Haunted New Orleans – The Castle Inn

the-castle-inn1The Castle Inn stands fully restored to it’s original glory at 1415 Prytania street within the Garden District of New Orleans.  The Inn was constructed on a site that had formerly been a plantation during the early 1800’s.  In 1848 a town home was constructed on the same property.  The home was owned by a prominent local business man who would die just a few short years upon the town homes’ completion.  In 1891 the property was purchased by Alva Schnitt, a German gentleman who was in charge of the New Orleans school district and the leader of a organization known as “The White Men’s League” somewhat similar in ideals to what we now know as the Ku Klux Klan.

Originally constructed as a gift to his new wife, Schnitt oversaw the construction of the three story mansion personally.  He too would succumb to some strange illness and would die in the home just a few years later.  The mansion would remain within his family until the onset of the 1920’s depression.  The financial burden of large New Orleans estates became too much for many to handle.  Some of these home owners, including the owners of this home, would convert the property into a transient rooming house.

The property would change hands several times until the 1950’s when purchased by the Allison family.  It would remain within their family until 1998 when purchased by Andrew Craig and Karen Bacharach who would upon renovations, rename the property The Castle Inn.

Several spirits are said to haunt the property some having a history with the original structure, others that are said to be connected to the properties which formerly graced the grounds.  One is said to be seen and heard most frequently.  A young girl that was said to have drowned in a pond that had been on the grounds of the plantation.  She reportedly enjoys shaking the beds to keep the guests awake at night.  There are claims that she touches female guests to get their attention.  She can be both seen and heard giggling as she frolics about on the grand staircase.

Another of the spirits is said to be a former paid servant who had resided in the quarters behind the mansion with the other slaves.  He is said to be light skinned and dressed in the finest clothes available in his era.  The Servant was said to be a flirt and a bit of a prankster.  He was know to drink heavily and was a smoker.  Legend states that he fell asleep while smoking in bed.  He was too drunk to escape the flames when his bed caught fire consequently, he perished on the grounds within the slave quarters.  Many say that this is why he haunts the mansion, the man felt that he did not belong with the slaves, but that he deserved to reside within the mansion itself.

There are other reports of a carriage driver that could have been associated with the town home owned by Schnitt.  He is said to appear on the front stoop as well as walking around in the surrounding neighborhood.

There have been many reports made of encounters experienced by guests.  Shaking beds, items disappearing and electrical devices turning off and on by themselves.  There was one report of a complaint that the ceiling fan would not turn off.  The “fan” was a dormant fixture, never wired to be used; its purpose was cosmetic in nature only.

Missing room keys were reported found inside a second floor microwave and reports of showers and faucets running while in the “off” position are common as well.  One guest claims that the spirit of the servant man had climbed in bed with her and was smoking a cigarette.  Others claim that they hear the sound of a music box playing.

The Castle Inn is a must for seekers of the paranormal.  Just blocks away from Mardi Gras parade routes and a short walk from the streetcars, the Inn should be added to your list if you plan on visiting new Orleans!

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Haunted New Orleans – The Beauregard-Keyes House

bgh     In 1824 Auctioneer and businessman Joseph Le Carpentier (Le Carpentier was said to have sold goods for Pirate Jean Lafitte) purchased two lots across from the Ursaline Convent on the corner of Chartres and Arsenal (now Ursalines).  Le Carpentier then employed an architect to construct a grand home and garden where he and his family would live until 1835.  The estate was purchased by John Merle, who became Swiss counsel in New Orleans.  The property would next be purchased by the Andry family of St Charles Parish who later sold to Dominique Lanata, who was Consul-General of Sardina in New Orleans.  Purchased as an investment property, the estate would become home to it’s first tenant; war hero, Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard.  He and his family would remain in the home until 1869.

In 1904, Lanata sold the home to Corrado Giacona, a wholesale liquor distributor.  The Giaconas, said to have had ties with the Sicilian Mafia, would soon begin experiencing “difficulties”.  On June 18, 1908, Corrado’s father, Pietro, shot 4 members of the “Black Hand” mafia while on the back gallery of the house.  Both Pierto and Carrodo were indicted for murder but the case was dropped in 1910; the general consensus being that Pietro had done the city a favor rather than committed a crime.  Pietro passed in 1917, Corrado and his mother would place the house up for auction when it would be purchased by Antonio Mannino, a wedded relative of the Giacona family.  The Mannino family then sold to the Owens family who would ultimately sell to world famous author, Francis Scott Keyes, who established the estate as a museum as which it still stands today.

