Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
The Myrtles Plantation
St. Francisville, Louisiana
No.1 on list of Worlds Most Haunted Places was 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 ten murders have been committed there, but others, such as Troy Taylor and David Wisehart, have only been able to confirm one murder at Myrtles. (Those two authors provide a very good history of the house in their article, The Legends, Lore & Lies of The Myrtles Plantation).
Even they agree, however, that the place is seriously haunted and easily qualifies as one of the "most haunted." These are some of the ghosts that allegedly haunt the house:
* Cleo – a former slave who was allegedly hung on the premises for killing two little girls. (Those murders and even the existence of Cleo are in question.)
* 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 to 1871. 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 footsteps that can still be heard on the staircase to this day. (Winter's murder is the only one that has been verified.)
* The ghosts of other slaves allegedly occasionally show up to ask if they can do any chores.
* The grand piano has often been heard to play by itself, repeating one haunting chord.
Now a bed and breakfast, The Myrtles Plantation has opened its doors to guests who often report disturbances in the night. My colleague, 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. She was unable to move or cry out for help. She didn't think the stay was as great as I did. They let you ghost hunt on the grounds whenever you like, but you can't ghost hunt in the main house without an escort. I suggest setting up a video camera in your room and bring a tape recorder to obtain EVP."
The Tower of London
NO. 2 on Worlds Most Haunted Places The Tower of London, one of the most famous and well-preserved historical buildings in the world, may also be one of the most haunted. This is due, no doubt, to the scores of executions, murders and tortures that have taken place within its walls over the last 1,000 years. Dozens upon dozens of ghost sightings have been reported in and around the Tower. On one winter day in 1957 at 3 a.m., a guard was disturbed by something striking the top of his guardhouse. When he stepped outside to investigate, he saw a shapeless white figure on top of the tower. It was then realized that on that very same date, February 12, Lady Jane Grey was beheaded in 1554.
Perhaps the most well-known ghostly resident of the Tower is the spirit of Ann Boleyn, one of the wives of Henry VIII, who was also beheaded in the Tower in 1536. Her ghost has been spotted on many occasions, sometimes carrying her head, on Tower Green and in the Tower Chapel Royal.
Other ghosts of the Tower include those of Henry VI, Thomas a Becket and Sir Walter Raleigh. One of the most gruesome ghost stories connected with the Tower of London describes death of the Countess of Salisbury. According to one account, "the Countess was sentenced to death in 1541 following her alleged involvement in criminal activities (although it is now widely believed that she was probably innocent). After being sent struggling to the scaffold, she ran from the block and was pursued until she was hacked to death by the axe man." Her execution ceremony has been seen re-enacted by spirits on Tower Green.
Eastern State Penitentiary
No. 3 on Worlds Most Haunted Places is Eastern State Penitentiary has become a favorite destination for ghost hunters as well as the public at large since it has been opened to tours.
Built in 1829, the imposing Gothic structure was originally designed to hold 250 inmates in solitary confinement. At the height of its use, however, as many as 1,700 prisoners were crammed into the cells. Like many such places of high emotional stress, misery and death, the prison has become haunted.
One of its most famous inmates was none other than Al Capone, was was incarcerated there on illegal weapons possession in 1929. During his stay, it is said that Capone was tormented by the ghost of James Clark, one of the men Capone had murdered in the infamous St. Valentine's Day massacre.
Other reported haunting activity includes:
* A shadow-like figure that scoots quickly away when approached.
* A figure that stands in the guard tower.
* An evil cackling reportedly comes from cellblock 12.
* In cellblock 6, another shadowy figure has been seen sliding down the wall.
* Mysterious, ghostly faces are said to appear in cellblock 4.
Unfortunately, not all of these cells are open to the public, even on the tours.
The Queen Mary
Long Beach, California
No. 4 on Worlds Most Haunted Places is This grand old ship is quite haunted, according to the many people who have worked on and visited the craft. Once a celebrated luxury ocean liner, when it ended its sailing days the Queen Mary was purchased by the city of Long Beach, California in 1967 and transformed into a hotel.
The most haunted area of the ship is the engine room where a 17-year-old sailor was crushed to death trying to escape a fire. Knocking and banging on the pipes around the door has been heard and recorded by numerous people. In what is now the front desk area of the hotel, visitors have seen the ghost of a "lady in white."
Ghosts of children are said to haunt the ship's pool. The spirit of a young girl, who allegedly broke her neck in an accident at the pool, has been heard asking for her mother or her doll. In the hallway of the pool's changing rooms is an area of unexplained activity. Furniture moves about by itself, people feel the touch of unseen hands and unknown spirits appear. In the front hull of the ship, a specter can sometimes be heard screaming - the pained voice, some believe, of a sailor who was killed when the Queen Mary collided with a smaller ship.
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