VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – We have some great spooky stories coming up next month, but I just love poking around old places like the old convent in Vicksburg. It’s an old Antebellum home, school and more all in one. It takes up a whole city block and has more than its share of legends and lore.
It was all nearly lost at one time. When the Sisters of Mercy moved to other accommodations several years ago, the whole block of buildings was put “on the block” so to speak, put up for sale. There were all sorts of rumors of what might happen to it, all the way to tearing it down and making a parking lot out of it.
“Or a gas station. I’m not completely sure what their intentions were. There was a group of people who fought very hard to save this complex of buildings,” said Stacey Mahoney, Executive Director of the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation.
Long story short, they were successful. The buildings have been saved. Inside the buildings are the Southern Cultural Heritage Center where performances, art shows, open-air concerts and lessons of all sorts go on all the time.
“Yes. That’s one part of our mission, to be a cultural center offering events. The second part of our mission is to preserve the historic foundation of these buildings,” said Mahoney.
The Sisters of Mercy came to Vicksburg just before the Civil War and purchased the Cobb House as their headquarters. It was built in the 1840s. They taught school downstairs and lived upstairs. Then in 1868, the sisters built their convent. Later, they added the auditorium and academy. You’ve seen the auditorium in the movie “Oh Brother Where Art Thou.” Actually, that’s a big tourist’s attraction for the buildings.
“They’ll call and, ‘I just want to know if I can come and stand on the stage where George Clooney was,'” said Mahoney.
They can, and so can you by appointment. You can see the whole complex for that matter. Where the sisters lived, the school rooms, the architecture of the complex. So much of it is just the way it was, still untouched. To see it all is interesting, to me. And a little spooky, perhaps.
“We’ll be walking through somewhere and a door will just open for us,” said Mahoney.
If there are ghosts there, they are mannered and polite. Because of the dedication of a group of people who wouldn’t let it go, the spirits and the whole complex are still there in Vicksburg.
We’re working on an October special. We call it “The Story Teller’s Chair.” It will have a bunch of spooky stories from all over. We’ll let you know when to be watching for it.