For anyone interested in history or the paranormal, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is a must visit. For me, being enthralled with both of these topics, it was a much anticipated trip. The town is amazing! The movements of the Union and Confederate armies are recorded throughout the town and its surrounding hill, fields and woods. Monuments, plaques and historical markers note each stage of the three day long battle. The markers, plaques and monuments are located not in a museum, or along some tame trail, but right on the very spots where the soldiers’ feet had tread almost one hundred and fifty years ago. The whole town is dedicated to keeping its history alive.
Contrary to popular belief, the elegant row of oaks that lead visitors to the front porch of Oak Alley Plantation were not planted to grace the drive of this prestigious home. Instead, this beautiful historic house turned bed and breakfast was built where it stands specifically to take advantage of the picturesque avenue with its intertwined canopy of leafy branches that run the length of the drive almost to the banks of the Mississippi River. The vista is one of the most photographed in all of Louisiana, so the déjà vu you may experience as you walk up the path to the home is probably not other worldly. Cinematographers also enjoy the scenery as well, so you may have glimpsed Oak Alley on the small screen or silver screen. Arguably its most famous film appearance was in the movie version of Anne Rice’s Interview With A Vampire.
While trawling through the paranormal information on About.com, I discovered an interesting article entitled ‘Why People Believe the South is the Most Haunted in the Country‘. Since I’m the Southern Belle of this group (sorry ScoobyFan, Florida doesn’t count – LOL) I felt it my Southern Duty to both read and write about this article.
There are varying versions of this tale and one highly respected historian/ghost hunter has even boldly stated that the tale so often told is not right in any way. But as I enjoy the tale, I’m going to tell it anyway and maybe someday someone will find the true tale of this house which needs to be told. I have visited this plantation a total of two and a half times. I say half, because we went with every intention of taking the tour, but after a prolonged wait, they decided to tell us there would be no tours due to renovations in the house.
Our story takes place in the small town of St Francisville, Louisiana, nestled among the gently rolling hills and cypress trees not far from the state’s capitol. The home was built in 1794 by David Bradford, of Whiskey Rebellion fame, who had fled south from Pennsylvania because then-president George Washington had put a price on his head for his role in the Rebellion. He managed to aquire 600 acres of land along Bayou Sara (where the town of St Francisville now sits) and built a lovely 8 room home which was then called Laurel Grove. Time passed and Bradford was eventually pardoned for his role in the Whiskey Rebellion and he was able to bring his family from Pennsylvania to this new home in Louisiana.