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  A Night Alone in America's Most Haunted Bedroom: Happy Halloween!
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A Night Alone in America's Most Haunted Bedroom: Happy Halloween!
« on: October 6, 2008, 04:41:54 PM »
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  A Night Alone in
America's Most Haunted


Joshua P. Warren

Copyright © 2008 by Joshua P. Warren & Shadowbox Enterprises, LLC

See his video from this trip!
It's free on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FevIgmx1wo

I AM WRITING these words in the most haunted bedroom in the most haunted house in America. Honestly. Actually, many people SAY it’s the most haunted bedroom, but who knows? All I can tell you is that I experienced amazing stuff last night—things I will never forget—things that changed my life. I’ve been afforded the opportunity to pursue these kinds of places, and boy do I have a story for you . . .

You can learn a lot about Myrtle’s Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana, on your own. I’m not a history teacher, so I won’t bore you with the facts, names and figures you’ll forget in two days. But just so you know where the hell I am and why this location is important, I’ll hit the key points.

Warren in the Gen. David Bradford Suite

This place was built around 1796 by General David Bradford. In fact, I’m staying in the General David Bradford Suite. It’s impressive; definitely looks “haunted.” The ceilings in this bedroom are probably 15 feet high, dimly lit by crystal chandeliers, and the drapes are royal burgundy with gold trim. Those colors dominate this Victorian room, and the décor is of the period. It sucks in terms of modern accommodations. There are no telephones or a TV, and the bathroom faucet is all reversed, cold on the left, warm on the right, plus you turn the handles backward instead of forward to get the water flow. Lots of elements in this house are abnormal—the original owners installed all the keyholes upside down. They believed ghosts could slip in through them, and figured the spirits would be confused by the inversion. But I digress. I’m lucky my room has a shower. Many, if not all, of the other rooms simply have a bath tub. Long story short: If it weren’t for the electricity and toilet, I could seriously be living the 1700s.

When I arrived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, rain was pouring and the whole area was under a tornado watch. Bridges were flooded, detours were in place, and alligators were surely waiting to chomp me as I passed through foreboding swamps and ancient pools of quicksand. I’m lucky I even made it here.  And mind you, I’m not some city slicker. I’m a guy who’s used to rural living, but this made me nervous. Obviously, I made it ; so back to the story . . .

Why is Myrtles Plantation so haunted? I’ve heard some disturbing stuff through the grapevine. Rumor has it that in the 1790s, the Bradfords were looking for a new homestead. They were sick of mosquitos and chose high land, a hill above the marshes. However, once construction workers began digging around in the area, they discovered the property was an Indian burial ground. What did they do? They supposedly piled all the sacred bodies and burned them! No one knows if this is true, but that might set the stage for the events to come. In fact, the current owners of Myrtles don’t even like to discuss that possibility, disgusted by the idea. We’ll never know if this happened, but it adds to the mystery of the property. Whatever the case, it’s clear the Bradfords were superstitious. Aside from the weird keyholes, there are crucifixes etched into much of the glass.  They must have been afraid something was coming for them, right from the beginning.

Through the years, it’s claimed at least 10 people died here. One of them, an owner named William Winter, took a shotgun blast on the front porch from a disgruntled neighbor. He supposedly staggered inside, his torso gaping, and dragged himself up the main staircase. There he collapsed on step number 17 in a pool of blood, trying to keep his guts inside. His wife dashed to him from the floor above, and he died in her arms as she sobbed. Now when some “sensitive” people visit the house, they can’t walk past step number 17, saying a terrible psychic force field stands there. 

But the most famous ghost relates to a slave owned by the estate’s second proprietor—Judge Clark Woodruff, a stern man in his photo. Her name was Chloe (pronounced Cloe-eey). She was his house servant, and he made full use of her services, including a well-known sexual relationship. She wanted to maintain that relationship since the alternative was breaking her back in the sweltering fields.  Therefore, you can imagine her upset when Judge Woodruff began to fancy another young slave woman. Chloe was caught eavesdropping on the two, and the Judge sliced off her ear to teach her a lesson. Afterward, she wore a green turban to conceal the horrible maiming.

After the ear incident, Chloe felt she’d surely be ordered outside. So she concocted a simple plan, extracting a poison from oils in the Oleander plant, and spiking the meals of the Judge’s wife and two children. Her intention was to merely make them sick, then tenderly nurse them back to health. Apparently, she thought this would increase her value in the home, and help ensure her status. But things went awry.

