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Myrtles Plantation— The UNTOLD Story Behind the Haunting

The Haunting of Myrtle Plantation is one of the most well documented haunting cases
The Haunting of Myrtle Plantation is one of the most well documented haunting cases

The world-famous Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana, is one of “America’s most haunted houses” and has been for a long time. And while many ghost hunters can vouch for the fact that the house is haunted, these investigators would be surprised to learn that just a small number of the tales passed off as “fact” actually occurred.

We had been told for so long that this house was haunted, but not for any reason! Read the true story of the Myrtles Plantation and its plethora of ghosts and hauntings for the first time!

Where is the Myrtles Plantation and What Happened There?

The Myrtles Plantation in the West Feliciana town of St. Francisville, Louisiana, holds the somewhat dubious record of hosting more ghostly occurrences than just about any other house in the nation.

These occurrences include handprints in the mirrors, footsteps on the stairs, eerie smells, disappearing objects, poisoning deaths, hangings, murder, and gunfire. The murky history that has been offered to “explain” why the house is so haunted in the first place might be more dubious than the award itself.

The Myrtles Plantation is said to be one of America's Most Haunted houses

The Myrtles Plantation is said to be one of America’s Most Haunted houses

The Myrtles Plantation has long been regarded as one of America’s most haunted homes, drawing a constant stream of tourists each year, many of whom are looking for ghosts.

Our goal is not to deter these tourists from coming or even from hunting for the ghosts that they will almost probably encounter while they are here.

This article aims to cast doubt on the “facts” supplied by numerous generations of Myrtle’s owners and tour guides—facts and history that many of them are aware of are demonstrably fake. I don’t want to try to disprove the ghosts; we only care about the names people have given them over the years.

The Myrtles Plantation is haunted, but not for the reasons I have all been told, according to hundreds of people who have experienced the paranormal here.

Why, then, take the time and effort to dispel the myths that have developed over the past fifty years? Why bother to point out that they are the products of vivid imaginations when they are undoubtedly not harming anyone?

I can only respond by saying that no severe ghost hunter should be afraid to look for the truth.

It appears essential to learn the true history of the location because a house’s past is the most crucial factor in figuring out why it might be haunted in the first place. It has frequently been advised to comb through the local myths and mythology to find some nuggets of truth.

In the following piece, we did precisely this: I looked at the lore to discover the truth, and I did. It may not be as glitzy as the Myrtles Plantation legends that we have all heard, but it is undoubtedly weird.

I am left wondering why a fantastical past was invented in its place because the actual history of the plantation is rife with tragedy, death, and despair. Others will undoubtedly receive an answer, but that one probably won’t.

The Truth & The Legends of The Myrtles Plantation’s History

The Myrtles Plantation has supposedly been the location of at least ten murders since David Bradford built it in 1794. In reality, just one murder occurred here, but as has already been mentioned, some owners have never allowed the truth to get in the way of a good tale.

Nevertheless, as you’ll soon discover, the plantation has a peculiar past that actually did take place and may have—and has—leaven its own actual ghosts in its wake.

One of five children, David Bradford, was born in America to Irish parents. In 1777. Near Washington County, Pennsylvania, he bought a tiny stone home and a plot of land. He became a lawyer, merchant, and county deputy attorney general.

His first marriage fell through just days before the ceremony (nothing is known about this), but he later found Elizabeth Porter, whom he married in 1785, and they began a family.

Bradford needed a bigger home as his family and business expanded, so he constructed a new one in the town of Washington. The mansion gained notoriety in the area for its size and exquisite craftsmanship, which included a mahogany staircase and English-made woodwork.

The stairs where some of the tragedies took place at the Myrtles Plantation

The stairs where some of the tragedies took place at the Myrtles Plantation

Several things need to be expensively delivered over the Pennsylvania highlands and from the east coast. Bradford would conduct client meetings in his office in the home’s parlor.

He was unable to spend much time in the house regrettably. He was compelled to leave the house in October 1794, leaving his family behind. Bradford took part in the notorious Whiskey Rebellion, and according to lore, President George Washington put a bounty on the man’s head because of it.

The Whiskey Rebellion, which took place in western Pennsylvania, started with several complaints about the high costs and taxes imposed on residents living along the frontier. When a mob invaded and set fire to the residence of a local tax collector, the complaints eventually turned violent.

