Weird Wednesdays: The Ghost Town of Rodney Mississippi

Rodney Mississippi, tales of ghosts abound in this place. Although, with nobody around to see them, who really knows….

Nestled above the banks of the mighty Missississippi, this small town was once destined for great things.  It was only three votes shy of becoming the capital of the Mississippi Territory.  In the 1860’s, Rodney was booming. It had almost 4,000 residents and was the busiest port between New Orleans and St.Louis.  Rodney Mississippi quickly became the place to be, drawing settlers from England and Germany.

However, the draw of the promising town soon diminished when yellow fever spread through the town, devastating the population, not once, but twice. Natchez physicians visited the town and reported back that it was almost depopulated due to the illness.

Later on, the town saw some Civil War action. With Union gunboat “The Rattler” stationed outside of Rodney, Yankee sailors tried to infiltrate the town.  Awarkdly posing as townsfolk, they attended church services one morning at the Presbyterian Church.  A Lieutenant Allen for the Confederate Calvary called out the Yankee sailors. He demanded they surrender, but his demands were met with gunfire ringing throughout the church. The congregation scattered, diving under pews and running outside in a hail of gunfire.  Except for one old lady, who climbed up on her pew and proclaimed “Glory be to God”. However, that didn’t stop the gunboat outside from firing a cannonball through the church.

Then in 1869, the town was almost completely consumed by a fire, leaving very few structures untouched. However, this was not the last nail in the coffin, so to speak. In 1870, the Mississippi River underwent a natural transformation, a newly formed sandbar altered the course of the river and shifted it two miles west of Rodney. Thus the town was then bypassed by the railroad, due to the town being so severely fire damaged and no longer a port of commerce.

Want to visit the historic ghost town yourself?  Directions given by the Historic Rodney Facebook Page

“From Hwy 61, take the Alcorn State University exit to hwy 552 West. Go about 3 miles until you see a turning lane to turn left. Take that turn, then the next left on Firetower Rd. There will be a water tank at the turn. When that road ends, take a right. Travel about 6 miles and it will bring you into Rodney. The road will turn to gravel before you get there. Don’t give up though! It will go back to pavement at the top of the hill leading into the old town!”

 

The Witches of Mississippi

Oh…Now, I’m not talking about your Mother-in-Law here!  I’m referring to REAL WITCHES, think broomsticks, cauldrons, and spells of enchantment.  Ol’ Shakespeare probably said it the best:

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
 
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
Witch Dance on the Natchez Trace

As the legend goes there is a spot on the Natchez Trace that was a popular meeting place for witches. They were seen by many performing rituals, dances and ceremonies late at night. It is said that where ever the witches feet touched the ground, the grass would wither and die, never to grow again. The Chickasaw and Chocktaw Indians immediately began to avoid the scorched patches of ground.  During the War of 1812 and the Creek War that followed, Andrew Jackson traveled the Natchez Trace frequently. He even noted the scorched spots of earth in his journal.

Some locals still avoid “Witch Dance” and the area around the Indian mounds after dark. ” Witch Dance” is open to the public as a camping ground and bicycle trail and is located along the Trace in the Tombigbee National Forrest.

Location:  Natchez Trace Pkwy, Houston, MS 38851

The Witch of Yazoo

This Witch seemed like a broad you wouldn’t want to mess with, especially since she burned down all of Yazoo City.  As the story goes, the Witch was living on the banks of the Yazoo River and luring fishermen into her home. She would then poison them and bury their bodies in the nearby hillside.  After a while, she was caught redhanded, with two dead bodies on the floor of her cabin that she had been practicing witchcraft on.

The Witch was chased into Panther Swamp by some Deputies of the law. When they finally caught up to her, she was sinking in quicksand and vowed to return in 20 years to burn down the town. The Witch sunk to her death and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, with a chain placed around her grave, to keep her spirit from coming back.

Twenty years later, a devastating fire tore through Yazoo City. Witnesses said the flames leaped through the air as if fueled by some sort of supernatural force.  It left over 200 homes and most of the businesses reduced to a pile of ash. When the town’s people made it to the Witch’s grave, the chains were broken.

A headstone with the “Story of the Witch” was placed upon her grave in the 1990’s and shortly after was mysteriously broken. Just recently, some of the chains surrounding the Witch’s grave have been stolen. Disturbing the grave is said to unleash the curse.

Location: Glenwood Cemetery, Yazoo City, MS 39194

 

 

Natchez- Mississippi’s Most Haunted Town

Ah…. beautiful, historic Natchez, kissed by the muddy Mississippi. Streets lined with grand oaks, heavy with moss and historic homes as far as the eye can see, Natchez beckons to travelers with stories of mystery and murder.

Linden Bed & Breakfast

Dating back to the 1700s,  this sprawling southern estate is believed to be haunted.  There are so many claims of paranormal activity at this property, that it is considered to be one of the most haunted hotels in Mississippi. Some have spotted a ghostly horse-drawn carriage in the driveway. Others have reported the sounds of a cane tapping in the gallery. Maybe the phantom cane tapper could be the top hat wearing apparition, who appears in the children’s bedrooms. Last but not least, is the woman seen throwing herself from the roof, only to disappear before hitting the ground.

http://www.lindenbandb.com/

Location: 1 Conner Circle Natchez, MS 39120

Longwood- Nutt’s Folly  

This Oriental Villa was designed for one of Natchez’s planter elite, Haller Nutt, and his wife, Julia.  Such a grand sight to see, construction was started in 1860 and was later halted over rising tensions over the Civil War. The home’s exterior was mostly completed, while the interior was left unfinished, except for the lowest level.  The affluent Nutt family lived in the basement until the twentieth century. Thus, the property was dubbed “Nutt’s Folly”.

