Louisiana Urban Legends, Monsters, and Haunted Places
Long before hurricane Katrina brought forth the tales of sharks and alligators swimming through the flooded streets of new Orleans in 2005, there already existed a vast amount of urban legends and ghost stories involving the state of Louisiana. From werewolves to vampires, zombies and ghosts, Louisiana seems to have it all.
The tales of voodoo and witchcraft, along with the ghosts and monsters of Louisiana, have made it one of (if not the biggest) resource for paranormal research and urban legends in the United States. With that being said, it is with creepy pleasure, that I give you this edition of "Urban Legends, Monsters and Haunted Places" from the great State of Louisiana.
The Rougarou—Southern Louisiana
The legends of the rougarou, or loup-garou, have been passed down from generation to generation as long as Louisiana has been inhabited by modern man. The rougarou are closely related to the European version of the werewolf, but has a few very distinct differences from the wolf men seen in movies and on television.
Wolves are not native to Louisiana, so many times the beast in the story is replaced with other animals such as dogs, pigs or cattle, and generally appear as being pale white in color. As the story goes, the rougarou will wander the streets at night searching for a savior amongst the crowds of people. It will run through and cause havoc to each individual until somebody eventually shoots or stabs the creature.
With the first drop of blood drawn in the dying blow the beast will then turn back into a man and reveal to its attacker his true name. This legend is said to usually happen within the smallest of towns in Louisiana, because of this the rougarou is often already known by its killer. Before the dying man takes his last breath of life he will warn his savior that he can not mention a word of the incident to anyone for one full year, or he too will suffer the same fate, and become the rougarou.
Parents are often known to spin the tales of the rougarou to children who misbehave, warning them that if they don't straighten up they will be visited by the rougarou in their bed come nightfall. One account tells of a boy who encountered the beast while on his way home from a night out with friends. As the boy was walking along a large white dog was following behind nipping at his heels and antagonizing the boy to attack. Finally out of annoyance and slight anger the boy took out his knife and slashed the dog open, at that point the beast then turned back into a man.
In this case, the rougarou told the boy how he had sold his soul to the devil to gain prosperity, but was tricked by Satan and changed into the beast instead. As the curse seems to demand, he then warned the boy of the penalty of mentioning the events that had taken place, but the boy just couldn't resist.
After repeating the story to several friends the boy started to disappear from his room at night and none of his friends of family could find him anywhere until the following morning, at which point he would appear back in his room with no explanation to where he had been.
This went on for about a year, until one morning his body was found laying in the street. The police claimed it was most likely suicide, but friends and family of the boy knew that there would soon be a new rougarou roaming the streets. Anyone who has ever lived in a small town knows that no story can be kept secret for long, not even the tale of the rougarou.
LaLaurie Mansion—New Orleans, Louisiana
The Madame LaLaurie Mansion (sometimes spelled LeLaurie) is considered by many to be the single most gruesome haunting in the United States. With almost 180 years of reported violent activity, its tale is not for the feint of heart. The LaLaurie family first moved into the Creole mansion on Royal street in 1832.
The madame of the house, Delphine, was well known throughout the city for her grand parties and fine taste in clothing and décor. The locals considered it a great honor to be invited to one of her luxurious gatherings to be wined and dined while relaxing on expensive furniture, imported from all over the world.
Though Delphine was well respected by many for her intelligence and wealth, there were those few who knew her for what she truly was from the very beginning, a cruel, evil and heartless creature who would do whatever it took to be amused and get whatever she wanted.
Slavery in itself was one of the worst crimes against humanity that was ever committed, but Madame LaLaurie managed to take this cruel act a step further than that, proving exactly how cruel she really was.
Delphine had been known to brutally torture even the youngest of her servants, often whipping them to death and merely replacing them with another as if they were just old clothing. It is told that she kept her cook chained to the stove for over 16 hours a day, then locking her in a dark room for the night, until the new day began.
There was just no limit to this evil woman's horrifying treatment to other human beings. Eventually, after a neighbor had seen LaLaurie burying a young girl in a shallow grave the authorities took Delphine's servants away from her, but the insane woman only needed to have relatives purchase them back from the public auctions so she could continue her horrid abuse.
