When it comes to the supernatural, ghosts, hauntings, voodoo and all that is eerie, New Orleans is at the forefront. This vibrant metropolis is haunted by its tragic past. From rising out of the ashes of the great fire in 1888 to suffering through the Civil War to surviving yellow fever to the inhumane slave brutality in the French Quarters, New Orleans is one of the most historically rich destinations in the world.
But there are many who believe this anguished past is still alive and full of unrest. The Big Easy has a reputation of being one of the most haunted places in the United States. Every year this spirited city draws in around 9 million visitors who want to experience and witness ghosts, demons and paranormal phenomena for themselves. One would not have far to go to experience something unworldly.
With 42 cemeteries in New Orleans, there is no shortage of spooky places to visit. Much of the city is below sea level so the deceased are laid to rest in above ground tombs known as the City of the Dead. These aging crypts are said to be home to an abundance of ghosts, spirits and evil entities.
But, if you’re brave and open to a truly terrifying experience, then you must take the unforgettable trip to the Manchac Swamp. Many who have ventured there have mysteriously disappeared…never to return.
Deep in the wetlands is a burial ground that’s home to a spirit more harrowing and deadly than any other. Those that dare to make this journey say they got a glimpse of a ghostly woman stalking the grounds and heard blood-curdling screams echoing through the trees. Who was this woman that’s haunting the graveyard? It’s said to be a voodoo priestess named Julia Brown, and her story is one of malice, magic and mystery.
It’s the turn of the century and Julia Brown lives in the small town of Fernier on the banks of the Manchac Swamp. The industry at that time was logging and Julia was there to act as a doctor if you will, helping to heal the resident’s ailments and injuries using traditional voodoo methods. She also traveled around the area assisting with childbirths and helping the afflicted. Julia had this amazing power and all the people she helped recovered quite quickly.
Although Julia was well respected and known for her healing skills, the people started to take advantage of her. Many would demand she help them without asking her. She was becoming a slave to the people and she became deeply embittered and resentful. In a fit of rage, Julia Brown unleashed a curse that claimed when she died, she would take the whole village with her.
On September 15, 1915, Julia Brown dies of old age. Keeping her promise, the very next day a devastating hurricane swept through the region. At least 275 people are killed and Fernier was all but wiped off the map. To this day, the bodies of the hurricane victims wash up on the swampy shores. These towns victims are buried in the Manchac Swamp graveyard, but all is not at peace. It’s said that Julia Brown’s vengeful spirit is hostile to those who enter the grounds.
If this story sounds intriguing, you can take an evening swamp tour to the graveyard where Julia Brown’s spirit haunts and experience this hair-raising adventure for yourself. Many visitors to New Orleans make it a point to tour one of the haunted cemeteries. But those with an adventurous spirit and ceaseless bravery can take on the burial grounds that lies in the middle of the Manchac Swamp. Who knows, you just may hear the breathy screams of Julia after you mention her name. She’s waiting for you!