- Religion and Philosophy
Ghostly Encounters or Imagination? My First Visit to the Myrtle Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana
Desire to explore...
I have always had an interest in the supernatural. As a child, I experienced my first encounter and it frightened me so badly that I never told anyone until many years later. I heard about the Myrtles Plantation from a co-worker, conducted a little Internet research, and decided to visit during Spring Break 2016. I hesitated, as I know I am sensitive to things of a paranormal nature. However, I had a strong desire to visit this plantation, regardless of what I may experience. I shared this desire with a friend, and she agreed to visit with me. This is my story. The things I write are true and accurate. I will add, for those who do not know me, that I did not drink or use anything to alter my cognitive abilities. I respect the fact that skeptics exist. If you are one of them, I encourage you to visit the Myrtles and experience the history and potential paranormal activity for yourself. Some things you just have to experience.
Arriving at the plantation...
My friend Natalie and I decided to leave that morning around 11:00 a.m. We rode for what seemed like an eternity. It was a pleasant ride and we talked about the things we were going to do and excited to spend the night on a haunted plantation. I tried to stay calm even though I was a little nervous and excited at the same time. We finally made it to the plantation around 2:00 p.m. I remember a feeling of calm that came over me as we entered the plantation. It is located near a busy highway and thought it was too close to the road. The road leading into the plantation is beautiful. The gentle sway the Moss trees provided an overwhelming feeling that I had just stepped back into time. The plantation is layered with moss trees, crepe myrtles, statues, cistern wells, and yes - paranormal activity.
After parking, we made our way into the general store to check in and register for the next tour of the main house. We were greeted by the staff and other visitors who were shopping. The first thing I noticed were miniature stuffed voodoo dolls (that was creepy). As I walked up to the counter to inquire about the room, I could not help notice that the lady checking us in was having a bad day or that there may be something wrong with her (illness or otherwise). The general store had a handful of people in there and I noticed a couple of kids. I “thought” I saw a blond headed little boy playing in the store in front of the cash register. He looked like he was running after something - maybe a ball. I thought nothing of it at the time since there were other people around me. I will get back to this later.
I decided to stay in the Azalea Garden room, which is right beside the main house. The Azalea Garden room is one of four rooms in a separate building built in 1980. I decided to stay here since staying in the main house costs considerably more and I was a little afraid of what might happen if I stayed in there. Plus, the bathrooms in the house, though private, are outside of the rooms. I did not like the idea of walking outside of my room alone and having eyes from all of the portraits on the walls watching me. I will admit that I am a little uneasy of the unknown. When I return to the Myrtles (yes, I plan to return), I would like to stay inside the main house. I was told by other visitors that each night they heard children talking, and footsteps coming up the stairs and stopping at the 17th step.
The tour of the main house...
We put our overnight bags in the room and rested for a couple of minutes, then I remembered the store clerk mentioning that the next tour would be at 3:00 p.m. We hurried to the side porch of the house. I could not wait to see what was on the other side of the main door! Interestingly, the tour guide was the same lady (store clerk) who assisted us at the general store. I guess they perform multiple tasks at the Myrtles.
As we walked inside, my eyes were instantly drawn to the mirror to the left of, the entrance. The tour guide mentioned that this was the mirror more commonly known as the "haunted mirror." Some believe mirrors are portals to the other side. Legend has it that Sara, the lady of the plantation and her two daughters were poisoned by Chloe, a slave girl, who added oleander (a highly toxic plant) to a cake baked for them. Sara and her daughters are now trapped inside the mirror. The tour guide mentioned that the mirror has been removed several times to be clean/refurbished of what appears to be an outline of Sara and footprints of her beloved daughters. The images mysteriously reappeared after each refurbishing.
The tour consisted of the first floor only, as the second floor contains occupied guest rooms. And, we were only permitted to take pictures in the foyer area. The tour guide cited insurance purposes for not allowing pictures in other parts of the house. This made sense, as the remainder of the first floor is filled with priceless antiques; the chandeliers are breathtaking. I recall gazing toward the ceiling and soaking in the history. It was an incredible feeling. It was as if they were speaking to me. I thought about all that has occurred at The Myrtles, events I have learned through much reading. I encourage all who are interested to read about the history of the plantation - it is quite intriguing. I promise it is worth the read, if you love to read about the paranormal or are simply interested in history.
