By Carla Ledbetter, Special to Donne Tempo
Alexandria, LA — Located in scenic St. Francisville, Louisiana, the Myrtles Plantation was built by General David Bradford circa 1796. Today, visitors to the historic manse have a chance to view the home’s exquisite interior via hourly tours, eat an absolutely divine lunch or dinner, or spend a few hours strolling among the many walking paths that wind their way through stands of towering oak trees that surround the house.
And for a state that has a passion for celebrating life and death, it makes sense that the Myrtles Plantation is often listed amongst the most huanted of haunts in the U.S.
Something I first experienced while partaking in the daily ghost tour; A tour where the ghosts seemed to have taken a liking to me, as they appeared on the tour and then came visited me in my room, keeping me awake well into the morning hours.
During an afternoon tour I spent a few minutes taking pictures of the front hall mirror where a specter is clearly seen moving around on the glass. The shape begins in the middle right hand side of the mirror and moves higher and higher.
All these photos (above) were taken during a three minute period of time. The movement cannot be explained away by saying I moved my position while taking the photos, because I did not.
And if you look closely on the first two pictures below, you can see around the edges green flares from the spirit’s orb. A green orb I encountered later.
After the excitment of the tour, I looked forward to spending a quiet night at the Myrtles. Ensconced in the General Bradford Suite, located on the first floor, the huge, comfortable bed with the massive canopy that nearly reached the 20-foot-plus ceiling, called to me for a night of luxurious sleep.
Until the pillow began moving back and forth. And no, I could not find a wire or magnet. But the picture I took does show that green orb, which is thought to be the energy, or the spirit, of the deceased.
Other orbs are clearly seen around the bed as well.
I began to re-consider the wisdom of my room choice when the closet doors kept banging open and shut. Looking at the photo, you can see a faint orb at the top of the right handle as well as light signatures around the handles.
But it was time for bed; Work beckoned in the morning and as the pillow had quieted down, I decided to go to bed only to find that one of the home’s numerous spirits climbed into bed with me.
Yes, into my bed!
That’s the only explanation for the way the entire bed (headboard to footboard) got ice cold. I’d set the room thermostat to 78 degrees, so at first, I thought the a/c unit froze over. However, when I climbed out of bed and padded into the middle of the room, I realized that the room was warm.
I then checked the sitting room and the bathroom—all warm. Only the bed was ice cold.
At that point, with the banging closet doors and now the cold bed, I climbed back into bed, yanked the covers up and called out: “Okay, guys! I’m a guest in this house, which is supposed to be warm and hospitable, and you are being rude and impolite by keeping me awake. Where are your manners? Would you please stop banging the closet doors and get out of my room? Thank you.”
Can you tell I’m no shrinking violet? I was also not a real believer in ghosts, only enjoying the stories of others with a bit of healthy skepticism. Until now.
Evidently, the Myrtles ghosts have GREAT manners, because some five minutes after my entreaty for some sleep, the bed started to defrost, the closet doors quit their antics, and I was able to grab an hour or so of sleep before I had to leave for work.
The lesson learned was to not be afraid of those ghosts, and that, at least in the South, by simply appealing to their manners to settle down so you can get some sleep, they’ll leave you alone!
Worked for me; might work for you!
During my visit, things were quite active, however its not always so spirited at the Myrtles. For those who aren’t interested in hobnobbing with the haunts, the Myrtles Plantation provides a fantastic destination to while away a morning or an afternoon.
From the moment you enter the driveway, it’s obvious that this place is something special.
It’s like stepping through a time portal back to the 1800s. There are no television sets or phones in the room with the exception of the restaurant’s bar where one can watch the New Orleans Saints work their particular kind of magic!
That alone should make this your premier destination for a get-away or visit.
The Carriage House Restaurant, located on site, offers a varied menu guaranteed to tempt any palate. I opted for the spinach and artichoke dip, which literally melts in your mouth, followed by a seafood platter that was absolutely divine. Think lightly breaded fried shrimp and stuffed crabs that leave you begging for more and you might come close to how good the food is here.
After lunch or dinner, your next agenda item needs to be spending some time in one of the many rocking chairs situated along the verandah, watching the day (or evening) unfold. The entire time I was there, the rocking chairs were full, and those visitors all had one thing in common – a relaxed look accompanied by a grin or a smile.
Instead of phones, faxes and televisions the Myrtles Plantation offers a gracious friendliness and charm that epitomizes the gentility of the antebellum South. The people, and ghosts, are polite and knowledgeable, and every single one makes it a point to go out of his or her way to make visitors welcome.
Regardless of age, the Myrtles is a perfect destination where one can experience a forgotten lifestyle steeped in graciousness and beauty, to-die-for food, and plenty of entertainment, even if it is the ghostly variety.
For more information:
The Myrtles Plantation
7747 U.S. Highway 61
St. Francisville, Louisiana 70775
John and Teeta Moss, Proprietors
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Carla Ledbetter lives in Alexandria and works as the Director of Web Content for Cenla Advantage Partnership http://cenla.org/drupal , a nonprofit organization, funded in part by The Rapides Foundation, http://www.rapidesfoundation.org/site/. The author of three published suspense novels, http://amzn.to/8YD41R she can be found on Twitter http://twitter.com/CarlaLedbetter Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carla.ledbetter?ref=profile Blogspot http://dailydoseofsuspense.blogspot.com/ and LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/carlaledbetter