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(Chunky River Bridge)
6170 Stuckey Bridge Road
Status: Historic Haunted Bridge; Urban Legend
Plans for the original bridge were set in motion in 1847 and the bridge was built in 1850 by the original settlers in the area. In 1901 the original bridge was replaced with the one standing there today.
It is now on lonely dirt road 12 miles southwest of Meridian. It still crosses the Chunky River but is over 100 years old and not in the best of shape. It is 112 feet across but no longer open to vehicles or any type of traffic.
It has long been a spooky destination for both the local teenagers and paranormal investigators or just about anyone looking for a creepy thrill.
This bridge is a legend unto itself and has even been featured on televised lists of haunted locations.
Back in the time period when the original bridge was constructed there was a man named Stuckey – I’m sure that was a big surprise – who owned a nearby inn; he is also rumored to have once been part of the Dalton Gang.
Stuckey waved in people going down river to take their wares to market with the promise of a hot meal and a warm bed.
Once his guests were asleep Stuckey would murder them, take all their money and belongings and then dump their bodies – probably off the bridge – into the river to be washed away. Other versions of the story say he buried their bodies on the banks of the river.
According to the story Stuckey managed to kill at least 20 people before he was caught.
Once Stuckey got caught justice was swift. They hung him from – you guessed it – the bridge and then cut down his body and let him drop, noose still around his neck, into the river. His body is said to have hung from the bridge for 5 days in the heat and humidity.
The most common paranormal activity in the area of the bridge is unexplained sudden splashes said to be the phantom sound of Stuckey’s decaying body hitting the water after he was cut from the bridge.
A ghostly blue glow is also seen at the exact spot where he disappeared beneath the water’s surface.
The phantom light of his lantern is still seen swaying back and forth on the bridge as it did when he would wave in his victims during his life.
The apparition of his body is seen by many still hanging from the bridge creaking in the wind.
Other Reported Activity: phantom whispers; phantom footsteps on the bridge; light anomalies and feelings of not being alone.
(Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum Mass Grave)
2500 North State Street
Status: Former Lunatic Asylum; Mass Grave; University Hospital
In 1848 one hundred and forty acres of land was purchased – in what was then - 2 miles north of Jackson off of the Canton Road. With the help of Dorothy Dix – a Nationally recognized reformer and advocate for the rights of the mentally ill - the government set about constructing a modern lunatic asylum.
In 1851 the first buildings were constructed and the corner stone of the massive central complex with 2 wings had been laid. In 1855 the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum opened and began to take in patients.
As early as 1856 the asylum began to admit African-American – both slaves and free men – as patients. By 1870 the asylum’s administration began to demand equal lodging for “lunatics of color” – as they were called – as the white patients. The wards were, of course, segregated by both race and sex.
As with all asylums in the late 19th and early to mid 20th centuries overcrowding quickly became an issue. The Eastern Mississippi Lunatic Asylum was opened in Meridian to help with this.
During the Civil War Union troops ransacked the facility slaughtering all their livestock and luring 7 patients to join their forces; obviously not to picky about fought for them. In 1880’s multiple patients died due to the asylum’s water supply becoming contaminated.
In 1900 the name was changed to Mississippi State Insane Hospital.
By 1926 the patient population had soared to 2,000 with only 1,350 beds and the State earmarked $2.5 million to buy 3,333 acres in Rankin County and build a new state of art facility (known as Mississippi State Hospital which is still operational). Due to the depression and political infighting the new hospital didn’t open until 1935 at a total cost of $5 million.
It is unclear when the old asylum was demolished but by 1955 the University of Mississippi Medical Center had opened up on the site. University Hospital is on the exact parcel of land where the asylum once sat.
The University of Mississippi continued to grow around the Medical Center without anyone being any of the wiser what was waiting under the ground. In 2014 (some websites say 2012) a construction crew – while building a new parking lot – unearthed what turned out to be a massive grave dating back to the days of the asylum.
If you died at the asylum but were never claimed you were buried on site; mass graves were a common practice at the time. Despite the stories there is nothing odd or nefarious in what the asylum did.
Realizing the tremendous cost of having the third-party construction remove the remains and rebury – estimated at over $21 million – the University halted all construction. The remains are now waiting for a university project to move and rebury them; the University also has plans to build a memorial center over the mass grave once the bodies are moved.
The school will also work on identifying the remains and hoping to name them.
The Medical Center is the only academic medical center in the State and a Level 1 trauma center.
Apparitions of what is thought to be former patients have been seen on the land where the mass grave exists; many of which are only partially clothed or fully nude. They are described as looking lost and – perhaps somewhat fancifully – as seeming to being suffering from mental illness.
Many people report a feeling of unease being anywhere near the site. Of course, thinking of 7,000 bodies under your feet will do that to most people.
