It seems like anyone who's been to an old plantation has had some sort of tale to tell. I'd been going to the particular plantation in my story for years and didn't know until recently that some of my earlier experiences were a bit out of the ordinary.
This plantation was the kind of historical place that all school kids in my area were forced through for field trips when they're learning about the Civil War. As far as history goes, it wasn't a very bad place. Slaves were supposedly treated well (as well as can be when enslaved, I guess) and the plantation and surrounding land was quite lovely.
The first time I went, I was about 11 years old and didn't know any of the history of the place. They had tour guides of course, but after a long bus ride, I wasn't keen on listening to someone who had the monotone sound of a person that's been telling the same spiel over and over.
The tour guide took us around the whole ground, letting us see the land and slave quarters. For some reason a good portion of the kids didn't like being near some of the slave homes. We went in and out of a few houses and some just had a good feel about them and some did not. Probably just overactive imaginations, but enough of us were disturbed that it got our teacher's attention.
We moved on to the main house, but we were only allowed to look in the windows. Children weren't allowed inside without parents because of all the valuables that were on display. We were led around the house to try and see inside as much as possible through the windows and doors. A lot us felt like we had gotten the short end of the stick tourwise because we just knew someone was in there. We heard footsteps near the kitchen and there was the definite smell of baking, like someone was cooking gingerbread. The tour guide tried to assure us that no one was inside, but we insisted we smelled food.
Through the rest of my school years I was able to visit the plantation a few more times, but nothing really scary happened until years after I graduated.
A group of friends decided they wanted to go to the plantation at night because someone said they heard the place was haunted. It was pretty much an even mix of girls and guys, the girls just wanting to try something scary, the guys being total non-believers. We took along a video camera my best friend had just bought to film everything.
It was pretty late at night when we drove out there, and since it's far from the city, everything was pitch black except for what our car headlights lit up. We'd been joking around a lot on the drive, but as we turned down the entrance road, the mood became unusually heavy.
The entrance itself cuts through a dense mass of trees that have been undisturbed probably since the plantation was in use. Eventually we ended up at the front gate, with a long road leading down to where the caretakers stay.
The front gate was locked for the night, but my friends were persistent. Everyone but myself and two other friends decided to jump the fence. My friends both had injuries earlier that year that would have made climbing the tall fence a painful experience, and me, well, I was just creeped out.
When the others started climbing over the fence, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that we were being watched and that we shouldn't be there. I voiced my feelings and naturally I got laughed at. It was usually a very nice place to be during the day so no one else saw why it should be any different at night.
My friends and I returned to one of the trucks we'd driven in and decided to just sit and chat quietly. We didn't want to chance turning the truck on to listen to the radio in case one of the caretakers decided to take a walk down the road. Our chat didn't get very far.
That heavy feeling had never dissipated and I felt like someone was in the trees watching us. Suddenly one of my friends, Maggie, asked "Why did you turn the car on?" The other friend, Kristin, and I looked at her like she was nuts. Maggie pointed at the radio where the clock part is and sure enough, the time was glowing at us in that annoying neon green car light way. The troubling part is, with Kristin's truck it has to be on for the time to light up. Her keys weren't even in the ignition. We all became even more quiet, if that was possible, huddling together and hoping our friends would come back soon.
After what seemed like an eternity, the others finally returned. They looked to be in about the same shape as us, most of them barely talking. We decided to wait till we got back to the house we were staying at before talking about what had happened. The drive back felt even worse.
The entrance road is a long one and the whole way out I felt as if something was in the trees following us. I didn't even want to look out the windows I felt so scared. The feeling didn't lift until we hit the paved road and got back on the interstate.
When we got back to the house, everyone started talking at once. John, one of the former non-believers, swore he had seen something in one of the slave homes. "Something" was about all we could get out of them, he was so freaked out. "I thought there were people there, but then they were gone," he said. Everyone else had similar experiences...shadowy figures in the slave quarters, weird lights that shouldn't have been there, noises like hushed conversation. They hadn't even made it to the main house they were so scared.
Kristin put the video tape they had used in the VCR to see if maybe we could rationalize some things. It only made things more strange. While we didn't see any shadowy figures, there were some odd-colored lights that kept showing up where there shouldn't have been any. The only light they really used to see was that of the camera, which is only a dim white light. There was a portion where the person holding the camera was viewing the slave quarters from the outside and there seemed to be a green light glowing from within. There were also strange howling noises that none of them remembered hearing. I could say it was an elaborate hoax on their part, but the idea of going out there was spur of the moment and all of them were so scared afterwards that no one wanted to go anywhere alone for quite a long time after.
I did some research on the plantation after all this happened. The ghost rumors that had spurred us on this little adventure was about a slave that had been hanged on the plantation. He killed another slave and was hanged for it. He supposedly haunts the area where he was hung...the trees at the front entrance where we had felt so uncomfortable. I also found that some of the tour guides had ghostly experiences. Only a few are on the grounds at one time so things won't be disturbed too much, which makes it hard to blame things on the presence of other people. And one of their most repeated experiences? The sound of puttering around in the main house and the smell of gingerbread baking.