As we entered Sara's room, I had a strange feeling and murmured, "uh oh," as I felt that something bad happened there. I felt overwhelmed; It just felt evil. The air was heavy and it was difficult for me to breathe. The tour guide really didn’t or maybe couldn’t answer many questions about that room, as she seemed to be overlooking my questions. I was glad to leave that room, but I would have loved to have taken some pictures in there. I looked around at the others in the room and wondered why they could not feel what I do. Then again, maybe they did feel something but chose not to verbalize it as I did when I let the tour guide know I felt something. However, with my “uh oh” response I think she thought I was referring to the beauty of the room. I wasn’t. This was the only room on the tour that impacted me as I've just described. Perhaps, it is because we did not stay in one place very long. One can only speculate.
Another part of the tour included two parlors, one for the ladies and one for the men. I remember reading fiction history books that described these types of rooms, but what an experience to step inside one for myself! The lady’s parlor was very feminine and was adorned with many religious symbols. Tucked in a corner was a tiny antique writer’s desk where Sara did most of her journaling. It was incredibly small. The tour guide explained that back in the 1800s humans were much smaller; therefore, the furniture was smaller. Even the couches and chairs were very low to the floor. I thought about evolution and chuckled under my breath. The men’s parlor was masculine, of course. It was adorned with a portrait of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, desire, and beauty. Interestingly, her holy tree was the myrtle. I could only imagine some of the conversations held in that room. The two parlors were designed to be opened together creating a large ballroom-like area for dancing and socializing. I imagined period men and women waltzing together in that room. The dining room was enormous and filled with stunning period furniture. One piece that particularly caught my interest was a table for men to "stand" and eat, as opposed to "sitting" at the main table. The reason - something about the men not wanting to sit and eat due to the pain experienced from being on horseback all day. The final room of the tour was a small room used by the men to play cards. Portraits in this room seemed to watch my every move. One portrait in particular, was of a young girl. The girl became ill and died prior to the portrait's completion. The left side of the portrait appears bright and full of life; whereas, the right side of the portrait appears greyish and lifeless. Apparently, the portrait was completed after the young girl's death.
I didn’t want to leave the inside of that house, and I wished that I had chosen a room upstairs to stay the night, but it was too late for this trip. At the conclusion of the tour, we walked around outside and took pictures for a while then headed back to the room - the Azalea Garden room. YouTube features a video of this room where the guests set up a camera and captured a black figure moving across the wall during the night. This spooked me a little, but I realized that it's possibly staged or could even be a bug. Either way, I decided I was ready for whatever would take place.
Dinner at The Carriage House Restaurant
Though a little pricey, I thoroughly enjoyed the food, service and historical atmosphere of this quaint little restaurant. The servers were pleasant and the atmosphere seemed to catapult me into a century gone by. I asked the server if he had ever experienced anything paranormal while working here. He responded, "no." I had a feeling that he was not being truthful, as he could not look me in the eyes. From my own past experience, I understand that it is not always easy to share such experiences. My guess is that he has seen his share around that place. I honestly find it hard to believe how anyone could live/work there and not experience any paranormal activity.
We sat by the window and I enjoyed looking outside while we ate. I ordered fried shrimp, Cole slaw and fries, while my friend Natalie ordered a ribeye and roasted vegetables. Natalie’s meal came with roasted vegetables that looked delicious. I got to taste them. A mixture of broccoli, small red potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms. I thought about taking an order back to my room. When I got my bill, I quickly changed my mind. I noticed a young man and older woman coming into the restaurant and remembered them from the tour. The guy asked if we planned on seeing any ghosts and I just politely smiled. I noticed he and his lady friend both ordered alcohol and thought the only thing they may see are the back of their eye lids.
Nightfall at the Myrtles...
After a fabulous meal, we decided to burn a few calories and walk around the plantation.. A very large pond with a walking trail around is located to the left of the main house. It has a foot bridge that leads to a gazebo that is placed in the center of the pond. Slaves used this pond to get water and mud to help with projects around the house. It really saddens me to know the true history of this beautiful plantation.
