“It was like a unicorn that they found this, it just fit exactly what we needed,” she said. “They were looking for a Victorian house that had been converted into a restaurant. How many are those?”
Marini said she’s seen many weird things on the sets of paranormal shows, but nothing has gone wrong at Victorian Station yet.
However, Chris Jacobson, who has owned the property since 2004, said many of his past tenants and visitors swear they have seen things.
Allison Harris was the kitchen and bar manager for The Bistro at Victorian Station for the past three years. She said when she was upstairs with her girlfriend, a painting of hummingbirds on the mantel flung across the room, like someone pushed it — even though no one had been near it.
Another time, she was working at a music event when she looked to the other side of the house and saw a fuzzy figure dancing. She’s also heard creaks as if someone is walking around, and once heard a child laughing.
“You just get so cold,” she said. “And you can feel like there’s something there. You just can’t see it, but you can feel it.”
A few months after seeing his first ghost, Kirsner looked out of a window at the front of the house and saw a wagon going down a dirt road on N. Mallory Street.
Kirsner said he thinks what he’s seen are “portals through time.” He thinks the girl he saw was the daughter of the family who originally owned the building, a Black family, according to Daily Press archives.
“I think there was something that the room or the house captured that happened there that I was able to view, just a moment in time that was captured like a snapshot,” he said.
There are many other ghost stories in the area, like “Fire Engine Charlie”, an old fireman at the Phoebus Fire Station who has been heard walking the halls or playing pool early in the morning. Or the ghost of Union Army Captain James Curry at his former house on Willard Avenue, according to the book “Hampton’s Haunted Houses & How to Feed a Ghost” by Jane & Joan Drum Polonsky.
The production company for “A Haunting” is Suffolk-based New Dominion Pictures. The show features stories across the country, but most of it is filmed in Virginia. Only one episode has been set in Hampton — season four episode three, “The Calling,” featuring spirit communicator Rebecca Lennox, who is haunted at her home.
Marini said “A Haunting” is always looking for a good ghost story.
“If somebody has a haunting they want to let tell us about, if it fits, we’re not closed off to that,” she said.
The new season will begin airing in the fall.