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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

All Hallow's Eve at the Haunted Myrtles Plantation

Myrtles Plantation
Since I was 'in the neighborhood' I drove over to St. Francisville, Louisiana. I'd decided to spend my All Hallow's Eve at the famous Myrtles Plantation. The plantation is now mostly a lovely inn where honeymooners and other guests can stay in genuine antebellum accommodations. I've heard tell of the plantation while rotting my brain watching ghost chasing & otherwise haunt riddled TV fare. Arriving at the plantation I was a good hour early for my 6PM pre-paid tour time. I decided to take a short stroll on the grounds. As I've been cursed by a witch with laziness, it was quite a short walk.
Autumn Color on the walkways
As I walked up the cobbled lane towards the 'big house' a pair of twee little girls stared at me, eyes wide as saucers. "Happy Halloween', I cheerily called to them. Just then, I recollected that atop my noggin I wore devil's horns, procured at the Renaissance Faire years ago. No wonder their eyes bugged - guess the tots had never met a real 'she-devil' before. Interesting fact, all day, with me trepsing all over central eastern Louisiana and I saw not a single person - adult or child - in Halloween garb. In my California home town you only have to step outside and shake a dead black cat to be overwhelmed by your fellow citizens in full on Pirates of the Caribbean or Star Wars garb. I'd have thought Louisiana, with its voodoo history would have overridden its bible belt sensibilities. Seems to be quite the opposite. No Halloween shenanigans here.
Ghost of Chloe...?

Shortly thereafter I froze in my tracks as I espied a ghostly white figure, floating in the air - OHMYGOD, is that the ghost of Chloe? It wasn't even dark yet.... um, no - I concluded it was a white umbrella.


Didn't take me long to wander over to the Plantation's general store/gift shop. There I checked in for my tour time, and then greedily eyed all the shop's merchandise. Had to use all the behavior modification skills in my arsenal to evade buying handspun Shetland Wool, which would only end up in my spare bedroom, with the bales of other 'pedigree' wools, hand spun & unspun. I did buy a tiny flask of Praline liqueur/spirits... for later...
For the knitting dilettantes such as myself

I suspect I will be cremated in a hand spun, hand knit casket. I should get to work on that as soon as I return home.

Looking past corn shucks is the courtyard &
door to the gift shop (Valhalla for 'moi')
At six sharp, the tour began and everyone gathered on the porch of the second plantation building, unseen to the right in the photo above.

The notorious haunted mirror has a sort of T-rex jaws
with a few ribs on it... that's what I see anyway...
Our tour guide explained we would only be allowed to photograph a restricted area of the inside of the building. Not because of fear we would photograph the plantation ghosts, scare ourselves and wet the beautiful original flooring throughout the building, but because the effing insurance company wouldn't insure the plantation & it's inn & rooms otherwise. Bugger the insurance mongers, eh?
The mirror macabre

Entering the building, we received a talk on the history of the plantation mansion, and were told, to our delight, we could photograph in this entrance way to our hearts content. Several took photos of a mirror, from which it seemed impossible, despite professional cleaning, to remove stains, of dripping... blood.

OH CRAP! A GHOST... erm... no, that's actually one of the inn's guests shooting up the stair well to his room. Damn, I need to get a grip.

patriotic mirror

Here's a brief of the plantation's most notorious, and frankly, innocent-ish ghost. The plantation has had many owners over the centuries and one of them had carnal feelings for a v. young enslaved girl on another plantation. He bought her, so she might baby sit his children & provide him with a mistress.

The enslaved girl was named Chloe. She was a nosey body in that she listened through closed doors when the master had meetings with important male type guests. Thus nosey Chloe fell out of favor with her master, and even lost credence with the other plantation slaves.

Foyer chandelier
But young Chloe had a cunning scheme (cue Black Adder music here) in which - with an oleander laced birthday cake no less - she poisoned the master's little children. She wanted to nurse the stricken children back to health & thus, regain the master's good graces. Her scheme failed when the kiddies died. Poor misguided Chloe was hung by the Mississippi River, her lifeless body fung into its waters. 

But the cat came back - as a ghost. The children came back too, perhaps seeking more of that yummy  oleander cake.
Another Ghost in the haunted mirror... . nooo... that's me. Sorry. 
 Did I see any ghosts? Nope. All of us in the group were taken into the bedroom of the master & mistress & there, on the crimson bedspread we all saw the tiny handprints of the plantation's ghost children. I felt rather uncommitted to the idea the prints were ghostly, I mean there were a couple of deep indentations but I figure they could have been placed there before we entered the room. One appeared while the guide spoke to us - telling us spooky plantation tale after spooky plantation tale - but um... maybe we just hadn't noticed it before he pointed it out?
The AWESOME haunted bedroom and it's creepy bedspread - not my photo
The tour took about an hour, during which the guide gave great details on the antebellum aspects of the building. We toured the gentleman's smoking room, the dining room and other rooms. Thoroughly enjoyed the the tour. 
The Plantation dining room - not my photo
The haunted stairwell 

This is the famous haunted stairwell. This photo faces the entrance. One of the plantation owners was shot, then famously died on the 17th step.

At the end of the entryway, stands this piano, said to play all on its own, without the benefit of anyone - alive - actually setting fingers to keys. Of course as with any well behaved haunted instrument, it ceases to play the second anyone enters the room. Good piano. Here's a piano biscuit.

During the last bit of the tour, we were told the story of how the plantation got its history of haunting started. It began when a modern day owner bought the plantation, planning to make it into a bed & breakfast. She was on the property by herself one day, photographing it with the goal of providing the photos to an insurance company to insure her property & business. She'd been told to provide photos with no one shown in them. After turning in the photos, the insurance people insisted she retake one of the photos, as clearly, the woman wasn't alone on the property that day. WHAT THE...!

Our guide showed us the infamous photo. The inset to the left shows a close up of the alleged, transparent Chloe. Professional National Geographic photographers examined the photo and negative and said they could not find any trickery in the photo. They also pointed out that over the porch on the right, there appear to be two small children crouching. You know... ghost children.
The photo that started it all. The house on the right is the one we toured. 
It is said Civil War soldiers march around porches and bricked walkways.
What fun to get to visit the haunted & hallowed grounds of the Myrtles Plantation, known to be haunted by at least a dozen spectors. How many did I see? Thank heavens, none! Whew. Hope my luck continues to hold out. Below are two episodes from the annals of Ghost Adventures, if you're hankering for a little seriously spooky viewing.

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