Residents protested a tax on alcohol in the months that followed. Although most demonstrations were peaceful, Washington called up the militia and sent them to quell the uprising. On the suggestion of some of the other key players in the situation, Bradford left the area once the protests were controlled.

Bradford left Washington and immediately traveled to Pittsburgh. He left his family in a secure location and crossed the Ohio River to reach the Mississippi. He eventually made his home close to Bayou Sara, which is close to St. Francisville, Louisiana. Bradford was familiar with the neighborhood.

The mansion, set in Louisiana, has a terrible history attached to it

The mansion, set in Louisiana, has a terrible history attached to it

He first came here in 1792 to get a land grant from Spain. He bought 600 acres of the property when he returned in 1796, and a year later, he constructed a simple eight-room house that he called “Laurel Grove.” He remained there by himself until 1799 when newly elected President John Adams granted him a pardon for his involvement in the Whiskey Rebellion.

For his assistance in drawing a border between Spain and the United States that is now known historically as “Ellicott’s Line,” he was granted a pardon.

After earning the pardon, Bradford traveled to Pennsylvania to bring his wife and five children back to Louisiana. After making a second trip to Pennsylvania in 1801 to sell his house, he finally decided to trade the house and land for 230 barrels of flour that would be shipped to his home in Bayou Sarah after two years had passed with no bidders.

He believed he could sell the barrels and recoup any money he had lost in the sale because New Orleans was experiencing a flour scarcity at the time. However, he got the flour supply the day before he passed away in 1817. He made numerous attempts over many years to pay the obligation, but something has yet to materialize.

Bradford occasionally took in law students while he was residing in Bayou Sarah. One of them, Clark Woodrooff, married Sarah Mathilda, his teacher’s daughter, in addition to receiving a law degree.

In August 1791, Clark Woodrooff was born in Litchfield County, Connecticut. At the age of 19, he left Connecticut and headed for the Mississippi River in search of his fortune because he had no ambition to become a farmer like his father.

He eventually settled in Bayou Sarah. When he came in 1810, the Feliciana parish residents revolted against the Spanish troops in Baton Rouge. After overthrowing the Spanish, they established a new nation with St. Francisville as its capital. The area stretched eastward from the Mississippi River to the Perdido River, close to Mobile.

The porch of the Myrtles Plantation where murders have taken place. It's a rumored hotbed for paranormal activity

The porch of the Myrtles Plantation where murders have taken place. It’s a rumored hotbed for paranormal activity

In the summer of 1811, Woodrooff, still looking to make his fortune, published an advertisement in the Time Piece, a new newspaper in St. Francisville. He announced to the public that “an academy will be opening for the reception of pupils on the first Monday in September.”

In addition to Greek and Roman, he intended to teach English, grammar, astronomy, geography, elocution, composition, and penmanship. In 1814, he joined Colonel Hide’s cavalry brigade from the Feliciana parish to fight alongside Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans, indicating that the academy was likely short-lived.

Woodrooff returned to St. Francisville after the War of 1812 to attend law school.

Judge David Bradford helped him start his studies, and he soon received his degree. Also, he gave in to the allure of Sarah Mathilda, the attractive daughter of the Bradfords. The crape myrtles are said to have given the house its name, where their romance purportedly took off.

On November 19, 1817, the young couple got hitched, and Woodrooff took his wife to the Hermitage, his friend Andrew Jackson’s house in Tennessee, for their honeymoon.

Woodrooff ran Laurel Grove for his mother-in-law Elizabeth when David Bradford passed away. He increased the plantation’s land area and planted cotton and indigo on roughly 650 acres. He had three kids with Sarah Mathilda: Cornelia Gale, James, and Mary Octavia.

Nevertheless, sadly, their joy would not endure.

Horrors Strike Woodrooff

After contracting yellow fever, Sarah Mathilda passed away on July 21, 1823. At those times, several epidemics raced over Louisiana, spreading the disease. Nearly every family in the area experienced sorrow and hopelessness.

Notwithstanding his grief, Woodrooff managed the plantation and cared for his kids with Elizabeth’s assistance. But the gloomy times were not yet finished.

