***links with asterisks are affiliate links; I earn a commission from each sale
Natchez, Mississippi is known for its beautiful antebellum homes and close proximity to the Mississippi River. But this beautiful town has plenty of ghosts as well. Let’s talk about five creepy haunted places in Natchez.
1. Goat Castle
Glenburnie, aka Goat Castle, was the site of a brutal unsolved murder all the way back in 1932, when 68-year-old Jane Surget Merrill, was found dead in the woods behind the home. Suspicion soon fell on two of her neighbors, Octavia Dockery and Dick Dana. Merrill had been feuding with these two for years over her claims of their livestock causing havoc in her yard. But despite the evidence against them, they were never charged. A woman named Emily Burns spent time in prison for the murders, but was later pardoned.
Today, the ghost of Jane Merrill is said to wander the woods where her body was found, seeking revenge for her death. Moaning noises have been attributed to Merrill’s ghost darting from tree to tree. Piano playing inside the house is said to be the ghost of Dick Dana, her possible killer.
There’s far more to this story, which is rife with drama and deeper social issues. If you’d like to know more, check out Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South by Karen L Cox.***
Also known as “Nutt’s Folly,” construction on this antebellum mansion started all the way back in 1860. Cotton planter Haller Nutt had commissioned the building to be constructed as a home for him and his family. But one year and over $100,000 later, the Civil War caused the project to be abandoned.
Despite this, Nutt moved his family — which consisted of his wife and eight children — onto the mansion’s first floor in 1862. He died in 1864, but his family and descendants continued living at Longwood for decades. And over the years, quite a bit of paranormal activity has been reported.
Alleged activity at the mansion includes: Spirit voices in the old playroom, orbs, apparitions of a man in old clothes, a woman in a pink hoop skirt, photos of Haller Nutt’s parents being moved on their own and lights flickering when tour guides make factual errors. Employees would arrive at work only to find toys thrown all over the place, and a former manager once claimed to wake up in the middle of the night to someone — or something — moving her neck. Other stories include a groundskeeper who saw Haller Nutt’s ghost standing in the trees and the phantom smell of roses, a flower which Nutt’s wife reportedly loved.
3. Natchez City Cemetery
Irene Ford died of yellow fever at the tender age of 10. When she was buried in the cemetery, her mother requested a set of steps be built down to her grave, which would
contain a glass window to allow visitors to see her coffin. Like many children, Little Irene was scared of the dark and thunderstorms, and her mom reportedly wanted to be by her daughter’s side to comfort her even in death.
According to Find A Grave, Irene’s mom died in 1892, no longer able to do this. Perhaps it’s for this reason that Irene’s ghost is said to wander the cemetery during a thunderstorm, looking for comfort. The glass window into her grave has since been bricked up, but visitors who descend the steps have come back covered in a strange green substance that later faded. Voices and other strange noises have been picked up on recordings.
There is one more interesting story associated with the cemetery, that of the ‘Turning Angel.’ This statue was erected in the cemetery in 1908 as a memorial to victims of an explosion at the Natchez Drug Company in March of that year. The statue is said to appear as if it’s turning toward you as you approach it. However, this easily could just be an optical illusion.***
4. Adams County Jail
Haunted prisons are pretty common. Plenty of people have suffered and died there, and it’s not a stretch to think their spirits might stay behind. And the old Adams County Jail is no exception.
While it was in operation, prisoners reported hearing voices, phantom footsteps, clanking chains and cell doors opening and closing on their own. One deputy refused to set foot in the kitchen again after going in there one night and claiming to see a piece of bread floating in midair. Strange, phantom voices have reported in the part of the building that used to be death row — another place you’d fully expect to be haunted.
The last prisoner was housed in the building in 1975. It’s now used as government offices, but apparently the ghosts didn’t go anywhere. Employees claim to witness unusual noises, equipment turning on and off on its own and a shadowy figure. The building has been investigated by the Natchez Area and Mississippi Paranormal Societies, both of whom claim to have experienced activity of their own.
5. King’s Tavern
Two visitors to the King’s Tavern in the late 1700’s were notorious outlaws the Harpe brothers. Wiley and Micajah Harpe (aka “Little” and “Big” Harpe, respectively), were known for kidnapping women, stealing livestock and the alleged 20 murders they eventually confessed to. During one stay at the inn, Wiley Harpe was said to have killed a baby in a nearby room because the baby was crying too loud. Guests have reported hearing a baby crying upstairs when no babies are there. Wiley himself is said to haunt the tavern — but I couldn’t find any specific stories attached to him. He was hanged in 1804, meaning he didn’t die there — but did he come back to continue terrorizing guests in the afterlife?
But the most well known story surrounding the tavern concerns the original owner, Richard King. As the stories go, Richard, despite being married with a family, ended up in a passionate affair with a 16-year-old serving girl named Madeline. When his wife found out, she reportedly hired people to kill Madeline and brick her body up in the wall behind the chimney in the tavern’s main room.
In 1932, three skeletons and a dagger were found behind that wall. One of the skeletons belonged to a girl and the other two were men. It’s not clear who the men were, if the girl’s body is Madeline’s or even if this story happened at all. But all three ghosts of the departed are said to haunt the tavern. Guests and employees alike have spotted apparitions, objects moving on their own and warm spots above empty beds, as if someone was just on them. The fireplace where the bodies were found is said to heat up even when it’s not in use.
Today, the tavern operates as Regina’s Kitchen, where chef Regina Charboneau offers cooking classes. Let’s hope the old King’s Tavern ghosts don’t get too hungry and eat all the products of this class. Then again…can ghosts even eat?
Have you ever had a supernatural experience at any of these places? Pop over to this blog’s corresponding YouTube video and let me know about it in the comments! Or contact me via the form at the top of the page.