Do you believe New Orleans is truly a haunted city?
In 1834 a fire was started in the kitchen of the LaLaurie Mansion, apparently set by the cook who could no longer take the abuse. When firefighters showed up and put out the blazing fire they discovered a more horrifying site then they could have ever imagined.
Within the smoking remains of the fire and water damaged interior of the home they found a barred door, beyond that were dozens of slaves chained to the walls and home made operating tables. The madame had been using them as play-toys in her sadistic games for her own sickening pleasure. Surrounding those who were still barely alive were the dismembered remains of those who Delphine had already finished off.
The degree of torture LaLaurie put these poor souls through is far worse than any serial killer known to the world thus far. A young man was chained to the wall with a sharp stick protruding from his head where a hole had been drilled, authorities say the woman had been using the stick to stir the mans brains, on one of the makeshift tables a woman had her stomach cut open, her intestines pulled out and tied tightly around the her waist like a gruesome belt, and there were so many others in the room as well, all suffering various forms of abuse and torture.
Word of the woman's evil rapidly spread throughout the city and soon a large mob gathered outside of the horrid creature's home to serve up punishment for the insane woman's acts of violence and torture. Unfortunately it was far to late, the family had escaped the city immediately following the fire, never to be seen or heard from again.
Once the victims were removed the enraged neighbors had taken their anger out on the house itself, destroying the beast's belongings. It was soon after that the reports of the haunting began.
Only a short time passed before the mansion was once again occupied by new comers to the city, but none of the occupants ever stayed for long. The reports of screaming and crying throughout the night were bad, but nothing compared to the ghastly sight of the decapitated apparitions and angry spirits that were constantly seen roaming the corridors and passing through the large rooms of the mansion.
Throughout the years the building has gone through many changes and renovations, from a private school to apartments for the privileged. Though the screams and apparitions have faded through time, they are still occasionally reported by scared tenants and visitors who know little or nothing of the cruel history linked to the mansion of Madame LaLaurie.
The Grunch—Eastern New Orleans, Louisiana
The Grunch is a New Orleans based urban legend closely related to the chupacabra. Back when New Orleans was first developing the Eastern suburbs there existed an old road barely known of by most residents of the area. This road was long and narrow and led off into the deep thicket of woods surrounding the area, eventually coming to a dead end.
Do you believe the grunch is a race of inbred albino dwarfs or the spawn of the Devil?
According to legend there was a strange group of humans living in these woods that were a strange mix of albinos and dwarfs, forced to live away from society, during a time when people who were thought of as different were considered creations of the devil. Because of humanities cruel nature, these people became a sort of side show for teenagers and immature adults.
The locals claim that their seclusion to the woods had caused the people to interbreed and combine their abnormalities to eventually become almost inhuman in appearance. At this point in time the end of that long road, then labeled "Grunch" road, was considered nothing but a freak-show and occasionally a make out spot for desperate teens who may not have believed the legends, that is until people started to disappear.
It started out with a few goats here and there, nearby farmers reporting their animals missing or finding them dead and drained of their blood. Before long adult humans began disappearing as well, and reports of strange deformed creatures roaming the woods at the end of "Grunch" road were multiplying everyday.
Some say the albino dwarf people sold their souls for a beast to protect them from the onlookers who treated them as freaks, while others claim the beasts are the offspring of the albinos and dwarfs, deformed from many years of inbreeding and mixing abnormalities, driven insane from the cruel treatment they endured from society.
Legends say, you will first see a stray goat along the side of the road, appearing to be injured or in need of assistance. It isn't until you leave the safety of your vehicle to help the animal that the grunch comes out to drain you of your blood and feast upon your flesh. The next time you see a stray goat wandering the side of the road, just remember there may be a grunch nearby waiting, ready to have his taste.
Louisiana may just be, the most haunted region of the United States, it certainly has more urban legends, monsters and haunted places than I could possibly write about in one article. It was a lot of fun, though at times disturbing, researching the Louisiana edition of this series, I hope that you enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it.
If there is anything you would care to add be sure to leave a comment in the area below.Thanks for stopping by, I look forward to hearing any tales of the creepy and unusual you may care to share.