Other Reported Activity: disembodied voices; phantom footsteps; light anomalies; unexplained mists – some have even been reported to be emerging from the ground itself and feelings of being watched.
674 Mannsdale Road
Status: Historical Episcopal Church; Daytime Historical Tours are Available at Request; Chapel and Cemetery Closed at 6pm Everyday
This church was originally designed to be a plantation family church for the Annandale Plantation.
The plantation was owned by John T Johnstone, but he died in 1848 so his widow, Margaret, took up the project apparently based on a drawing made by her late husband.
The bricks were made on site by the plantation slaves, but artisans were hired to actually build the church at a cost of $3,000 ($115,710 in 2023 dollars). When it was completed, Margaret deeded the church and 10 acres of the plantation to the Episcopal Church in June of 1851.
In 1880 Margaret passed and the plantation was sold. The plantation house was left abandoned until it burned down in 1924.
The Diocese alternated back and forth the chapel status multiple times between active and inactive but officially declared it closed for inactive in 1903. Margaret and John’s granddaughter convinced the Church to open the church again in 1911.
It restored and readded to the Diocese again in 1914.
Another restoration took place in 1956 and the US Department of the Interior gave them a $50,000 grant in 1979 for a complete restoration.
Many consider this location the most haunted cemetery in Mississippi.
The most well known legend regarding this location is that of Helen Johnstone and her fiancée Henry Vick – a descendant of the founder of Vicksburg – and their tragedy. They were due to be married on June 21, 1859, but Henry was killed in a duel on June 17 in Mobile, Alabama. Henry’s body was returned, and he was buried on what should have been their wedding day.
While alive Helen spend years visiting the grave of her fiancée and weeping at his gravesite. Eventually she did recover and moved to Europe.
Apparently, part of her stayed there for eternity.
To this day the ghost of Helen is seen crying to her fiancée’s grave. She is described as being in her early 20’s – as she would have been on her wedding day – and will fade from view if approached by the living.
Helen was also seen crying while wandering the plantation house before it burned down. There have been no reports of her ghost in that area since the fire.
The apparitions of a young couple are also seen walking across the cemetery after dark hand in hand. Often, they climb a tree and sit on a branch together. This could be Henry and Helen, but no one knows for sure who they really are.
The ghosts of 2 children are also seen the cemetery. Although they also have not been identified they – like the couple – are known for climbing the cemetery trees.
A church caretaker is said to have murdered his mentally ill wife – its safe to assume he had some severe issues himself – in the chapel before hanging himself from the building’s rafters.
The blood stain from the murdered wife sometimes appears on the chapel floor and people have reported phantom loud laughter that sounds more than a little crazy as well.
As stated above both the chapel and the cemetery are locked up at night yet from time to time the organ will be heard playing inside the church.
2200 5th Street
Status: Former Opera House; Formerly Abandoned; Theater
Attribution: Michael Barera
In 1889 a half block area of Meridian was put under construction by Israel Marks and his three half brothers.
Originally, it was designed to be a department store and a hotel. Shortly after construction began the plans for the hotel were changed to the creation of grand opera house; at the time the price for high end show was about the same as a one night stay in a hotel.
The opera house opened in 1890 booking the best of New York City shows.
In 1902 electricity was added to the building.
In 1920 it was converted into 2 movie theaters with projectors set up in the center of the building.
In 1923 it was leased to a film company for a period of 25 years. The film company soon attempted to turn the theater into an office building but were prevented from doing so by clause in the lease saying the building could never be used as anything but a theater.
This resulted in a law suit when the film company refused to pay their rent which the owners won. Unfortunately, the Great Depression began at the same time resulting in the renting company declaring bankruptcy. This chain of events left the opera house with no money and no option but to be closed.
In the 1960’s the building was covered in metal siding in an attempt to modernize it. In most people’s opinions all this dead was remove the all the 19th century historical significance.
In 2000 numerous grants came together resulting in nearly $25 million for a complete restoration under the stipulation that the University of Mississippi take over care and operation of the building.
The former department store – which operated until the 1990’s – was converted into a conference center.
The original opera center includes both a 900 seat main theater and a 200 seat satellite theater.
The theater is haunted by “The Lady” or possibly “The Ladies”.
Either way the identity of her – or them – is not known but she is definitely benevolent and seems to be happy to coexist with the living.
The most common way she makes her presence known is with cold spots which are commonly reported in the building.
Many people have reported an etheric feeling of her presence and – more rarely – feel a tap on their left shoulder by an unseen presence.
When the theater is empty and completely silent people have heard the voice of a woman singing.
613 Jefferson Street
Status: Heritage Property, Former Restaurant (Permanently Closed)
This is the oldest building in Natchez having been part of a fort that once guarded the territory from any British attempt to cross the river in pre-Revolutionary days. After the Revolution the building was converted into an inn and tavern.