James, his only son, passed away from yellow fever on July 15, 1824, and Cornelia Gale succumbed to the awful illness two months later, in September.

Woodrooff’s life would never be the same again, but he could pay his mother-in-law cash for the farm. Despite her advanced age, she was relieved to see the home in capable hands.

Until her passing in 1830, she remained a resident of Laurel Grove along with her son-in-law and granddaughter, Octavia.

Once Elizabeth passed away, Woodrooff focused more on his legal career than farming. Charles and Octavia left Laurel Grove, and a caretaker was responsible for the plantation. He was appointed a judge for Covington, Louisiana’s District D, and held the job until April 1835.

He sold Laurel Grove to Ruffin Grey Stirling on January 1st, 1834.

The entrance sign to the Myrtles Plantation

The entrance sign to the Myrtles Plantation

Woodrooff had changed the spelling of his last name to “Woodruff” by this point and was residing on Rampart Street in New Orleans. Also, he had been chosen to lead the city’s public works department.

During this time, Octavia was enrolled in a finishing school in New Haven, Connecticut, but in 1836 she returned home to live with her father. She relocated to Colonel Lorenzo Augustus Besancon’s plantation, Oaklawn, five miles north of New Orleans, after they wed two years later.

Woodruff was selected by Louisiana’s governor Isaac Johnson to the newly created position of Auditor of Public Works in 1840, and he held the position for one term. He eventually retired at the age of 60 and relocated to Oaklawn to live with Octavia and her husband.

After studying chemistry and physics for the rest of his life, he passed away on November 25, 1851. He was laid to rest in New Orleans’ Girod Street Cemetery.

This cemetery is a fascinating side note to the story. The cemetery suffered severe neglect and was ultimately abandoned. The cemetery was supposed to be relocated to a new location on Canal Street, as the city intended to rehabilitate this area of the city in the 1960s.

Unclaimed bodies were collected, packed into huge drums, and interred in a mass grave beneath the Hope Mausoleum. One of them who was not claimed was Clark Woodruff. Under the current location of the New Orleans Superdome was the ancient Girod Street Cemetery.

Ruffin Grey Stirling purchased Laurel Grove in 1834. A highly wealthy family named the Stirlings held numerous plantations on both banks of the Mississippi River.

A ghost caught on camera at the Myrtles Plantation

A ghost caught on camera at the Myrtles Plantation

The property that had been purchased from Elizabeth Bradford by her son-in-law, Ruffin Grey Stirling, and his wife, Mary Catherine Cobb, took possession of the home, the surrounding land, the structures, and all of the slaves on January 1.

The Stirling family required a home appropriate for their social level because they were respected well in the neighborhood. They chose to redesign Laurel Grove. The house’s wide central hallway and the entire southern section were additions by Stirling.

Moving the existing house’s walls made a formal dining room, a game room, and four spacious rooms that served as identical ladies’ and gentlemen’s parlors. Skilled craftsmen were also imported due to year-long visits to Europe to buy excellent furniture. Many forms featured elaborate plaster cornices that were fashioned from a combination of clay, Spanish moss, and cattle hair.

Stirling extended the front gallery of the house by 107 feet, adding cast-iron columns and railings to support it. The dormers on the house’s original roof were copied and extended to cover the new addition to retaining a straight line.

The second-story floor was raised by one foot since the addition’s ceilings were higher than the original home’s. David Bradford’s home was expanded by half after the neighboring project was finished, and the plantation’s name was changed to the “Myrtles” to reflect the changes.

Stirling passed away from consumption on July 17, 1854, four years after the project’s completion. He appointed his wife, Mary Cobb, regarded as a great woman, to care for his extensive properties. She ran all her and her husband’s fields virtually single-handedly for many years, earning the admiration of many other plantation owners who said she “had the commercial acumen of a man.”

Despite this, catastrophe frequently struck the family. Of nine children, only four reached marriageable age. Lewis, the eldest son, passed away the same year as his father, and during the Civil War, Sarah Mulford’s husband was really killed there on the porch.

The haunted porch of the Myrtles Plantation

The haunted porch of the Myrtles Plantation

The Myrtles Plantation and the Stirling family suffered due to the war itself. The wealth the family had accumulated was ultimately in the form of worthless Confederate cash after many of the family’s personal possessions were taken and burned by Federal soldiers.

