When Ghost Hunting and History Go Bad

Historic Lebeau Plantation
Historic Lebeau Plantation

Well, I wrote about Ghost Hunting and Historic Sites before… and the time has come to revisit the topic.

In today’s news4 stoner ghost-hunters burnt down a beautiful historic Lousianna plantation.  According to the news, the LeBeau Plantation House, circa 1850, was the largest antebellum home in the area.  Unfortunately, for the last 30 years the house was uninhabited and boarded up which made it irresistible to individuals interested in the paranormal. One story says that, “Sheriff’s spokesman Col. John Doran told the paper that one of the ghost hunters decided to burn down the vacant landmark in the “haze of alcohol and marijuana” after getting frustrated when no ghosts materialized despite their attempts to summon them.”

Conflagration of Lebeau Plantation
Conflagration of Lebeau Plantation

The spooky appearance of an abandoned mansion, combined with the controversial and tragic history that southern plantations inherently embody, made this a hot-spot for ghost hunters.

The abandoned plantation
The abandoned plantation

A quick google search brings up “Labeau Mansion haunted” and this ghost hunters’ website. The website claims, “The Lebeau plantation house had been infamous for being the most haunted house in that area, every old-timer and kid alike knew the stories well. About 150 years ago, the Lebeau plantation had been the sight of cruel mistreatment of slaves by the Lebeaus. They would beat their slaves, sometimes to death, and then order the other slaves to bury the dead off in the fields beside the house. This murderous behavior continued until it seems that the spirits of the dead began to haunt the Lebeau family and one by one drove them all to insanity. Eventually, each of the Lebeaus committed suicide in turn (at least two of them were hangings on the 2nd floor.”

Is a  sign such as this one enough?
Is a sign such as this one enough?

The ghost hunter went on to say: “The house had a foreboding look to it and was as creepy as anything you might expect, but my initial reaction was, “We have GOT to get in there”! My sister burst out in laughter at that moment and said, “I knew it! I knew if I showed you this place you would want to go in there with me. I have been trying to get people around here to sneak in there with me ever since I moved here but everybody is too afraid”.”   The ghost hunter and friends then proceeded to break into the house to ghost hunt.  They even admitted, “Our plan wasn’t exactly rocket science, we thought we would leave at around midnight and sneak in somewhere out of sight.”  You can click the link to read more about the misadventures of some trespassing “ghost hunters.”

This situation is a bit different than the last post, which talks more about ghost hunting at museums or historic sites.  What kinds of preservation implications does this bring up?  How can we better protect abandoned historic structures, or those with limited security? Is there any way to keep people from (perhaps unintentionally) destroying history?  What can we learn from this?  What other problems or issues does this bring up?

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