Hunting ghosts and capturing spirits is a thrill for some and a complete nightmare for others. To be honest, it was never on my bucket list before I had this experience… I am an adventure-seeker, sure, but this sort of entertainment seemed better watched on television.
Let’s rewind a few years…
In 2014, my sister and I were in the St. Francisville, LA, area (about 2.5 hours outside of New Orleans) and decided to visit the historic Myrtles Plantation, per a friend’s recommendation. From the moment we pulled through the entrance, we were in love. Spanish moss hung from the 200-year-old oaks, bright pink azaleas contrasted with the light blue trim of the house, rocking chairs lined the large porch, and a picturesque gazebo was accessible by bridge over a landscaped pond. This house was the definition of Southern charm.
Around dusk, we joined a haunted history tour to learn more about the plantation. Robbie, our tour guide (and practicing voodoo priest), walked us through the rooms while educating us on the past owners, the tragic murders, and the supernatural occurrences that visitors often experienced. Mel and I exchanged glances every now and again, and while we listened intently, we never figured his stories to be much more than that – glorified generational stories.
The following year…
As you may remember from last week’s email, every Easter my sister and I enjoy our traditional getaway at Lake Rosemond. However, in 2015, we decided to spend a night at Myrtles – primarily because it was conveniently located near our favorite hiking destination, Tunica Falls. (And who wouldn’t want to spend a night in a beautiful, historic antebellum home!?)
On Saturday morning, we departed from New Orleans and spent the better part of the day hiking. After hours of trekking up and down rugged paths, we were looking forward to relaxing at the plantation.
We arrived at Myrtles, eager to check-in and wash up. As we moseyed around the grounds, many day visitors wished us “good luck” while the other evening guests expressed their fear for what was to come. It wasn’t until our neighbor informed us that she had stocked up on fans to drown out the noise, and Depends (yes, the diaper), that Mel and I decided to look into our accommodations a bit more.
We searched Google to quickly learn that we were staying at one of the most haunted, energy-filled locations in America. It was featured on the TV shows “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Adventures,” and has made dozens of notable haunted house lists by outlets such as the Travel Channel, USA Today, Travel & Leisure Magazine, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and even Zillow! In fact, a few articles claimed that Myrtles is THE MOST haunted location. “Oh wow, Mel,” I said, “Well this is more than we bargained for, isn’t it?”
There are stories behind each of the guest rooms, and we learned that our room, the “John Leake Room,” was one of the spookiest. It was the room of a Confederate soldier, John Leake, who came back from the Civil War with an injured leg, which ultimately was amputated. There had been numerous occasions of guests staying in this room seeing his ghost, feeling their toes being tugged, and having strange sensations in their leg. Mel and I shrugged it off.
During the daylight, the room looks so innocent!!
Around 10:30 P.M., the other visitors, Mel, and I congregated in the common room sharing nervous laughter. A couple staying in the cottages outside of the main house brought their K3 energy detector device and were testing the energy levels throughout the space. When the gentleman learned that we were in the John Leake Room, he asked if he could test around with the K3. Sure, why not!
So he did.
He walked the device throughout the room, waiting for the red light to ignite. While it never did turn red, it did reach one notch below (dark orange) at the mirror right next to my side of the bed. Again, Mel and I shrugged it off. It was probably a fluke, right?
The K3 picking up the energy!!!
11:30 P.M. rolled around, and Mel and I were exhausted. I passed out within moments of putting my head down on the pillow. Nothing new. I usually fall asleep quickly and sleep like a rock for a solid 8 hours. But this time I woke up a few hours later due to a strange pain in my left foot. It was throbbing. It felt like it was on fire. Was this in my head? I laid there with my eyes closed and my heart beating out of my chest. I was trying to ignore this unusual discomfort and the eerie feeling that I was being watched. Even through the darkness, I felt the presence of someone else in the room.
After what felt like hours, I nervously poked my sister and asked if she was up. (If she wasn’t before, she was now.) She was. She said she had been up for a while because her leg was tingling – even before I told her about my leg. Is John Leake’s spirit in this room with us right now? Was this really happening?!
We inched a little closer to each other and attempted to tell jokes to lighten the strange aura and to forget that our legs felt funny. Every now and again I thought I heard unidentifiable noises (stairs creaking, rustling in the distance, etc.) – which Mel would contest against, but I swear were there. We kept our eyes closed the entire time, trying to blend in with the blackness that surrounded us.
After forty-five minutes of restlessness, it finally occurred to us to turn on the light (duh). Neither of us wanted to open our eyes or reach our hands from under the covers, but I overcame the fear and did it. Only to find that…
… everything looked normal. The time was 4:16 in the morning and we were still a few hours from sunrise.
With the light on, Mel was feeling brave and decided to peek out the window. There were myths that two enslaved children could be seen running by our window along the gutter. But not tonight.
There was still an unsettling feeling in the air, but Mel came back to bed and fell asleep almost instantly. It took me a little while longer, but after some deep breathing and happy thoughts, I calmed my nerves and drifted into dream world. Too much excitement for one night.
We woke up again a few hours later to birds chirping, sunshine peering through the window, and the lamp still burning brightly. Our legs felt normal and our belongings appeared to be in order.
We strolled downstairs to meet the other overnight visitors for breakfast and to exchange stories. Turns out Mel and I were the only ones who experienced some sort of paranormal activity that night. We told them about our legs, and they declared it would only make sense that Leake’s spirit was with us.
I was feeling brave before bedtime to conjure up the ghosts!
During the daylight, we wished that something more had happened to us. But there is something about the darkness that amplifies fear. What we were joking about during the day suddenly became real at night. And that feeling we experienced upon waking up in the darkness was quite chilling. Baby steps, we decided, was probably the best way for us to get a taste of this mysterious, foreign world.
While others were discouraged with their lack of interaction, we were quite satisfied with our evening. It was more than enough for us. Anything more and we would have been sleeping in the car (which we learned is not too uncommon for guests to do…).
Would we do it again?
Well, after getting home, Mel and I put on the Myrtles Plantation episodes of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures. HOLY. MOLY. There is so much more energy in that home than I initially realized. So yes, I will be spending another night there to hopefully confirm what these TV shows exposed.
Do I believe in ghosts?
The actual stature of a ghost, no. But spirits, absolutely. Especially in the Myrtles Plantation, which is home to over 200 years of incredibly rich history. Through eras of murders, deceits, and lies, it is bound to be a center of communication for the deceased.
If you’d like to read more about legends and lures of the Myrtles Plantation, click here: http://www.myrtlesplantation.com/index.php
Or to watch the Ghost Adventures episode: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1d4qn1_ghost-adventures-s09e02-the-myrtles-plantation_tv
Happy ghost hunting, and if anyone is looking for a buddy to explore haunted places with, let me know!!