Haunted houses and the stories they tell: Walt Grayson

Local News

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)- Halloween is the last day of this month, and 12’S Walt Grayson has a story about haunted houses here in Mississippi.

Walt says it isn’t necessary to believe in ghosts to enjoy a ghost story.

Walt: No. No more than it is necessary to believe in Middle Earth to enjoy The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. But haunted houses and ghost stories are a part of the “what if?” side of our nature. And a few real facts included just add to their appeal. Lets start with a haunted house in Ellisville.

The infamous Civil War deserter Newt Knight was on the lose- hold up with his band of followers in the Leaf River swamps in Jones County. Major Amos McLemore and a troop of men had been sent out by the Confederacy to root him out. After a particularly tiresome hunt on a dreary late October day, the Major was warming himself by the fireplace in his room at the Deason Home in Ellisville when suddenly the door burst open and Newt Knight rushed into the room and shot the Major point-blank. The bloodstain on the floor by the fireplace could never be cleaned up, re-appearing every time the weather turned cold and blustery.

There is a rather modern haunted house in Florence in Rankin County. It seems to have the full gamut of otherworldly manifestations- noises, shadow figures, lights blinking, objects moving of their own accord, orbs, even whole body sightings. It has been the subject of more supernatural investigations than any other house in Mississippi I suppose.

Merrihope in Meridian is one of those houses that emerged into its final form over time- starting from something much smaller. In its history, it has picked up the spirit of Eugenia. She is a full figure apparition- showing herself frequently in the upstairs front part of the house near where her portrait hangs.

Another spirited tale from Meridian is not a house but a special group of graves in Rose Hill Cemetery- the Gypsy Graves. Kelly Mitchell- the Queen of the Gypsies- died while camped in west Alabama. Although she died over a hundred years ago, devotees still slip to her grave unseen and leave gifts and ask favors of the queen.

So- do the dead return to aid we, the living? Do they still live where they once lived? Or are they still attached to objects they were attached to in life? Good questions for which there seems the only opinion for answers in our world of measures and weights and just the facts. Feelings and intuitions and knowings don’t count for much— until you meet one of these entities face to face for yourself.

Walt: No, I have never seen a ghost on one of my haunted house stories or I wouldn’t still be doing them.

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