Three years ago, my family and I went on a cross-country trip to Louisiana, and having a keen interest in the paranormal, toured many haunted locations along the way. One of these was the Bell Witch Cave, located in Adams, Tennessee. The Bell family had a house in the area near the cave over one hundred years ago. The father, John Bell, was mysteriously found dead, and was thought to have been poisoned by the spirit of a spiteful neighbor who swore on her deathbed that she would always haunt him. Today, this spirit sometimes sings to travelers and touches them if they enter the cave. Another legend is that the Bell Witch spirit will haunt any traveler that takes anything from inside the cave. Unexplainable mysterious orbs showed up later in the photos we took in the cave.
During the same trip, we also went on the French Quarter Ghosts and Legends Tour in New Orleans. A tremendous downpour soaked everyone on the tour, which added to the eerie feeling. One of the houses seen was the LaLaurie Mansion at 1140 Royal Street . When the house caught fire in 1834, dozens of slaves were discovered imprisoned in the attic, which served as a torture chamber. Some were mutilated and many were dead at the hands of Madame LaLaurie. On a side note, at the time of our trip, the LaLaurie home had been purchased by Nicholas Cage, who has an interest in haunted homes.
Some of the other houses on the tour also had mysterious fires started in them, but none of them burned down. Voodoo rituals brought over by slaves from Africa were also believed to be the cause of some of the hauntings in the neighborhood.
Our family also toured the McRaven Home in Vicksburg, Mississippi, which had had a Civil War cannonball lodged in one of its foyer walls. When the cannonball was being removed decades after the war, it rolled out of its hole in the wall and exploded! Luckily, no one was injured by the blast, and the damage to the house was able to be repaired. The house was also believed to have been haunted by ghostly spirits, including those of previous homeowners and Civil War soldiers that died on the grounds during the siege of Vicksburg. Ghostly images had been seen in mirrors, so we took pictures of all of the mirrors in the house. In one of these, we believed that a spirit had materialized in the form of an odd fog on the mirror’s surface which was not visible to the naked eye. In another picture, we thought that we saw a ghostly image of a girl, but it was really just a shadow being cast on the wall by a nearby lamp.
These were just a few of the many haunted places my family visited on our exciting trip to Louisiana. Not only did this trip pique my interest in paranormal activities, but also in history in general, which has facilitated my decision to become a historian.
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