MORTUARY HAUNTED HOUSE

4800 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA

(504) 483-2350

Status: Former Residence; Former Funeral Home; Halloween Tourist Attraction

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History

This house was built in 1872 by Mary Slattery and her husband John as a family home. Some of the property was bought from the neighboring cemetery – then called Hebrew Congregation of Temme Derech; now called Hope Mausoleum – which then covered the area between Gasquet (now Cleveland) Street and Canal.

In 1880 Mary, John and their 6 children – plus family friends the Keanes – had moved into the mansion. Designed in the Greek Revival style the house was considered one of the most beautiful in the city. The was also completely surrounded by graves – the one behind the house has since been moved – and was said to have over 1 million bodies buried within 1 square mile.

In 1905 the house was sold to another family; despite Mary’s dreams of it being the family homestead for generations. It is thought both Mary and her youngest daughter had died in one of the last Yellow Fever epidemics that led to the sale.

In 1935 the house was sold again and turned into the city’s largest funeral parlor - PJ McMahon and Sons - who added a number of changes to the property. A garage was added to bring in the bodies in without the public seeing as well as an elevator. Smoking rooms were added for the gentleman as well private rooms for the those “emotional” ladies to break down in.

The bedrooms were converted into private rooms where a grieving family could escape from the other mourners.

It said over 20,000 funerals were conducted in the home which was big enough to hold 8 funerals simultaneously.

In the 1980’s the family funeral home was becoming a thing of the past as corporations were taking over the business of death as well as life. McMahon’s was no different. Two different corporations would attempt to make a go of the funeral home service but they were unable to offer the level of service the family did for over 5 decades and soon it was impossible to keep the business afloat.

The owning company of Aveda Spas looked seriously at creating a day spa in the house in 2004 but lost interest. The house sat empty – and needing renovations – until 2007 until Jeff Borne bought it with the idea of creating the ultimate Halloween attraction.

The house already had a reputation as being haunted for real so paranormal investigators began to reach out to Jeff asking to do on-site investigations. Eventually Jeff even set up wireless cameras and microphones to monitor the house’s paranormal activity 24/7. This was also done in concert with running a state-of-the-art haunted house attraction during the Halloween season.

Unfortunately, this location no longer hosts any ghost tours or paranormal investigations – the more lucrative Escape Rooms were added a few years ago – so to enter the building you need to book and escape room experience or go to the haunted house in the fall.

Most reviews related to the attraction aspect of this location called it the best haunted house in Louisiana; some say in the entire South.

 

Paranormal Activity

The apparition of a man in a top hat is often seen in the neighboring cemetery and is known for scolding anyone he sees as being disrespectful to the Hope Mausoleum.

The ghost of a young woman is seen on the top floor eternally crying for someone who probably passed away many many years ago. Romantics fantasize her its for her husband who they believe is the top hat man next door.

Two young children forever run and laugh throughout the house and are known as being mischievous and playing pranks on the living.

The ghost of a mortician is seen in the basement as well as in the original autopsy room which is under the stairs near the elevator.

Other Reported Activity: being grabbed and touched by an unseen presence; disembodied voices and whispers; physical symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and nausea; objects moving on their own including furniture; movement out of the corner of your eye and feelings of not being alone and being watched.

Of course, the manufactured haunted house is specifically designed to frighten you so who knows how much of the haunted activity is due to fabricated fear.