May 26, 2024

Nestled in St. Francisville, Louisiana, The Myrtles Plantation is reputed as one of the most haunted mansions in the United States. This stately 1796 structure, with its sprawling grounds and eerie atmosphere, has become a destination for those intrigued by the paranormal. Its story intertwines with the history of the South, creating a tapestry rich with mystery, ghostly sightings, and tragic events.

The History of The Myrtles Plantation

The Myrtles Plantation was built by General David Bradford, also known as “Whiskey Dave” of the Whiskey Rebellion. Originally named Laurel Grove, the estate passed through various owners and saw many transformations, including extensive renovations and expansions. It was during the ownership of Clark Woodruff in conjunction with his wife, Sara Mathilda, a direct descendant of Bradford, that the most famous ghost stories associated with the Myrtles began to take shape.

The plantation operated primarily as a home to the family and their slaves. In the complex social hierarchy of the South at this time, the mansion was a scene of both grandeur and immense human suffering. This duality may have contributed to the intense paranormal activity reported later.

The Legends and Ghost Stories

Several legends contribute to the mansion’s eerie reputation. Perhaps the most famous ghost of the Myrtles is Chloe, a slave who allegedly poisoned the Woodruff children. Legends say that Chloe baked a birthday cake containing extract of boiled and reduced oleander leaves, which are highly toxic. The cake was meant as a desperate act to regain favor with the household after eavesdropping on family matters, but it resulted in the death of two of the Woodruff children. Chloe was supposedly hung by other slaves, and her spirit is said to haunt the plantation to this day.

Another chilling tale is that of William Drew Winter, an attorney who lived at the plantation from 1865 to 1871. Winter was allegedly murdered by a stranger who shot him as he stood on the porch of the house. According to local lore, he staggered inside and died on the 17th step of the main staircase. Visitors and staff have reported hearing his dying footsteps.

In addition to these famous ghosts, other paranormal reports include the ghost of a young girl who died in 1868 despite the efforts of a renowned New Orleans doctor. She reportedly appears in the mirror located in the room where she died, and countless guests have captured strange reflections in this mirror, which they believe to be her spirit.

Paranormal Investigations and Experiences

The Myrtles Plantation has been the subject of numerous paranormal investigations. It has featured on many TV shows and documentaries about haunted locations. These investigations have used modern technology to capture evidence of ghosts, including EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) recordings, thermal imaging, and video footage of apparitions.

Many visitors report unusual experiences such as sudden cold spots, ghostly handprints on mirrors, and mysterious footprints. These occurrences continue to draw thousands of tourists each year, all eager to experience the supernatural.

The Myrtles Plantation Today

Today, the Myrtles Plantation operates as a bed and breakfast, providing guests the unique opportunity to stay overnight in one of America’s most haunted homes. It offers guided tours, both during the day and at night. The night tours, which focus on the plantation’s haunted history, are particularly popular, offering thrilling narratives accompanied by historical facts.

Moreover, the plantation hosts events throughout the year, including mystery dinners and Halloween tours, which further celebrate and capitalize on its ghostly reputation.

Conclusion

The allure of the Myrtles Plantation is undeniable. Whether visitors are history buffs, ghost hunters, or just curious tourists, the mansion offers a fascinating glimpse into the past coupled with a dash of the supernatural. Despite the commercialization of its ghostly legends, the true stories of those who lived and died there remind us of the complex tapestry of human experiences that contribute to the haunting of this beautiful but eerie mansion.

Exploring The Myrtles Plantation offers more than just a brush with the paranormal. It offers a doorway into the American South’s past, making it a poignant site where the boundaries between the historical and the supernatural blur, leaving visitors with a deeper understanding of both.

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