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Does the ghost of a serial killer still walk the halls of LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans?

The three-story house at 1140 Royal Street (Rue Royale) in the French Quarter is currently for sale for $2.9 million, but for many years it sat vacant and dilapidated. It was only in 1832, when it was first built for its owners, Dr. and Madame LaLaurie, that it was as beautifully furnished as it is now.

For two years, Delphine LaLaurie, a Creole socialite, hosted lavish soirees attended by every prominent citizen of New Orleans; However, all that changed one spring afternoon on April 10, 1834 when an elderly black cook set a fire in the kitchen. The neighbors rushed to save the valuables, including the slaves, and what they found confirmed their suspicions beyond their worst expectations.

After leaving the kitchen that was located above the building from the driveway across the courtyard, the volunteer firefighters and other neighbors entered the main house in search of other slaves. They were finally found in the attic of a secret room, more than a dozen poor wretches, tortured, tormented, and locked away where their screams could not be heard. Some were chained to a wall emaciated and near death, a few were strapped to crudely made operating tables and others were stuffed into cages made for dogs. Human body parts were found in buckets.

The fire was extinguished, however the scandal that was unleashed by an article published by the local newspaper, the New Orleans Bee speaking of the conditions of the slaves and describing Madame LaLaurie as “the devil, in the form of a woman” he swept the town. Many recalled an event just a year ago when Delphine LaLaurie was seen by a neighbor whipping a young slave girl, who in a frenzy to escape her had fallen off a balcony to her death. Rumors said that the boy was secretly buried that night on the grounds of the house. It was not a hard story to believe since by then the mistress of the house had a reputation for mistreating her slaves, which she justified by keeping them in control. Others wondered if this was Delphine’s way of getting revenge on her mother, Madame Macarty, who was murdered on a Carrollton plantation during a slave uprising. At that time. A year prior to this incident, in response to reports of her mistreatment of the slaves, a judge ordered them to be sold at auction and the LaLauries were fined, however, a relative purchased the slaves and sold them to her husband. loves. Those outraged readers probably wondered how many had been brought back to end up suffering such a horrible fate.

As the story circulated in New Orleans, the fury awoke and finally broke out five days later and the enraged citizens of the Vieux Carre stormed the house and destroyed the interior. The LaLauries barely escaped with their lives and left the city, shortly after setting sail for France, never to be seen again.

The house was not rebuilt until 1837, and even then it was already reputed to be haunted. Ghostly hauntings, screams, moans, and flickering lights eventually drove the new owner out within three months of moving in, and he then rented it out to business owners. During the Civil War it was a Union headquarters and stories of hauntings persisted, especially the sound of rattling chains coming from the former slave quarters. The house went through different incarnations, as a school, private apartments and in the 1920s it was a dwelling in which an occupant described seeing a man walking with his head on his arm. Another apparition was that of a woman leaning out of a window.

By now, the house was reputed to be the most haunted in New Orleans, and while there were those who suggested that many of the stories written about Madame LaLaurie and what had happened on April 10, 1834 were grossly exaggerated, making her a victim of yellow journalism, it is impossible to discount and explain the remains found by the workers while making repairs to the house. Human skeletons were unearthed beneath the floorboards, too close to the surface to be part of a graveyard, and bits of cloth and hair still found on the scrambled bones confirmed they belong to blacks. Even more chilling was the fact that they looked like they were put into the ground during the early part of the 19th century. Some of the skulls had large holes, this and the fact that they were not buried in a ditch confirmed that this was not a mass burial due to an epidemic. Were these other victims of Delphine, secretly buried in shallow graves in the dead of night?

So who walks the halls of LaLaurie Mansion? Is Delphine LaLaurie paying penance for her deeds, or are her victims reliving their worst moments at her hands? Or maybe it’s both, and in that dark attic upstairs that’s been sealed off, victims can now take their revenge in any way they see fit.

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