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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mississippi Ghostbusters



McRaven House

When our new IT assistant started last month and heard we answer questions, he asked us to tell him which house in Mississippi is the most haunted. Now, I'm not a fan of things that go bump in the night, but growing up in Mississippi introduced me to my fair share of ghost stories. For instance, Lakemont in Vicksburg was practically next door to the church we attended while I was a child. Poor Mrs. Lake was up on the widow's walk in 1861 and from there witnessed her husband's death in a duel on a sandbar. She met her death by way of a cannonball during the war, and now spends her time walking about her garden and waiting for her husband to come back from his fight. This, however, cannot be the most haunted house in Mississippi. (Much too tame, don't you agree?)

After scouring several fine print sources, I decided that McRaven House in Vicksburg is an ideal candidate for "Most Haunted House of Mississippi." Indeed, The Haunting of Mississippi declares that McRaven "may well be the most haunted (house) in Mississippi." Here's a breakdown of their specters:

  • Andrew Glass and his wife were the first owners of McRaven. They also happened to be highwaymen who robbed travelers on the Natchez Trace. Mr. Glass was wounded on one such escapade and wifey dearest slit his throat for him so they wouldn't be discovered. Ah, sweet love.
  • McRaven was used as a pit stop of sorts on the Trail of Tears. During a cholera epidemic in 1832, many Choctaw were swept up in the wave of death that pummeled the city. The bodies, Native American and white alike, were burned.
  • Mary Elizabeth Howard, age 15, died there due to complications from childbirth in 1836.
  • During the Civil War, McRaven served as a makeshift hospital. At least 28 soldiers met their death on the grounds.
  • In 1864, the home was owned by John Bobb. History says he protested Union soldiers who were vandalizing his garden. Mr. Bobb even lobbed a brick at them. The Yankees, being unamused, shot him multiple times.
  • Several members of the Murray family, who lived in the house from 1882-1960, also died there. While they enjoyed peaceful deaths, it appears that they, too, enjoy returning to the old home place.
(Sillery 13-28)

According to The Haunting of Mississippi, many of these still roam the rooms, halls and grounds of this old home. There were many other places I wanted to include, but they just didn't seem to fit the bill: Chapel of the Cross in Madison, King's Tavern in Natchez, Glenburnie... The list goes on and on. Do you concur? Is McRaven the most haunted house in Mississippi?

Norman, Michael and Beth Scott. Historic Haunted America. Macmillan: Toronto, 2007. Print.
Sillery, Barbara. The Haunting of Mississippi. Pelican Publishing Co.: Gretna, LA, 2011. Print.

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