SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – This spooky season, join us as we delve into the chilling ghost stories that have permeated the history of Northwest Louisiana. Ghostly sightings and eerie tales of inexplicable encounters have transformed into enduring urban legends around the world.
In Northwest Louisiana, various cities harbor their own share of ghost stories, with origins tracing back to the Civil War era. Here are some of the region’s renowned historical sites, cemeteries, and buildings with a haunted past.
Ellerbe School in Shreveport: “The Satan School”
Although you can no longer view the grounds, this defunct school on the outskirts of Shreveport is also colloquially known as “Satan School.” The school was built for black children in 1957 and closed in 1973 due to low enrollment numbers. It temporarily served as a Baptist Christian College campus and has been vacant ever since.
Teenagers began hanging out in the abandoned property, covering the walls with graffiti of pentagrams, heavy metal song lyrics and mentions of Satan. Due to this, the public began to say the Ellerbe school was a place of satanic worship. Another legend is of a former janitor who allegedly kidnapped and molested several children. According to 99.9 KTDY, evidence came to light that suggested the children Quinton Gimple allegedly kidnapped never existed.
Now the foliage is so overgrown most of the building is hidden, except for a white brick pillar with a sign out front warning passersby to keep out. Because of asbestos in the building, it’s not safe to visit the property.
Caddo Parish Courthouse: A Jail With Haunting Memories
The 7th and 8th floors of the Caddo Parish Courthouse once served as a jail, where prisoners were held and, on some occasions, executed. In 1934, the last hanging at the courthouse took place, marking the end of a brutal chapter in its history.
In a 2016 interview with the Shreveport Times, Leslie Peters recounted witnessing the last hanging in the old jail. Prisoners were hung through a trap door that dropped to the 7th floor below. In May of 1934 D.B. (Bunce) Napier, known as the “Butterfly Man” for the crafts he sold downtown, became the last man to be executed by hanging at the Caddo Parish Courthouse. He was convicted of the brutal rape and murder of Maggie Mae Griffin.
Employees of the courthouse have reported numerous eerie experiences, including strange sounds and seeing shadows. Dr. Willis Butler, a former Caddo Parish Coroner who worked in the morgue inside the courthouse basement is also rumored to haunt the building. In 1930, a former courthouse engineer named W.J. Folton was shot on the 4th floor by a man he recently fired and is rumored to haunt the area. The 4th floor is also rumored to be the home of a former deputy’s ghost.
Logan Mansion in Shreveport: A Step Back In Time
This 1897-built mansion is one of the few Victorian-style homes left in Shreveport. The home serves as a popular Airbnb near the heart of downtown Shreveport. Logan Manor’s interior has been carefully restored and includes irreplaceable elements including fixtures made of a wood that has since become extinct. Although not open to the public, guests can make reservations for events at the mansion. Tours are by appointment.
After Lafayette Robert Logan and Lavinia Wilson Seay Logan passed away with no heirs, the home passed to Wade Hampton. It changed hands several times until the LeBrun’s purchased and rehabilitated the home before it was purchased by current owner Lisa Robertson Brutto.
The mansion is said to host spirits, including a child’s ghost on the stairs, a man and woman downstairs, and a spectral dog in the library. There’s a rumor that the child is Theodora Hunt, who lived across the street and often played at Logan Mansion. But Theodora was a sickly child and died in Hot Springs, Arkansas while there seeking treatment.
The Hunts’ descendants and Brutto said that when Hampton began losing money from gambling, he rented out the large attic to teachers in the area. They believe the little girl is the child of one of those tenants who fell to her death from the balcony. But Brutto says hauntings are not the most important part of the Logan Mansion. The home stands as a piece of Shreveport history.
Oakland Plantation in Bossier Parish: A Haunting Legacy
The historic Oakland Plantation, built by Dr. Abel Skannal in 1832, is shrouded in macabre legends. The sign marking Oakland as a historic site says Dr. Skannal kept a coffin in the attic of the house, sparking rumors of the home’s haunting.
The urban legends are centered around Skannal and his wife, who allegedly lost several children at birth or not long after. Some myths say that he murdered his wife and kept her body inside the coffin in the attic.
Reports include ghostly children in the home, pulling blankets off of beds, cabinets opening, chairs rocking on their own and someone turning the thermostat all the way down at night. The home is currently a private residence with a dogtrot-style home built right next door by the owner’s parents.
Shreveport Municipal Auditorium: A Hall of Music and Mystery
The Shreveport Municipal Auditorium is a National Historic Landmark with a rich history. The former home of The Louisiana Hayride, a radio show that launched many musicians to stardom, was built in the 1920s. Famous performers include Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Bobbie “Blue” Bland, and B.B. King. But the most famous musician to begin their career on the Louisiana Hayride is Elvis Presley, who made his debut in 1954.
The Auditorium temporarily housed the city morgue in the basement level and served as a billeting station for World War II soldiers.
Strange experiences are so common in this building it has drawn paranormal investigators from across the country. Some have seen the spirit of a young girl in a blue dress running through the auditorium, playing peek-a-boo. One spirit, affectionately referred to as “Sarge” has been seen to watch the show from the audience and reportedly plays with women’s hair. Famous singer Hank Williams is said to also haunt the location where he began his music career.
