Almost every ghost hunter has dreamed of standing on the balcony of a haunted plantation in the South—admiring the gardens, the mighty oak trees, and the spacious mansion home. A goal on the bucket list of many investigators is the haunted Myrtles Plantation located in St Francisville, Louisiana.
Traveling up the tree lined driveway of the Myrtles is breathtaking—everything a person from the Midwest or western states expects a southern plantation home to be. After the car was parked, this journalist was anxious to check into the Myrtles gift shop and sign up for the next tour.
Standing near the restaurant I gazed toward the mansion. Out of the corner of my eye, off to the left, I thought I saw a shadowy figure quickly flash by as though they were hurrying back towards the area of the former plantation kitchen. ‘Chloe!’ was my first thought. I remembered other paranormal investigators insisting that it is Chloe’s ghost seen on the grounds. Chloe was the person in the know when she walked this mortal earth—and she is still on the job in the spirit world.
My co travel journalist and I were greeted in the gift shop by the gracious staff along with Teresa David. We had corresponded on and off for years and I vowed to someday make the pilgrimage to St. Francisville and spend the night upstairs in the splendid Myrtles Mansion. There was no time on our agenda to spend the night—but we arrived mid-morning for a historic/haunted tour of the manor.
The Myrtles Plantation, circa 1796, takes you into the past to experience antebellum splendor at its finest. You will see fine antiques and architectural treasures of the South—and discover why the Myrtles is often called one of “America’s Most Haunted Homes.” The story of the haunting has been featured on networks such as A & E, the History Channel, the Travel Channel and more.
The most talked about ghost of the Myrtles is the legendary Chloe—a slave owned by Clark and Sarah Woodruff. According to the tale, Clark Woodruff had taken Chloe as his mistress and given her the luxury of living in the grand home. Being somewhat of a busy-body, Chloe had a bad habit of listening at the doors and keyholes to learn news of the Woodruff’s business dealings. After being caught spying, Chole was punished by having one of her ears cut off as an example to the other slaves. She began wearing a green turban to hide her disfigurement and was sent back to the slave quarters to work in the hot kitchens.
Chloe was instructed to bake a birthday cake for the Woodruff daughters. She developed a scheme to redeem her position in the house. She baked the cake using extract of boiled oleander leaves which is extremely poisonous. Her plan was to poison the family just enough to make them very ill. Then she was would simply concoct the remedy her mother had taught her in the past, cure the family, and be forever the savior of the home.
But her plan backfired. Only Sarah and her two daughters ate the cake, and they all died from the poison. Chole was dragged down to the Mississippi River and hanged by the other slaves. Her body was thrown into the river as punishment—or to escape punishment by Mr. Woodruff.
We could not wait to enter the house with our guide. The tour centers around the downstairs entryway and adjacent rooms as the upstairs bedrooms are secluded for the privacy of overnight guests. Our guide unlocked the doors and we stepped back in time in the airy foray. We heard tales of hand prints and faces in the mirror, footsteps on the stairs and the second floor, mysterious odors, and an ongoing mystery of missing earrings by the guests.
There is a display of single earrings that have been found at various parts of the manor and the Myrtles grounds. Seems that Chloe has a liking for these shiny objects—and only has the need for one earring. When she is tired of the bling, the staff finds the earrings scattered about the plantation and they have placed the missing jewels in the display box. I grabbed my bare ear lobe and recalled I was not wearing my bangle loops that morning.
We visited the various sitting rooms, dining rooms, and ball rooms—all which contained a peaceful energy. The staircase, where legend says a former plantation owner died after being shot on the front lawn tends to be a little heavier. Members of the tour group took turns posing on the staircase in hopes the spirits would come forward. Spooky antique dolls, eerie paintings, and historic relics still grace the home and perhaps hold residual energy inside the two hundred year old manor.
After the home tour the two journalists took a walk upon the grounds and the great oak trees. We walked near the area of the old slave quarters. As we strolled near the ponds and gardens of the plantation I could still feel the stare—the ever present watchful eye of Chloe. I plan to go back to the Myrtles again someday when I can spend more leisurely time, perhaps reserving a room upstairs in the manor house, sitting on the porch sipping sweet tea, and guarding my favorite pair of earrings.
Historic Tours Daily: 9AM to 5PM every hour and half hour; $8 per person, $4 children 12 and under
Mystery Tours: Friday and Saturday evenings at 6, 7, & 8PM; $10 per person, reservations advised
The Myrtles Plantation
St. Francisville, Louisiana
7747 US Highway 61
PO BOX 1100
St. Francisville LA 70775
John & Teeta Moss, Proprietors
Haunted Places Examiner: Debe Branning email@example.com