When most people think of hauntings in Louisiana, they usually go to the Myrtles Plantation first. While this location has appeared on numerous ghost hunting TV shows and paranormal focused websites, it isn’t the only plantation in the state that is known for unexplained activity.
Haunted Louisiana: The Magnolia Plantation
The Magnolia Plantation in Derry, Louisiana was first established during the 19th century. It’s roots actually go as far back as the 18th century when Jean Baptiste LeComte II received Spanish and French land grants.
The plantation was created in 1835 by Jean Baptiste’s son Ambrose and his wife Julia. The grounds once encompassed over 5,000 wooded acres with 2,000 cleared to make room for cotton fields. All the work was done using slave labor.
The plantation’s historic appeal comes from 21 buildings still standing there, which is an unusually high number of preserved structures for a surviving plantation. These buildings include eight brick cabins that were quarters for the plantation’s workers. The two roomed living spaces were intended to accommodate entire families of slaves, which sometimes included over 10 individuals with a modest fireplace to supply heat.
Surprisingly, the Magnolia Plantation managed to survive long after slavery was abolished. People would still hand-pick cotton on the property as recently as the 1970s. The farm on the property was gone by the 1980s but the store remained open until the 1990s.
The once beautiful property was falling into disrepair due to neglect. It was saved in 1994 when it was donated to the National Parks Service for preservation.
Paranormal Activity at the Magnolia Plantation
The Magnolia Plantation’s history is tightly woven with themes of Voodoo. These practices were believed to be common among the slaves, who sometimes used it to get revenge on their ruthless masters. Many feel that this dark history contributes heavily to the location’s paranormal activity.
The paranormal TV show Ghost Adventures filmed their June 26th, 2009 episode at Magnolia Plantation. During the initial interviews, lead investigator Zak Bagans spoke with owner and lifelong resident Ms. Betty Hertzog who shared the story of Mr. Miller who was overseer of the plantation during the Civil War. When soldiers moved in on the main house to burn it down, Miller stood on the front porch and attempted to plead with the men to spare the building. He was shot on sight and then buried on the property. Hertzog stated that when something goes missing, they usually blame the spirit of Mr. Miller.
Herzog also described hearing footsteps in an upstairs bedroom when she was a child.
Dr. Ken Brown, an anthropologist from the University of Houston, shared a personal experience he had while looking for artifacts at the plantation. He stated that they left tools inside Cabin 1 after finishing up for the day. When they returned the following morning to retrieve them, they discovered a line of yellow powder that had been deliberately placed across the doorway. He also reported items being moved across the room and a padlocked door that was mysteriously no longer padlocked.
Cabin 1 is believed to be the former home of a well-known healer named aunt Agnes, who allegedly lived to be 120. Dr. Brown and others believe that the activity may be caused by Agnes’ restless spirit.
A variety of other unexplained activity has also been reported on the Magnolia Plantation. Motion sensors have been set off with no one around and apparitions are spotted within the main house. Disembodied voices have also been heard.
The Magnolia Plantation Today
The Magnolia Plantation is well-maintained and continues to serve as an important historic landmark, paranormal hot spot and national park (the national park link may not work until the government decides to go back to work and end the current shut down). The park portion of the property is known as the Cane River Creole National Historic Park while the main house and farming acreage still belongs to surviving members of the Hertzog family.
Have you been to the Magnolia Plantation (or would you like to go)? Share your personal experiences or investigative approach to this location in the comments.