Plantation Haunting Described By Many
ST. FRANCISVILLE -- The 205-year-old Myrtles Plantation is said to host the spirits of several long-dead former inhabitants. Over the years, those spirits have been heard and seen around the grounds of the plantation. No one really knows why there have been so many reported happenings at the plantation. The house does sit on an ancient Tunica Indian burial ground. And there have been at least 10 homicides and suicides on the property since it was settled in 1796. Plantation owners John and Teeta Moss take advantage of the homes’ spiritual past by offering a “Mystery Tour” on Friday and Saturday nights. The tour highlights some of the stories and pinpoints the history of some of the happenings over the years. Teeta Moss said that while they certainly play up the house’s supposed spiritual residents, they discourage spirit worshipers and occult or Satanist practitioners from descending upon the house. No Ouija boards, burning candles or seances are allowed at the house. “We don’t allow any occult stuff at all,” Moss said. “It’s simply entertaining. We’re not going to deny what people have seen and heard, but we want happy spirits.” Shortly after buying and moving into the home, Moss had her own encounter with one of the disembodied sprits roaming the grounds. When they first moved into the house, her son was lying in bed one night and told her he saw a young girl on the chandelier. Moss said her son was adamant he was seeing a young girl above him. The young boy said the apparition wore a white dress and had yellow or blonde hair. As she talked to her son, Moss thought it might have been the imagination of a two-year-old running wild. But she later talked to a psychologist friend who told her that while children at that age can describe things they see, they cannot conjure images and describe them. In another instance, at 10 months old, Moss’ son was sleeping in a King-sized bed in an upstairs bedroom. She was taking care of some work on the computer. As she worked, a nagging feeling to check on her son came over her. As she was walking back to the house, she spotted the young boy toddling toward a pond in the back yard. He had descended the stairs and made it outside without any assistance. As she screamed to the boy, Moss felt the feeling of a warm blanket being wrapped around her. “It told me that we would be alright,” Moss said. “As long as we were in this house, nothing would happen to my family.”
The most famous are the supposed spirits of a former house servant and the wife and children of Judge Clark Woodruffe, who owned the plantation before he was murdered. Legend has it that Judge Woodruffe took up with Chloe, who gave in to the Judge’s advances to keep her position in the house rather than working out in the fields. The judge soon tired of Chloe and began an affair with another young slave. Fearing she would be sent to the fields, Chloe began listening through doors and walls to the judge’s conversations. She was caught one day and endured the punishment of having an ear severed. She began wearing a turban to hide the wound inflicted by the judge. Certain she would be sent from the house after being thrown over by her master and being caught eavesdropping on his conversations, Chloe concocted a plan she thought would be sure to get her back in the good graces of the family. In a birthday cake made for the Woodruffe’s oldest daughter, Chloe added a small amount of poison from an oleander plant, which still grows by the side of the house. The plan was to sicken the daughters and their mother to the point she could nurse them back to health and appear to be the hero. The plan backfired. The three Woodruffe women succumbed to the poison and died. When word spread amongst the slaves of what Chloe had done, a lynch mob formed and she was hung from a tree. Chloe’s body was weighted with rocks and dropped in the nearby Mississippi River. While some hold to the theory that Chloe was trying to get back in the good graces of the family and did not mean to poison Mrs. Woodruffe or the children, still others believe she intentionally poisoned the family out of revenge for the loss of her ear. Had the judge been there that day, she would have killed him too, this belief goes.
Moss said she is offering the house for sale. But, she stressed, the house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the grounds would have to go to that right person before they would consider handing over the keys. There have been inquiries, but nothing solid as of yet. They are selling because Moss wants to spend more time with her two sons, now ages seven and nine. The house itself is a stunning example of a grand old southern mansion. There is a 120-foot long veranda with ornamental ironwork. The entrance hall contains examples of art faux bois and open pierced frieze work. There is a Baccarat crystal French chandelier, weighing more than 300 pounds. The stained glass on the entranceway was hand-painted, etched and patterned after the French Cross, to ward off evil.
