Gov. McAuliffe reflects on life in the Executive Mansion, the ghost, and pranks

Gov. McAuliffe reflects on life in the Executive Mansion, the ghost, and pranks

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The McAuliffes are moving out and the Northams are moving in. Virginia's new First Family is getting ready to call Virginia's Executive Mansion home for the next four years.

We sat down with outgoing Governor Terry McAuliffe to talk about what it's like to live in the 204-year-old historic home.

Built in 1813, the Executive Mansion is the oldest occupied Governor's mansion in the country. Since then, it's been home to governors and first families, and visited by many dignitaries and many more tourists.

"I love it, because when I come down, I shake hands, take pictures," said McAuliffe. "It's great, invite everybody in, let's go. When you walk in, there's Patrick Henry's chair and desk in the corner."

Legend has it, the mansion is also home to a ghost known as the Gray Lady.

"She was killed. She came out, she was at a holiday party and she walked out and got into her horse drawn carriage, it tipped over and killed her. And apparently she's in white flowing robes and people who have seen here say she's very nice," McAuliffe said laughing.

So we had to ask, has Governor McAuliffe seen her?

"I haven't. I've experienced things, seen things where lights all of a sudden just go off. I'd more chalk that up to a house that was built in 1813, but I had a former member of my security detail say she absolutely swears she saw a ghost," said McAuliffe.

The mansion is also home to a long tradition of pranks by the out-going governor on the incoming.

"I give Governor McDonnell credit. What he had done is he put alarm clocks all throughout the mansion, hidden everywhere. For the first two weeks, I'm getting out of bed at three in the morning, trying to find these darn alarm clocks," McAuliffe recalled.

McDonnell also left a stuffed bear in the governor's executive washroom, first discovered by then Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney.

"He screams, so I knew something was there, and I went and opened the door and I still screamed, and I knew something was there. It was a good prank," said McAuliffe.

Former Governor McDonnell said then out-going Governor Tim Kaine hid cell phones around the mansion that rang at random times. Former Governor Mark Warner left a life-size cardboard cutout of himself.

Governor McAuliffe says Governor-elect Northam should ready himself.

"There are going to be a lot of good surprises when he arrives in the Governor's Mansion," said McAuliffe.

We'll let you know what that prank turns out to be.

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