Myrtles Plantation, named after the crepe myrtle trees that dot its premises, is said to be the most haunted building in the United States. Although it was built in 1796, rumors of hauntings didn’t emerge until the 1950s, but they’ve been so persistent that the building’s owners now give ghost tours.
Myrtles has a rich and tragic history, but as you’ll soon see, much of the history has been embellished or even fabricated to give credence to the ghost stories.
Among the phenomena reported at the plantation:
- Tourists and ghost hunters frequently report strange orbs and lighting effects appearing in photos they take on the Plantation. One of the most famous images is reputedly that of “Chloe,” an alleged slave girl around whom many of the legends resolve but who may have never even existed.
- Handprints suddenly appear on mirrors.
- Footsteps are often heard on the stairs—specifically, loud footsteps leading up to the seventeenth step, where former owner William Winter reportedly collapsed after being shot outside and struggling up the stairs to meet his beloved before he perished.
- Water fountains suddenly turn on and off in the middle of the night.
- Lamps are said to move across tables while being filmed.
- A film crew working on the movie The Long Hot Summer swear that after they rearranged furniture in a room for a shoot, some unknown force moved everything exactly back to where it had been—repeatedly.
- One employee who had been hired to greet guests at the front gate abruptly quit after he says he witnessed a woman wearing a long, flowing white dress walk past him and vanish through the house’s front door.
- Ghostlike children are often seen and heard playing throughout the house and the premises.
- The grand piano on the ground floor is said to spontaneously start playing by itself and will only stop playing when someone walks in the room.
- A young girl with curly hair has been repeatedly spotted floating outside the window of the game room, cupping her face as if to strain to see what’s happening inside.
- The house is rumored to have been built on a Native American burial ground, which may explain why there have been multiple sightings of a young Native girl haunting the premises.
- According to legend, three Union soldiers were killed while attempting to ransack the house during the Civil War. When attempting to clean up their blood, a servant reported that the mop refused to go anywhere near the blood stains. (As it turns out, Union soldiers were never killed in the house.)
- A mirror in one of the rooms reportedly shows a mother and her two children who were allegedly murdered by a slave girl named Chloe.
Oh, and speaking of Chloe—she’s the most persistent legend about the plantation’s haunting.
Myrtles Plantation: The Tragic Story of “Chloe,” the Slave Girl Who Was Murdered By Other Slaves For Murdering Three Members of the Slave Owner’s Family
In the 1950s, after the Plantation had passed through numerous hands, rumors started emerging that the ghost of an old white woman wearing a green bonnet started appearing on the Plantation.
This quickly morphed into a much more elaborate story about a black slave girl named Chloe.
As the story went, Chloe was the mistress of plantation owner Clark Woodruff, who spared her the brutal work of the cotton fields in exchange for sex. When Chloe grew insecure that she was about to be replaced with another slave girl and banished to the cotton fields, she began eavesdropping on private family conversations, which led Mr. Woodruff to cut off one of her ears. Chloe hid the ugly scar by wearing a green turban.
Then—either to redeem herself in the family’s eyes by rescuing them from a poisoning or either to kill them outright with poison, it’s unclear—she baked a cake that was spiked with poisonous oleander leaves. As the legend has it, Mr. Woodruff’s wife and two daughters died almost immediately after eating the cake.
To spare themselves the retribution that would surely befall them if they were to be blamed as a group for murdering three members of the Woodruff family, the plantation’s slaves allegedly lynched her on a nearby tree, then cut her down, weighted her with rocks, and dumped her in the Mississippi River.
Chloe sightings are the most frequently reported phenomena at the Plantation. Many visitors claim to have awakened abruptly in the middle of the night to see Chloe standing at the foot of their bed, blankly staring at them. And the Plantation still sells postcards featuring a blurry picture of what is supposed to be Chloe’s ghost standing between two of the buildings on the Plantation.
Further legends about the Plantation include the idea that ten people were murdered there. In reality, the only verified murder ever to have taken place at the Plantation was that of owner William Winter shortly after the Civil War ended.
Myrtles Plantation: Facts v. Fiction
Although most paranormal experts agree that the Plantation is haunted, they also agree that much of the mythology surrounding the hauntings has been fabricated.
For example: There is no public record of the Bradford family, who owned the Plantation while Chloe was allegedly alive, ever owned a slave girl with such a name.
And Mrs. Woodruff did indeed die, as did two of Mr. Woodruff’s children. The difference is that they all died of yellow fever—not cake poisoning—over the span of a few years. The fact is that Woodruff had a daughter and a son who died, not two daughters.
Regardless of the truth, sightings run rampant at the Plantation, which has been converted into the world’s spookiest bed and breakfast. What follows are the real-life testimonials of those who’ve been brave enough to take the tour.
Testimonials From Tourists Who’ve Visited Myrtles Plantation
The following are all reviews from tourists who say they experienced something paranormal at Myrtles Plantation:
This is a real haunted plantation. We took photos and when we got home and looked at the photos we saw the face of a little girl sitting on the stairs going up to the second floor and she was smiling at us!!! There were also many orbs captured in the photo’s on the front porch and in the front garden area. A must for ghost hunters!!! I’m a believer!!!
As soon as we pulled up to the Plantation my husband didn’t feel right. I snapped a picture in broad daylight and there was a mist and a white thing in the picture that looked like a cocoon. We went on the tour and he again didn’t feel right. We go into the caretaker cabin were we were staying it is so hot that he takes his shirt off and he has a scratch on his back it is in between where you can’t reach if your trying to scratch your own back. That night a 2:00 a.m my granddaughter and I walk around the plantation shooting random pictures. We come back to the cottage and lay down. I am awakened when my granddaughter is saying, “Come on, let’s go play.” I asked her if she was awake she says yes, turns to me, and starts making rabbit noises with her teeth. About 3 a.m we start hearing someone walking across our porch, back and forth but no one was there. When we got home I was looking at the pictures on the computer; I had several pictures of mist and orbs BUT when I looked at the picture I took of the water fountain on the right side of the porch is a little girl! Myrtle Plantation definitely has spirits!!
The presence of the spirits there is real. My kids and myself were touched and we saw a rocking chair moving with no one occupying it. It’s a must-see!
We all highly enjoyed this tour! The staff was very knowledgeable about the history and the strange happenings of the house. We have some eerie pics will never forget being touched by an ice-cold hand that wasn’t there!
My fiancé felt someone blowing in her left ear as we entered the dining room and we also saw a hand print form on the bed in the downstairs bedroom! Freaky to say the least!
There are things that go bump in the night, especially in the main house (General Bradford room). And if you can sleep in the slave quarters cabin, look out the window about 3am and if “she” has legs or is “she” floating? You be the judge. Truly an eye-opening (all night) experience….
When we stayed, there were no other guests. We saw a young boy pull the curtains and shyly wave to us (how awesome to be welcomed by a ghost?).…That night, we heard footsteps on the veranda and honored to be tucked into bed by Chloe (she is reputed to tuck guests in on a regular basis). around 4:00am, we were both awakened by a very loud noise. I can’t tell you what made it or what it sounded like, but it was LOUD! We were told that it could have been from the memory of Winter who after being shot, stumbled up to the 17th stair and died in his wife’s arms.
After viewing the pictures taken from the ghost tour in the one area of the house that we were allowed to photograph an image showed up. It looks like the image of a male figure in some type of gray clothing. When I zoomed the image, it is clearly evident that the image is transparent but is in human form.