Nestled in the picturesque, southern town of St. Francisville, Louisiana, the Myrtles Plantation stands as an enigmatic monument to an era long gone. Boasting the grandeur of Antebellum architectural style with its expansive verandas, tall columns, and intricate latticework, the plantation is a testament to the opulence of southern plantation life in the 19th century. But the Myrtles Plantation is more than just a relic of the past. It is also one of the most reputed haunted homes in America.
Built in 1796 by General David Bradford, the Myrtles Plantation was initially known as Laurel Grove. For over two centuries, it bore witness to the tumultuous history of America, from the days of slavery and the Civil War to the changing social fabric of the 20th and 21st centuries. However, as its history unfolded, so did tales of tragedy, supernatural occurrences, and a haunting legacy that has intrigued and fascinated generations.
Today, the Myrtles Plantation is a compelling landmark shrouded in an eerie aura of mystery and suspense. Branded as “one of America’s most haunted homes,” it draws paranormal enthusiasts, history buffs, and curious visitors alike. This article will delve into the intriguing, sometimes spine-chilling, history of the Myrtles Plantation and its supernatural allure that has held many captive over the years.
The History of the Myrtles Plantation
The saga of the Myrtles Plantation began in the late 18th century when General David Bradford, a significant player in the Whiskey Rebellion, built the mansion on 600 acres of land. It was a peaceful residence for him until his death. In 1824, the property was passed on to his daughter, Sara, and her husband, Judge Clarke Woodruff. It was under their ownership that the plantation began to accrue its ghostly reputation.
The Woodruffs were known for their high social standing and wealth, but also for the string of tragedies that befell their family. Three of their children died at a young age due to yellow fever, and the family itself struggled with the pervasive illness. These unfortunate events began the whisperings of a curse and set the stage for the many legends that would come to surround the plantation.
In the following decades, the plantation went through numerous owners, each contributing to its rich and eerie history. During the Civil War, it was raided by Union soldiers, and later, it served as a hospital for wounded soldiers, adding more layers of suffering and death to its already somber aura.
The 20th and 21st centuries brought new developments. The Myrtles Plantation was converted into a bed and breakfast in the 1950s, and its haunting tales gained national attention. The supposed hauntings, coupled with the historical significance of the plantation, have made it an intriguing attraction for people from around the world.
The Haunted Myrtles Plantation
Many chilling tales surround the Myrtles Plantation, creating an eerie tapestry of the supernatural and the unexplainable. Arguably the most famous of these stories is the legend of Chloe, a slave owned by the Woodruff family.
Legend has it that Chloe was caught eavesdropping on Judge Woodruff’s private conversations. As punishment, one of her ears was cut off, and she was forced to wear a green turban to cover her disfigurement. In retaliation, Chloe poisoned a birthday cake, intending to make the Judge ill. Tragically, it was Sara Woodruff and her two children who consumed the tainted dessert, resulting in their untimely deaths. Chloe’s fellow slaves, fearing retribution, hanged her from a tree on the plantation. Today, guests and staff members often report sightings of a woman wearing a green turban, wandering aimlessly around the premises.
An equally chilling tale revolves around the indigenous burial ground that the plantation is rumored to have been built upon. Many believe that this desecration of sacred land has led to the myriad hauntings that afflict the plantation.
Another well-known tale involves a young girl who died in 1868. She was reportedly treated by a voodoo practitioner in her final days. The girl’s spirit is often seen in the room where she died, known as the “Haunted Mirror Room.” Here, visitors report sightings of handprints on the mirror that can’t be wiped away, believed to belong to the spirit of the girl.
Perhaps one of the most disturbing apparitions is that of a figure known as the “Ghost of the Stairs.” Many guests have reported seeing a spectral figure crawling or staggering up the grand staircase, seemingly re-enacting its last moments of life. The identity of this ghost remains a mystery.
The Myrtles Plantation and the Civil War
The Myrtles Plantation’s ghostly lore is deeply intertwined with the Civil War. During this period, the plantation was subjected to raids by Union soldiers, leading to the brutal murder of several individuals. Among them was William Drew Winter, an attorney, and a teacher who lived in the house from 1865.
It is said that Winter was shot by a stranger, and as he lay dying, he staggered inside the house and attempted to climb the stairs but only made it to the seventeenth step before dying in his wife’s arms. His spirit is believed to be the infamous “Ghost of the Stairs” that has been sighted by numerous visitors and staff members, eternally reliving his tragic end.
Is the Myrtles Plantation the Most Haunted Home In America?
The Myrtles Plantation’s reputation as one of the most haunted homes in America is often compared to other notorious haunted locations, such as the Winchester Mystery House in California, the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, and the infamous Amityville Horror house in New York. While these houses have their own unique tales of paranormal activity and eerie occurrences, the Myrtles Plantation’s history of tragedy, death, and spiritual unrest arguably surpasses them.
The haunting tales of the Myrtles Plantation range from sightings of spectral figures to unexplainable phenomena like flickering lights, moving furniture, and mysterious handprints. The ghostly legends, combined with its historical significance, have drawn attention from various paranormal investigative groups, further fueling its reputation as a hotspot for the supernatural.
Can You Visit the Myrtles Plantation?
For those brave enough to experience its haunting allure firsthand, the Myrtles Plantation offers guided tours and even the option to stay overnight. The historical tours guide you through the house and grounds, recounting its rich history and the many ghostly tales associated with it.
Staying overnight, however, takes the experience to a whole new level. As a bed and breakfast, the plantation provides guests with the unique opportunity to spend the night in a room that may have once been a hotspot for spectral activity. There’s no telling what one might encounter once the sun goes down and the spectral inhabitants of the plantation begin to stir.
If you are a fan of history, the paranormal, or simply looking for an experience unlike any other, the Myrtles Plantation awaits. Will you dare to uncover the truths of its haunting tales for yourself?