I Stayed at the Myrtles Plantation. Here’s What Happened.

posted: 02/03/17
by: Kelly McClure

Since I began writing for The Hauntist I've been fascinated with the history of The Myrtles Plantation. Built in 1796 by General David Bradford (AKA, Whiskey Dave) when Louisiana was still considered a Spanish Colony, the plantation changed hands in 1820 when it was sold to Bradford's daughter, Sara, and her husband Judge Clarke Woodruff, and then again to Ruffin Gray Stirling and his wife Mary in 1834. Its early history is riddled with every variation of tragedy ranging from the hanging of slaves, death by poison, shootings, and yellow fever. It's been said by those who study the paranormal that ghosts don't so much haunt locations as they do people but in the case of The Myrtles, the soil is oozing with the trapped spirits who have suffered there, and you can feel that sorrow the minute you step foot on the property.

Now owned by a man named John Moss, The Myrtles is a popular destination in St. Francisville, Louisiana that offers daily tours of the main house, as well as overnight rentals - both in the home, and in creepy yet beautiful cabins on the property, such as the Caretaker's Quarters, where I personally stayed on November 15.

Ramping up to my one night stay at one of the most haunted locations in America, I read Frances Kermeen's book The Myrtles Plantation: The True Story of America's Most Haunted House to get a better sense of what I was getting myself in to. A former owner of the plantation herself - which nails home the fact that, yes, this place doesn't hold on to owners for very long, Kermeen's account of her time there, which she makes several points of saying is 100% true, is nothing short of horrifying. According to her book she experienced immediate, frequent hauntings once in the property, sometimes violently so, and her friendships and relationship with her husband at the time were shattered by seen (and unseen) forces that brought out the worst in them. Knowing this, the idea of sleeping there, even for one night, seemed daunting, but I was still up for the challenge as my reservation loomed closer and closer.

I had the option of staying in one of the rooms in the main house such as the Judge Clarke Woodruff Suite, which has its own private sitting room near the staircase where he died in 1871, or the William Winter Room where it's said that Cleo, a local voodoo priestess, was brought in to heal a child who was dying of scarlet fever, and failed, which caused her to be hanged to death from a nearby tree - but I chose instead to stay in the Caretaker's Quarters because I felt drawn to it. And not simply because it was untethered to the main house and had a private porch which, as a smoker, appealed to me.

When I arrived at The Myrtles and completed the check-in process, I was guided to the cabin by a lady who has worked there for over 30 years and has been featured in many ghost hunting shows. Sadly, I didn't catch her name, but as we neared the cabin she told me that it's haunted by the ghosts of the children who died in the main home (probably because it's small and is seen as their playhouse) who can be heard giggling from time to time, saying "hello," and even lightly touching the noses of guests while they sleep. She also said that a former caretaker who lived in the cabin had been shot and killed there and that his boots can be heard walking up to the door and stopping, and that, if angered, warns guests by slamming the window shutters. She handed me my key and said that it's long been the case that if a person has trouble using the key to open the door they'll experience heavy paranormal activity during their stay, but if it opens right up, the spirits will leave them alone. I opened the door on my first try and she asked if I spend a lot of time around children, which I had to answer truthfully that no, I don't. She made a face as though this surprised her, because obviously the ghost children inside didn't mind me coming in.

Once I put my stuff in the room I calmed my nerves with a glass of wine (yes, I brought wine. Wouldn't you?) and then made my way back over to the main house for my complimentary tour which went over the history of the plantation, and told the story of "the haunted mirror" which is said to hold the trapped spirits of of Sara Woodruff, along with two of her children. The tour guide said that sometimes people take photos of the mirror and then see strange things in them that they didn't see with their naked eye at the time. Have a look at the photo I took. See anything?

When we came back outside after the tour the sun was starting to go down which meant it wasn't fun and games anymore, things were about to get real. I have personally never seen a ghost before. I've definitely felt bad, oppressive energy in certain places and situations, even had a few instances of sleep paralysis when I was little, but I've never seen a physical apparition or heard something go "bump in the night." I had to wonder how I'd react if, while in my cabin, I came face to face with the paranormal. Luckily I wasn't alone. I hauled my favorite person on earth with me to be my sidekick for the night, and we busied ourselves with the snacks we brought, and the before mentioned wine, until it was time to go to bed.

At 2:30 AM I woke up having to go to the restroom, which is the worst possible thing that could happen to you when you're terrified, and in the dark. I laid in bed looking around the room while trying to not actually look *at* anything for about 45 minutes and then finally, using the light from my phone, made my way to and from the bathroom without any incident. I fell back asleep eventually and was surprised when I woke back up again and the sun was shining through the window. It was morning. Nothing happened. Was I actually disappointed about that?

Once I got home and had time to process my stay at The Myrtles I had to reconsider my assertion that "nothing happened." While I slept in the cabin I had a dream that was unlike any dream I've ever had before. I haven't told anyone about this until right now. In my dream, which was vague apart from this one flashing detail, I was laying on my back on the floor of some strange place, holding my arms up to two child sized ghosts floating above me. A boy and a girl. The were outlined in orange broken lines, like the lasso function in Photoshop, and holding their arms outstretched to me in return. We never connected, but I can't help but wonder if those were the ghosts of the children who live in the Caretaker's Quarters, attempting to make contact any way they could. Maybe I was too guarded to experience them in waking hours, so they came to me in my dreams?

A few days after my visit to The Myrtles Plantation and I still felt a bit peculiar. It could have just been my imagination messing with me, or residual creepiness from the dream I had while sleeping there, but I definitely saged the crap out of my house right away.

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