Real Haunted Houses

Real Haunted House

The Myrtles Plantation

St. Francisville, Louisiana
By Shannon Reinbold-Gee

A profound sense of longing and loss clings to the moss draped trees surrounding the Myrtles Plantation, thick as the heady azalea-laced air. Legends abound here and the Myrtles Plantation is one of the most recognized haunts in the South, known as â??one of Americaâ??s most haunted homes.â? A beautiful antebellum mansion founded in the late 1700s, the Myrtles Plantation of St. Francisville, Louisiana, has most recently been honored as one of the 150 best properties to stay at according to National Geographic Travelerâ??s April 2008 issue. But although the rooms are beautifully furnished and appointed, and the estate is rich in history, neither reason is why many visitors choose to spend a night in this dramatic setting.

The architecture and gentle landscaping of the Myrtles evoke a mood of old-fashioned comfort and relaxation; but there are things at the Myrtles that remain restless. Visitors have mentioned jewelry disappearing and waking to find themselves fully tucked into their beds. Strange noises on the staircase, furniture that moves, a grand piano that plays by itself, mysterious handprints on the mirrors, odd things appearing in photographs â?? There is no doubt that the Myrtles is haunted, but the debate rages even now as to who or what is doing the haunting.

Most of the stories regarding the Myrtles revolve around a string of unfortunate choices that brought disturbance and death. It begins with David Bradford who helped quell the Whiskey Rebellion, and bought the land with a special grant from the Spanish, building a humble eight-room main house. Unfortunately the land had previously been the burial ground for at least one Native American tribe and when his builders happened upon bones, Bradford supposedly ordered them burned.

Bradfordâ??s daughter married Clark Woodruff, a main figure in the most popular tales about the Myrtles. According to popular lore, Woodruff married Sarah, but was quite the philanderer! Woodruffâ??s most damaging affair was with a household slave, Chloe. When his attentions turned to a new slave, Chloe began eavesdropping to figure out ways to prevent being sent out to harsh labor in the fields. Catching Chloe listening to a private conversation, Woodruff drew a sword and cut off one of her ears. As a result Chloe began wearing the turban that has become her ghostâ??s signature in photographs. Even more desperate than before to prove her worth as a household staff member, Chloe baked a birthday cake for one of Woodruffâ??s children. In the batter she included some oleander, thinking the amount would make them ill enough that she could show her value by nursing them back to health. Unfortunately she overestimated the amount she needed. Quickly Woodruffâ??s wife and children succumbed to the poison-laced birthday cake. Afraid theyâ??d be found guilty of murder by association, Chloeâ??s fellow slaves lynched her. Rumor claims Chloeâ??s ghost still haunts the grounds and the eerie sounds of children playing where none can be seen suggests that the Woodruff children have remained as well.

As the property was passed through other owners, tragedies mounted. Children died young (a horribly common occurrence) and diseases like yellow fever ravaged families. William Winter was murdered on the front porch of the Myrtles following the Civil War, supposedly rallying long enough to drag himself inside and partway up the main staircase where he died in his wifeâ??s arms. In 1886, the Myrtles passed out of the original familyâ??s grip forever.

Although historical records do not support every story that has helped make the Myrtles Plantation so attractive to would-be ghost hunters, enough paranormal researchers and curious visitors have investigated and experienced creepy and unexplained things that it seems certain the plantation is haunted. Precisely who is haunting the grounds is up to speculation, and perhaps we will never know the full truth, but murder, tragic accident and deadly disease seem to be the causes of most of the ghostly activity at the Myrtles. Financial difficulties caused the plantation to change hands several more times before the present era. Beginning in the 1950s, people began to mention odd occurrences happening in the house.

Today the Myrtles Plantation is a welcoming respite from the hustle and bustle of modern living. Rooms and cottages are available for rent and public ghost tours run several times a day. The Myrtles Plantation has a connection to true tragedy that makes it worth a stay, whether you are a spirit or not!

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205 Comments

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Ariel says:

September 28, 2011, 4:09 pm

I have been there although did not stay, we stayed at Oak Alley Plantation a good drive away. When entering the Myrtles, I got extremely dizzy and the tour guide laughed at me because some women experience that. When walking into the first room (we were the first ones in) so she wanted us to move all the way around the room by a window and I refused, again she laughed at me saying that when people take pictures of that window there is a lady looking out. Creeped me out! haha. I am not one to scare easy. I believe in ghosts and this wasnt the first time I’ve experienced things. I had friends that went and one taunted Chloe and she soon tripped off a walking path and broke her wrist. You decide on that one. Noone is allowed on the front porch yet when pictures were taken there was a man sitting in a rocking chair with a cowboy hat on. In another picture of the house it looked as though kids where playing on the roof by a window. You can make your own assumptions or conclusions but I know what I felt there. I loved it. It is so beautiful there too.

Paige says:

