Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 31, 2012

Halloween in the South

A few ghost stories for Halloween

(Continued)

VALDOSTA — NEW ORLEANS

While many publications name Savannah as the number two most haunted city in America, New Orleans is most always named as number one. It also, on occasion, sneaks its way onto lists that name some of the most haunted places in the world.

Known as the “city of the dead,” New Orleans has a reputation for the paranormal and embraces it along with its checkered past and rich cultural history.

Hands down, one of the most haunted houses in New Orleans is the infamous Royal Street Mansion in the French Quarter previously owned in 1832 by Madame Delphine LaLaurie and her husband, Dr. Louis LaLaurie.

The LaLauries allegedly were intensely cruel to their slaves and some accounts state that they performed heinous medical experiments on them. While some historians dispute the extent of the torture, the LaLauries did flee town without ever being heard from again.

While the LaLauries, along with the world-renowned Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, are the city’s more famous inhabitants, one of the most unusual guests was Jacques Saint Germaine.

During the roaring 1920s, Germaine mysteriously popped into town. There is no registry of where he came from, but we know that he was around 40 years of age and was fairly wealthy.

Germaine was known for throwing lavish dinner parties where all of New Orleans’ elite would attend.

While everyone else would indulge in conversation and good food, Germaine supposedly never ate a bite and would only sip his wine.

No one thought anything of it, as Germaine was an avid collector of wine. In his home, he had barrels and barrels of wine.

Aside from his wine and parties, Germaine also built a reputation for being quite the ladies man. Many a lady would be seen being escorted to Germaine’s residence in the French Quarter but no one would see the ladies leave. It was assumed that in shame, the women would escape out the back in the wee hours of the morning to avoid the ridicule of the town’s people.

However, one very late night, the town awoke to the horrible screaming of a woman. The men ran out into the streets and saw a woman, near death, bleeding on the entryway to Germaine’s home.

The authorities were alerted and immediately responded. They pounded their fists on Germaine’s door yelling at him to open up and come outside. Germaine did not respond.

The police then beat down the door and forced themselves inside. They searched every inch of the home but Germaine was nowhere to be found.

More unusual than the vanished Germaine was the state of his home. There was little to no furnishings, no food in the kitchen and only barrels and barrels of wine.

After a long night where a townswoman died and hours looking for Germaine, the police were ready for a drink. They tapped into one of the barrels and quickly took a gulp.

They spit it out immediately. Authorities claimed that it was not wine in the barrels but wine mixed with blood.

Whether the accounts were exaggerated or even true, they exist making Germaine quite possibly one of the first documented accounts of a “vampire” in what is now the United States.

According to a man I only know as tour guide Jeff, there are still “vampires” in New Orleans today. They are a group of people who come out at night and believe that they are in fact the walking, or flying, dead. Some years ago, the city of New Orleans was even petitioned by a few of them who claimed the power lines were too low and they were getting tangled in them when they flew around the city. The city, of course, ignored the petition.

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