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Dec-10-2008 09:37TweetFollow @OregonNews
Hauntings Include Restless Ghosts, Chilling Sounds and VampiresSchellene Clendenin for Salem-News.com
New Orleans, not surprisingly, has its share of local lore.
(SALEM, Ore.) - In a city that attracts crowds for Mardi Gras celebrations and blues festivals, beautiful architecture and fine cuisine, New Orleans is, in some circles, even more famous for its established inhabitants.
It's a shame they're all dead.
Many bars and shops boast of their ghostly inhabitants. Even La Petite Theatre du Vieux Carre is known for strange happenings and the eerie ghost Caroline. Reports say that Caroline was an actress at the theatre in the 1920s.
She died, they say, when she was dallying with the director of the playhouse and fell off the balcony onto the flagstones below.
According to witnesses, the dead actress often finds things for the production crew.
St. Louis Cathedral, located on 721 Chartres Street, is reportedly home to everything from ghostly nuns to vampires. Locals tell stories of windows that are chained shut to keep whatever spooks that are inhabiting the attics from flying out.
Julie is mischievous. She likes to play tricks on the customers at the Bottom of The Cup Tearoom, one of the tiny shops on the Quarter, tapping on walls, rearranging things in the shop and toying with women's hair. But the proprietors of the shop, located at 732 Royal Street, don't mind.
They consider Julie's presence harmless; after all, she's been dead at least a century.
"I've never seen her," said Phillip Mullen, employee at the shop for five years.
But he has seen the things she's done. A tree crafted with thin silver wires once sat on a table in the middle of the shop, faceted crystals dripped from its branches, attached by thin transparent string.
One morning, after showing a customer to the back room of the shop for a palm reading, he returned to the front to find the tree shaking as if it had been touched. All of the crystals had been flung across the room and were lying on the floor.
Only three living beings had been in the store; the palm reader, Dave French, the customer and Mullen himself.
Julie, according to Mullen, was the young, octoroon mistress of a once wealthy plantation owner's son.
At that time, marriages between white men and women of color were frowned upon. But Julie, who was reportedly in love with her master, was determined to become more than a slave.
One cold December evening, during a party at her home, her owner told her that if she went to the top of her house he would come get her and marry her.
Julie rushed up to the rooftop, wearing only a thin underdress. Her master forgot about his beautiful mistress until the next morning. But by the time he went looking for her, she had frozen to death.
She's been a part of local folklore ever since.
Mullen said that the shop isn't the only well-known haunt on Rue Royal. The LaLaurie House, located just up the street at 1140 Royal, houses a number of sprits, although none of them are playful.
Mullen said he spent the night there once, and was pestered throughout the evening by someone trying to pull the pillow from beneath his head, as well as low moaning wails and footsteps in the hallway.
He said that once, when the building was being renovated, men were sent to fix the roof in a room that had been boarded off for almost a century.
"They went in and walked right out again," he said.
The house, which belonged to southern socialite Delphine LaLaurie and her husband, was known as a scene for some of the most fashionable parties in the quarter. Parties were well sought-after events.
Everything went smoothly, until Madame LaLaurie was seen chasing a young slave to the roof with a whip. The child fell from the roof to her death in the courtyard below. According to local legend, the LaLaurie slaves were taken from their masters and sold at auction. Delphine, however, talked her family into buying the slaves back for her.
Shortly thereafter, during a dinner party, the kitchen caught fire. When the fire was put out, firefighters found the chained body of the cook in the kitchen. Upstairs, Mullen said, a room was found containing the mutilated bodies of slaves, some alive, most dead.
The room was boarded up not long after, and weird noises are reported all the time. Often, he said, a child is seen jumping from the roof of the house, even to this day. The house, a beautiful old style mansion that now houses an attorney's office, sends a chill down the spines of passersby.
Schellene Clendenin is the editor of the Summer Barometer. She can be reached at 737-3191 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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