New Orleans was home to the highest mortality rate in America until 1900, ravaged by disease, disaster, and murder. This and the city's history of voodoo have made it a stomping ground for many ghosts and specters. One of these famous haunts takes place at the site of grisly torture in the French Quarter.
The former home of Madame Delphine LaLaurie is haunted by the spirits of the slaves that she mutilated there. In April of 1834, a fire prompted the discovery of seven slaves chained up in the attic of the estate, all horribly beaten and mistreated. Some of their eyes were reportedly gouged out and their fingernails were ripped off their hands. In later years, skeletons were found underneath the floorboards. Some visitors have claimed to see the Madame walking the stairs, and others have felt the feeling of being strangled by an unseen force. Screams are said to be heard coming from the mansion when nobody is there, and some people report feeling nauseous or disoriented by simply walking past it.
New Orleans is also the home to numerous large cemeteries and many of them are alleged to be haunted. One such cemetery, the 1000 block of St. Ann Street, is the final resting place of Marie Laveau. Laveau was a famous voodoo priestess that once helped clear an aristocrat's son of a rape charge using her rituals, and now her spirit can be seen haunting the cemetery where she is buried and her old house, Maison Blanche. There is usually a crow perched on her gravestone, and it's believed that it is Laveau herself.
Another famous haunting is at the Myrtle Inn Plantation. The plantation is built on the site of a Native American burial ground, a feature that is reputed to commonly spur paranormal activity. It is at this place that a servant named Chloe murdered her master's family in the 1800s. Her plan was to poison the master's wife and three children and nurse them back to health to avoid punishment, but she mistakenly used too much and killed them. As a result, she was hanged by an angry mob and now their tortured souls haunt the plantation. Children have been seen playing on the front lawn and sitting on the beds upstairs, and the wife has been spotted on the staircase.
The Beauregard-Keyes house is yet another haunted home in New Orleans. It was once the home of Paul Morphy, a world-renowned chess master. According to local legend, one day Morphy inexplicably went mad and ran nude down the street with an axe threatening anyone in his way. Since then, his screams and the sound of him playing piano can be heard in and around the residence. There was allegedly a mafia massacre there once as well, and some visitors have claimed to smell gunpowder in the garden and hear random gun shots.
New Orleans is a fascinating city with a storied past and this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you really want to be spooked, it won't take long for you to stumble upon a ghost among its many historic locations.