Spring Street Museum in Shreveport: Madam Annie McCune
A prominent figure of early Shreveport in the late 1800s and early 1900s was Madam Annie McCune. Annie owned a brothel in the city’s Red Light District, one of only two such districts in the state that were legal.
Her spirit is now rumored to haunt the Spring Street Historical Museum in Shreveport, where guests have reported seeing her sitting in a chair that once belonged to the famous Madam. She is buried in the Oakland Cemetery near the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium.
The museum used to be a bank, and the old vault can still be seen inside the building. A banker by the name of Ed Jacobs is rumored to haunt the building still. Some people have reported seeing the ghost of a little boy who supposedly died in front of the building when he was run over by a carriage.
Old Tower in Taylortown: A Bride’s Haunting
A lone bell tower now stands in a field where the Methodist Episcopal Church of Taylortown once stood. The church, built in 1907, was eventually abandoned and the tower is all that remains.
Legends say that a bride haunts the tower, still waiting for her fiancé. The story says he was killed in a car crash on his way to the church. From there, legends differ on whether she fell down the steps and died or if she hung herself in the tower. But some say they can hear the bell ringing or hear a woman’s scream coming from the tower.
Sallie Baker’s Grave in Cotton Valley: A Protected Resting Place
Local legends and rumors surround the grave of Sallie Baker, and local teenagers sometimes search for her grave out of morbid curiosity. Stories say Sallie is protective of her gravesite.
Sallie was known for being headstrong, but many of the wild rumors about her may be due to how she protected herself after she was widowed. After the death of her husband, her neighbors reportedly wanted to take her property and started rumors that she had killed him. The fact that her rare visitors often saw her with a gun hunting on her property just added to the rumors.
The government took her lands as part of the Bodcau Flood Control project, but Sallie took them to court. She managed to receive a much higher price for her land than her neighbors.
She is now buried under a heavy concrete slab in a wooded area near her home, but the grave’s headstone has long since been stolen.
Minden’s Bleeding Tombstone: Gone but Not Forgotten
In the Minden Cemetery, a local legend tells of an old tombstone that appears to bleed and glow red. Some say it’s the grave of a woman who hanged herself. Teens often visit the site to scare each other when going to the cemetery to “park.”
The blood appears to be an optical illusion created by a red neon sign reflecting off the stone. It’s location at the foot of the hill on Broadway St. was a perfect angle for the tombstone to catch the light at night.
Front Street in Natchitoches: Soldiers and Poltergeists
Not much information is known about his origins, but Front Street is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a Confederate soldier.
Another famous apparition is believed to be a little girl who haunted the store Plantation Treasures on Front Street. In a 2013 interview, owner Tina Rachal said the ghost used to throw items from the shelves. She said the home used to be owned by the Hughes family in the early 1900s and store staff claimed the spirit of their daughter would “throw a temper tantrum” if they didn’t greet her each day.
Rachal had the store exercised after a frightening encounter and said there have not been any more incidents since.
Northwestern State University: A Tragic Tale
Nearly every student who has attended Northwestern State University has heard the legend of Isabella.
Isabella is rumored to have been a beautiful French maiden who lived in the original Bullard mansion. She was engaged to a man from the East, but he was killed in a duel over another woman. Legend says Isabella became a nun and went mad with grief. One day she plunged a dagger into her heart.
After the Bullard mansion was torn down, she was said to live in the East Hall on campus. After the building was demolished in 1932, students said she resided in the Music Hall. When the hall was torn down in 1946, a group of students reportedly convinced Isabella to leave. For three years she was rumored to roam the campus until moving into Caldwell Hall. Unfortunately, Caldwell Hall burned in 1982.
A group of 750 students performed a ceremony on Halloween night to help Isabella move to her current home, the Old Women’s Gym.
Magnolia Plantation in Derry: A Haunting Past
Magnolia Plantation in Derry, with its twenty historic buildings, holds the remnants of a once-thriving cotton plantation. The plantation store, blacksmith shop, eight slave and tenant cabins, a gin barn, and the overseer’s house remain on the grounds. The land was purchased in the mid-1700s by Jean Baptiste LeComte II, but his son Ambroise was the first to live on the land.
During the Civil War, Union soldiers reportedly burned the main home, and a replica was built in 1897. Although freed, many of the slaves remained as sharecroppers and their lives did not change much.
The plantation was featured on Ghost Adventures in 2009, where cast members reportedly found evidence of the ghosts of former slaves. They claimed the slaves used voodoo to curse their masters and included occult symbols in the metal crosses marking the LeComte family graves.
Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum: Infamous Criminals Return
Few criminals are as infamous as Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who evaded capture during a crime spree that lasted 21 months until their deaths. From 1932 to 1934 the couple robbed banks, restaurants and gas stations across multiple states.
A posse of law enforcement members ambushed the couple near Gibsland, LA, and opened fire on their Ford V8, instantly killing them.
A museum dedicated to the couple and the ambush that killed them was later built in Gibsland. The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum holds numerous artifacts and articles on their crime spree and deaths.
The two reportedly haunt the grounds of the ambush, and the museum has several groups a year that come to investigate. You can find a self-guided tour of Bonnie and Clyde’s stops in Louisiana here.