Myrtles Plantation: Louisiana’s Most Haunted Plantation

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The infamous Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana is widely considered one of the most haunted places in America. Located on 650 acres of land in St. Francisville, Louisiana. The farm was built in 1796 by General David Bradford. What the general, along with several other future owners, did not know was that before the Spanish took over the land, it belonged to a local indigenous tribe known as the ‘Tunicas’. These Native American peoples used the land as sacred burial grounds. As any ghost hunter or supernatural historian will tell you, this type of sacrilege is a breeding ground for supernatural activity, and it’s not usually friendly activity, as the spirits of the dead are never happy to be rudely disturbed.

Some years later, one of David Bradford’s law students and family friend, Clark Woodruff, married Bradford’s 14-year-old daughter, Sarah Matilda. Woodruff was 35 years old, but arrangements like this were quite common back then. Together, the couple had three daughters, Cornelia Gale, Jane, and Mary Octavia. In 1808, after Bradford’s death, Clark and Sarah moved their family into the Myrtles house. As was the custom back then, the wealthy people of the South owned slaves. Some worked in the fields and others were domestic servants. One of these household servants was a young woman named Chloe. Chloe had particularly close ties to the family, as she personally cooked and cared for the Woodruff daughters. It is believed that she and Clark were having an affair. It is unknown if Sarah Woodruff knew about this.

Now Chloe, who had such a close relationship with the Woodruffs, had the opportunity to overhear certain happenings on the farm. Most of the time she would eavesdrop to find out what was going on with her fellow slaves. Things like whether new slaves would be brought onto the property, or which slaves would be sold or traded to another owner. But lately, her Chloe was eavesdropping to find out what was going to happen to her. You see, lately she had begun to suspect that Mr. Clark was getting tired of her. She figured he’d send her out to the fields, rather than risk her saying anything to Sarah Woodruff about her steamy date. However, one day Chloe was caught. Her punishment was cruel. For the crime of espionage, she cut off one of her ears.

Fearing that she would now be sent to the fields, Chloe hatched a plan to save her current state. She took some leaves from an oleander plant and boiled them in water. This would create an arsenic-like liquid that she planned to pour into batter for a birthday cake she was making for one of the children. It is widely believed that her intention was not to kill, but only to make the girls and their mother sick, so that she could nurse them all back to health. This would make the family thank her and she could remain as the family’s personal servant. But Chloe’s plan went terribly wrong. She had underestimated the strength of the poisonous concoction and a couple of hours after eating the cake, two of the girls and Sarah were dead. Chloe confessed what she had done. Then, as revenge for the two girls, an angry mob of black and white men and women seized her and hung her from a tree on the grounds. Woodruff stayed until 1834, then sold the property and moved to New Orleans. He died in 1851.

These days, the Arrayanes plantation has been restored and now functions as a Bed & Breakfast. Many house guests claim to have seen ghosts and heard sounds, such as footsteps. The ghost has been identified as Woodruff’s daughters Cornelia Gale and Jane, along with their mother, Sarah Matilda, and the house’s maid, Chloe, has also been seen. The girls have been seen playing in the house (usually upstairs) and on the grounds. Sarah Matilda’s ghost is mainly seen on the main staircase, coming down as if to greet guests as they arrive. Chloe is often seen wandering the grounds and has been seen by the tree she was hanged from.

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