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Spanish Moss and Spirits: Haunted Southern Plantations

Gorgeous homes that hide evil secrets and dark pasts.

by Roadtrippers - August 19th 2016

  • 9
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What could be more Southern than a picture-perfect plantation? The ornate architecture, the colorful landscaping and the history make them fascinating and exude Southern charm. But, these gorgeous, historic houses hid evil secrets and dark pasts- making them prime spots for hauntings. Explore our top haunted plantations…if you dare!

According to many, Myrtles is home to over 12 different ghosts, each with its own fantastic yarn, though none quite as recognizable as the slave Chloe.

Originally built in 1796 by General David Bradford, the Myrtles Plantation used to be known as Laurel Grove. The mansion was passed along to many families until 1817, when it came to Clark Woodruff and his wife Sara Mathilda Woodruff. This is where things start getting good (or really bad, actually).

According to the legend, Mr. Woodruff had a promiscuous streak and began an affair with a house servant, a girl named Chloe. Chloe knew that if she didn't give in to Woodruff's demands she would end up working in the fields, so she surrendered and the affair began behind Sara's back.

Eventually Woodruff grew tired of Chloe, and since she feared being removed from the house she began eavesdropping on the family's personal affairs. Chloe was, of course, caught, and in payment for the offense she committed, she had one of her ears cut off. Afterwards, she was only ever spotted wearing a green turban that hid the horrible scar Woodruff left behind.

Here's where the story gets a little fuzzy. Some say Chloe began slowly poisoning Clark Woodruff's wife Sara and her children, so that she could nurse them back to heath and win herself a place in the house. According to others, however, Chloe's motivations were purely revenge. For the Woodruff's oldest daughter's birthday, Chloe baked a cake with a handful of very poisonous oleander flowers. Both daughters and Sara had a slice of cake and all died within a matter of hours. Clark Woodruff was spared.

Frightened that they would be blamed for the deaths, the other slaves dragged Chloe into the court yard and hanged her from the huge front tree. Her body was weighted down with rocks and tossed into a nearby river. Woodruff barricaded many of the rooms inside the plantation, the ones that reminded him of his children, and a few short years afterwards was murdered himself.

Since her death, Chloe has been spotted more times than can be counted. She is often seen at night, wandering the grounds in her green turban, surrounded by the cries of little children. Guests report being awoken in the middle of the night to see Chloe staring at them from the side of the bed.

Chloe is, of course, not the only ghost reported to be haunting the The Myrtles Plantation. Others spooks include William Drew Winder, an attorney who was shot in 1871 and died on the 17th step as he attempted to climb the stairs. There's also a famous mirror inside the plantation that's rumored to hold the spirits of Sara and her two murdered children. Often times people will see them reflecting back, or will find handprints on the glass when no one's around to leave them.

Today, America's most haunted plantation house is a bed and breakfast for those brave enough to spend the night in Chloe's turf. If you're too chicken to catch some Z's, you can always take one of Myrtles Plantation's many guided tours that take guests on an exploration through the grounds and house. Just… you know, maybe don't eat the cake.


West Point, MS

While the Waverly Plantation building was undergoing recent restorations to fix years of neglect, the owner almost constantly saw a small girl who was looking for her mama, and whenever the owner looked into a mirror, she saw a silent man in military dress. Visitors often claim to see the outline of the girl laying on the bed, have objects move without reason, and report generally eerie feelings. Spooky!


Demopolis, AL

The historic Gaineswood Plantation is considered one of the most haunted places in Alabama. People often hear all kinds of unexplained noises on the property, from low whispers and soft singing to gunshots and screams. The source of the hauntings? Some theorize that Evelyn Carter, a nanny to the owner’s children after his wife died, haunts the place because she was buried beneath the house instead of in her family cemetery back in Virginia, per her wishes. Others speculate that the victims of a fire aboard the steamboat the Eliza Battle could have drifted from the river to this nearby plantation. If you see a ghostly ship sailing along, it’s only the Eliza Battle, taking a final journey.


Farmerville, LA

You have to feel sorry for the poor ghost who haunted Louisiana's Edgewood Plantation: legend has it, Lizzie Rowland died of a broken heart waiting in vain for her true love to return from the Civil War- and she still waits for him to this day. Her name is still etched on an upstairs window pane. So creepy!


Vacherie, LA

Viator Find Tours

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Oak Alley’s website has a whole list of suspected paranormal happenings, ranging from chairs furiously rocking in unison to candlesticks flying across the room- unseen hands even reach out to brush visitors. There are at least two ghosts in the house- one, a lady, is thought to be Mrs. Stewart, the last resident owner of the plantation, and the other is a mysterious man in grey boots. And, of course, some scenes for "Interview With A Vampire" were filmed here... so be on the lookout for bloodsucking Scientologists. Shiver.

With a room known as “The Dying Room”, how could this place not be haunted? Allegedly, slaves placed voodoo curses all over the house, murders were a common occurrence, and Civil War soldiers are buried in shallow graves across the property. One particularly cruel overseer was tortured to death by slaves, and you can still sometimes see his face, twisted in agony, reflected in the window.


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