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The Dorrity Ghost of Shreveport

The busy street of Milam empties onto Allen Avenue in Shreveport
The busy street of Milam empties onto Allen Avenue in Shreveport
Courtesy of Flickr postcards

Mr. Brown M. Dorrity once owned a home that was located on the corner of Allen Avenue and Logan Street in Shreveport, Louisiana. For nearly a week in August 1915 thousands of eager and insistent sightseers kept a vigil in front of the Dorrity home to catch a glimpse of the apparition of a young girl who stood at the Dorrity doorstep.

The “Dorrity Ghost” as it was called refused to leave her haunt. Many schemes were drawn up to try and capture this silent night time visitor, but all investigations failed. The ghost, or apparition, was in the form of a little girl, about nine years old. She wore a white blouse, white skirt, white stockings, and shoes.

Mr. Dorrity’s explanation of the figure was simple…but the sightseers would not accept it. He believed the light from the street arc, shining through a window of a house diagonally across the street from the Dorrity home struck a mirror, and reflected back the silhouetted form of a little girl though some trees and vines outside the Dorrity home.

The first reports of the "ghost" were made when two drivers of automobiles passed the house observed it near the gallery--or covered area of the porch. The auto broke down and one of the occupants started to curse. His companion advised him not to talk so loud “as there was a little girl standing on the gallery.”

It was midnight and the driver wondered what the little girl was doing out there at that hour. He talked to her gently, but firmly, but the girl not only did not respond, but faded from view as they approached her. Somehow, their vehicle was fixed in a hurry and the drivers sped away and began to spread the news of the ghost.

The following night several hundred persons visit the corner and saw the ghost. The next night there were several thousand, and the police had to be sent for to keep the crowd under control. In spite of the frantic efforts of Mr. Dorrity to steer the nightly crowds away from his home, the curious onlookers increased.

Caravans of autos were organized for the purpose of “seeing the ghost.” Enterprising taxi driver’s advertised the apparition in the Shreveport newspapers offering to take sightseers to the place for a small fee. One company offered $20 in gold for the best solution of the “ghost” mystery. The fascination with the ghost spread to cities surrounding Shreveport. Soon out of town parties came to the city just to look for the ghost.

The interest at Texarkana was so strong, that some moneymaking genius began arranging special excursions to Shreveport in order that Texarkanians had an opportunity to witness the figure of the ghostly girl at a reduced rate.

The strangest part of the story remains to be told. The branches of the trees in front of the Dorrity home were cut and trimmed. Mr. Dorrity asked the Mayor of Shreveport to extinguished the arc light at the corner, boards were nailed up on the Dorrity gallery to conceal the vision, and a wire screen was run along the front of the gallery---but the girl remained! She was seen clearly as she had been seen before.

A story was circulated that some years ago a little girl touched the electrical apparatus of an inventor at that particular corner and was electrocuted. Investigation, however, revealed the fact that if the incident occurred at all, it was in an entirely different part of Shreveport. No little girl ever died on that corner…so if the ghost is a ghost, it is a stranger in that area.

Shreveport had rarely been shaken as this ghost, or alleged ghost, had shaken it. Nobody was afraid of it---but they all wanted to see it. Perhaps it was the light…perhaps it was not, but it has remained one of the good ghost stories in that Shreveport neighborhood.

There are still three homes on the corners of Allen Avenue and Logan Street. One remains a vacant lot. Is that the land where the former Dorrity home once stood? The haunted location is not far from the haunted Shreveport Municipal Auditorium featured on Ghost Hunters and a few blocks from Oakland Cemetery.

Haunted Sites Examiner Debe Branning

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