Even worse, Mary Cobb had a sizable financial stake in sugar plantations that the conflict had severely damaged. She eventually misplaced everything she owned. She clung to the Myrtles Plantation until her death in August 1880, refusing to allow the war’s horrors or those later to overpower her.

In Grace Church in St. Francisville, she is interred in a family plot with her husband.

Mary Cobb employed William Drew Winter, the husband of her daughter Sarah Mulford, on December 5, 1865, as her agent and attorney to assist her in overseeing the plantation properties. She agreed to provide Sarah and William with the Myrtles Plantation as payment as part of the arrangement.

On October 28, 1820, in Bath, Maine, William Winter was born to Captain Samuel Winter and Sarah Bowman. Little information about his life or how he met Sarah Mulford Stirling is available.

On June 3, 1852, they were wed at the Myrtles Plantation, and they went on to have six children: Mary, Sarah, Kate, Ruffin, William, and Francis. At the age of three, Kate passed away from typhoid. The Winter family initially resided at the Gantmore plantation, close to Clinton, Louisiana, before purchasing the Arbroath plantation on the west bank of the Mississippi.

Mary Stirling appointed William as her agent and attorney twelve years after Ruffin Stirling’s passing and after the Civil War to assist her in managing the remaining lands, which included Ingleside, Crescent Park, Botany Bay, and the Myrtles Plantation.

Mary granted William permission to live in the Myrtles Plantation in exchange. Winter could not cling to it since times were so bad. He was wholly insolvent by December 1867, and on April 15, 1868, the U.S. Marshal sold the Myrtles Plantation to the New York Warehouse & Security Corporation.

The land was eventually returned to Mrs. Sarah M. Winter as the late Ruffin G. Stirling’s heir on April 23, two years after it had first been sold. It is unclear precisely what happened to lead to this turn of events, but it appeared like things were getting better for the family once more.

But tragedy hit the Myrtles Plantation again not long after. The Point Coupee Democrat reported in its January 1871 edition that Winter was giving a Sunday School lecture in the home’s gentleman’s parlor when he heard someone riding up on a horse.

One of the ghost images that was caught at the Myrtles Plantation

One of the ghost images that was caught at the Myrtles Plantation

Winter stepped outside onto the side gallery of the home and was shot after the stranger called out to him and said he had some business with him. On the porch, he bled out from his wounds. Stunned by the sound of gunfire and the departing horse, those inside the house hastened outside to find the dead man.

Winter passed away on January 26, 1871, and was buried at Grace Church the same day. The publication said that E.S. Webber would be tried for killing Winter, but the case’s conclusion was never made public. Winter’s murderer is still unidentified and unpunished as of this writing.

The incident saddened Sarah, and she never got remarried. She stayed at the Myrtles Plantation until her death at the young age of 44 in April 1878, along with her mother and brothers.

One of Mary Cobb Stirling’s sons, Stephen Stirling, bought the Myrtles Plantation after his mother passed away in 1880. Even though he bought out his siblings, he only remained the home’s owner until March 1886. Some claim that he lost the plantation and the remainder of his riches in a game of chance, but it’s more probable that the property was too indebted for him to keep.

He ended his family’s ownership of the Myrtles Plantation by selling them to Oran D. Brooks. Brooks owned it until January 1889, when it was eventually bought by Harrison Milton Williams, a widower from Mississippi, who moved in with his small son and second wife, Fannie Lintot Haralson, in 1891.

Williams was hurt while serving as a 15-year-old Confederate cavalry courier during the Civil War. He planted cotton and developed a reputation as a diligent and hardworking man. Throughout the difficult post-war years in the South, he and his family—which eventually grew to include his wife and seven children—kept the Myrtles Plantation afloat.

Yet the Myrtles Plantation would soon experience sorrow once more.

Harry Williams, the Williams family’s eldest son, drowned after falling into the Mississippi while trying to round up some runaway cattle during a storm. Crushed by their loss, Harrison and Fannie gave their son Surget Minor Williams control of the land.

Some evil things happened at the Myrtles Plantation regardless of the ghosts

Some evil things happened at the Myrtles Plantation regardless of the ghosts

Surget Minor Williams married a local woman named Jessie Folkes and gave his spinster sister and maiden aunt Katie a place to live at the Myrtles Plantation. Katie was a real Southern character, known behind her back as “the colonel.” She kept living at the house interesting for years since she was eccentric, kind, and had a rough appearance.

