Green Dot Mystery: What REALLY happened at the Myrtles.

Is Myrtles Plantation really haunted?

I found THIS in a library book a few days before we left.

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By we I mean me and Emily. Friend, fellow writer, and the only other chick I know with a selection of kaftans.

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I find stuff in books all the time. And though June 23rd was already behind us, I felt it was some kind of message. I showed it to Emily who lived in New Orleans and knows about this stuff.

“June 23rd is St. John’s Eve,” she explained.  “It’s the Voodoo High Holy Day.”

I also learned (according to voodoo practitioners) the spirit world comes closest to the living on St. John’s Eve.

So Emily and I drove to Louisiana with high hopes and fun outfits. Real-life hauntings are fairly rare, but the Myrtles is generally agreed (among paranormal professionals) to be legitimately haunted.

Are we the kind of dorks that prance around plantations in kaftans?

YES.  Yes, we are.

IMG_2562We chose the Fannie Williams ( A.K.A Doll) Room because it looked the creepiest online. I mean, who doesn’t want to sleep next to a frozen porcelain child?

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I expected to be blasted with feelings upon entering the property, but that wasn’t the case. I will say the grounds and surrounding wooded area felt charged in that static-y way prevalent in ‘haunted’ places. But if I feel that in open air, it probably has more to do with the land than the house.

NOW–

If a house is built ON that land, then certain rooms will be susceptible to that same crackly energy, spatially consistent with whatever’s happening outside. Does that make sense?

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We wanted to explore the property before it got too dark. I don’t know what Emily felt on that initial walk (we separated for objectivity) but I couldn’t block out the past.  It must be the same at Auschwitz or Ground Zero or any other place where history hides its face in shame. And it has nothing to do with ‘ghosts.’

I can’t walk on an old plantation and not think of slaves. Especially the children. And it made me feel gross and consumer-y seeing their old quarters spit-shined into little cabins. Porches lined with rocking chairs overlooking a pond full of screaming frogs.

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But was it HAUNTED?

I did some research before we left.

Whereas the Myrtles sustains its reputation on a VERY compelling photo of “Chloe” and her illicit relationship with owner Clarke Woodruff, there’s no actual record of Chloe having existed. —At least no written proof.

The story goes that Clarke Woodruff forced young slave Chloe to be his concubine; and that one day he caught her eavesdropping, so he cut off her ear. Chloe took revenge by mixing deadly oleander into a birthday cake, killing Mrs. Woodruff and her children and BOOM! the place is haunted.

But here’s the deal.

Sara Woodruff (fact) and her adult children (fact) died of yellow fever in 1823 and 1824. So the “Chloe” story, whereas super fun to tell around a campfire and on tours at 15 bucks a pop —-is false.

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So who is this ghost in the famous photo?

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Is it really a ghost?

I believe it is.

And what about this pic?

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If these photos are legit —and I think they are— then something’s wandering this property.

But what? Who? 

Emily and I walked beneath mossy oaks, quiet and thoughtful because old trees have seen a lot and deserve respect. But also because that feeling I described earlier. Like the house and grounds are living, breathing entities and you wanna tread lightly so as not to disturb.

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So we took photos. Slapped mosquitos.

Emily collected moss.

I found a penny and put it in my pocket.

And then it got dark.

So now about the room.

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Pretty, right?

Apart from a mutual feeling we needed to keep it tidy, there were no overt signs of spirit. Still, we took showers, prayed, and meditated to get our minds right, then headed to the patio for our own private happy hour.

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And let me tell you.

Sitting under a bright moon with a dear friend drinking bubbly on sacred ground is a special feeling indeed.

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Isn’t it lovely?

I felt super-privileged holding a room key while drive-by ghost hunters milled around whispering, their camera flashes perforating the night. Particularly busy was the corridor where ‘Chloe’ was captured.

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Between the crowds and prosecco, I couldn’t tap into the house.

So we talked.

We talked about books, ghosts, angels, poetry, history, travel, intuition, Louisiana heat, and wondered how our night would go. Finally it was just us, the moon, and a thousand frogs challenging the cicadas to we got spirit, yes we do!

Emily stared at the house.

“I want to go on the porch,” she said, emptying her wine.

The porch was an extremely long wooden wrap-around, and dark as hell.

“Let’s go.” I drained mine, too.

We grabbed our cameras and ducked under the chains separating the porch from the public.

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We walked up and down.

Back and forth.

Quietly.

Separately.

Trying to feel.

Then Emily called me over.

“I feel nothing until I walk by this window,” she said. “This one feels different.”

I met her at the tall window.

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It was one of those concentrated energy spots. Nothing major. But she was right. We put our hands on thick glass, smeared with condensation — and both felt a low-level vibration. Maybe like a refrigerator humming but way less than that. And as we stood there acknowledging, I’ll admit the feeling deepened.

We peered inside.

Dark furniture outlined a pretty room. If it were a movie, it’d been the perfect time for a face to appear and scare the crap out of us.

“Let’s take pictures,” I said, backing away.

I own no fancy ghost-detector equipment. Just intuition, pen and paper.

(and iPhone).

Please find the two greendots in the following photos.

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These anomalies are definitely worth a closer look.

What’s interesting is:

  1. They move in tandem along the porch. Sometimes close, then further apart. But together.
  2. Look at their shape. In the last photo (if you zoom) they almost look like shoes.
  3. There are tiny tracers behind them in each photo.
  4. They’re green.

Is it reflection from a porch light?

Don’t think so.

There are dim lights all along the porch. Plus, reflections don’t move.

Is it green light reflecting from the hanging fern?

(Probably not.)

Is it light catching the bugs?

Mmm . . . maybe?

But I don’t think so.

Please see the ‘orb’ in the left side of this photo.

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That’s a bug.

