Let’s start at the beginning, that was in 1796 when General David Bradford, aka “Whiskey Dave” of the Whiskey Rebellion, decides to buy a 650 acre land grant from Baron de Corondelet. Bradford had actually landed in the area after he fled the United States to avoid arrest and imprisonment for his involvement in the Rebellion. At that time, Bayou Sarah, where this land grant was, was still a Spanish colony. But just a little foot not here folks General Bradford was pardoned later on down the road by President John Adams.
So now he’s got this massive land tract and he’s out of reach of the authorities that wanted to see him hang, so he’s all good. But it wasn’t gonna stay that way, Bradford starts construction on his main house and here is where it begins. So the workmen are digging out for the foundation when they unearthed an old Indian burial ground. Bradford did the way wrong thing. Instead of relocating the site, cause, he has like 650 acres, he orders his workers to burn the remains and keep working, and so they did. This marked the beginning of some hard times for Bradford as well as kicking off over 200 years of hauntings that are still being witnessed to this day.
After this, illness strikes his workers, one obstacle after another arose during the construction of the main house and out buildings. HE was bleeding cash, fighting with the workers then going home to fight with his wife. Then tragedy struck, one of his sons fell into the nearby river one day while working on the estate, his body was never recovered.
So when Bradford got word that President Adams had pardoned him, he was more than ready to get the hell off of that land grant in Bayou Sarah. So he snatches up his wife Elizabeth and their remaining 5 kids and they moved back to Pennsylvania. Bradford knew he had a career in politics sitting there waiting for him. So he went for it full throttle and wound up being appointed Deputy attorney-general for Washington County.
In the meanwhile The mansion was still in his name but in 1820 his son in law, Judge Clarke Woodruff, talked him into selling it to him. The Woodruff era of ownership is responsible for producing one of the Myrtles’ most well known ghosts; a young Creole slave girl named Chloe.
So Woodruff, had the eye for Chloe from day one. He’d flirt with her in private and needless to say, she didn’t shy away from him. Chloe fell head over heels for Woodruff, which made her kind of obsessed with taking care of his kids and his home, and of course things progressed and she soon took the position as his Mistress. Well, she eventually convinces him to move her in to the house so she could take better care of the children. Well that was just dumb as hell in the first place, moving your mistress in to your house with your wife, he was asking for it.
Well Chloe kept a close eye on everything that went on in that house and as she became more involved in his every day life, she forgot to slow her role. Chloe starts eavesdropping on conversations and peeking around at inopportune moments. The problem was that she wasn’t very good at it. She got cold busted more than once and Woodruff was tired of scolding her. Chloe was becoming a problem, it was obvious that she was gunning for a higher position than Mistress. Well, one night some of Woodruff’s influential friends pop in one evening. They’re all sitting around the parlor talking about politically sensitive stuff and all of the sudden the conversation starts getting heated. One of them storms out of the parlor door and catches Chloe with her ear to the wall. She left Woodruff with no other choice but to punish her in front of them. He ordered her left ear cut off and banished her from working inside of the house.
So, Chloe is just devastated that he punished her so brutally. Her heart was absolutely broken. She took a few days to lick her wounds then started plotting on how she could work her way back into the house. She decided to bake a cake laced with poisoned herbs, but she didn’t have intentions on killing anyone, she only wanted to make them sick. IF the children came down ill surely she’d be allowed back into the house to take care of them. Well, we already know that she wasn’t good at sneaking around and apparantly she wasn’t much on baking either because she used a little more poison than she should have, the cake was lethal. Woodruff’s wife Elizabeth and two of his kids died from it.
So now Chloe is beside herself, she loved these kids too, the wife, not so much but definitely the kids. And it was killing her to see Woodruff in so much pain and her knowing that she was the one that caused it. The guilt was eating her alive and her heart was broken beyond repair. Days turned into weeks and Chloe couldn’t bear the guilt any longer, she goes to Woodruff and confesses everything. Woodruff ordered her to be hanged from one of the massive Oak trees that was just outside the front of the mansion. When Chloe was dead, her body was weighted down and thrown into the Mississippi River.
