Louisiana’s Pirate – Jean Lafitte

jeanWhen it comes to pirates, I’m most definitely going to talk about Louisiana’s own, Jean Lafitte!  Jean, of course, was known for his piracy in and around the Gulf of Mexico but I bet you didn’t know that he was also known to have been a hero during the battle of New Orleans.  Yeah, he had his good moments, and then of course there were those other moments.  In fact, on 3 separate occasions, U.S. Presidents Condemned then exonerated his actions.  Jean liked to keep them guessing right!?

Well, in 1804 Louisiana became United States territory, Jean and his brother Pierre bought into a warehouse where they would dispense the goods that they smuggled into port.  When the government passed the embargo act, the brothers moved their business to an island in Barataria bay.  Laffitte was such an entrepreneur and a diplomat the he had been able to take an entire island full of shiftless seafarers and fisherman and turn them into an organized group of buccaneers, smugglers and wholesalers.  By 1810 their port was a huge success.  The two of them continued smuggling and Jean began his career as a pirate, it wasn’t long after, when Captain Lafitte had acquired his own fleet.

During this time, while the embargo was still active, things got tough, especially for the southern states.  Lafitte’s beloved Louisiana, and it’s people, were suffering, so he put his fleet to work.  From the ships that he plundered off of the Caribbean coast and the Atlantic, he and his crews were able to keep clothes and commodities flowing to the people of Louisiana.  As a result, Lafitte became a hero to both the rich and the poor alike, even authorities in high positions were turning a blind eye to his more questionable accomplishments.

Jean saw himself as a patriot, he respected the American constitution and never once attacked an American vessel.  But not everyone saw him in the same light.  Despite Lafitte’s shifty methods, his endless supplies of clothes, spices, furniture and other necessities which helped Louisiana survive and thrive, In 1814 things began to go bad for him.  There was a new Governor by the name of WC Claiborne.  Claiborne decided of his own accord that Lafitte should no longer be accepted in their society.  Claiborne saw to it that he was constantly harassed and that his home island in Barataria Bay was destroyed, but he didn’t stop there, eventually Claiborne has Lafitte thrown in jail.

Well he didn’t stay there long, With the war of 1812 well underway, President Andrew Jackson needed more boats and men, he needed Lafitte’s fleets.  So Lafitte was released from jail and set out to protect New Orleans and the Mississippi river from the British.  When the war was lost, Lafitte sailed away from Louisiana for the last time, he was proud that he had fought to defend her however he was heartbroken, he was no longer wanted or trusted in the place that he loved and called home.

Now days there are many witnesses that have seen Lafitte making a proud return to the Gulf of Mexico.  Workers on oil platforms, which litter the Gulf, have reported the billow of his sails on the horizon just before sunset, he’s always headed east.  Crews on offshore supply vessels have heard the flapping of sail riggings and the cry of phantom voices calling out commands to a ghostly crew in the Creole patois once spoken in Barataria.  These same supply vessels have felt the passing of an entire ghostly fleet, that is unseen, but produces visible white foam where their bows break the waves.  Once they have finished passing, they leave a tremendous wake in the darkened waters.

One three-man crew on a charter fishing boat, anchored off Grand Isle near Barataria Bay in the dead of night reported that they all saw an apparition of a pale man, clad in black and wearing a wide-brim hat such as the one Lafitte wore, standing on the aft deck of their sport fisherman.  The apparition glared at them as if sending a warning, then looked away toward the Louisiana coast before suddenly disappearing.

Folks in my neck of the woods, we believe that when Lafitte’s fleet is spotted in the Gulf it’s an omen that something wicked is about to befall the Louisiana coastline.  In fact, Lafitte and his fleet were spotted in the Gulf just before Hurricane Katrina ravaged the state.  This photo was sent to me by an avid listener that just happens to be a pilot that flies over the Gulf of Mexico often.  It was taken recently.  The pilot, John Bering says that after 20 years of flying across the Gulf, this was the first time he had ever seen a square rigged ship.  Could this be Lafitte, and is it a warning that ill tides are coming?

On shore, Lafitte is seen in the Blacksmith shop in the French Quarter that Pierre owned.  Many nights were spent here planning raids and designing new weaponry for his ships.  Today the Blacksmith shop is a popular bar, and Jean is still spotted there frequently.  He keeps a low profile, always sitting at a rear table while holding a brandy in his hand, the smell of cigar smoke accompanying his rather vivid apparition.

Like the story? Want to hear more haunted history and urban legends?  Check out my show on Armed Radio Global!  All past episodes are available on Spreaker!

Haunted History – Unit 731

So, next up, we’re gonna talk a little about the atrocities of war and the ghosts of those victims that still linger today.  Typically, when we hear war atrocities, we think back to the German concentration camps where hundreds of thousands of folks were tormented, tortured and eventually killed.  It’s no big secret now, as to what was going on in these places then.  No way you can cover up that much evil, right?!