The Williams heirs had divided up the surrounding land by the 1950s, and Marjorie Munson, an Oklahoma widow who had earned a fortune from chicken farms, bought the mansion. They claim that this is when the house’s ghost stories started.

What may have been actual haunting encounters began innocently enough but quickly developed a “life” of their own.

There is no doubt that Chloe, the vindictive slave who killed Clark Woodruff’s wife and two daughters in a fit of jealousy and rage, is the subject of the most well-known ghost story to have taken place in the Myrtles Plantation.

The story has some significant problems, as many who have read this far in the essay have already surmised, but we have included it here for the sake of completeness because proprietors and guides at the house have long repeated it.

The Legend of Chloe of Myrtles Plantation

The narrative claims that Sarah Mathilda’s marriage to Clark Woodruff in 1817 marked the beginning of the problems that eventually led to the haunting.

Sara Matilda was pregnant with her third child at the time of an incident that still haunts the Myrtles Plantation to this day. She had already given birth to two children.

Woodruff was known for being promiscuous but also had a good reputation for being honest with people and the law. He began a close relationship with one of his slaves while his wife was carrying their third child.

The girl in question, Chloe, was a domestic worker who, despite detesting having to submit to Woodruff’s sexual demands, understood that if she didn’t, she might be made to perform the most torturous task a slave could perform: labor in the fields.

Woodruff eventually grew bored with Chloe and moved on to another woman. Chloe started listening in on the Woodruff family’s private talks because she was terrified that her name would be mentioned. She was confident she would be sent to the fields and feared the worst.

A portrait of David Bradford

A portrait of David Bradford

One day, the judge found her doing this and ordered the men to amputate one of her ears to discipline her and put her in her place. She had worn a green turban around her head ever since to cover the unsightly scar the knife had left behind.

What precisely transpired after that is still unknown. Some contend that the events were staged so the family would fall ill and Chloe could heal them, winning the Judge’s favor. She would be protected from ever being taken back to the fields in this manner.

Some claim she intended to get revenge, but her motivations were not entirely sincere.

Whatever the motive, Chloe slipped a little poison into a birthday cake intended for Woodruff’s oldest daughter. A few crushed oleander flowers were added to the flour and sugar.

Woodruff consumed no poisoned cake, but the two kids and Sarah Mathilda did. All of them became severely ill before the day was out. If it was an accident, Chloe lovingly met their needs without recognizing that she had accidentally overdosed on poison.

All three of them passed away within a short period of time.

Slaves working on a plantation

Slaves working on a plantation

The other slaves dragged Chloe from her room and hanged her from a nearby tree because they may have worried their owner would also punish them. Later, her body was chopped down, loaded with rocks, and dumped into the river.

The celebration was held in the children’s dining room, which Woodruff locked off and forbade being used again for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, a murderer ended his life a few years later. The children’s poisoning room has never been used for dining purposes again.

Today, it is known as the game room.

Following her passing, Chloe’s spirit has been reportedly seen at the Myrtles Plantation and was even unintentionally captured on camera by a previous owner. Even now, the estate still offers picture postcards with the murky depiction of a woman believed to be Chloe standing between two structures.

It’s said that the former slave is the ghost that guests at the Myrtles Plantation most regularly run into. She frequently wanders the area at night while wearing a green turban. She occasionally appears accompanied by the cries of small children, and other times, the sight of her face staring at someone sleeping from the side of the bed jolts them out of their slumber.

Even the least critical readers will likely have found several things that could have been improved with the story after finishing it. In fact, there are so many mistakes that it’s challenging even to start.

To begin with, it’s unfortunate that Clark Woodruff’s reputation has been so severely tarnished over the years due to rumors about his extramarital romances with his slaves and assertions that he had one of his lovers’ ears amputated.

Sadly, despite no proof to support these claims, these stories have been regarded as fact. History appears to support the claim that Woodruff was incredibly loyal to his wife and heartbroken by her passing that he never remarried.

