Mississippi Ghost Story: Longwood Plantation boasts eerie history
NATCHEZ, MS (WLOX) - Natchez, Miss. is one of the oldest settlements on the Mississippi River. Millions of people from all over the world visit the area to learn about southern history.
The elegant, antebellum homes are the number one draw, where pre-Civil War southern wealth is on display.
"According to the 1860 census, there were more millionaires per capita in Natchez then any where else in the country," said historian James Wade.
The structures showcase classical 19th century architecture - all but one, that is. Longwood Plantation is considered the largest octagonal house in the United States, with one million bricks used to build the mansion.
However, historians call the home a broken dream.
"Longwood is very important because it's the only unfinished antebellum home that still exists in the country," said Wade about one of the most compelling place in U.S. history.
Inside, dramatic evidence of the unfinished symphony exists: 30,000 square feet of living space, 32 rooms on five floors never completed. Dr. Haller Nutt, the owner of the home, hired famed Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan to build his masterpiece in 1860.
One of the reasons Longwood Plantation was never finished was because of the outbreak of the Civil War. Once word of the war reached Natchez, all the northern artisans scattered; leaving behind paint buckets and tools.
Life at Longwood was never the same. The war between the states forced Nutt to finish only the basement at the estate, where he and his family lived for years.
"There's been so much tragedy with this family," Wade said.
That's where the story of Longwood makes a ghostly turn.
Because of traumatic events surrounding the unfinished plantation and the Nutt family, Longwood has become a legendary haunted house. Paranormal investigators have visited the home to measure activity.
"In the children's play room, they had some device that picked up spirit voices. There were orbs photographed in one room. The instruments they used were dead the next morning. They were fully powered and when they came back the next morning, no data. Dead instruments. Many people have reported sensations. We have heard footsteps coming down the stairs," said Wade.
Wade spends a lot of time wandering around Longwood. But by nature, he's not one to embrace ghost stories.
"As an architectural historian, I started out being skeptical. Then I started experiencing things. I've come around to the believer side of the equation," added Wade.
Longwood is open daily, and hosts regular ghost tours. For information on hours and events cal 601-442-5193.
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