I have been much of a believer in the supernatural but this did get my attention. Known as “one of America’s most haunted homes,” Myrtles Plantation is supposedly the home of 12 ghosts. Not only that, but it’s also reputedly built over an Indian burial ground. To make it a trifecta of terror, people were murdered there, too. But it’s the mirror that contains the spirits of Sara Woodruff and her children that got my attention. After their deaths, per custom, the mirrors were covered, but someone forgot to cover one and hey presto! They are now trapped. Visitors have reported seeing hand prints in the mirror.
Built in 1796 by General David Bradford, this stately old home on Myrtles Plantation is said to be haunted be several restless ghosts. Some researchers say as many as twelve murders have been committed there.
These are some of the ghosts that allegedly haunt the house (and it's quite a long list):
- Chloe – a former slave who was allegedly hung on the premises for killing two little girls
- The ghosts of the two murdered children have been seen playing on the veranda
- William Drew Winter – an attorney who lived at Myrtles from 1860 to1871. He was shot on the side porch of the house by a stranger. With his life's blood pouring from his body, Winter staggered into the house and began to climb the stairs to the second floor... but didn't make it. He collapsed and died on the 17th step. It is his last dying foot stepsthat can still be heard on the staircase to this day
- During the Civil War, the house was ransacked by Union soldiers, and legend claims that three were killed in the house
- The ghosts of other slaves allegedly occasionally show up to ask if they can do any chores
- The plantation is also reportedly haunted by a young girl who died in 1868, despite being treated by a local voodoo practitioner. She supposedly appears in the room in which she died, and has been reported to practice voodoo on people sleeping in the room
- The grand piano has often been heard to play by itself, repeating one haunting chord
- A mirror located in the house supposedly holds the spirits of Sara Woodruff and two of her children. According to custom, mirrors are covered after a death, but legend says that after the poisoning of the Woodruffs, this particular mirror was overlooked. The uncovered mirror reportedly trapped the spirits of Sara and her children, who are occasionally seen or leave hand prints in the mirror.
The legend of Chloe
Possibly the most well known of the Myrtles supposed ghosts, Chloe was reportedly a slave owned by Clark and Sara Woodruff. According to one story, Clark Woodruff had pressured or forced Chloe into being his mistress. Other versions of the legend have Chloe listening in at keyholes to learn news of Clark Woodruff's business dealings or for other purposes.After being caught, either by Clark or Sara Woodruff, one of her ears was cut off, and she wore a green turban to hide it.
Chloe supposedly baked a birthday cake containing extract of boiled and reduced oleander leaves, which are extremely poisonous. The various legends diverge as to why she did this. According to the legends, her plan backfired.Only Sara and her two daughters ate the cake, and all died from the poison. Chloe was then supposedly hanged by the other slaves, and thrown into the Mississippi River, either as punishment or to escape punishment by Clark Woodruff for harboring her.
Now a bed and breakfast, The Myrtles Plantation has opened its doors to guests who often report disturbances in the night. Stacey Jones, founder of Central New York Ghost Hunters, reports on her stay there:
"It was a spectacular place to stay, if you keep an open mind. While taking the guided tour, I saw what looked like a heavyset African-American woman wearing an apron walk by the door, on the porch.Thinking it was a worker in period dress, I peeked out and no one was there. We stayed in the children's bedroom, and my best-friend (who was a non-believer at the time) experienced quite a bit of paranormal phenomena. She was held down in the bed and constantly poked all night.I suggest setting up a video camera in your room and bring a tape recorder to obtain EVP."
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