We walked around the trail then began to take pictures in the front of the house. We used two different cameras to take pictures. I used a Fujifilm J50 digital camera and she used a Nikon L330 digital camera. We both also used our phone cameras at times. As it started to get dark, Natalie became thrilled to learn that she was capturing orbs on her Nikon. Skeptical, she cleaned her lense several times to be sure that there were not any dust particles on it. I kept taking pictures with mine and we would compare shots with orbs. My camera had some, but they were more faintly seen than hers. My mind was racing when we compared two pictures in the same location and both cameras had orbs in them! We first noticed the orbs in front of the house around a statue. We walked around taking pictures and the orbs increased in every picture. Unbeknownst to Natalie, I could feel something touching my necklace throughout my walk that night. I kept this to myself. It felt like someone was gently observing it and I could feel a soft tug every now and then. I guess that should have scared me, but for some reason it did not bother me. I had my first experience with cold spots as well. It seemed like every few feet that I would walk in front of the house, I would feel a cold chill. I told Natalie that I felt like something walked through me, too. This really scared me. I kept hearing something behind me at different times during the evening. The wind was gently blowing so I figured it was just the wind.
There was something I did not think about before visiting the Myrtles - mosquitos! After being bit a few times, we decided to sit on the porch for a few minutes. A lady and her daughter walked up and started talking to us. She was staying in the Fannie May room upstairs in the house! Oh wow! She invited us to come up there and take some pictures! She did not have to say it twice! She also let us borrow bug spray! It was fate! We got to take pictures of the room as well as in the hall leading to their room. I hated to leave! The Fannie May room is small and has a mantel with old dolls neatly placed on it. This room was once called the doll room. The lady and her daughter decided to turn the dolls in different directions to see if they would change directions in the middle of the night, as previously reported by prior guests. I wished I could have seen them the next morning, but they had already departed by the time we headed for breakfast. They were really nice people to let us visit their room and take pictures.
We said our goodbyes and went back out front to take more pictures. This time the orbs were everywhere! I walked behind Natalie as we rounded the corner of the side of the house. I heard something coming towards me then felt it hit my left lower leg! I turned around and nobody was behind me! I felt like I touched someone and yelled out “all right now!" Whatever it was backed away. I asked Natalie to take a picture, which instantly revealed an orb in the middle of the track where I was when I felt something touch my leg. It kind of scared me so I went back to the room, and decided to stay there the rest of the night. I got ready for bed and said my prayers. I had a feeling I was being watched as I prayed, but continued anyway. I did not have any activity in the room, so I thought. I prayed a shield of protection around the room. I tried to sleep, but all I could think about was my experience outside that night. It was late and my friend had to drive us back to Mississippi the next morning so I did not disturb her the rest of the night. I just could not sleep in that room! Natalie did not experience anything paranormal that night, beyond the orbs in the pictures. She believed me, though, when she saw that orb in the spot where I was standing outside. I think I questioned my sanity a time or two during the night.
The next day...
The next morning I was sitting outside of the General Store and the young man and woman from the previous night approached me asking if I saw any ghosts. I just smiled and asked if he had. He said, "not really." but his lady friend said she saw something. I just shook my head. I walked into the General Store and enjoyed fresh homemade biscuits, grits, eggs and sausage. The tour guide was there, and she still appeared very tired. I continue to think about her and wondered what was wrong with her. After eating breakfast, Natalie approached Hester Ebey, a tour guide for the Myrtles for 20 years. She agreed to take a picture with me. I I told her that I felt like I had met a celebrity, having seen her on an episode of Ghost Adventures when they investigated the Myrtles Plantation.
We said our goodbyes and browsed around a few minutes before leaving the store. I was standing in the back of the store looking at the weird voodoo dolls, then looked up and saw a young blond-headed boy run in front of the counter, and it appeared he was chasing a ball. I jumped and did a double take and he was gone. He was as real as he could be! I guess I pictured “ghosts” as apparitions since I had only seen one or two in my lifetime! I thought back to the day before when I first visited the store and saw the same little boy! I thought he was human, due to other children being in the store at that time. So, I actually saw this little boy twice. On my ride home, I decided to research the little boy in the General Store to determine if there were any other accounts of a similar siting. It blew my mind to learn that other people have seen this little boy too!
The ride home...
The ride home was spent reflecting on my experiences. It was truly a fascinating time, but leaves me with many questions - questions unanswered - questions that may never be answered!
I am planning a return trip to the Myrtles Plantations and to other known haunted locations.