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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Haunted History of Louisiana


There are many places in America that are well known for their ghostly activity. I particularly love Louisiana because there is such a vast and diverse array of history related to the stories of the paranormal that we hear today. That history is in the air and can be felt by any visitor willing and open to the experience. Here is a list of just some of my favorite Louisiana haunts.

Kisatchie National Forest is a vast section of pine growth in Louisiana used for recreation, hunting, camping, and fishing. The forest expands over 7 Louisiana Parishes and is approximately 600,000 acres in size. I am fortunate enough to live in an area surrounded by this forest. There have been multiple accounts of paranormal activity in the forest. The most common being the unexplained sound of chanting and drum play coming from the dense pine cover.  The forest was a primary hunting ground for Native Americans as it once housed large flocks of indigenous wild turkeys.

The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana is considered one of the 10 most haunted places in America.  The Myrtles is visited by hundreds of tourists each year who hope to find some proof of the paranormal.  While there seems to be a lot of myth and legend associated with the plantations past, there are definite examples of paranormal activity that take place in the residence on a regular basis. A ghostly woman in a green turban has been reported on the property by visitors, workers and previous owners of the estate. Footsteps, hand prints on mirrors, and a piano that plays by itself have also been reported. This plantation makes my list because it seems to have attracted spirits from several different periods in history and has a large number of reported sightings of apparitions.
The Joseph Jefferson Estate on Jefferson Island is reportedly haunted by the spirit of the late actor himself. While it was never a primary residence for Jefferson, he acquired what was then Orange Island and built the estate as a private hunting lodge. No one has been able to explain why Jefferson would have attached himself to this home rather than a more prominent location like his birth home or the estate in Florida where he died. While I would not claim to know who haunts the home on Jefferson Island, I have heard chilling accounts of a male apparition casually walking in to a parlor filled with as many as 10 onlookers at one time.

Of course no article about haunting in Louisiana would be complete without mention of New Orleans. New Orleans is famous for its connection with voodoo and the occult. New Orleans is considered a city that welcomes the paranormal and for this reason, gets it in abundance. This place has a rich history and diverse cultural background that beckons spirits from the American Civil War, slavery, dirty politics, oppression and opulence all in one location. A ghost enthusiasts could spend weeks in New Orleans and still not explore one half of its reportedly haunted locations.
Here in Rapides Parish, Alexandria was showcased on the 2011 season premier of the hit television show Ghost Hunters. The group investigated our Diamond Grill Restaurant, Hotel Bentley, and Finnegan’s Wake Pub.  They determined that there was unexplained activity in the locations but that the activity did not seem to be tied together linking the three locations though similar activity. This area is also known for haunted grave yards, plantations, and school houses.  
Louisiana is also the place where noted criminals Bonnie and Clyde met their death in a shoot out with police just outside Gibsland.  The sound of phantom gun fire on this stretch of highway is still reported today.

I have yet to meet anyone who lives in Louisiana who doesn’t have a tale or two to send chills up your spine. There is a true air of mystery in the air here. For those sensitive to spiritual energy, Louisiana can be both a blessing and a curse. Some have said that being here is like being in the middle of a circus tent full of used car salesman all screaming for your attention.