Let’s look at the claimed killings of Sarah Mathilda and her two daughters before we tackle the issue of Chloe’s existence. In this instance, the truth has been so drastically misrepresented by mythology. There was no murder of Sarah Mathilda.

A plaque that reads about the Myrtles Plantation

A plaque that reads about the Myrtles Plantation

In 1823, she, unfortunately, passed away from yellow fever, according to historical accounts. More than a year after she passed away, her children—a son and a daughter—but not both daughters—died.

There is no doubt that they did not pass away as a result of a poisoned birthday cake. Also, according to this myth, Octavia would not have existed at all (her mother was allegedly pregnant when she was killed), but we know that she grew up with her father, got married, and lived a long life.

Woodruff wasn’t slain either, to add to that. In 1851, he passed away quietly at the property his daughter and son-in-law owned.

Chloe, the deadly slave, is, of course, the key to the mythology. The issue with this is that, as far as we know, Chloe never actually existed. She did not only not murder Woodruff’s family members; it is also doubtful that the family ever owned a slave by this name.

Inquisitive about the Myrtles Plantation’s past and lore while residing in Louisiana, researcher David Wiseheart devoted many hours to learning more about the plantation.

To his dismay, he would discover upon perusing the Woodruff family’s property records that they had not owned a slave and that there was no record of a slave by the name of Chloe (or even Cleo, as she appears in some versions of the story).

Who Then Started the Tale of the Myrtles Plantation?

The local legend shows that Marjorie Munson, a wealthy widow who bought the Myrtles Plantation in the 1950s, noticed strange occurrences in the home. She inquired about the possibility that the old mansion might be haunted, and that is how the “Chloe” mythology came to be.

Harrison and Fannie Williams’ granddaughter, Lucile Lawrason, claims that her aunts used to talk about a ghostly old woman that haunted the Myrtles Plantation and wore a green bonnet. They frequently made fun of it, and it was a family joke.

She was never given a name, and the “ghost” in the tale with the green bonnet was really represented as an older woman rather than a youthful slave who might have had relations with the home’s owner.

The most famous ghost photograph of the Myrtles Plantation

The most famous ghost photograph of the Myrtles Plantation

Nonetheless, someone told Marjorie Munson the ghostly tale of the Williams family, and she quickly wrote a song about the Myrtles Plantation ghost, a woman wearing a green beret.

The narrative evolved as time went on. After numerous further ownership changes, The Myrtles Plantation was once more restored in the 1970s while being owned by Arlin Dease and Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Ward.

The story expanded significantly and was substantially enhanced during this time to include the poison murders and the severed ear. But up until this moment, it mainly had remained a local legend that had garnered little attention from outside the region.

All of that changed, though, when James and Frances Kermeen Myers decided to buy the Myrtles Plantation while passing through on a riverboat. The mansion had enough ghost stories and period antiques to draw guests from all over the nation.

The Myrtles Plantation tale quickly gained popularity in magazines and books. It was enthusiastically received by ghost hunters who were unaware that the information they were receiving was seriously distorted.

The house was featured in a November 1980 issue of LIFE magazine, but Richard Winer’s book Houses of Horror contains the earliest written reference to the house I have been able to locate. They both brought up Sarah Mathilda and her daughters’ poisoning deaths.

More Murders at the Plantation

The plot altered once more as time passed, and other publications and television programs contacted the Myrtles Plantation, adding even more killings. It was claimed that up to six additional persons had been murdered in the home besides Sarah Mathilda, her daughters, and Chloe.

Lewis Stirling, the eldest son of Ruffin Grey Stirling, was one of them, and it was reported that he was killed by stabbing at home due to a gambling debt. But according to St. Francisville cemetery records, he passed away from yellow fever in October 1854 at the age of 23.

Legend states that three Union troops were slain there after breaking in and trying to rob the home. In the gentlemen’s parlor, they allegedly were shot to death, leaving bloodstains that would not come up with a mop.

The Myrtles Plantation was converted into an inn years later, and a maid was sweeping the floor when she came to an area she couldn’t reach, no matter how hard she pushed. One of the Union soldiers was believed to have fallen in this area, which had the same size as a human body.

