So, there’s this mortuary that I want to tell you guys about. New Orleans hosts one of the greatest haunted houses in the nation, it’s actually called the mortuary, but what many folks don’t know, is that this commercial haunted house really was a mortuary, and it really is haunted. So it’s like a twofer, a haunted house in a haunted house! What kind of madness is this!
So the original mortuary was built at 4800 Canal street in 1872 by the Slattery family. By 1880 Mary and John were living in the property with their 6 kids and another couple. This already sound like a nightmare to me! The property was already surrounded by tombstones, to the left was a Jewish cemetery, in the rear was another cemetery and two blocks away was the Metairie cemetery, and Mary thought that the property would be the family estate that would house generations of her offspring throughout the years, really!? That chick was as twisted as I am! I guess she thought she’d never have to worry about having to hear the neighbors arguing, I can see the logic there!
Well, in 1905, Mary and her youngest daughter died, they were victims of the yellow fever epidemic. The property was then purchased by PJ McMahon and sons, a larger more commercialized funerary service. Several additions and improvements were added to the home, turning the property into a full service establishment. By 1959 they had added an elevator in the garage in order to move the dead bodies without prying eyes watching on, Smoking parlors were added for the men and for the women, private lounges were set up. Extra bedrooms were added on the second floor for grieving families and there were even public dining rooms.
Behind the scenes the mortuary was equipped with an autopsy room, an embalming room, a cold storage area for holding the corpses and it’s own crematorium. And for the business side there was an internal florist and a casket store. This sucker was so massive that it hosted over 20,000 funerals per year and was capable of holding 8 separate services at the same time. So as you can imagine this joint is haunted BIG TIME!
In the 1980’s PJ McMahon and sons sold out to a larger conglomerate, who in just a short while realized that the 14000 sq foot mortuary was just too much for them to keep up. In 2004 the Neil Corporation purchased the property with intentions of renovating and turning it into a day spa, really?! Anyway, half way through the project, Neil corp unexplainably pulls out and shortly thereafter in 2007 Jeff Bourn purchases the property with intentions on converting it to the largest haunted house in the south!
So I’m gonna tell you about some of the most prominent ghosts seen within the halls of the mortuary.
The real ones that is! So, there is a female ghost that haunts the top floor of the building. She’s often seen crying, assumably over the passing of her husband.
There is a man in a dark suit wearing a top hat that appears whenever someone is disrespecting the surrounding cemeteries. Now on a side note here folks, the cemetery that he is most particular about was constructed in the 1840’s. There is a lack of pathways and many of the headstones lay directly on top of each other. It’s nearly impossible to walk through the cemetery without stepping on a grave or straddling a headstone. My guess, this ghost makes frequent appearances.
There are also the ghosts of children that romp playfully through the entire building. They can be heard running around and giggling, it’s also said that they are known to play tricks on the living.
Downstairs, in the morgue, the spirit of a past mortician can be seen busy at work. He seems completely unaware when he is noticed by the living.
There are, of course, many other ghost that make their appearance within the walls of the mortuary. Some are seen as shadow figures, some as orbs. There are voices heard, some in whispered conversation others in sorrowful mourning. Also accompanying these sounds are footsteps, knocking and slamming of doors. Furniture is known to slide violently across the floor and many objects have been flung at guests by unseen hands. There are also more physical accounts, investigators that have been grabbed, slapped and shoved to the ground.
Imagine the emotions that stain the very ground that this colossal improvement sits upon. I would think that if the building would one day be removed, it would make no difference to the spirits that call this property home. There had been too much trauma unleashed in the area, not just within the mortuary itself but consider the tears shed on the million plus graves that have, and still to this day, surround the property!