Hester Eby, curator and tour guide for the plantation for 14 years, said she has had two distinct interactions with what may be the spirit of two of the children murdered by Chloe. Eby was standing behind a couch explaining parts of a room in the house when she felt a tug on her skirt. At first, Eby dismissed it as maybe getting her skirt caught on a piece of furniture or the edge of a windowsill. But she could not ignore a second occurrence. “The second time was lower on the hip,” she said. “It felt like a child tugging on the skirt trying to get my attention.” Sometimes images of the children show up in a hallway mirror. People often hear their names called from different rooms only to find they are alone in the house. Visitors and guests often photograph Mryt, the house cat. The 14-year-old black cat poses dutifully, but sometimes does not appear in the pictures. The surroundings will be there, or the person petting the cat will appear in the photo but the cat won’t. There will only be a puff of smoke of a blank space. No one can seem to explain it. That’s not the only trick of the light that happens to would be shutterbugs who visit the plantation. When she first bought the plantation, Teeta Moss took several pictures at various points around the grounds. In those is a photograph of the rear of the house looking at the kitchen building. There was no one in the shots when Moss took the photos. But when they were developed, tucked into a corner near the kitchen building the image of a woman can be seen faintly. It appears to the an African-American woman wearing a turban. The Moss’ have turned the photograph into a postcard that is available in the plantation gift shop. Butressing the history of the house, others have had similar experiences during their attempts to take photographs at the plantation. Donna Albey of Ormand Beach, Fla., was on her second visit to the plantation on July 14. Last year she took a picture of the rear of the house. When she had them developed, the picture shows a figure with an orange kerchief on its head. “There wasn’t anyone there when I took the picture,” Albey said. “I can show the picture to other people and they’ll say who is that standing there?”
And there you have it! And now here's Doreen's story and pictures.
Thank you so much, Doreen, for those pictures. I love how Doreen speaks of 3 ghosts and that's exactly how many ghosts are in the legends. A very clear validation if you ask me! Do you see the spirit girls? I do!
UPDATE - October 28, 2002. Doreen has sent us a clearer picture of the Myrtles ghosts shown below. In the upper left side she writes "Looks like a little boy face? Very good detail if you can see it." In the lower left she indicates that these are just the flowers. On the lower right she says, "Baby??? See the eyes?" In her email she says, "I just sent an email with the picture as I see it. If you can blow it up, I wrote on the picture exactly what I saw. On the picture you sent me, the picture of the one you think is a little kid, is actually some flowers, but there definitely is a child, in the arms of the woman. I circled that also. I keep seeing more and more faces in this pic. It is a great pic, if I must say so myself. :) But up in the left top side is definitely a boy's face, if you can see it. He has hair, and you see clearly eyes, nose and whole face shape. Email me back and let me know what you think.
I don't know about you, Doreen, but I see what looks to be the likeness of a slave girl in the area that you circled on the upper right side. I also see the woman holding the baby very clearly. I think there are many, many things going on in this picture and there's probably a lot of history there! Thank you for sending it to us!
Doreen has sent us more pictures and a very touching story about her Dad. Firstly, these pictures are really creepy, especially the first 2! Oh my gawd, what is that, or should I say, who is that in the cellar? The cellar pics give me the heebie jeebies! I wonder who that guy is. He looks so mischievous! And the rest of the pictures, well, you will see. Doreen has also told us a little bit about each pic, so on we go!
Cut out of hiding
Odd mist with faces
Lots of orbs
Orb at the Palmer House
Keri listening to door leading to cellar
Orb with blue color
Close up of blue stuff
Doreen, thank you so much. I believe that you've truly captured spiritual energy in your photos. Please, keep taking pictures! We just love the thrills and chills!!!
And now, Doreen's story about her Dad. It is so heartwarming. I do believe he went to the Other Side and found love and peace as we will someday too!