“Mom! I saw something, someone by the bathroom window!” This was not Tim’s first vision, nor his spookiest. Most people have stories about unexplained visions, noises, experiences that they swear happened; something that scared them beyond reason.
Do you believe in ghosts? We do, and we are spending a night at the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana. The Myrtles was built in 1796 on a Spanish Land Grant near the Mississippi River. It is advertised as and has a reputation of being one of America’s most haunted homes!
A Night at the Myrtles
Tricia and I sign up for and book a night at the Myrtles; specifically, we sign up for an official ghost hunt set-up by “Ghost City Tours-NOLA.” For years, Trisha and I have watched ghost hunter reality TV, shows such as Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International. Do we believe spirits are around us? Yes, but I continue to joke that it’s all smoke and mirrors! After all, laughter and denial is the best way to disguise fear. During the ghost hunt, we will learn about and use all of the ghost hunter gadgets; Mel Meters, IR DVR Cameras, Ghost Boxes, EVP Recorders, K2 EMF Meters and other smart phone apps.
The Story of Chloe
True stories and unverified stories at the Myrtles Plantation continue to add to the ghost history at the Myrtles. These tales continue to be shared and retold in the news, on blog posts, various types of social media and in person by the tour guides. Our tour guide tells us the story of Chloe, a slave who poisoned the wife and two daughters of the owner, Clark Woodruff. This was her twisted plan to sicken the women of the house, and then, nurse them back to health, playing the hero. But, as told in one version of the story, her plan ended in tragedy. Both daughters and the mother died, resulting in Chloe’s death at the hands of the slaves. Chloe was allegedly hung and her body then thrown into the Mississippi River, never to be seen again, except, as a ghost.
As with most stories and legends repeated throughout history, there are typically some elements of truth. I believe that there are some elements of truth to this story and believe that spirits are around us and are sometimes visible to us.
The Ghost Hunters
All eighteen of the amateur ghost hunters, and two professionals, meet on the back porch of the plantation at dusk. This is when we meet our fellow ghost hunters and learn about the equipment to detect, hear and see the ghost in the spirit world. Of course, like a B-rated horror movie, it is creepy, as it is getting dark, raining, including thunder and lightning. We then divide into 3 teams of six, are assigned our ghost tools, and begin to hunt for ghosts. Our team is armed with the following professional tools:
- K2 EMF Meter: detects spikes in Electromagnetic Fields (=ghost energy, presence)
- EVP Recorder: records Electronic Voice Phenomena (=ghost communication)
- Mel Meter: indicates Electromagnetic Fields and temperature changes (=ghost energy, presence)
- IR Camera: Infrared camera records video and temperature change (=ghost presence)
- Ghost Hunting Tool app: utilizes a smart phone as an EMF detector, and spirit text communicator
The primary point made by the professional ghost guides is “We want to document intelligent communication.” In other words, random spikes in EMF, random words received on EVP recorders or any other random data may not prove that a ghost is “in the house.” So, someone asks, “How do you prove that the data is not random? What is intelligent communication?” The professionals reply by explaining “We ask questions, such as, If there is a spirit among us, can you move next to the EMF Meter and light it up, make it red? We then wait 15 seconds for a response before asking another question.”
So each of us, while standing in front of the haunted mirror, in the main hallway, take turns asking the mirror or ghosts that are possibly trapped in the mirror several questions. Tricia and I self-consciously asks our first questions of the mirror, “What’s your name? Did you die on this property?” When it’s my turn for my second question, I pass. I’m too distracted to think of a legitimate question. I’m too busy thinking, “What if these ghosts are not intelligent, just dumb?” I feel silly talking to an inanimate object. Some ghost hunters did not participate at all; maybe they were scared, maybe too shy to speak, maybe they thought this was all b-s.? But, some were so serious, I thought we should be scared of the live people in the room. Then we repeat the same process in the spiritual center of the Myrtles Plantation, the Lady’s Parlor, and again in the Men’s Parlor. By this point, I’m actually looking forward to something “intelligent or just plain scary happening, but like in most of those ghost hunter TV shows, nothing happens.
The Spirit Box
After each of the three ghost teams has the opportunity to explore and hunt for ghosts on the the grounds, the cottages and in the home, many of us regroup about midnight and gather in the General David Bradford Suite to attempt to contact ghosts using the Spirit Box. This Spirit Box, also known as Frank’s Box or a Ghost Box, is used to contact spirits through the use of radio frequencies. Apparently, as we ask intelligent questions, the spirits have the opportunity to provide intelligent answers by speaking through this box as it produces white noise and random words from scanned radio frequencies. Some of these random words may be produced by ghosts. Again, we take turns asking questions. We listen to loud white noise, and an occasional disembodied word blurted from some random radio station; or is it a spirit communicating with us; it’s impossible for me to tell the difference. I continue to be the silent sceptic, smiling in the dark, but hoping at the same time that an unknown, invisible spirit does not rub against my arm, or poke me in my side, or scratch me.
Ghost Hunting Results
I know, everyone wants to hear about our exciting results, or be frightened, or surprised! There were three strange events that happened, and were not debunked. One person felt a light touch to her side; no one was near enough to touch her. That same ghost hunter heard her son’s name stated when asking questions about him to the Spirit Box. Her young son, like ours, passed on to the other side a few years ago. Our favorite ghost hunter, Tricia, also felt a light touch to her side, while sitting at the island gazebo. No, it wasn’t me. I was not with her at the time, and no one was close to her at the time. And lastly, another couple stated that they had placed a few coins on a bedside table in their cottage, and then encouraged the spirits to show them a sign of their presence. They left the cottage and upon returning an hour or two later, saw that some of the coins were flipped over; heads to tails.
Finally, as for the numerous audio and video files I reviewed, unfortunately, nothing substantial was recorded proving that any spirits were with us that evening.
I start this post and end this post with these thoughts in mind and this point of view. I believe that spirits are close to us. Those people that have died prior to our birth, and those that have died while we are here on earth are near us everyday. I know that some of what I write may have a somewhat humorous, or sarcastic slant. This is not meant to diminish any belief, or for that matter, any of the results of the ghost investigation. Attempts to communicate with the dead has been with the human race forever. Speaking with, communicating with, seeing loved ones that have passed on to the next world brings comfort to many. Include Tricia and I in that number. That’s a story for another day, for those that are in our circle, or maybe we’ll share it with you when we meet you on the road.
A True Story
And finally, one true story….after the ghost hunt ended, after 1:00AM, it’s still raining, lightning, thundering, and one mature, brave gentleman is taking a bath in the main house. And then, while his wife waits for him with all the lights on in this creepy old creeky bedroom, the lights go out! It is pitch black! Lightning flashes, thunder rolls. For a few long seconds, all is quiet, except for the sounds of the house settling and crazy thoughts flying through my head, “What the hell?” “Tricia!?!” And then Tricia screaming, “Craig!!!” That was the scariest part of the evening!