Now that we have discussed the history of the home and it’s inhabitants, we may better understand who and why the spirits are which haunt it.

Paul Munni (Morphy), world class Chess player and heir of Le Carpentier, is said to have gone insane while living at the estate.  Legend states that Munni, while in a crazed state, ran naked from the home and out into Ursaline street armed with a large axe; he was looking to kill whoever crossed his path.  Once successful in his task, Munni was subdued by police and that is where the tale ends.  Passers-by claim to have seen him running naked from the house into the street before disappearing into thin air. Munni also liked to play the piano and can sometimes be heard playing as he screams wildly into the night.

One of the most outstanding displays of paranormal activity is said to take place in the early morning hours when the main hall is alit with gory images from the Battle of Shiloh.  General Beauregard and his men appear in full confederate attire, the sound of their feet marching can be heard just as the battle takes full force. One can smell the strong odor of freshly spilled blood and rotting flesh as well as the stench of burning gunpowder.  There are those who have reported seeing soldiers with blown away faces and mangled limbs as they grasped desperately to their last living moments.  Among the images of the dying men are the remains of horses and mules scattered about as if having encountered the full force of a cannon.  There have also been reports from passers by who could hear a raspy voice gasping out the words “Shiloh, Shiloh” as if suffering the loss of the battle.

Just down the way from the main hall is the ballroom where in the twilight hours a lone fiddler can be seen, and heard as he plays for for a room full of dancing apparitions donning gowns and tuxedos.

The main hall is not the only place where the smell of blood and gunpowder will burn the visitors’ nostrils.  Gunshots can be heard late at night from within the estate as they echo through the garden just beyond the back gallery where the “Black Hand” mafia associates met their demise.  Their shadows can also be seen ducking through the foliage as Pietro fires his weapon.

As an additional “oddity” the home is also reportedly haven to a ghost dog and cat.  The dog is said to have been owned by Francis Scott Keyes.  After Keyes passing, the dog was inconsolable and within a few days, he would follow his master.  The cat is thought to have been owned by the Le Carpentier family.

Haunted New Orleans – The Sultan’s House, by Lyn Gibson – Author of “The Adrian Trilogy”

sultan  Though public records indicate that in 1780, a previous home occupied the corner of Dauphine and Orleans, it is the Gardette – Laprete house which still stands today.  Built in 1836 by Jean Baptist LePrete, the 4 story mansion would dominate the French Quarter both in stature and legend for over 150 years.

The meticulously designed home was never permanently occupied as LePrete lived on his plantation in Plaquemines.  During the social seasons, LePrete would entertain his family and guests there, usually when the French Opera was in town.  The homes’ peaceful existence would soon come to an end when a wealthy Turkish merchant arrived in New Orleans.  The merchant sought out LePrete to ask for use of the property on behalf of the brother of a Sultan.  LePrete, was happy to oblige.  An additional stream of income and the security of having the home occupied were means for a bargain.  What had not been disclosed during negotiations was the fact that the newly proclaimed Sultan that would be occupying the home had robbed his brother of his gold and jewels then fled to New Orleans.

The Sultan moved into LePretes’ mansion and along with him came his guards and his harem.  The Sultan’s harem consisted of women of all shapes, ages and sizes, most of which had been abducted from the home of his brother or from off of the streets of New Orleans.  Besides the women, the Sultan also owned young Arab boys in which to sate his twisted palate.  Both the women and boys would be raped and beaten and in many cases, murdered, all at the whim of the cruel Sultan.

Though atrocities abounded within the beautiful home, there were many elaborate parties thrown by the Sultan.  All of the elite would attend these lavish events.  The mansion had become the center of all social activities in the area.  The Sultan had more than fortified the home.  The windows and doors had been covered and his men patrolled the grounds with curved swords in their belt-lines.  Not one of the area socialites had any way to know of the atrocities that occurred within the grand estate.  But soon, all of the frivolities would come to a gruesome end.

