2003-10-16 - 5:26 p.m.
TIME FOR A LITTLE SPOOK-O-RAMA
Today's story of dread and horror is another true New Orleans tale. I live in Louisiana, so I have to be up on the Nawlins hauntings...
Buckle up... here we go...
Meet Mme. LaLaurie
Mme. Marie Delphine Lalaurie and her third husband, a doctor, Leonard Louis Lalaurie, purchased their grand home at 1140 Royal Street, New Orleans, in the early 1830s.
These people were a prominant, high society couple who were known for the grand parties they held at their home.
They were also sadists.
There were rumors that Mme. LaLaurie was cruel to her servants, but this was something she denied and tried to cover by acting gracious towards them when guests were over. However, the rumors persisted and eventually, the servants were taken from the LaLaurie house to be resold.
Unfortunately for the slaves, Mme. LaLaurie arranged for her family to buy back her slaves and return them to her. And so the abuse continued.
Mme. LaLaurie was seen whipping and chasing a young girl mercilessly until the desperate girl ran into the house, up the stairs, and out onto the roof, where the infuriated Mme. LaLaurie chased her to the edge of the roof, causing her to fall to her death. It is believed that the child was gathered up and dumped in a well on the property.
The legend goes that on April 11, 1834, a slave, pushed over the edge by the cruelties heaped upon her, set fire to Mme. Lalaurie's kitchen. Some say the old woman had a dream the night before that she was fleeing the house in flames.
As the fire spread, townspeople were coming to help fight the fire and save the servants and valuables when they discovered a hidden room of torture that held dead and dying slaves that had been tortured and experiemented on in horrible ways.
The experimentation was likely done by Dr. LaLaurie, but at the very least, he was helped by Mme. LaLaurie. Some stories blame her exclusively for the cruelties and some even question the fate of Dr. LaLaurie, as the fate of Mme. LaLaurie's first 2 husbands remains unknown.
When the secret room was entered,it was found that there were body parts all over the room, heads in buckets, holes in skulls, where a rough stick had been inserted to stir the brains. Some of the poor creatures were dead, some were unconscious; and a few were still breathing, suffering agonies beyond any power to describe.
The man who broke down the door saw powerful male slaves, stark naked, chained to the wall, their eyes gouged out, their fingernails pulled off by the roots; others had their joints skinned and festering, great holes in their buttocks where the flesh had been sliced away, their ears hanging by shreds, their lips sewn together, their tongues drawn out and sewn to their chins, severed hands stitched to bellies, legs pulled joint from joint.
Primitive sex change operations reportedly were performed. Gruesome medical experiments on two women earned the victims the labels, "The Crab Lady" and the "Caterpillar Woman." Reports say "The Crab Lady" was found in a 3-by-3-foot box with mangled shoulders, hips and limbs. The "Caterpillar Woman's" arms had been cut off and she was skinned alive.
Some of the atrocities found that night were not even reported in detail due to their graphic nature, but the word spread all the same and soon there was an angry mob, demanding the scalp of Mme. LaLaurie.
The LaLauries fled in the night and were never seen again. Some say she made her way to Mobile or New York and then to Paris. However, there have been persistent stories that she never left the Northshore. Alas, what really happened remains a mystery as here, the trail goes cold ...
But the spirits are still there. The legend of the house is that the spirits of the slaves who died here so violently still haunt the house. Passersby have even witnessed the figure of a girl jumping from an upstairs balcony to escape her torturer. Delphine LaLaurie herself has been seen, still as evil as ever. In addition, a large black male in chains, most likely a slave, appears on a flight of stairs. Other spectral entities include unidentified black shrouded shapes. Also reported are the expected screams and moans. The house has been called the most haunted place in New Orleans.
The LaLaurie House is an attraction on several of the New Orleans Ghost Tours. Myra and I will be paying a visit...
This is where the girl fell.
spring - fall
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