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Lalaurie Mansion of New Orleans
Mrs. Delphine Lalaurie and her third husband, Dr. Dr. Leonard Louis Nicolas Lalaurie moved into their new home at 1140 Rue Royal in 1832. Well respected and adored by New Orleans’ society, no one had any idea of the hideous atrocities of which they were capable.
Some say that Mrs. Lalaurie was a close acquaintance of the infamous voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, who occasionally came to the mansion to fix Mrs. Lalaurie’s hair.
The first indication that something was not quite right at the Lalaurie Mansion involved a young slave girl, who hit a snag while brushing Delphine’s long dark hair. Infuriated by the pain, Delphine chased the girl around while beating her with a whip. Attempting to escape the brutal beating, the young girl fell to her death from a second-floor balcony.
The event was witnessed, and Mrs. Lalaurie was charged with abuse. She received a small fine, and her slaves were removed from the home and sold at public auction. A relative of Delphine’s bought the slaves, and returned them to her.
Soon after, a cook deliberately set fire to the kitchen to call attention to the evil within the home. When the firefighters arrived, they were horrified by the sight that met their eyes.
Slaves were chained to the kitchen stove. They indicated the attic to their saviors, who found approximately a dozen human beings in small cages, and chained to the walls of the upper floor. Not only were they chained up, but they had been tortured, gruesomely mutilated, and used in unspeakable medical experiments.
When the news was made public, the people of New Orleans were aghast! They converged upon the mansion, destroying the property inside the home. Unfortunately, during the frenzy, the Lalauries made their escape from the city.
The home has changed hands many times over the years, and ghosts and other paranormal activity have been reported from most of the tenants. There are tales of screams and moans, the sounds of running feet, apparitions of a middle-aged woman fitting the description of Delphine, the top half of a man reputed to be Dr. Lalaurie, and a young girl believed to be the slave buried beneath the tree.
Not long ago, during a renovation of the home, some floor boards were removed, and a huge pit was discovered, filled with the bones of seventy-five men, women, and children.
The Lalaurie Mansion is known to be the most haunted home in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
References/Sources/For further information:
Moran, Mark, Joanne Austin, Mark Sceurman, Ryan Doan. Weird Hauntings. Sterling Publishing Co., NY: 2006.
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