One morning, a neighbor was walking along the sidewalk in front of the mansion.  He noticed that it was eerily quiet and that there were no guards patrolling the grounds.  He then looked up to see blood seeping from beneath the front entrance and onto the steps below.  When authorities arrived they attempted to summon the inhabitants by pounding at the front door.  When there was no response, the door was broken down.  Beyond the entrance lay the gruesome remnants of a bizarre massacre, the entirety of which was never fully recorded due to the horrific details.  Blood splatters covered the walls and furnishings.  Sordid body parts lay strewn on every floor of every level of the once envied home.  Every man woman and child associated with the Sultan had been slaughtered.  There was evidence of rape and torture at every turn; the inhabitants had all suffered tormented deaths.  The body of the Sultan was discovered in a shallow grave behind the house.  He had been badly mutilated then buried alive.

To this day the murders have never been solved.  The only proven fact is that robbery was a factor as the home had been ram-sacked and all of the Sultans riches had disappeared.  Many rumors abounded.  Some say that the Sultan, his harem and his men had been murdered by the same pirates that brought him into the Port of New Orleans.  Others believe that the Sultan had been hunted down by his brother and killed as an act of revenge.

The home changed hands many times and has risen and fallen only to rebound to it’s former glory.  Once nearly dilapidated and abandoned, the home was remodeled and opened as an art studio, later it served as an apartment complex.  Many of those who have lived or worked within the grand structure have reported hearing screams throughout the interior of the home as well as the exterior.  Some have claimed to see the Sultan himself, easily identified by his light colored hair despite his Turkish descent.

These reports have been ongoing for decades and all are similar in their claims.  The Sultan’s home has been investigated on many occasions by paranormal experts.  Some of these investigations have yielded interesting EVP recordings as well as recorded unexplainable movement and occurrences.

As fall dawns, vampire historian and author Lyn Gibson shares more than candy

Interesting Authors | Eclectic Readers!

As fall dawns, vampire historian and author Lyn Gibson shares more than candy
Ms. Donna L. Quesinberry, National Writing Examiner

The Adrian Trilogy on Sale through the National Writing ExaminerIt is that time of the year . . . summer is winding down . . . fall is creeping up and All Hallow’s Eve looms in the near distance. Pumpkins on the vine are getting plump . . . it won’t be long until apples are fully ripened. The cider will soon be brewed as costumes fly off store shelves. Our community Dollar General is already stocking up on the Halloween candies. There’s been more than a couple plastic jack-o-lanterns lurking about the store isles for impending trick or treaters and Walmart is already in full regale with Food Lion and Fresh Market fast on their heels . . .

And, that is the fun of America’s favorite fall holiday . . . Halloween. You might be wondering just…

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Haunted Louisiana – The St. Louis Cathedral

cathedral-300x237  The majestic St. Louis Cathedral stands at 615 Pere Antoine Alley, New Orleans.  Known to be one of the oldest in the United States, the Cathedral is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans.  It is a little known fact that the structure now stands where 4 of it’s predecessors have fallen.

The original structure was erected in 1718 and was no comparison to the Cathedral that we know today.  It was a modest wood framed building, which served the tight knit community of New Orleans well, until burning to the ground in the French Quarter fire of 1788.

By 1794 the Spanish had erected a new Cathedral, it was declared so in 1793 by Pope Pius.  The new brick and mortar improvement boasted two rounded steeples on the front facade, with beautiful Spanish architecture throughout.  Later in 1819 the addition of a central tower was commissioned to Ben Henry Latrobe, who designed the white house.  Latrobe would have the bell and original clock shipped in from Paris to complete the addition.

The beautiful new cathedral drew crowds from all around and by 1849 and expansion was desperately needed in order to house the congregation.  In 1850, during the aggressive renovations, the central tower collapsed causing a brief halt in the renovations in order to redesign and basically, rebuild the ST. Louis Cathedral that we know and love today.             *(The St. Louis Cathedral is now recognized as a basilica ordained so in 1964, by John Paul 11.)

 

Now that we’ve studied up on the physical history of the Cathedral, lets’ explore the haunted history!

Pere Dagobert was a Capuchin Monk who would become Pastor of the St. Louis Church in 1745.  A beloved member of the community, Dagobert saw to the needs of the poor, the slave and the imprisoned.  He was known as a compassionate man, respected and loved by all.  In 1764 when the local French community discovered that New Orleans had ceded to Spain, six of the most prominent men would gather forces and rebel.  All six of these men were close associates to Pere Dagobert.  When the revolt had ended, the six men were hunted down and assassinated by firing squad and were left in the street to be unburied, by orders of the new Spanish Governor.  Dagobert could not have these brave men left dishonorably in the streets to rot.  Dagobert managed, somehow, to recover the bodies from the street, contact the relatives and perform a sanctified burial Mass in the church and then had them buried within St. Louis Cemetery #1.

