Author Archives: Chynna Cowart

The Haunted Plantation

“Oh, wait I have a good ghost story. OK so my great grandmother Francis lived in this giant plantation house back in the South, and she had five husbands. (Sigh.) Her first husband died two years after she married him of some strange like infection no one really has any details about. The second one was way older than she was, about twenty years, and he died by falling down the stairs. The third husband was twenty years younger than she was, and he got paled on a rake. And then the fourth husband umm just randomly disappeared, no one has found him since. And the fifth husband umm started complaining about like strange (drawn out i.e.  sttrraaannggee) sounds going on in the giant plantation house like you’d heard voices and screaming at night and Grandma was just like, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Everything’s fine.” And the kids are just like, “Ya mom’s just a little bit crazy.. th- that’s just how she is.” And umm he could swear that he could see like a guy with a rake in his back walking around and he could also see like like a guy with a guy with broken necks.. and he finally went down to the basement and he just had a heart attack and died.”

I was very intrigued by this story because many times you see the woman as the “departed lover” and in this case all the men kept dying. Also, it was very interesting to me that the student brought up the age difference between his great grandmother and her multitude of lovers. So I asked him to elaborate.

Me: Do you think the age difference between your great grandmother and these men lead to the failing of the marriages aka their deaths, and thus the hauntings?

Student: Well, now that I think about it, yes. My great grandmother told me that she thought the wider the gap between them the more her next husband would complain about the sounds and voices. That’s why after she married the husband who was twenty years older, she married someone who was twenty years younger to counteract the curse. It didn’t help of course. I think the land itself might have been haunted. I, myself, get the chills just traveling there. I mean, I was just a kid so I don’t remember everything, but I heard so many wailing sounds almost like a banshee and like chains rattling everywhere. I never saw the men who died, but I’m pretty sure what I was hearing wasn’t just them. It’s a spooky place and I just – I just don’t ever like going there.

Me: So you’ve experienced this haunting first hand?

Student: Kind of. I would go when I was a little boy, around Halloween time, and I would get told a new story every time about the recently departed husband. I don’t know why they were spooking a little kid, but whatever works grandma. Sorry umm my grandma was really into her stories. Strong, really big, robust, Irish woman.

I then questioned further about the types of slaves. I was very interested because it was a plantation and I thought maybe the tortured souls of slaves would add to it as well.

Me: Irish? Oh had she worked the land? Or had it been run by slaves?

Student: Indentured servants actually. My grandma, great grandma, umm sorry I call her ‘grandma’ and my actual grandma ‘grams’, uhh anyways she never really worked the land. The family didn’t tell anyone they were Irish. MY grandma could pull it off though. Quite the actor like me haha. She is blonde with blue eyes and doesn’t look Irish at all. Her whole family was lucky in the gene pool because they didn’t look a wee bit Irish, and they got indentured Irish servants to work the land.

Me: I think you’re right about the tortured souls being something other than the men. I think it was the indentured servants. Irish ones to be exact. Especially because it’s all around Halloween. AHHH! (Getting excited because all of the connections). Did your grandma ever see slave ghosts?

Student: Not that she wanted to admit. She is very ashamed that her family hid their heritage and forced others to work just so they could look normal. But her husbands complained about it all the time. The one that stuck out the most—fuck I’m so sorry for not including this in the beginning, but the screaming slash wailing noise was from a woman. So either my great grandmother is crazy or she’s fucking women too.

Me: Well you said the family was Irish so maybe it was the bean sí.

Student: Shit. My family is fucked up and haunted, and you’ve just confirmed that I am absolutely never going back there again. Ugh, I guess it’s the freaking luck of the Irish.

I then ended my story with the student because he seemed visibly upset and was now over-thinking his entire upbringing. I hope I didn’t scar him too much. I just learned that you just have to ask the right questions to get the right information.

Death on Sorority Row

I wanted to get a more personal story stemming from the college experience. So much of the college experience is influenced by Greek life, so when a girl from my hall told me this story I had to write it down. The context is that we talked about why we decided on USC and what extracurricular activities we are involved in. We then started talking about the Greek system at USC and I asked if she rushed and got this story in return.

“I didn’t rush at USC because of this story my sister told me. There was this girl uhh let’s call her Victoria. She was a junior at a university in the South. I assume University of Florida. Anyways, it was the end of junior year and elections were going on for the girl who would be the president the next upcoming year. Victoria made cookies. Victoria made signs and posters. Victoria… haha also slept with half of the neighboring frat houses, but that was “in order to establish a social connection with the top frats on campus” as my sister says. She goes to U of F, proud as fuck of it too. I digress, Victoria did all these things to claim her spot as president of said sorority and she would have won too. That’s of the girl she ran against hadn’t rigged the whole race. The other girl, Amber had some of her sisters take a few votes from Victoria. Ya, beats me why they still did it the old school way with paper and junk. It seems like you could do it with an iPad or something. But ya her sister took a few votes away from Victoria, it turns out she was only short by a single vote. After, losing she went crazy, gave away all her stuff, dropped her Major… they should’ve known she was going to commit suicide. All the warning signs, ya know? She hung herself from the chandelier in the center of the sorority house. The tale goes that around Election Day, she comes out from hiding and runs the show. Sometimes she throws things or locks doors. I think my sister said something about locking all the members out of the main sitting room where they do all the voting. She’s just really pissy about dying and losing I guess. I didn’t want to deal with any crazy bitches though. I’m not trying to die for some “sisters” if that makes sense.”

I think this story, besides its digressions, turned out to convey a hidden side of Greek life in college. It was interesting to hear and explore. It made me think about how ghosts only appear if they have a bad death, and Christianity says suicide is bad. Being a Greek affiliated house, I would assume it was founded under Christian values.  Also, the ideas of poltergeist and a woman ghost were examined in this story. There was some humor in the fact that Victoria plays tricks on the girls, but isn’t a harmful soul. Embodying the classical motif of the female ghost, the idea of Victoria haunting a sorority seems reasonable.