When it's twilight at the Myrtles Plantation , it's best to stick to indoors and not wander outside

When it’s twilight at the Myrtles Plantation , it’s best to stick to indoors and not wander outside

According to reports, the bizarre occurrence persisted for a month before ceasing. No troops were ever slain in the house, which is the sole issue with this tale. No documentation or proof supports this claim, and the remaining family members have flatly refuted it. If it happened, the phantom experience must have been caused by something else.

Another homicide is said to have taken place in 1927 when a housekeeper was murdered during a heist. Again, this crime has no record, even though anything so recent would have been extensively reported.

The only incident that came near this and may have given rise to this section of the story was when Eddie Haralson, Fannie Williams’ brother, was residing in a bit of home on the property. The tale claims he was slain while robbed, but this did not occur in the main house.

William Drew Winter’s murder is the only one at the Myrtles Plantation that has been proven to have happened, and it is entirely unrelated to the stories that have been spread. As previously said, a rider tricked Winter into leaving the house before shooting him dead on the side porch.

The stories shift for the worst at this point. According to the narrative, after being shot and later gravely wounded, Winter stumbled back inside the home via the ladies and gentlemen’s parlors and up the staircase leading from the main corridor.

Then, on the precise 17th step, he ascended just high enough to pass away in his lover’s arms. Since then, it has been asserted that ghostly footsteps have been heard entering the house, making their way to the stairs, and then ascending to step 17, where they naturally come to an end.

Although dramatic, this incident also never occurred. Winter was undoubtedly shot and killed on the front porch by an unidentified assailant, but he died as soon as he hit the ground. His gory journey through the mansion never happened, as may be seen in historical documents.

The house mirror where allegedly the ghostly pictures of the Myrtles Plantation “murder victims” appear. A closer look on the right reveals some of the marks thought to be manifestations of the ghosts (David Wiseheart)

Another “haunted highlight” of the Myrtles Plantation is a sizable mirror that some of the owners claim is home to the ghosts of some of the deceased. Photographers of the mirror frequently discover that the developed image contains images of multiple people’s handprints that appear to be inside the glass.

When night arrives, things sometime go south at the Myrtles Plantation

When night arrives, things sometime go south at the Myrtles Plantation

The mirror had been well-cleaned when these spectral images initially appeared, but the impressions persisted. After becoming perplexed, the owners attempted to replace the glass, believing there might be a problem with the mirror itself. Curiously, however, the handprints came back!

According to many who have investigated the mirror, the handprints (or similar images) may be in the wood behind the mirror, not the glass. This allows light to flow through the glass like a camera flash and pick up the stains on the wood.

This would cause the “handprints,” regardless of the type of glass used, to appear in every mirror hanging in this position.

Yet, skeptics disagree, as do the tour guides, which is not surprising. While there is undoubtedly room for discussion on the matter, I believe the “strange” visuals fall more under the umbrella of imagination than they do of paranormal events.

Do The Myrtles Plantation Really Have a Ghost?

It has never been the intention of this article to claim that the Myrtles Plantation is not haunted. In fact, there is no doubt that the house qualifies as one of the most haunted locations in the nation, given the sheer volume of accounts that have been documented and gathered here.

But as you can see from the pages before, the mansion might actually be haunted—just not for the reasons that have been put up for so long.

The infamous Chloe probably didn’t exist, and even if she did, historical evidence shows that Sarah Mathilda and her children weren’t killed but perished from a dreadful disease.

There was only one murder in the house as opposed to the expected ten, and William Winter most certainly did not stumble up the stairs to die on the 17th step as the tales of his phantom footsteps purport.

Such legends, which were made to explain the strange events that were actually occurring at the Myrtles Plantation, are in the categories of fiction and ghost lore.

The ghost of a woman wearing a green hat or turban could actually inhabit the residence. The Williams family had a recurring story about her, even though it may not have been one that was initially intended to be shared beyond the family.

They acknowledge that she existed, although she was never given a name. The likelihood that anything strange occurred at the Myrtles Plantation. At the same time, Marjorie Munson was a resident there, prompting her to look for explanations and meet the ghost with the green headdress for the first time, which is also relatively high.

Her sighting of the ghost? Who knows? Some people have asserted that they do.

The ghost wearing a green turban allegedly appeared to Frances Myers in 1987. She was asleep in one of the downstairs bedrooms when a black woman in a long dress and a green turban abruptly roused her.

