"Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

Myrtles Plantation

The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana has had a very interesting history. It has been long known as one of the most haunted houses in America. It was built in 1794 by David Bradford, a successful attorney. After fleeing Washington due to the Whiskey Rebellion, Bradford relocated to Bayou Sarah where he lived in a 8-bedroom house known as "Laurel Grove" only until after he received his pardon from President Adams did he move his wife and kids in with him. He tried to sell his home in Pennsylvania but failed after two years. Instead, he traded it for 230 barrels of flour, since there was a shortage on flour in Louisiana, which was never delivered.

David Bradford occasionally took in students who wanted to study law, including a young man named Clark Woodrooff. On November 19, 1817, Woodrooff married Bradford's daughter Sarah Mathilda and they had three kids. After Bradford died, Clark took over the duties of "Laurel Grove" for his mother-in-law, Elizabeth. Six years later, Sarah Mathilda died from contracting yellow fever as well would two of his three children.

Woodrooff continued to run the plantation and raise his only daughter until he purchased the house and land from Elizabeth. After Elizabeth died, Clark started practicing law and he and his daughter Octavia moved from laurel grove, which was left in the hands of a caretaker until 1833. On January 1, 1834, Laurel Grove was sold to Ruffin Grey Stirling. The Stirlings were a wealthy family that owned many plantations. It was decided that they would remodel laurel grove to fit their social status and the name would change to "Myrtles."

There have been stories of numerous murders that occurred at Myrtles Plantation but actually there was only one. The ghost that appears most often is that of Chloe, a slave woman. During the time when Clark Woodrooff and Sarah Mathilda lived in the house, Chloe was one of the servants there. While Clark was known as a good lawyer, he was also known for being promiscuous. While Sarah was pregnant with their third child, Clark began having an intimate relationship with Chloe but soon grew tired of her and moved on to someone else. Chloe feared that she would be sent to the fields and began to eavesdrop on the families private conversations. Clark caught her and cut off one of her ears to teach her a lesson.

Now no one knows for sure what the motives were behind her next action. Some say it was to get gratitude from Woodrooff and not be sent to the fields. Others say it was strictly out of revenge. But one day Chloe put a tiny bit of poison into a birthday cake meant for Woodrooff's oldest daughter. Sarah and her two kids all ate a slice and later on that day, became very sick. Chloe tended to their needs but before the day was over, all three were dead. Other slaves, afraid for their own lives, dragged Chloe to a nearby tree and hung her. A few days later, she was cut down, weighed down by rocks and thrown into the river. Since that day, the dinning room has never been used for eating meals.

It's obvious that this story has many holes and is more than likely not true, but the ghost of a slave girl does often appear and is even been photographed. As of now, the Myrtles Plantation has been turned into a Bed & Breakfast.

More Info:

Waverly Hills Sanitorium

Louisville, Kentucky had the highest tuberculosis death rate in country in 1900. Since Louisville was mostly swamplands, it was just a breeding ground for tuberculosis. A wooden two-story hospital with 40 beds opened in Jefferson County in 1910 to help contain the disease, but soon found out that the hospital was too small. With nearly 130 cases, a larger facility would be needed. With donated land and $11 million dollars a bigger hospital, now known as Waverly Hills, was constructed. It opened in 1926 and was considered the most advanced tuberculosis hospital in the country. In those days, treatment for tuberculosis was very primitive and many people, a estimation of tens of thousands, came to Waverly to just die.

Many doctors and nurses volunteered their time and life to help find a cure for the disease; Many extreme methods, by our standards, were done to achieve this goal. The lungs were exposed to ultraviolet light and some patients were put on top of the roof or on open porches to take in fresh air and sunlight to help keep the disease from spreading. Other treatments were harsher and bloodier. Balloons were surgically implanted into the lungs and then filled with air to try and expand them more. Hydrotherapy often caused pneumonia. Thoracoplasty was a surgical procedure where the chest of the patient was opened and then cords of muscle and up to seven ribs were removed, always done as a last resort.

In many cases, entire families went to Waverly Hills and some were cured while others left the hospital through the "body chute." The "body chute" was a tunnel that led from the hospital to the railroad tracks at the bottom of the hill. It had a motorized rail and cable system where the bodies were placed and lowered down on one side of the tunnel and steps led up and down on the other. A small steam plant on the property heated the tunnel and the hospital. It was totally enclosed from the Morgue wing of the hospital so that the patients couldn't see how many bodies were leaving it. Doctors did not want the negativity to affect their patients morale.

Since Albert Schatz discovered antibiotic for tuberculosis in 1943, Waverly Hills closed due to the fact there really was no need for it. A year later, in 1962, it was reopened as Woodhaven Geriatrics Sanitarium. But because of reports of patient mistreatment, some were false and others weren't, it ended up being shut down 20 years later for good. All that is left of Waverly Hills is its main building.

Many people have reported unexplained entities as well as sounds. There were rumors of satanic rituals taking place at Waverly. Some have seen a little girl running up and down the third floor solarium playing hide and seek. Others saw a little boy playing with his leather ball. Rooms have lighted up when there is no power to the building, doors slammed shut, disembodied voices, an old woman running from the front door with chains on and bleeding from wrists to ankles and screaming, etc.. Whether it is haunted or not is for you to decide.

More Info:

Also see Waverly Hills Sanitarium in the up coming film Death Tunnel which will come out in January of 2005.

Ohio State Reformatory

For those of you who think you've never been or even seen Ohio State Prison, you may have and didn't even know it. It was used as the setting for the movie Shawshank Redemption. It's even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. 154,000 inmates passed through it's gates during the entire 94 years that it was a working prison. Some never left. There are 215 numbered marked grave sites of prisoners who died from disease, influenza, tuberculosis, and others from violence. The worst occurred in a lonely place, deep in the prison ground known as solitary by some but by everyone else it was called the hole. Near total isolation could crack the toughest cons. One inmate hung himself, another set himself on fire, once two men were left too long in a tomb like cell and only one walked out, leaving his cellmate's body behind stuffed underneath a bunk.

The bloodiest incident that occurred at the prison happened outside it's walls in July 1948. The Reformatory's farm boss, his wife and daughter were kidnapped and shot to death by two parolees that were seeking revenge. A six state manhunt for Robert Daniels and his partner James West which ended in a shootout that left Daniels in custody and West dead. Later, on January 3rd, 1949, Daniels was executed. A year later, the Warden's wife was removing a jewelry box from a shelf and dislodged a pistol from it's hiding place. When it hit the floor, it went off inflicting a fatal wound. The Warden, himself, died of a heart attack while working within the same decade.

Could this be the reason for all the activity in Ohio State Reformatory? Maybe so. As of right now OSR offers tours as well as ghost hunts. Do you dare to find out if the stories of whispers and footsteps are actually true?

More Info and Pics:
Blogger Templates