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The Ghosts of Louisiana

Apparitions don't just come out at Mardi Gras

By Rasma RaistersPublished 4 years ago 11 min read

The most haunted mansion in the region has a very violent past. In the mansion itself or on the grounds ten people were murdered. The mansion is Myrtles Plantation which is located on the outskirts of St. Francisville. At present, it is a popular bed and breakfast inn owned by John and Teeta Moss.

The mansion sits on top of very old Indian graves in the midst of a grove of moss-draped oaks and pink-blossomed crepe myrtle trees. The outside of the mansion has wide verandahs and the backyard has a small pond with an island and a gazebo. It was built in 1796 by General Bradford, who was hiding because of a price put on his head for his leadership in the whisky rebellion. Myrtles Plantation is an example of Southern Antebellum architecture. Inside are 22 rooms and winding staircases.

During the night a green turbaned dark-skinned woman known as Chloe wanders about the mansion. She has been known to wake visitors by lifting the mosquito netting around the bed and staring at them. This entity used to be the French/Mulatto governess to the Woodruff children and one of the many lovers of adulterous Judge Woodruff (son-in-law of General Bradford). The judge stopped the affair after he caught Chloe listening in on a business meeting and cut off her ear. Chloe on the other hand got her revenge when she presented a poison-laced cake as a peace offering at the eldest daughter’s birthday. As a result two of the Woodruff children and Mrs Woodruff died from eating it. Chloe was hung from a high tree by the outraged slaves of the plantation.

Two little blonde girls have been seen peeking in the windows and startled a writer by standing at the foot of his bed. These two entities have also been seen playing on the verandah. There is also an unseen apparition that likes to bounce on beds that have been freshly made. Following this spirit about is an entity of a young woman dressed as a maid who quickly smoothes out the wrinkles made by the jumping.

William and Sarah Winter lived in this mansion from 1860-1871. William was a lawyer who was shot in the chest by an unknown man as he walked out the door. Managing to stagger back into the house and up the stairs, he collapsed on the 17th step and died in Sarah’s arms. His unseen presence keeps reliving the last moments of his life staggering across the entranceway and up to the 17th step.

A Confederate soldier has been seen and heard stomping across the front porch. A male specter dressed in khaki warns visitors not to visit. A voodoo priestess attempts to save a little girl with chants while holding something in her hand. Also, a ballet dancer in a black tutu and apparitions from the slave graveyard report each day for their daily chores. Lounging about the gazebo is a well-endowed naked Indian girl who’s seen a lot and may come from one of the graves that lie under Myrtles Plantation.

A psychic came to investigate Myrtles Plantation and walking into the parlor she felt as if she had walked into a crowded cocktail party full of happy, pleasant spirits.

Destrehan Manor Museum is located in the lower Mississippi River Valley about thirteen miles north of New Orleans. Destrehan Manor is the oldest Antebellum house found along the Mississippi River. It was built in 1790 for a free mulatto Charles DeLogny and his bride Robin. It is a two-story structure. The first floor is raised above the ground to protect against moisture and flooding. The top floor has a wide-hipped roof and large, shady galleries to protect against the heat with dormers to ventilate the attic.

Destrehan Manor has been changed over the years to accommodate family needs and style changes. In 1810 Charles DeLogny’s daughter, Celeste and her husband, Jean Noel Destrehan added two wings. These in cultured circles are known as garconnieres which are additions of the main structure to accommodate a growing family. In this case, fourteen children. In 1840 Charles’ granddaughter, Louise and her husband, Judge Pierre remodeled to reflect the popular Greek Revival period. Destrehan Manor was protected while oil companies ran their refinery on the land. When the refinery shut in 1958 the house was open to scavengers.

The manor was the family home of Charles and Robin DeLogny’s descendants until 1940. It stood abandoned from 1958 to 1970. Indigo was the crop which was grown on this plantation from 1790-1860 later switched to sugar cane. Here slaves were an important part of the workforce. Stephen Henderson married Eleanor Destrehan (30 years his junior). He lived here only a short while and in his will freed all the slaves and left his money for a factory to be built on the estate to manufacture clothing and shoes for freed slaves. Family members contested the will and it was thrown out in 1838. The plantation then was sold to Charles’ granddaughter, Louise and her husband, Judge Pierre.

The Union army took over Destrehan Manor during the Civil War. They used it as a place for freed slaves to learn a trade. The family gained control of the house again until 1940 when it was sold to an oil company. Destrehan Manor was left abandoned from 1958 until 1970 when the River Road Historical Society got it declared as a National Historical site. At this time the oil company deeded the house and 4 acres to the society. By 1973 it could be opened to the public. Tour guides dressed in period costume give visitors a tour of Destrehan Manor.

Destrehan Manor was chosen to be one of the filming locations for the movie “Interview with a Vampire”. Here on some days,, people can see demonstrations of indigo dying, candle making or open-hearth cooking. Every fall there is a fundraiser called the Annual Cajun Festival where over 175 artists and craftspeople from all over the United States participate. There is a Cajun and Creole food tent with over 20 chefs preparing food. In the 1830s Mule barn, more than 12 antique and collectible dealers offer their treasures for sale.

The people of the manor:

Eleanor Destrehan died at the age of 19 and her husband Stephen Henderson followed a few years later. One of Stephen’s personal friends was Pirate John Lafitte who made his fortune by robbing Spanish ships loaded with treasure in the Gulf of Mexico. Lafitte lived in New Orleans and did business with plantation owners. He enjoyed visiting Destrehan Manor. A former mistress of Destrehan Manor Lucy slapped her slaves around and treated them cruelly.

