Bedsheets that turn down on their own. Apparitions caught on film. The sounds of footsteps on stairs and haunting strains from a grand piano where no one is actually playing. Welcome to The Myrtles in St. Francisville, Louisiana, long considered to be one of America’s most haunted mansions. The 1796 plantation attracts more than 60,000 visitors a year — 40% of whom are from outside of the state –all looking for a trip through antebellum history and a chance meeting with one of the property’s resident wraiths.
“They’ve always existed here,” says General Manager Morgan Moss, who grew up at The Myrtles after his parents, John and Teeta Moss bought the historic site in 1992 and spent the next several years improving it. “Long before my family got here, people would report seeing ghosts. Things definitely still happen.
Located about 30 minutes north of Baton Rouge, The Myrtles’ spooky reputation has been reported on the Travel Channel, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and in The New York Times and many other national media outlets. Every day, guests from Louisiana and around the country drive down The Myrtles crape myrtle lined entrance and take part in daytime, nighttime or private tours through the main residence and grounds. The property also features 18 guest rooms spread over the main house, a Creole style mansion, as well as in other out buildings. Guests can also dine in The Myrtles’ signature open-hearth, farm-to-table eatery, Restaurant 1796, which opened in February 2019.
Most notable among The Myrtles’ eerie lore is the story of a slave girl named Chloe, whose image is believed to have been captured in a photograph taken in the early nineties. The picture was taken for the purpose of rating a fire insurance policy, so people weren’t meant to be photographed in it, only structures. But when the film was developed, the image of a young girl is depicted standing between the two buildings, the General Store and Butler’s Pantry.
Moss says paranormal activity continues to surface from time to time, experienced by guests and those, like himself, who live and work on the property.
“Sometimes you think you see someone in your peripheral vision, and you turn and no one is there,” he says.
Moss also recalls a time when a couple staying at The Myrtles whose bed was inexplicably turned down and their bed pillows removed.
“We looked at the security cameras, and no one had entered the room,” says Moss.
In February, Moss completed a major addition on the property designed to give guests a more well-rounded visitor experience. It’s helping to increase traffic at the site by about 20%, Moss says. The expansion includes the restaurant and bar, as well as corporate and private event space and six new guest rooms. The Myrtles has long been a popular day trip and overnight destination, but until February, the site did not run its own full-service eatery to meet the needs of guests around the clock. The restaurant, modeled after wood-fired kitchens around the country, serves inventive Southern seasonal cuisine in a rustic environment that nods to the plantation’s 200-year history.
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