In a strange paradox, highwaymen would pray on the travelers outside of town - who had just stayed in the inn – and then come back into town and spend the money they had stolen. Thus, they became a needed part of both the inn’s and town’s economy.
In the 1930’s 3 bodies – 2 men and 1 woman – were found behind the stone fireplace during a renovation.
In 1873 the building became a private home until the 1970’s when it converted back into a tavern. In 2013 it was bought by a famous chef and became quite popular.
Unfortunately, the economic disruption caused by Covid-19 has resulted in the restaurant closing down permanently.
Neither of the men walled up in the fireplace has been identified but the woman is thought to be Madeline – a former mistress of the tavern’s original owner; Richard King. Her remains were found with a jeweled dagger which is thought to be the weapon used to murder her.
Many people believe that King’s wife upon discovering the affair murdered Madeline and sealed her up in the wall.
The apparition of Madeline has been seen many times in the building – she is more common on the second floor where the inn rooms used to be. She likes to play jokes on people – especially the staff – by rocking the chairs, knocking over jars, throwing things and pouring water from the ceiling.
Her phantom footsteps have been seen going across a wet floor. She likes to turn lights and faucets off and on. Her voice has been heard and recorded when there are no other women present in the room. Madeline is also known for opening stuck doors and closing them again when her name is said.
One of the highwaymen – Big Harpe - was a truly evil piece of crap. He was known for torturing his victims before killing them. While he may or may not haunt the building one of his particularly heinous actions has left paranormal activity that has echoed through to the present.
According to legend Harpe was drinking in the bar and became angry with a woman whose baby kept crying. He eventually took the baby from their mother and either shook it or smacked the baby off of the wall or floor. Either way the end result was the same. The phantom sounds of a baby crying is often heard throughout the building.
The apparition of a man in black that witnesses describe as having a strong aura of evil – perhaps he is Big Harpe himself – is seen. He is often seen in photos of people in front of the fireplace the bodies were found behind – perhaps he’s one of the murder victims.
He’s also said to be responsible for people feeling pressure on their chests and shoulders. Like Madeline he’s been known to throw things but where Madeline is fun this man is aggressive and angry. He’s also seen in a mirror in a former bedroom on the second floor.
Status: Former Plantation House; Historical Ruins
Windsor Mansion was constructed on former plantation lands which encompassed 2,600 acres (1,100 ha) of land around the mansion. It was constructed between 1859 and 1861. Most of the construction was done by the owner’s – Smith Coffee Daniell II – slaves but artisans brought in from the North and Europe to put the glamorous finishing touches on the plantation house.
It was framed by 29 columns and had 3 floors. In total it was 17,000 square feet (1,600 square meters) and cost $175,000 ($5,040,648 in todays dollars) despite being mostly constructed by slave labor. It was the largest Antebellum Greek Revival mansion ever built.
On April 12, 1861 Mr Daniell died, just a few weeks after the mansion was completed.
Coincidentally, the American Civil War started the same day Daniel left the earthly plain. Confederate Forces used the cupola on the roof of the mansion as an observation post and signal station. After the Battle of Port Gibson (May 1, 1863) the victorious Union Forces took over the first 2 storeys of the mansion as an observation post and hospital. The family was allowed to live on the third floor during this time.
In period after the Civil War the family kept themselves flush by leasing out part of their vast land holdings.
On February 17, 1890 a guest dropped cigarette ashes into debris left by carpenters making repairs on the third floor. The mansion was completely destroyed leaving only 4 cast iron stairways and the columns left at the site today.
Ownership of the property had passed to Daniell’s wife – and cousin – Catherine. When Catherine died in 1903 the ruins of the mansion and the vast acreage passed to Priscilla, her daughter. Priscilla married Joesph Magruder and the property stayed in the Magruder family until 1974 when they donated 2.1 acres, including the ruins, to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Currently the ruins are fenced off to prevent anyone from defacing them and to prevent anyone getting hit by falling masonry which, apparently, does happen more often than you’d think. There are plans to do repairs making the ruins safe for people to enter, but no definite date as to when that will happen.
The ghost of a Union soldier killed either at the doorway of the mansion or in the basement (1st floor) is said to haunt the ruins. His apparition has been reported walking the former grounds.
The ghost of Smith Daniel II – the original owner – has also been seen. In one report a visitor approached a man in period clothing assuming him to be a reenactor only to have the man turn, smile, and then fade away to nothing.
Other Activity: phantom sounds of a party going on in the former mansion – perhaps a recording of the night the mansion burned; feelings of being watched; cold spots; mysterious mists
In the nearby family cemetery – containing 45 gravestones including that of Daniel himself – strange lights have been seen that float around the gravestones at night. The cemetery is rumored to be built on an Aboriginal burial mound.