Though the Nazis and their SS men have certainly left a monstrous footprint in history, they are not the target of discussion for now.  Did you know that during the same time that the Germans were running freakish and grotesque experiments on their prisoners, that the Japanese were doing the exact same thing, at their own concentration camps?  Yeah, don’t feel bad, not many people do.  In fact, the madness that was going on over there has just recently begun seeping it’s way out to the public.  Like I said, no way to cover up that much evil.  It’s time to talk about unit 731.

Gruesome and unthinkable horrors were performed daily at Unit 731.  Hidden under the guise of an epidemic prevention and research facility, experiments for germ warfare and its effects on the human body had been covered up by the Imperial Japanese army for decades.  Those responsible for the torture and torment of hundreds of thousands of victims lived out full lives surrounded by the wealth that they acquired during these dark times.  Many of these sick bastards were awarded with medals or compensated with prestigious jobs or positions within the Japanese government in return for their keeping the facility a secret.  Japanese authorities adamantly denied the atrocities that took place at unit 731, the truth only started coming to light in 1984 when photographic evidence began to surface.  Now the site has been excavated and the research has begun.  The once tormented souls that had found peace are beginning to stir again since the site has been disturbed.  It’s no wonder either, listen to what I’ve found.

Up to 10,000 people per day were murdered at this facility, recent research estimates nearly 600,000 lost their lives under unimaginably horrific circumstances.  95% of these victims were Chinese or Korean, many were civilians but some were soldiers, the remainder was mostly represented by prisoners of war taken by Japanese Allies.

Tortures ranged from psychological to any and all forms of physical abuse that can be imagined.  The lightest of the experiments took place in the rape room where Fathers were forced to rape daughters and sons were forced to rape their mothers in hopes that pregnancy would ensue.  Those that didn’t become pregnant suffered through some of the most gruesome mutilation of genitalia that could ever be imagined, and that was before they were murdered.  Those that did become pregnant would be tied down and were forced to watch these ghoulish doctors cut the babies from them all while unsedated.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the mothers would then be forced to watch as the doctor’s would murder the infants by performing living autopsies.

Other prisoners were infected with deadly diseases like anthrax, cholera and the Bubonic plague.  The Japanese were very creative, it’s not like all of these folks were just injected, some of the subjects were staked to the ground and covered with plague infested fleas or contained in small cells to be bitten by infected lab rats.   These evil bastards would wait until the disease took effect on the subject, and once their health began to deteriorate, the fiendish doctors would perform vivisections on the unsedated victims.  That means that they would cut them open in order to examine the effects of the diseases on the subjects vital organs, all without any form of sedation.

And then there was the frostbite unit, also part of the complex.  Prisoners would be staked to the ground during the coldest part of winter.  They’d remain there until nearly frozen solid, when their limbs could be broken from their body they were taken to the frostbite unit in order for the doctors to experiment and better understand the effects of frostbite in hopes of finding better forms of treatment.

Then there was a pressure chamber, yeah it’s probably exactly what you’re thinking.  Victims would be crammed into these chambers and the gauges were cranked up, all just to find out how long the human body could maintain under immense pressure.  The experiments usually ended once the victims eyeballs popped out.

Oh and then there’s the courtyard, sounds all peaceful and serene right?! Not so much ya’ll.  So out in the courtyard, prisoners would be staked to the ground within close proximity to experimental explosives.  After the bombs were detonated the subjects remains would be examined in order to discover the effects of the blast.  Really! my thoughts, it blew the poor bastards up! how much experimenting did that take and I’m pretty certain that my conclusion, though unscientific, is 100% correct, right!?

I even ran across some experiments that put me in the mind of Madame Laulaurie.  Quite often, limbs would be cut from unsedated subjects then reattached to other places on their body.  Sometimes these twisted doctors would cut the subjects open and rearrange their internal organs just to study the effects.  Gangrene was prompted by the doctors as well, in order to closer examine it’s effects on the human body.

Other subjects fell victim to their share of other sordid tortures, some were starved to death, burned to death, injected with animal blood or sea water to study the effects.  Some were burned to death or buried alive and some were spun to death on massive centrifuges.  All of this in the name of science in order to better establish what is known today as germ warfare.

So now that we all know more about the gruesome activities that took place at unit 731, is it any wonder that this joint is as haunted as hell!?  I should say not!  The investigators that have been, and are still on site today report that their electrical equipment doesn’t work at all there, any and all research done onsite has to be completed during the day because at night, the lights that are being used are drained by the presence of the spirits that haunt the grounds.  There are of course strange noises, sorrowful cries and the screams of those that died such gruesome deaths.

Live tours are ongoing as well as paranormal investigations.  Crews are finding it very difficult to investigate the site as their electrical equipment fails quickly upon arrival.  Tour guides will only lead groups through certain areas of the site as some areas are far too active to bring civilians.  One of those areas is the frost bite ward.  Guides state that they frequently see the misty forms of victims moving through the halls, there is the sound of heavy breathing and faces that materialize in reflective surfaces.  There are the sounds of trembling voices that beg for mercy as well as the presence of angry entities that want to exact their revenge.  Can’t say as that I blame them either!  I can’t imagine one happy memory that would tie these spirits to this place.  There have literally got to be tens of thousands of pissed off ghosts on these grounds!

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