The Myrtles A Ghostly Mansion
Several years ago I was researching a time travel novel and decided to spend a few nights at The Myrtles, a plantation era mansion in St. Francisville, LA. The lovely old place had been a commercial success for years as a bed and breakfast and my sixteen year old daughter and I were looking forward to a couple of interesting days and nights.
The first evening we and a lady from South Carolina were the only guests in the mansion. We and our new acquaintance enjoyed wandering around in permitted areas of the home and grounds. The warm March evening was clear and starlit and we could almost imagine the old days of a hundred plus years before as we visited and speculated.
Toward the end of the evening my daughter was in the upstairs foyer when she called out, “Mama, what are you doing in there?” There meant “the blue room” which we had been told up front was the “most active” in the whole mansion. When I answered her from the little restroom located at the other end of the foyer she screamed and ran toward my voice.
“Mama! I saw a lady with a long white train going into the blue room! I thought it was you.”
“Oh, baby, it’s alright. We knew coming in we should expect some things. After all, it is supposedly the most haunted house in America. You’re fine,” I soothed my child, thinking how great it was that she was fully experiencing the old mansion’s reputation.
“Mama, I’m not kidding! I saw a lady, I promise, I saw her!” she insisted, eyes wide, her hands grasping mine.
“I believe you! Here, maybe I will see too.” I walked to the blue room and then continued through the house with my child and our lady friend from the Carolinas in tow. Much to my disappointment I saw nothing, but I had to admit, there was a certain energy about the place. Yes, there was something that made the hair rise on my neck and chills run through me. Or was it just my desire to “see” something?
“I think I’ll stay in the blue room,” announced our friend. “I long to really experience something supernatural. Ya’ll have fun in the peach room and call me if you need me!” She smiled and wrung her hands in mischievous anticipation as she headed for her new room.
The night was uneventful, we slept on and off throughout the night with my daughter insisting that she wouldn’t spend another night in the mansion.
I did feel that we weren’t alone, but I never saw a thing, not one.
When we awoke and got up for the day, I was shocked to see that my daughter’s beautiful cheeks were flushed as were the tops of her hands and feet!
“Do you feel okay?” I asked as I felt her cheeks and forehead for any signs of fever. There was none.
“No! And I’m NOT spending another night in this place.” The sixteen year old had definitively spoken. I recognized true fear in her eyes and gave in to her demand. We moved our things into another building on the grounds that resembled sort of an old time motel.
After a hearty breakfast we said goodbye to the South Carolina lady who had also spent an uneventful night in the most haunted house in America.
As the sun set that evening the thought occurred to me that I had paid good money for this research junket and I was determined to spend our last night INSIDE the old mansion. Against my daughter’s strong protests, we packed up and headed back to the peach room in the main house. The flushed areas of her body had completely faded and she obediently, if reluctantly, went along with my request for one more night, staying very close by.
The day had cooled off and the night air was crisp, exceptionally cool for a March evening in South Louisiana. The night was dark due to the clouds that had rolled in and shadows seemed deeper this night. Thunder rumbled and rain began a cold spatter that chased us onto the back porch.
A little cat followed us up to the house but hung back as we called for him to come out of the rain.
“See, Mama, even the cat won’t come in this place!” spat my child, still not happy about where she would spend one more night.
We started up the rear stairs to our room and an odd ache started in my right ankle. It was just the dampness and cold, I knew, but it was so sudden and a different kind of pain.
This second night we were joined by a group of ladies from New Orleans who were very excited about their Saturday night at The Myrtles and welcomed us in from the cold. They included us in their antics, laughing and playfully exploring the house, asking about our previous night in the place.
They absolutely loved the lady with the white train story and some of the ladies insisted on sharing the blue room while others were in the children’s nursery. Still, nothing eventful occurred and we all decided to turn in.
Before we did turn in the owner of The Myrtles came over and turned on the central heat because of the extreme temperature drop accompanied by sleeting and snowing, again, extremely unusual for South Louisiana, especially in mid-March.
“Good night, all! Sleep tight.” The nice lady left us to our dreams and ran back across the yard to where ever she had come from.
After hauling luggage, it felt so good to lay down. At first. The sleet was tapping at the old windows in a soothing rhythm and we cuddled up for a nice snooze. My daughter turned to peer at me through the darkness.
“Mama, it’s freezing in here. It’s coming through the mattress. How can that be?”
I felt it too. It was entirely strange and, frankly, frightening!
“I don’t know, baby, I don’t know what’s going on.” Tucked snuggly in our bed with lights out, my daughter and I suddenly became fearful, both of us, not just her. I couldn’t explain why, but there was indeed ice cold wind whipping up through the bed! What should I do? What is this about? Are the others in the house experiencing this? I put myself between the mattress and my child and wrapped my arms tightly around her. My ankle was really throbbing now.
Suddenly, I felt great sadness and something, someone, hanging over us, as though they were bent over almost touching us. I partially scooted myself from between my girl and the mattress and tried to protect her from whatever was coming from above.
‘God, this is so crazy, but not hokey in the least,’ my mind screamed. I had always had a respect for the spirit world and supernatural occurrences, but never had I experienced real fear from it. Now I had. My ankle throbbed and my mind went back to the flushes on my daughter’s face, hands and feet. What was going on here?
I moved to get up.
“No, Mama! Don’t move. Please…”
“But I wanted to check the heat to see if it’s on.”
“No, Mama, please. Just stay here, be still.”
I remained still, frightened to the depth of my heart, feeling the sadness and the heavy pressure of something, someone bearing down on me. I held my daughter tighter and wondered if she felt this unexplainable pressure too. I wouldn’t ask, not now. Instead I lay still, very still all through the freezing cold night and waited…
The morning sun shone brightly through the windows and a lovely blanket of sleet and snow reflected the sunlight across The Myrtles rolling grounds. We rose and silently packed and readied ourselves to get on the road. The New Orleans ladies chattered about the uneventful evening and how surprisingly warm the old place had been in the midst of the freaky spring sleet and snow storm.
“It was warm in your rooms?” I asked, exchanging a look with my daughter.
“Why, yes, quite toasty,” came the reply from several of them.
A little later in the restaurant I spoke with the owner of the mansion. She explained that the peach room had been where a little girl died of scarlet fever which causes flushes on the face, hands and feet. She showed me some pictures she had taken for insurance purposes which had ghostly manifestations. One clearly showed a translucent black lady with a bandana on her head. She stood between the main house and the separate kitchen and I saw the slats of wood of the main house through her filmy figure. Chloe was her name and she is historically documented. She took care of the children.
The most peculiar part of the trip occurred twelve years later when we discovered on the internet that a woman had hung herself from the chandelier in the peach room and died a heartbreaking death. This explains the heavy sadness I felt in that room and the feeling that someone was leaning over me. I understand now that she was hanging over me and wanting me to acknowledge her and her sadness as well, and I do. The ache in my ankle, well it stayed for six months with no medical explanation, just a reminder of the spiritual pain several people suffered way back when during very hard times in a beautiful old mansion that is still home to them today.
I have returned to The Myrtles three times throughout the years for lunch, not for the night. But I’d like to spend more time there and I will one day. And one night or maybe two