Haunted houses are at the core of scary stories. Of course, not all of these stories are true. One of the most commonly visited haunted houses is Myrtles Plantation, in part due to the mirror that hangs in the home.
History of The Plantation
The Myrtles Plantation was built by David Bradford in 1794. Bradford was a man on the run, wanted for his role in the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania.
Leaving behind the protests, Bradford eventually settled down near St. Francisville, Louisiana. He bought 600 acres of land and built a house in 1796, and lived alone.
In 1799, Bradford was pardoned for his participation in the Whiskey Rebellion. Upon receiving the pardon, he traveled to Pennsylvania to retrieve his family and bring them to live with him in the home he had named Laurel Grove.
Every now and then Bradford would accept students of the law as his apprentices. One such student, Clark Woodrooff, married Bradford’s daughter Sarah Mathilda.
The same year the couple was married, Bradford died.
Over the next few years, Woodrooff and Sarah Mathilda had three children. In 1823, Sarah Mathilda died of yellow fever, a common illness at the time.
By the next year, their only son and one of their daughters had also perished from the same illness.
Once his mother-in-law passed away in 1830, Woodrooff moved himself and his only remaining child to Covington, Louisiana to focus on his law career.
Laurel Grove was sold in 1834 to a very wealthy man named Ruffin Grey Stirling. He officially changed the name of the plantation to “Myrtles”, and filled the home with fine imported furnishings.
Twenty-four years after purchasing the property, Stirling died from consumption, leaving behind his wife Mary.
Her son-in-law was appointed to help her manage the manor, until 1871 when he was shot outside the home and died of his wounds.
After this incident, the home changed hands several times, each with a tragic death of someone connected to the house. By the 1950’s, the ghostly stories began…
Hauntings at Myrtles
One of the main hauntings surrounds the story of a slave girl named Chloe, who was allegedly killed by the other slaves for poisoning one the meals prepared for Woodrooff and his family.
The legend says this meal directly resulted in the death of Sarah Mathilda and two of her children.
Visitors to the Myrtles have reported seeing Chloe wandering around the plantation, sometimes accompanied by the sound of wailing children.
As well, the oldest child of Stirling is said to have been murdered in the home, as a result of being stabbed over a gambling debt.
There is also a spot on the floor that supposedly can never be cleaned. Three Union soldiers allegedly broke into the home in an attempt to rob it and were shot in the parlor.
The spot is reportedly the same size as a human body and is where the soldiers fell.
The Mirror at Myrtles
A large framed mirror hangs in the Myrtle plantation and is said to retain the spirits of those who have died in the house.
Frequently, photographs taken by visitors of the mirror show multiple hand prints on the glass, despite the mirror being thoroughly cleaned.
Fact or Fiction?
Despite the intensity of these tales, many of them are simply untrue.
It is improbable that there was a slave named Chloe who poisoned the Woodrooff family. Most likely the story developed over time as the plantation changed ownership.
As well, historical records clearly show the accurate cause and date of death of Sarah Mathilda and her children, all of whom died of yellow fever.
The stabbing of Lewis Stirling due to a gambling debt is also false. Burial records state he lived to twenty-three years old, and also died of yellow fever.
In addition, there is no evidence to support the story of the Union soldiers breaking and entering. Members of the family who owned the house have denied the story.
The most perplexing part of Myrtle Plantation is the mirror. It has been studied extensively, and reports suggest that the hand prints could, in fact, be etched in the wood that supports the mirror.
When photographed, the light from the flash passes through the glass and records the marks, making them appear to be on the glass…
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