Ghosts, Hauntings & Related Phenomena

Written by Matthew James Didier

Television programs for the most part can be useful, but be wary. The “mass media” is out to sell soap.  I’ve watched too many programs that barely scratch the surface of the history or validation of the phenomena in order to give the viewer a “cheap thrill” or “big bang.

A perfect example that even “sucked in” yours truly was multiple television shows that sported the stories and evidence of a mansion/plantation called The Myrtles in Louisiana.

The story’s a good one.  Basically, it starts pre-emancipation with a slave/plantation owner having an affair with one of his slaves.  “Chloe” is her name in all the reports.  Chloe then, for various reasons, tries to poison the wife of this fellow, and instead, poisons the plantation owner’s children and as well as his wife.  Chloe is executed for the crime.

Now her ghost wanders the plantation (as do the kids she murdered by accident), and we have a photograph of her apparent apparition beside the home and the children sitting on the roof, as well as a handprint on an old mirror that cannot be “washed off.”

Good story.  I’m sure most of us have heard it.

Thanks to the work of the research team at the Virginia Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society, we now know it’s almost 100% bunk.  Yes, the photo exists…  It does seem to show the apparitions mentioned above. (See for information and to see the picture.)

But, here’s something you won’t hear on TV.  Let me quote directly the Virginia Ghosts & Hauntings Research Society’s study…

The Myrtles wasn't known to be haunted until the 1970s - all of the ghost stories originate around this time period. One of the ladies I talked to her family lived there from the time the Stirlings sold it in the late 1880 till 1955 and she never heard and stories of ghosts. Today she still lives on part of the original Myrtles property she inherited.

A copy of all the slave holders David Bradford and Clark Woodrooff (which I got at the courthouse) have no mention of a slave named Chloe.

The courthouse records also indicate that Sarah and the two children did die but not from poison but from yellow fever all within a years time. Sarah dying first.

The only murder to ever take place at the Myrtles was that of William Winter.  The true account can be found in a local paper of the day. William was called out onto the side gallery and when he got out there he was hit by a single shotgun blast to the chest and he fell dead right there. Never did he make his way back up the stairs and die at his wife's feet.

The famous mirror - that mirror was never in the house until it was remodeled in the late 1970's.

Nothing in the home today is original except one small piece in the dinning room that was sent back years latter from the Woodrooff family

The reason none of the tour guides wanted to talk about the ghosts is because the Louisiana Historical Society has gotten on them (reprimanded them) several times about talking about the ghost on day tours. If they get caught they can loose their statues with the state. That is why they do the weekend mystery tours.

So is the Myrtle’s haunted?  Maybe… Maybe all those folks that enter the site have “produced” the phenomena themselves via PK.  Maybe it’s not “Chloe” but someone else.  Maybe it is a hoax.  It’d be nice if those TV programs at least gave the public a chance to see all the information and not just the juicy bits.

It doesn’t matter… The television programs that I’ve seen that feature the Myrtles only talk about Chloe and her ghost.

Simple rule… Don’t take a television program’s word for anything.  Do your own research.

After all, despite what you may have heard, it was a television program in the late 1980s that told all of us that “orb,” “mist” and “vortex” photos were all ghostly in nature… Recent evidence to the contrary…