So is this evidence of a ‘ghost’?

I’m sticking with MAYBE and I want to go back.

Anyway, it was time for bed.

I’m happy to report no dolls moved while we were sleeping. The only disturbance was our drunk-ass foyer neighbors coming in late.

The next morning we took the house tour, where a VERY impressive guide took us room to room, relaying house history and a whole lotta lore.

Here, she emulated Chloe eavesdropping on her master.

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And I gotta tell you. I started to feel a little bad for the late Clarke Woodruff. Like, obviously I didn’t know the guy. And maybe he did have his way with a slave.

But maybe he didn’t.

Yet this is his legacy. A child-raping, ear-lobbing philanderer.

I found myself wondering what really happened in those bedrooms. Staring at flaking wallpaper and imported chandeliers, I could almost imagine.

And imagine I did.

Knowing Chloe’s story was mostly made-up, I started adding my own details.

We weren’t allowed to take photos in the main house. But finally we got to the hot spot, the room we peered into last night. And our guide confirmed something:

“Every psychic, every medium who’s ever come to Myrtles says this is the spiritual center of the house.” She opened doors to Mrs. Woodruff’s pretty antique parlor.

We oohed and ahhed at the paintings.  The sewing box. The little writing desk. The petit-point settees.

“ . . . a vortex, if you will.”

(I won’t.)

I hate the word vortex.

But it affirmed our feeling that something was UP with that room.

In summary, I think it’s kind of shitty that Mr. Clarke Woodruff goes down in history as a slave-rapist. I mean, what if he was a super nice guy? What if his wife was the asshole?

Coupled with that note I found at the library, a little voodoo history, and our own Myrtles experience, my story was born.

I finished my first draft of Rosie & June a few weeks later, and insecurity crept in while editing, like maybe I took it a little far and shouldn’t publish. But minutes later (literally), a friend texted me from Half-Price books, where she found a signed copy of MINDER.

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With that little sign, I published.

I hope you enjoyed Rosie & June Get a Room.

If anyone has theories about the green dots, I’d love to hear them.

As for the Myrtles, I wanna go back and stay in a different room. (You in, Emily?)

Thank you as always for reading.

love,

Jennifer

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2 thoughts on “Green Dot Mystery: What REALLY happened at the Myrtles.

  1. Hi. Emily here. I thought I’d add my two cents about this experience, although Jennifer really nailed it. One thing she didn’t mention is that when we booked the room, probably six weeks in advance, we were looking at pictures of the different Myrtles rooms online and when we saw the Fannie Williams room, we both got goosebumps. Like, spirit was oozing out the the photos.

    We arrived in the early evening and purposefully avoided talking a tour before experiencing the place because we didn’t want the tour to influence our experience. Walking around the grounds, I felt the way Jennifer did: that the grounds felt charged. It was that same kind of feeling that you feel (or imagine you would feel) in a high-voltage area or when you feel like someone is watching you and then you look up and they are — only it was also nothing like any of that. It wasn’t uncomfortable exactly, but it was like there was some kind of awareness or aliveness. Could have been all the big, beautiful trees and bugs and birds, but we walked around the next day too, and it felt completely different.

    Like Jennifer, I was also a little unnerved by the commercialization of the slave shacks and the whole slave story. I am a poet and currently at work on a collection of narrative poems, some of which are from antebellum perspectives, and include the voices of former slaves. For this work, I’ve done a lot of research into the lives of people who were slaves, including oral histories. During this trip I was reading a book called “Slave Narratives of Texas.” So it was impossible to avoid awareness of the suffering and mistreatment of the men and women who really made that plantation function. When we prayed and meditated later that evening, I tried to just honor those men and women and children, and whatever secret horrors they’d taken to their unmarked graves. To simply acknowledge the injustice that had unfolded on that soil, within those walls, Chloe or no Chloe.

    I mean, maybe there was a Chloe. But it’s kind of terrible that her name is the only one spoken.

    Another thing I should mention is that I’m not a psychic. Not like Jennifer. I haven’t done the hard work and don’t have the natural talent she has. But I do have an okay sense of intuition and HAVE had some experiences with dead people. And I love kaftans. Reeeeally love them. One day, when I hit menopause, I’ll probably stop wearing regular clothes and pitch my whole wardrobe in favor of a kaftan collection.

    About the “special” window: I must have walked back and forth in front of it twenty times to be sure. Yes, I’d had a little wine and I know that’s a no-no when it comes to sensing spirit. But this was undeniable. It felt electo-magnetic. Like something in my lower abdomen connected every time I went by. It was weird. So I called Jennifer over to see what she thought, because she’s objective even after a glass of champagne and would tell me, “That’s all you, girl.” But she felt it too. She asked me to take some pictures of her walking around on the porch for her blog, and I did. We didn’t notice the green dots until the next day.

    Honestly, I was sort of disappointed that the ghosts didn’t poke us, that the dolls didn’t tumble from the mantlepiece in the middle of the night. A spooky dream. Something. Anything. I once had a Confederate Soldier wake me in the middle of the night in a French Quarter hotel. It scared me s—less at the time but it was also kind of cool. Like, confirmation that there’s *something* more than what we can see or rationalize.

    I guess I don’t need that kind of confirmation anymore.

    I also don’t need the souls or psychic remnants of anyone — especially not a former slave — to amuse me. So while I totally believe the Myrtles has *something* supernatural going on, as do many places in the Deep South where people died nameless deaths, and if you worked there or just happened to be there at the “right” place and “right” time, you’d experience it, I’m okay with the fact that we didn’t “see” a ghost.

    But, yeah, Jen, I’d totally go back. Anytime.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was a fun read! I love your stories fiction or non fiction. Thanks for sharing! Hope Harvey is staying strong bless his heart.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

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