Built in 1796, the Myrtles Plantation has everything an old Louisiana mansion should: live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss; a wrap-around veranda with iron scrollwork; a history that includes at least one murder committed under its roof (and possibly many more); and a dozen ghosts willing to make themselves heard, felt, and even, occasionally, seen.
Thankfully, the house is now a bed and breakfast, so intrepid tourists who don’t mind losing some sleep can spend the night and see who shows up.
The house is rumored to have been built on top of an old Tunica Indian burial ground, and there are claims that at least ten murders have been committed there over the years. These events left the plantation a fertile ground for restless spectres and spirits, several of whom have appeared in photos taken by visitors.
One of the most famous photos of the Myrtles Plantation haunts shows a grim-faced little girl in antebellum clothing lurking behind a window as a couple of unsuspecting tourists get their picture snapped. Could she be one of the girls reportedly poisoned by a slave?
Another famous image is said to show the poisoner herself—a slave girl named Chloe—who also met an untimely end. As the legend has it, Chloe was the recipient of owner Judge Woodruff’s advances. In return for her acquiescence, Chloe was able to work inside the house. When Woodruff became interested in a different slave girl, Chloe feared she would lose her position in the house and be sent out to work in the fields.
It's said that she then poisoned the judge’s two daughters, hoping only to make them ill enough that she would need to nurse them and be able to keep her position. But the plan backfired. The girls died, and Chloe’s fellow slaves, fearing they would be blamed, hanged Chloe and threw her body in the river.
A 1992 photo is said to show Chloe standing between the main house and an outbuilding called the General’s Store. The London Society for Psychical Research in London reportedly declared the photo authentic.
The one confirmed murder that took place in Myrtles Plantation was of William Winter, an attorney who lived in the house just after the Civil War. He was shot by a stranger outside, dragged himself inside and up the stairs, dying on the 17th step. Visitors report they can still hear his shuffling footsteps, on his way to his death.
A set of recent fires have struck the grounds of the Myrtles Plantation. The first fire occurred in 2014, and destroyed the gift shop. The second took place in March 2017, claiming the Carriage House Restaurant. Thankfully, no injuries were reported in either blaze.
With so many ghosts rattling around the house, it’s not surprising that supernatural phenomena are more or less commonplace. Reports include a chandelier that shakes and rattles, beds that levitate, and portraits whose expressions change.
Featured photo: Wikimedia Commons