Woodruff and his last remaining child packed up and moved to Covington Louisiana, he sold the mansion in 1834 to Ruffin Gray Sterling. Sterling and his wife did a massive remodel the homestead. When they finished, it was nearly double in size and then became, what we know now as the 11,000 square foot Myrtles Plantation.
The Sterling era would bring on even more of apparitions that are frequently still seen here. Just four years after they wrap up the remodel, Sterling dies from Consumption. And believe it or not, that was probably a good thing for him because in the following years, 5 out of their 9 children also died, from varying causes. Only 4 of them lived long enough to get married.
During this time, it was just the family that was falling on hard times, the Plantation was suffering along with them This was during the Civil War era, the Myrtles, along with many other plantations in Southern Louisiana, fell victim to looting by rogue soldiers. But, a lot of these thieving bastards lost their lives by charging onto the Myrtle’s estate grounds. The family and slaves were well armed and they knew how to protect their property. It was during one of these attempted looting sprees that Sterling’s son-in-law, William Winter, was shot on the front steps went he met face to face with some hostile soldiers in attempt of defending his family and home. He crawls back into the house and halfway up the stairs, where died in the arms of his frantic wife.
So now that you know a little bit about the Myrtles’ history, I’m going to tell you about some of the creepy things that go on around there.
Many guests have reported losing just 1 earring while visiting the Plantation. Later on, various earrings will turn up in weird places, Most of the time they’re discovered by the staff while they’re cleaning and organizing. No doubt that this is the work of Chloe because she only needs the one earring right!
There are also reports of bloodstains on the parlor floor which will appear and disappear when they feel like it. But, when it shows up, no matter how much the floor is cleaned, the stains won’t budge. These stains are said to be a bloody reminder of the spot where some Union soldiers met their demise while they attempted to loot the mansion during the Civil War.
Then there’s an apparition that’s seen frequently on the stair case, (his reflection can be seen in the mirror) and at some times, the sound of his footsteps can be heard as he descends the stairs. This misty figure is described as a man, dressed in his Sunday best. Some folks suspect the apparition to be remnants of William Winter who died in his wife’s arms on those very steps.
Chloe is seen frequently around the mansion and the grounds, and sometimes she’s spotted hanging from the very limb from where Woodruff had her hanged. There is pretty well circulated photograph of a female apparition, that appears to be a young slave girl, that’s just standing in between two buildings on the property. This photograph has been researched and debunked by many well-known paranormal investigators. National Geographic has even used it in their documentary of the Myrtles’ Plantation. It was also researched by Mr. Norman Benoit, who performed a shadow density test. He concluded that all of the physical measurements of the apparition were of human dimensions and proportions. The circumference of the head, the length of the shoulder to the elbow and the length of the elbow to the wrist were all indicative of a human.
The ghosts of children are often captured in photographs all around the interior of the Plantation, as well as it grounds. So many children have died on this property it would be quite difficult to accurately identify any one of them. And too, back in the day, records were not kept on the slave population. Considering living conditions and waves of rampant plagues during these eras, there is no way for anyone to know exactly how many people passed away on this property over the past 212 years. There is a photograph that was taken by a teacher on a school field trip. There’s a ghostly figure of a little girl in the window, she seems to be looking directly into the camera and smiling.
Both current and past owners and staff have reported these mysterious hand prints on mirrors and windows for centuries. The infamous mirror which hang near the staircase is a prime target. Previous owners have gone as far as replacing the actual glass to rid themselves of the nuisance, but to no avail; the hand prints would only return.
The Myrtles have been visited and investigated frequently through time, reports range from the inconspicuous to the insane. Guests have had many encounters with the ghostly inhabitants. Many items have gone missing and some overnight guest complain of their difficulties in getting out of their beds in the mornings after having been tucked too snugly into their sheets, while they were asleep.
The Myrtles offers guided tours and is currently in operation as a bed and breakfast where many paranormal enthusiasts have conducted their own private investigations. So, if you’re planning a trip to the deep south any time soon, may I suggest that you book a room at the Myrtles but do it way in advance like, 6 months in advance because this little haunted joint stays packed with both the living, and the dead!!