Sunday, January 29, 2023

Legends Magazine: The Deep South’s 8 Most Haunted Places

1. The McRaven House, Vicksburg, Miss.

 During the Seige of Vicksburg “The Most Haunted House in Mississippi” was a field hospital, said to be the deathbed of countless soldiers’ deaths, who still haunt the 1797 home. It also is believed that at least five of the house’s inhabitants died in or near the house. One owner, John H. Bobb, is said to have died violently at the hands of federal soldiers outside McRaven. Owner Mary Elizabeth Howard’s spirit is said to grace the home as well. She is believed to be responsible for antics with the bedside lamp in what was her bedroom. Her figure has also been seen on the flying wing staircase and in the dining room. To book a tour, visit mcraventourhome.com.

 

2. The Temple Theater for the Performing Arts, Meridian, Miss.

The Moorish revival style theater, built in the 1920s, is known for its ghostly sightings and tales of underground catacombs, now the source of audible voices. One alleged sighting is believed to be a woman who was organist of the theater’s prized Robert Morton Theater Pipe Organ, which made the music to accompany silent films in the late ‘20s. Another story involves a group of workers who, while staying inside the downtown theater, were run out in the middle of the night by strange apparitions and ghostly sounds. The building’s history has led to a growing public search for paranormal activity. To book a tour, phone (214) 938-5656.

3. Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham, Ala.

There have been more than 100 reports of suspected paranormal activity at Sloss Furnaces filed with Birmingham police ranging from minor incidents such as steam whistles apparently blowing by themselves to major sightings and one physical assault. The majority happen during the months of September and October at night. Some believe the occurences are the spirit of the reckless graveyard foreman, James “Slag” Wormwood. During his reign, 47 workers lost their lives, ten times more than any other shift in the history of the furnace. In October 1906, Wormwood fell from the top of the largest furnace into a giant pool of melting ore. According to the legend, the workers may have been driven too far, and for revenge “fed him to the furnace.” Since then, it is said the ghost of Wormwood has continued to torment from beyond the grave, shoving people from behind and screaming, “Get back to work!” To book a tour, visit slossfurnaces.com.

4. The USS Alabama, Mobile, Ala.

 The retired World War II-era battleship, the USS Alabama, welcomes thousands of visitors each day at its dock in Mobile Bay. Officials claim the ship is not, nor has ever been, haunted. Oddly, many claim to have seen ghosts on the ship, with countless reports of phantom footsteps and odd noises. It is said that late at night bulkheads open and close by themselves. The battleship’s first two deaths were men in the Norfolk shipyard as she was under construction. Completed in 1942, the ship served 37 months with no deaths due to enemy fire. There were, however, eight deaths under friendly fire on gun mount No. 5 when gun mount No. 9 fired upon them. The safety feature preventing the turrets from firing upon each other reportedly failed, annihilating the men. In recent years, Scout troops camping out on the ship have claimed to see a barefoot ghost by turret No. 5. Learn about this ship’s tours at ussalabama.com.

 

5. The Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, La.

This 10-acre, 18th century plantation is known for the ghosts abounding on the property that was purchased in 1796 by Judge Clarke Woodruff. The most popular ghost to haunt the Myrtles is Chloe. In the 1800s, Woodruff had an affair with Chloe, the household servant. When he began an affair with another girl, Chloe feared she would be banned from the house. She baked a cake with poisonous crushed oleander leaves, hoping to make Woodruff’s daughters sick so that she would be needed to nurse them back to health and secure her spot in the home. Her plan backfired when the children to died. Fearing they would be accused of murder by association, Chloe’s fellow slaves dragged her from her bed, hanged her, then threw her body into the Mississippi River. In 1992, the proprietress of Myrtles photographed what appeared to be a slave girl standing between two of the buildings on the plantation. A postcard made from the photograph is referred to as the “Chloe postcard.” In recent years, a young girl dressed in antebellum clothing has been photographed peering through a window. She is referred to as “The Ghost Girl” of the Myrtles Plantation. Book a tour by visiting myrtlesplantation.com or by writing to chloe@myrtlesplantation.com.

 

6. The Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Ark.

It is said America’s Most Haunted Hotel is the 1886 Crescent Hotel, which allegedly harbors the ghosts of those who checked out but never left. Spirits include Michael, the Irish stonemason who fell to his death while building the hotel in 1885; Theodora, the cancer patient of the hotel’s former Dr. Norman Baker hospital days, who seems to need help finding her room key; Norman Baker in his white suit and lavender shirt; Morris the cat; and a mystery patient in a white nightgown who appears in the luxury suites at the foot of the bed, among others. The Crescent offers one of the best-attended ghost tours in the United States, starting on the top floor and winding down to the notorious Norman Baker’s morgue. See it for yourself at crescent-hotel.com.

 

7. The LaLaurie House, New Orleans

 Situated in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter is an ornate 1800s mansion that belonged to physician Louis LaLaurie and his socialite wife, Delphine. The couple was rumored to treat their slaves viciously, with evidence pointing to Delphine LaLaurie in the murder of a 12-year-old girl. The rumors were confirmed when a fire broke out one night in the mansion’s kitchen. Responding firemen were astonished when they kicked down a door and found several slaves chained to the wall in a makeshift dungeon. Later, rumors circulated that the LaLauries were performing grotesque surgical experiments on their slaves. Modern evidence suggests the rumors were unfounded. Either way, the couple reportedly fled the city soon after. Among the spirits reportedly sighted there are both Delphine and the young slave girl she is said to have murdered. Get more information at hauntedneworleanstours.com/lalaurie.

 

8. Merrehope, Meridian, Miss.

 Meridian, Mississippi’s, only remaining antebellum home, Merrehope, was one of three houses left standing after Gen. William Sherman burned Meridian in 1864. Today, the mansion serves as a historic house museum and is said to be home to the spirit of Eugenia Gary, daughter of a former master of the house. Eugenia is considered a benign and comforting spirit. Visitors have reported frequent sightings of Eugenia, with dark hair and a green flowing hoop dress. She has been seen staring out windows both downstairs and upstairs, often appearing when people have been ill or during social functions. Eugenia died of consumption at an early age, but not at Merrehope. Her family moved there after her death in Alabama and eventually brought her portrait to the home. It is believed that the portrait is why her spirit remains there.

Story and photos courtesy Legends Magazine

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