A reminder to all of us, that not everything is what it appears to be.

According to reports, the Nutt family never left the mansion. Their ghosts can still be seen roaming the vast property. The mother, Julia, is usually seen on the staircase.  Julia is often described as wearing a pale pink hoop skirt.  Some claim you can smell her rose perfume when she is nearby.

Dr. Haller Nutt, the man of the house, is always dressed in traditional period clothing. He has been spotted inside of the mansion, as well as in the garden. The resident director at Longwood received quite a fright by the ghost of Dr. Nutt. She woke up one night with her head lifted off the pillow, but no one was there. She said she felt afraid and was unable to free her head from the grasp of the unseen entity.  The incident was believed to be the work of Haller, obviously trying to frighten her.  In contrast, it is said that if Mr. Nutt likes you, he will leave a square nail on the ground for you to find.

Location:  140 Lower Woodville Rd, Natchez, MS 39120

King’s Tavern 

Easily one of the oldest buildings in Natchez built sometime in the 1700s, it once served as a tavern and an inn. Owned by prominent Natchezian, Richard King. His torrid affair could be the very reason for the paranormal activity that has made King’s Tavern infamous.

King hired a 16-year-old girl to work in his tavern, as a server and the young beauty caught his eye.  At first, Madeline resisted, knowing he was married and she was engaged herself, but King was very persistent and used every opportunity to make a pass at her. She finally succumbed to his advances and they began a secret love affair.

At least they thought it was a secret.

That was until Madeline disappeared without a trace.  Mr. King’s wife apparently found out about the affair and was enraged.  I’m not saying she killed Madeline, but she wasn’t too upset about her being “gone”. Mr.King, however, was heartbroken.  And, that was the last time anyone had seen Madeline until much, much later.

In the 1930s, some renovations needed to be done on the property. While tearing down the fireplace in the main room of the tavern, three mummified bodies were found entombed in the walls of the fireplace.  One was a young lady, believed to be Madeline and the two men’s identities are still a mystery.  A jeweled Spanish dagger was also found. Could this be the murder weapon?

King’s Tavern is always stirring with paranormal activity. The fireplace where the bodies were discovered, has been known to get very hot, even when a fire isn’t lit.  The ghost of Madeline also seems to be fond of water, often walking on freshly mopped floors and turning faucets on and off. The ghostly reflection of Madeline can also be seen in the mirror of the women’s powder room. She also likes to cause all sorts of mischief, such as knocking glass jars off of their shelves and swinging chairs that are hung on the back wall.

Madeline isn’t the only spirit known to haunt King’s Tavern.  The disembodied cries of a baby are often heard throughout the building. Legend is that a young mother and her infant were staying in the Inn. One night, she couldn’t settle the crying child and the incessant wailing proved too much for a neighboring guest. Sleeping off a hangover in the next room over, was the notorious Big Harpe, of the Harpe gang. He knocked on her door, snatched the baby from the poor woman’s arms and swung it head first into a wall.  He then handed back the lifeless baby to its mother, before stumbling downstairs to order a drink.

http://www.kingstavernnatchez.com/

Location:  613 Jefferson St, Natchez, MS 39120

 

Monmouth Plantation

Constructed in 1818 and purchased in 1826 by General John A. Quitman, Monmouth was renovated into the grand Greek Revival Style, typical of the old Southern plantation homes.  General Quitman, who had served as governor of Mississippi twice, died at Monmouth, along with his wife and two infant sons.

Several generations of Quitman’s descendants lived in the home until 1924, when it fell into disrepair and sat vacant.  Until 1977, when the property was purchased by new owners and they set out to restore it to its former grandeur. Little did they know, the renovations would awaken the sleeping ghosts of Monmouth.

The sightings of General Quitman began during the renovations. Workers claimed they felt as if someone was standing right behind them. While others have heard the heavy booted footsteps of a disembodied entity. Even the security system for the home has picked up on the unusual activity, alarms will go off when there is no one in a room. Some overnight guests and visitors to the plantation have claimed to have seen General Quitman peeking in their rooms as if checking to make sure everything is in order.

http://www.monmouthhistoricinn.com/

Location: 1358 John A Quitman Blvd, Natchez, MS 39120

Dunleith Plantation

A true antebellum mansion, built on the ashes of Routhland, which burned to the ground due to lightning. The grand home has changed hands several times and has had numerous deaths on the property. However, it’s not a traditional haunt by past owners, but instead, it’s a tale of heartbreak and scandal.

Young Miss Percy was a harpist in the home, playing at all of the social gatherings. She became enamored by a Frenchman who was party to Prince Louis Philippe, who was visiting Routhland. The two became so hopelessly in love, that when the Prince returned to France, Miss Percy returned with her Frenchman. However, not everything in France was as it seemed. Her once attentive and caring French lover became surly and indifferent. He soon became bored with Miss Percy and it was clear he never intended to marry her. Instead, the love of her life sent her back home to Natchez. Heartbroken and shamed by the community, Miss Percy became a recluse and was said to have died from a broken heart. Her sorrowful harp music can still be heard echoing through the halls of Dunleith.

http://www.dunleith.com/

Location: 84 Homochitto St, Natchez, MS 39120