You will know that you have encountered Pere Dagobert when you hear him singing church hymns along the street of the Cathedral toward the cemetery.

Pere Antoine arrived in New Orleans around 1774 with the Spanish Inquisition but not that he was a participant!  Antoine was a peaceful man, he too saw to the needs of the less fortunate and undesirables.  He would also become Pastor of the St. Louis Church until it burned down in 1788. So loved by the community was he, that he would continued to Pastor the newly constructed Cathedral of 1794 until his death 1829.  During this time as he ministered to and cared for the needy, he was assisted frequently by Marie Laveau.  Antoine had baptized Laveau into the Catholic religion and would even perform her wedding ceremony.

You are most likely to see Pere Antoine early in the morning strolling along a small street named for him that runs along side of the Cathedral.  It is not likely that he will notice you as it is said that he is reading from his prayer book as he walks.  There is another occasion where Antoine is said to appear.  Pere Antoine’s Christmas Midnight Mass, Antoine is sometimes seen walking to the left side of the main altar,  He is usually holding a candle and can be recognized by his robes, they are not elaborate as the Archbishops and other Priests’.

 

Marie Laveau well know for her practice of Voodoo, was also a devout Catholic.  After having served alongside Antoine within the community for years, Laveau would be denied a proper burial.  Though her tomb is unmarked, it is local “common knowledge” where she rests (or not) within St. Louis Cemetery #1.

 

Aimee Brusle was a member of Antoines’ congregation since her youth.  Daughter of a successful local baker, Brusle would council with Antoine in reference to her upcoming marriage to a local business man named Edward Gottchalk.  Against Antoines’ advice, Bursle would proceed with the marriage; Antoine, begrudgingly would perform the ceremony.  It would not be long before Brusle regretted the marriage.  Gottchalk had a mistress that he kept in a house down the street from his family home where Brusle raised their children, less her youngest daughter who succumbed to yellow fever.  One of her children, Louis Gottchalk, was a musical child prodigy that would go on to be recognized as an artist of great acclaim.

Brusle grew depressed, the only place she knew peace was on the keyboard of the Cathedra;s’ newly installed organ where she would play for hours on end to sooth her own soul.  It is there, in the loft where the organ was installed that you will see Aimee, staring down upon the congregation below.  It is said that sometimes she appears distraught and her sobs can be hear echoing through the Cathedral. Other times she seems to want to communicate but there are also times when she is quite angry and she will not hesitate to express it!

 

Ben Henry Latrobe was the architect that designed the center tower of the Cathedral.  It was one of his crowning achievements but he would not survive to witness it upon completion.  Latrobe was said to haunt the tower while still under construction.  Workmen refused to labor without a partner as a chilling presence could almost always certainly be felt and if they were to remain for too long, his presence would be confirmed as he would materialize before the men.  It was common practice not to lay down tools within the tower as they would disappear into thin air.  Many by standers have heard the bell toll ever so slightly even when the air stands still.

 

Jean Delachaux was a local clock maker, commissioned with seeking out a clock worthy enough to be installed in Latrobe’s new tower.  Upon acquiring the clock in Paris, he would accompany it to the construction site at the ST. Louis Cathedral.  Ever burdened by his choice, Delachaux still has doubts of the clocks’ quality and dependability.  He can be seen in 1800’s attire, pacing in front of the cathedral.

 

Madame LaLaurie, New Orleans’ most noted serial killer, is known to haunt the Cathedral as well.  Upon so shamefully having been driven from her home, it is said that LaLaurie died in Paris.  Her remains were shipped back to New Orleans and buried in a unmarket grave in St. Louis Cemetery #1.  Madame LaLaurie can be seen perched upon the third pew, praying profusely as she stares up to the central altar.  She has also been spotted pacing back and forth in front of the confessionals, perhaps awaiting absolution for the atrocities she had committed in life.

 

There are of course many reports of other apparitions that have never been identified.  Ghostly disembodied faces are said to stare back at you from behind the lavatory mirrors.  Cries can be heard from within the vestibule at any given moments, cold spots, orbs and other unexplained phenomena are all the norm here at the New Orleans St. Louis Cathedral.