October 18, 2012, 5:30 pm

A few girls and I stayed at the myrtles plantation over night in the coco house. In the day nothing happened, as in we didn’t see or hear any ghost. I did feel really hot when arriving on the property, while driving up. We checked in our cabin and kind of picked and made fun of everything because we didn’t think anything would happen. We scared one of our friend and video taped it. We used the video camera once and it was fully charged and the video we did was only 2 minutes at most. It started to get dark and almost time for the tour of the house , so we all charged our phones so we could take plenty of pictures. We went on the tour and kind of broke the rules by taking pictures in the rooms you are not allowed to take pictures in. In the dining room , my friend loren kept feeling like a small child tugging on her purse. She thought it was me and asked me what i wanted and i had no earthly idea what she was talking about. We never viewed our pictures until after the tour while sitting outside. When viewing them I guess we was expecting ghost to just be very visible on the photos , so we did delete a few( which I regret). After that we left to go get pizza and was thinking of other pranks we could pull. We get back into our cabin , ate pizza, and joked around. It kept feeling like someone was watching us.. I kind of brushed it off because I wasn’t sure if I was the girls next target to prank or if it was ghost. After relaxing a bit we wanted to go explore the property since the workers do leave after the night tour. We grabbed our phones(because stupid us didn’t bring flash lights) and headed out the cabin . One of the girls ran back to grab the camcorder so we can video our adventure but when she turned it on, the fully charged battery was dead. We only used it once and turned it off for later use. We thought that was strange but didn’t freak much about it. We made friends with an older couple there who did have flashlights and we went tour around the property and take silly pictures. While walking around we started talking about what the tour guide said and where a lot of people see the most ghost there. That started to make us freak so we went sit on the porch with the rocking chairs. I was not a breezy night at all.. But once we sat down the fans started turning . I was standing up because the rocking chairs were all taken. I turned around because I heard a noise and an old black man in old clothes walked out the gift shop and never looked at us or waved back when we waved, he just walked away. We thought it was weird because we never heard a car leave after we watched him walk away . That freaked me out enough to make me sit on the ground of the porch. I didn’t really pick a specific spot to sit I just sat next to one of my friends. When I sat , right in front of me was one bluefish/purple color earring. It was pretty but freaked me out. I asked my friend sitting next to,” did you put that there!” and she said,” put what? My drink?” . I could tell she had no clue. I lifted my hand from above the earring and showed her and we all freaked. They all told me I needed to keep it so I could show the workers in the morning and it could be added to the collection of all the one earrings that are also missing. We went back into our cabin around 2am-3am and I didn’t want to sleep holding an earring in my hand( 1 because I was scared to lose it, 2 because if Chloe was coming for it , I didn’t want her coming for me as if I was stealing it from her) there was an empty little bowl on the table as a decoration. I put it there. Once I put it there that was when things started happening. It was literally as if everyone was being hypnotized and everyone was getting really tired. We all thought it would be a good idea to sleep in the living room together instead of seperate rooms. The only one that didn’t sleep in the livingroom was our friend fallyen , who had been asleep in the back room since after we took the tour(she’s a mommy of two toddlers and was taking advantage of getting sleep) so 7 of us were squashed on either the sofas or the mattress we dragged in there. Once everyone found a spot to rest, they were falling asleep quick. The only ones who were up we’re me, Anacia, and Lan . Lan was seconds away to passing out but we kept trying to convince her to stay up. That didn’t work. At 3:36 she was out. Anacia and I were just talking and waiting for stuff to happen. Right when Anacia said that she wished stuff would just happen already , so we could have a story to tell people when we go back home. All of a sudden we heard a little knock on the inside of the teeny tiny closest in the livingroom. It made us scared but not too bad , so we continued talking. The knocking in the closest kept getting louder and louder . I honestly don’t know how any of the girls didn’t wake up from the loud knocking noise. We opened the closest earlier when we first got there just to be noise, since we were staying there, so we knew no one could possibly fit in there to try and prank us. We tried to wake the girls up but they were not having it. We kept talking thinking if we would ignore it , it will go away. That’s a negative. After the loud knocking on the door from inside the closest , we started hearing scratches from inside. That had us shaking! We woke up all the girls in the livingroom and was telling them what happened. As we were we heard light taps from the top window by the table with the bowl and earring. We all looked at the window spooked and Lan asked her sister Heidi if she could borrow her phone since hers was dead. Heidi told her that her phone was also dead and right when she said that the alarm on her phone went off . We all screamed and when someone threw Heidi her phone that was sitting by the tv, and it landed in Heidi’s hands it would shut off again. It was literally so dead you would have to charge the phone for awhile before it would even come on. Heidi threw her phone and was crying because she knew her phone was dead. We all was trying to calm down since we only had an hour left until we could get a free breakfast, so we was trying to stay calm and hold on longer until then. That plan didn’t work. Heidi’s phone did it again and we were all ready to leave. We had to wake up fayllen in the back room and we all packed our bags and left . Heidi, Loren , and I were trying to start the car and waiting for raven and Anacia to lock the door of the cabin with a note why we left . Everyone was in the other vehicle except Anacia and raven ( they wrote the note on the steps) I looked at the window that Loren and I was suppose to stay in and I kind of just glanced but it caught my eye that the windows in the room were swaying back and forth as if they were telling us bye. I never believed in ghost until then. I would definitely do it again but test out another area to sleep at on the plantation property . It was a night to never forget.

Don V says:

November 30, 2012, 4:49 pm

I live a little over an hour north of St Francisville and drive by The Myrtles Plantation often. I plan to take my wife on her birthday next Halloween for a 2 night stay and investigation. Can’t wait!

Marie says:

July 12, 2013, 11:10 pm

My sister, my best friend, and I visited the Myrtles while on our way to Baton Rouge for our EMT exams. It was beautiful, the food was delicious, the staff was amazing, but the tour….the tour was eerie. When we first walked in I was suddenly overcome with the sensation to cough. I quickly fell into a rather long drawn out coughing spell. I excused myself, because my fit was disrupting the tour guide’s introduction. Unable to the obnoxious coughing, I stepped onto the porch. I experienced immediate relief. When I tried to enter again, I began to feel the urge once more. However this time I was able to resist an all out fit. I think this was very strange, and would love to return for another visit.

Bruce Miller says:

October 30, 2013, 10:40 am

I once was at the Plantation and a force held me down on the ground and pantsed me. I was so scared I ran home and never went back for my pants. I lost a nice pair of khakis that day.

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