Chloe put too much poison in the meals, and all three victims died. The mother only made it a day or so beyond the children. Both crushed and panic-stricken, she fled. But the other slaves captured her and brought her to Woodruff. They wanted to make sure no one pointed a dooming finger at them. The Judge hanged Chloe from a towering tree, and now, her dark, morose apparition is sometimes seen, meekly observing the grounds.

Over the years, every type of manifestation you can imagine has been reported. Objects fly off tables, voices, footsteps and crying are heard in empty rooms, a baby grand piano plays itself, cold blasts of air pass through hallways, handprints appear pressed into beds; you name it. There’s an old portrait of an unknown man upstairs. The staff jokingly calls it the Gerald Ford painting since the bald subject somewhat resembles the former president. His eyes are dark and penetrating. They literally follow you as you walk by, creepy to say the least. Furthermore, guests have said his face shape-shifts, transforming into a monstrous visage. Others say he is sometimes wearing glasses, sometimes not. There is even a phantimal on the property, a ghost cat! He was put down a few years back, and the staff still feels his thick fur brushing by their legs. 

Perhaps most well-known is a large mirror on the lower level. Prophets have gazed into mirrors and other reflective substances for years to attain psychic visions, usually called scrying. In the past, mirrors were sometimes thought to not only reflect light, but actually absorb the spirits of those who stared into them. When Chloe was executed, all the mirrors in the house were draped in a black cloth . . . except this one. And now, every year dozens of people say they see the figures of Chloe’s victims in the mirror. Though the ornate frame is original to the period, the current glass was installed 16 years ago. Despite its relative youth, bizarre discolorations are strewn about its surface. Some look like streams of running blood, others like face-prints. Whether or not there is anything paranormal about those marks, it seems weird that glass would become so discolored in only 16 years.

When I arrived at Myrtles, it looked just like what I expected. The home is stately yet dreary, shrouded by huge trees, their crooked limbs reaching out as if skeletal fingers, moss dripping and hanging like long, rotting patches of corpse hair. The grounds are soggy, short stone cherubs sprinkled about the vegetation, standing eerie guard. Eight black cats roam the property like a silent pack of devils, always present, ever the familiars to whatever energy the home’s solemn walls contain.

Out back is a lonesome fountain, illuminated crimson at night. Not far away, a small, muddy pond comes alive in the evening, a massive chorus of frogs chirping. After crossing a small bridge to the island gazebo in the middle, I was surrounded and enveloped by the high-pitched calls.

Also, out back you’ll find fine dining—Varnedoe’s Carriage House Restaurant. The owner and head chef, Scott Varnedoe, is a highly-decorated professional who takes his “upscale down south” food seriously. Due to my high-class celebrity status and big ego, I was able to test out four of his best dishes fresh from the kitchen, like soft-shelled crab and roasted duck, and they were AMAZING. I wish that place was in my town. Not surprisingly, it’s haunted, too. The bartender told me he was a complete cynic when he started working there. Therefore, he was perplexed to find the metal ceiling racks that hold the wine glasses and champagne flutes reversed, only allowing the glass to slide out from the back instead of the front. He was told it was to prevent glasses from inexplicably flying off and hitting the bartender or customers. He chuckled and thought it was ridiculous until it occurred one night. “This glass flew off the rack backward, hit the mirror on the wall, bounced forward and exploded into a thousand pieces,” he said. “I watched it happen and that’s when I realized it wasn’t a joke.”

I have been to between 500 and 1000 supposedly haunted houses in my life, so I’m not easily impressed. But I had a feeling Myrtles might hold something special. I’d heard of the place for years. In fact, several years ago, I was contacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A young girl with neurofibromatosis announced her last wish: to spend a night at Myrtles Plantation. She lived in my town, so the Foundation asked me to take her on a local ghost hunt then break the news that her wish had been granted. It’s pretty outstanding that this would be a child’s last wish, eh? And in September of 2007, I met paranormal photographer Jack Roth at the Ghost! Magazine conference in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He took a famous photo of a cloaked apparition standing on the front porch of the house. It was about 5’5” according to my research, and it’s for sale in the gift shop as a postcard. I reproduced Jack's photo angle with the Director of Tours, Hester Eby, standing in for the eerie figure.

Jack Roth's apparition on the porch.