She was holding a metal candlestick while standing motionless next to the bed. She was so genuine that the candle even began to light subtly. She had no idea what ghosts were, so she was afraid, put the blankets over her head, and screamed!

She cautiously turned to face the woman outside, stretched out to touch her, and to her shock, the apparition vanished.

Others claim to have witnessed the ghost, and she may have even been captured on camera in the past. The photograph portrays a woman who does not match the description of the kind of young lady Chloe would have been.

It actually resembles the older woman that the Williams family described better. Could this be the real Myrtle ghost?

The history of the Myrtles Plantation is loaded with more than enough misery and tragedy to turn the area into a ghost town, even if one disregards the absurd tales of the poisonings and Winter’s dramatic death on the stairs.

Yellow fever caused several deaths in the home; the dead may have been left behind after passing away. There are several contenders for the restless ghosts of the plantation’s legends if ghosts remain in this realm due to unresolved business.

A ghost that was allegedly sighted at the Myrtles Plantation

A ghost that was allegedly sighted at the Myrtles Plantation

And if we are to accept the legends, the home is actually inhabited by ghosts at various points throughout its past. According to numerous sources, children have been spotted playing on the large verandah of the house, in the halls, and in the rooms.

The little boy and girl could be the Woodruff kids, who, though unpoisoned, passed away in close succession during one of the numerous yellow fever epidemics that devastated the Myrtles Plantation.

A young woman with long, curly hair and an ankle-length dress has been spotted floating in front of the game room’s window, holding up her hands as she tries to look inside through the panes of glass. Does she resemble Cornelia Gale Woodruff?

If not, she might be one of the Stirling children who died before adulthood.

The first-floor grand piano also performs independently, frequently repeating the same chord. Sometimes it goes on all night long. The music pauses when someone enters the room to check on the sound and only resumes when they depart.

Several individuals have reported unusual things around the residence. Many property owners have recently capitalized on the Myrtles Plantation’s notorious reputation, and the location is now accessible to visitors for tours and as a haunted bed & breakfast.

Both the home and the cottages on the property have rooms for rent.

The property has hosted diverse visitors, including historians, skeptics, and ghost hunters. Many movies and documentaries have been shot on the ground throughout the years, and many have supernatural themes.

One movie, The Long Hot Summer adaptation for television, starring Don Johnson, Cybill Shepherd, Ava Gardner, and Jason Robards, was unmistakably not supernatural.

The cast and crew would soon remember their experience filming at the Myrtles Plantation for a segment of the show.

After a day of filming, the crew moved the furnishings in the dining room and game room before leaving the space. They stated that the furniture had been relocated back to its original location when they arrived. While the crew was gone, neither room had any occupants!

Although they could acquire the necessary pictures, this repeatedly happened, much to the crew’s dismay. They added that the cast was glad to move on to a different set after the filming at the Myrtles Plantation was finished.

The unfortunate occurrences that occur here frequently affect the house’s staff the most. They frequently witness things firsthand that would make lesser people flee the area in terror. Some of them even do.

A gateman was recruited to welcome visitors at the entrance each day. He was at work one day when a woman wearing an antique-style white dress entered the gate without saying anything to him. She approached the home and disappeared through it without ever opening the front door.

The gatekeeper left his position and did not return

Closing Thoughts by Mr. Morbid

The Myrtles Plantation can be confusing, as you can see. Several of the tales that have been told about the location—mainly to explain the hauntings—have been proven false by history. Despite this, the house yet seems to be haunted.

Ghosts that were sighted roaming the lands of the Myrtles Plantation

Ghosts that were sighted roaming the lands of the Myrtles Plantation

The reality at this magnificent old plantation mansion seems elusive, yet all who have stayed or visited here agree it is a vibrant place. In the Myrtles Plantation, whether or not we recognize them, the ghosts of the past are never far from the present.

RIP Victims, and especially, Rest in Peace, victims of slavery.

Next, read the True Story of the World’s Most Haunted Island, and if you’re interested in something sinister, try the Story of Blair Adams: The Man Who was Stalked and Killed.


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Written By

Abin Tom Sebastian, also known as Mr. Morbid in the community, is an avid fan of the paranormal and the dark history of the world. He believes that sharing these stories and histories are essential for the future generations. For god forbid, we have seen that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

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