In 1980 the hauntings began after the River Road Historical Society had done a great deal of restoration. The staff and visitors would hear disembodied voices and members of the staff began having odd experiences with the entities that made their home here. Tourists taking pictures would be surprised to see apparitions, orbs and mists when the photos were developed. When tourists send some of these amazing pictures to the museum staff they put them on display. A white, misty form has been seen sitting in a chair and peering out of a second-floor window.

Pirate John Lafitte

In one of the rooms upstairs. a rocking horse rocks back and forth by itself. It was finally removed from the room. An apparition of a woman has been seen standing on the back staircase and the apparitions of both Stephen Henderson and Eleanor Destrehan Henderson have been identified by staff and visitors. Pirate John Lafitte has been seen as well. They are all there and they are waiting.

New Orleans an unusual and well-known city that has in its past a blend of voodoo and slavery. Quite a few haunted places making it the most interesting city to visit. The attitude of the people who live here is such as one owner of a haunted house said, “In New Orleans, the ghosts are a part of the package. We just move in and they usually make room for us”.

St. Louis Cemetery, Saint John’s Bayou and Laveau House are the favorite haunt of the famous voodoo priestess, Marie Laveau, who practiced her art, as early as 1830, in the Congo Square area. In the French Quarter Marie led voodoo dances in the square and sold charms and potions from her house on Saint Ann Street. She held rites at Saint John’s Bayou which included naked dancing around bonfires, orgies and animal sacrifices. There are people who say she had power over some police and judges and was able to save some criminals from the hangman. In Saint John’s Bayou on St. John’s Eve, her spirit can be heard singing.

At Laveau House on Ann Street, some people report that the spirit of Marie and her followers still conduct wild voodoo ceremonies in the house. Her apparition has been seen walking down St. Ann Street wearing a long, white dress and a tignon, which is a scarf with seven knots. On the same street in a drugstore, her apparition slapped a man when he failed to acknowledge her presence and then floated to the ceiling. The owner of the store was an eye witness.

Marie Laveau

Marie Laveau died in the late 1880s. She was buried in a mausoleum at the Saint Louis Cemetery. She apparently slapped a man passing by her grave.

Laveau tomb

Some people believe that Marie can turn herself into either a black crow or a big, black dog. Both such animals have been seen roaming the cemetery. People also still believe that she can practice her black magic and leave notes, requests and offerings at her grave.

In the French Quarter is the Beauregard – Keyes House. This grand mansion was built in 1812. General Pierre Gustave Toutant de Beauregard who was the commanding officer of the southern troops at the bloody battle at Shiloh lived in this mansion until 1869. On foggy, moonlit nights at 2 o’clock in the morning, General Beauregard and his troops materialize out of the wood-paneled walls along the hallway near the ballroom. The living can hear the clattering footsteps of the phantom troops. They all appear in full Confederate dress uniform and slowly they become bloody and tattered as if reliving a bloody battle. There is also an apparition of a fiddler player and dancing entities having their own ball in the ballroom.

On Royal Street in New Orleans is Madam Lalaurie’s Mansion. The three-storied mansion is very plain. It has 40 rooms and delicate lace ironwork placed around the 2nd-floor balcony. Stone fireplaces taller than a man could be found in every room and satin and velvet hung from the walls.

Delphine Lalaurie

Louis and Delphine Lalaurie bought the mansion from Mr Soniatdu Fossat on August 13, 1831. Delphine Lalaurie knew how to entertain the high society of New Orleans but was proven to be an evil, cruel, sadistic psychopath when it came to the treatment of her slaves. In 1834 Lalaurie had to flee New Orleans when firefighters discovered her torture chambers in the garret apartment, the attic and other places throughout the mansion where she enjoyed the sadistic cruelty of her actions.

She had her slaves tortured, maimed and killed in slow, agonizing ways. The barbarity was stopped by the house cook who started a fire in the kitchen while she was chained to the kitchen floor. Firefighters rescued some of the victims from the torture chambers who were still alive. LaLaurie had had her victims’ body parts cut off, cut open the body in places and pulled things out, sewed eyes and mouths shut and so on.

Years later while remodeling the interior workmen found skeletons of her torture victims that had been dumped in holes under sections of the mansion’s floor. The mansion was sold in 1837 but people didn’t stay long because of the haunting. At the turn of the century, the mansion was turned into apartments for Italian immigrants but renters didn’t stay long. In the 20th century, the mansion was renovated and opened to tourists.

Throughout the years' many different incidents have been reported:

Tortured screams and groans coming from the attic. A servant sleeping in the barn awoke to find a black-haired woman choking him then a black apparition removed the woman’s hands from his throat and they both disappeared. An Italian tenant was confronted by a large, black man wrapped in chains on the main stairs. He vanished on the last step.

Sounds of an invisible chain being dragged down the stairs can be heard. Terribly maimed apparitions have appeared. An Italian mother found an apparition of a wealthy, white woman bending over her sleeping baby. Later it was identified as Delphine Lalaurie herself. Nearby neighbors have reported the mansion’s windows opening and closing by themselves as well as the front door.

People passing by at night have seen the reenactment of a young slave girl jumping off the roof to her death to escape her crazed mistress. She had escaped from her chains and ran onto the roof being chased by her mistress. Her chilling screams are heard. This event which was reported to the police in 1833 started showing others what was happening in the house. The heartbreaking cries of a little slave girl have been heard near the cherub fountain in the courtyard.

For ghost lovers and believers, nothing can be better than a trip to Louisiana to meet the spirits that roam there.


About the Creator

Rasma Raisters

My passions are writing and creating poetry. I write for several sites online and have four themed blogs on Wordpress. Please follow me on Twitter.

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