Roth's photo with the angle reproduced by Warren.

A clear photo of the front porch.

Hester giving us scale for Roth's apparition.

So now, at long last, here I was, ready to spend a night all alone in what might be America’s most haunted bedroom.

Though I think everyone has the potential for a touch of ESP, I am not a psychic. When I walked into the General David Bradford Suite, I was immediately struck by a heavy sense of melancholy compression, despite the spacious rooms and high walls. Was it simply my mind playing a trick on me, fulfilling my expectations? Could be, but that’s the way I felt regardless. Given the lack of TV, phone, internet access and other electronic distractions, it was the perfect place to sit quietly to focus on the room’s environment. After taking some photos and video outside, I finally settled down for a night in this strange place.

I turned on my Sony Handycam with Night Shot. Though all digital cameras are somewhat sensitive to the otherwise invisible infrared realm, Night Shot is especially sensitive. And I was surprised at what I saw through the viewfinder.

The carpet in the room appeared normal to the naked eye. Yet when viewed with the greenish hue of IR, unsettling stains appeared, splashed about the room. One resembled a small footprint. Was this blood? I had no idea, but it certainly looked the part. I couldn’t resist snagging a few fibers for later testing. I asked Hester, about the stains. She had no explanation, and said that carpet had been in the room less than 10 years. Does that mean they were the product of a recent guest’s mundane spill? Or is something more chilling at work? I know of several cases in which murder blood stains perpetually reappear at haunted sites, no matter how many times they are washed away. Perhaps something awful once occurred there, decades or centuries ago, and the phantasmal ooze inevitably rises to the surface. This was a good start to an unforgettable night.

I broke out a variety of scientific instruments: electromagnetic field detectors, electrostatic meters, Geiger Counters, anything I could use to measure the energy environment, perhaps revealing some hidden anomalies. All was calm until 11pm rolled around.

As I relaxed in the secluded, dim environment, I was overcome by a sense of calm, emphasized by a long, tiring day of travel from my home in Asheville, North Carolina. Suddenly, the stillness was shattered by a scream. Yes, that’s right, a scream. Well, it was sort of a scream that morphed into a long, gravely, shrieking moan. It was a nerve-racking sound. I couldn’t tell exactly where it came from, but I sprang to the door and opened it to see if a black cat was dying on my stoop. Nothing was there—just the raven, swaying trees and drips of remnant rain water softly plopping in the night. “What the &@* ! was that?” I asked myself. Fortunately, my camcorder was running, capturing this unearthly cry for all time. I still don’t know what it was, but the night was just starting to get really interesting.

I explored the room with a basic, mid-range, EMF meter. The fields in the room should have been consistent and predictable. As you walk toward electrical wiring, the field steadily increases. As you walk away, it steadily decreases. Yet, in this place, sudden, violent surges of energy would hit the device randomly. These erratic fields seemed to travel around the room, pulsating dynamically.  I was thrilled to capture such kinetic jolts on camera, clearly demonstrating something unusual was growing, swelling, developing in the charged air. I turned out all the lights. There I was, standing alone, in complete blackness—a silence so complete that my breath was the only sound. I could only see through the green viewfinder of my IR video camera, and I sporadically snapped off 35mm shots with my 3-D still camera. At any moment I could turn to find a luminous form inches away. The thought alone was unnerving, and then, it happened:

“Bang! Bang! Bang!” A shot of adrenaline surged through my body when three sharp raps on the wall startled me. I swallowed and kept rolling. I spoke into the darkness.

“Is there someone here who would like to communicate with me?” I asked. “If so, please do that again.”

“Knock! Knock!”

A chill ran down my spine. I must confess, there was an almost irrepressible urge to at least turn on the light, if not leave altogether to compose myself. No matter how many haunted houses you visit, true paranormal activity is so rare that no one can completely prepare for it. I am sometimes considered a “believer” by the layperson. That’s actually not true. I don’t believe or disbelieve in anything; I’m not a person of faith, but a person who simply addresses the evidence. And so my skeptical side persisted. I asked once again, “Okay, if there is actually someone here, could you do that again?”

Immediately: “Knock! Knock!”

I was overcome by the realization I may truly be experiencing something wondrous and intimidating all at once, even historic for me; instant communication with something from beyond. And it was just the beginning. The rapping continued off an on. I couldn’t tell exactly from where it came, but there were times when it sounded more like it emanated from a wall with nothing but vegetation on the other side. Could someone be out there knocking on the wood, playing a joke on me?

Without warning, I quickly and quietly slipped outside. Once again, there was nothing but the cool, moist Louisiana night. I returned to the Suite, the heaviness of the room stronger than ever. I measured an felt and electrostatic charge in the air. The hair of my neck stood on end, and a tingle touched my flesh.

The rest of the night, the banging and rapping on the walls continued sporadically. I tried to work out a primitive form of communication with a proposed entity—knock once for yes and twice for no. It didn’t seem to work though. The percussion would often come at my request, but it was almost always the same: three distinct raps. All night I waited for a visual materialization. But, alas, it never happened. I eventually dozed off and would awaken to the noise from time to time. Try sleeping by yourself in a completely dark room with a ghost tapping on the wall next to your head sometime. Ordinarily, I would have stayed up all night, but I had to appear in a TV show shoot the next day. The last time I heard the knocking was around 8 in the morning. When I woke up for good, the entire setting had changed.

The energy environment was completely normal. Odd surges of electromagnetism and electrostatic charge were gone. That weight in the air had vanished. It was as if a window had been opened on an old, stagnant chamber, allowing the stale air to rush out, cleansing the space with thin, sweet freshness. Whatever had haunted my night was no more.

A gloomy, wet evening had been replaced by a bright sunny day. I went outside to take a better look at the grounds. There were no footprints outside my room, and I’m sure that slippery, muddy ground would have been disturbed. There was a small, young tree that touched the outside wall. I moved it around, pulling it back and letting it go like a spring to see if wind could have caused the sounds. No, it didn’t come close. And besides, the rapping was almost always the same, consistent three hits. Nonetheless, a physical phenomenon like a bouncing tree would not cause the EMF anomalies I got, not to mention the nerve rattling scream.

The staff was not at all surprised by my experiences. In fact, they were surprised I hadn’t heard more. Guests often report distinct voices, and sometimes the unmistakable shuffling of cards. According to them, activity seems to pick up when it’s stormy and rainy, a fitting atmosphere indeed. And yes, they don’t put it on brochures, but people do leave in the middle of the night. I can understand that now.

So here I am, lying on what might be the most haunted bed, in the most haunted room, in the most haunted house in America (at least some nights). I’ll be here again tonight. Is it Chloe with a message? Will it come back? Are the stains on the floor really blood? Will my 3-D photos develop to yield a fantastic phantasm in glorious depth? We’ll see. I’ll put an update, with pics, on my personal website for a while. Sign up for my free, and spam-free, e-newsletter: www.JoshuaPWarren.com.

See his video from this trip!
It's free on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FevIgmx1wo

Joshua P. Warren is a filmmaker, TV personality, and author of nine books, including Simon & Schuster’s HOW TO HUNT GHOSTS. He hosts the radio show, SPEAKING OF STRANGE, and is the founder & president of L.E.M.U.R., one of the country’s premier paranormal research teams. His tours in Asheville, North Carolina, the oldest mountains in the nation, draw thousands each year.

Copyright © 2008 by Joshua P. Warren & Shadowbox Enterprises, LLC


« Last Edit: October 25, 2008, 06:17:47 AM by L.E.M.U.R. » Logged

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Re:A Night Alone in America's Most Haunted Bedroom: Happy Halloween!
« Reply #1 on: April 6, 2014, 06:58:49 PM »
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This great story is back to page 1! It's now sticky so it can be a chiller to any reader or viewer of Joshua's experience the vast majority of us would choose not to have.

"Coming Back to Life" - The Division Bell - Pink Floyd - 1994

As eerie prophetic lyrics it's chillingly an "Ode to Monsanto's CEO!"
Malaria_Kidd III

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Re:A Night Alone in America's Most Haunted Bedroom: Happy Halloween!
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2020, 09:31:02 AM »
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While listening to Coast to Coast AM during the third hour, hosted by George Noory, Joshua relived his solitary one night's stay at Myrtle Plantation outside of St. Francisville, LA!

Thanks for telling this scary time to us again last night Joshua!


Attn: If you are sheltering in place like me jump on in and help clean out the cobwebs!
« Last Edit: March 28, 2020, 04:35:36 AM by Malaria_Kidd III » Logged

"So if you're tired of the same old story, just turn some pages" REO Speedwagon, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
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