This book was very disappointing. As a Louisiana resident who has visited The Myrtles on several occasions and stayed the night there three times, I w...moreThis book was very disappointing. As a Louisiana resident who has visited The Myrtles on several occasions and stayed the night there three times, I was hoping to find more historical information about the plantation. Despite claims that she did extensive research on The Myrtles, very little of this information is mentioned in her book. In fact, Kermeen is decidedly vague about any verifiable historical facts. She gives more historical background on a few other locations in St. Francisville, which is very little.
Kermeen makes good use of her theatrical background in creating this hodgepodge tale that is equal parts Amityville Horror, Gone With The Wind, and Louisiana folklore (or, in this case, fakelore) - all double-dipped in Cheese Whiz. She begins by implying that she was mysteriously "chosen" as the next caretaker of The Myrtles and hinting at a voodoo curse to conveniently explain why the house was seemingly so active while she was there. She may have been able to get away with that if she hadn't carried the tale a bit too far by hinting that she just might be a reincarnation of one of the previous residents of The Myrtles, by claiming to have been visited by the spirit of every friend that had died while she was in residence and then later claiming that the paranormal activity followed her after she left The Myrtles. After chapter 37, the story becomes utterly far-fetched as she stretches this farce to include one of her employees (a young teenage girl) having sex with a ghost and guests being raped by this ghost.
Even though she alleges to have done broad research on the plantation and to have had a burning desire to "find out everything she could" about the house, what she reports in the book is hearsay - stories told by a couple of locals - one of whom claimed to have gotten his information from the ghosts of The Myrtles themselves. On top of that, she is suspiciously unclear on the details of these stories. What she does say in the book is inaccurate. West Feliciana Parish courthouse and newspaper records have proven this. She says in this book that she found out, while she was living at The Myrtles, that the story of Sarah Mathilda and her two daughters being poisoned was not true, but in her previous book - written after she left The Myrtles - she tells the story of the poisonings, stating that Sarah Mathilda and her two daughters were poisoned by a beautiful mulatto slave and they all died that night. So, she actually contradicts herself. Why the discrepancy??? Sarah Mathilda was not murdered. She died from yellow fever (according to historical record) in 1823. Her children, a son and a daughter - not both daughters, died about a year after she did. They certainly did not die from the result of poison. Another example is the story of William Winter. Winter was indeed murdered on the front porch by an unknown assailant but after being shot, he immediately fell down and died. On January 26, 1871, while going over a Sunday School lesson with his young son in the men's parlor, Winter heard a man ride up on horseback and call out to him. It seemed the man was wanting to talk with the attorney over some matter. When Winter went out to see who this was, he was shot. The people inside the house rushed out to find him dead on the gallery. This was reported in the Point Coupee Newspaper. His bloody trip through the house never took place --- information that was easily found in historical records. (This, by the way, is the only verifiable murder to take place in the house.) In this book (on page 72) she states that her friend "Hamp" "had done a lot of research on the Myrtles at the regular venues--the library, LSU, and talking to people--but that he also got a lot of his information from 'them.'" Later in the book, on page 170, she says that "Hamp" told her (about the ghostly footsteps on stairs) "John L. told me once that it was William Winter. He said William was shot outside on the north gallery. There are still bullet holes in the plaster, and bloodstains on the wall and on the gallery that won't go away, no matter how hard you scrub. After he was shot he tried to make it into the house and up the stairs to Sarah. He died on the seventeenth step, in her arms." If he had done the research that Kermeen claims - and if she had done the research that she claims - they both would have known that this was not true. There are so many inconsistencies within this book (especially compared with the story she wrote in her first book) that it just becomes absolutely absurd. I'm beginning to wonder if this friend "Hamp" (who would have been 13 years old when she bought The Myrtles according to the birth year she gives in the book) was possibly a figment of her imagination as so much of her story of The Myrtles seems to be.
Even her "facts" that are not related to the house are inaccurate. She states that when she bought The Myrtles, one of her employees told her "Everyone goes to the same school now, but theys ain't really integrated. The black kids have their own classes with black teachers, and the white kids have their own classes with white teachers. They haves a black lunch, and a white lunch." - I was in high school in Louisiana at the time Kermeen bought The Myrtles and this is an absolute falsehood. Black and white kids went to the same classes, were taught by both black and white teachers, and they all ate lunch together - and had been doing so since before I started school. One has to ask oneself - in 1980, would federal officials have even allowed this to occur as Kermeen says? The answer is - unquestionably not!!
It appears that Ms. Kermeen was profoundly influenced by The Amityville Horror as she recycled several events recounted in that book, but puts her own spin on them. Coincidentally, The Amityville Horror was later exposed as a hoax.
I enjoyed reading of her reactions to cockroaches, grits, and crawfish. The rest is as embarrassing to me as The Amityville Horror is to the residents of Amityville, New York.
I finished this book only because I was hoping to find some redeeming quality, but I was sadly disappointed. If you're looking for some substantial information on The Myrtles, you'd be much better off with The Legends, Lore, and Lies of The Myrtles Plantation by Troy Taylor which is found on the internet.
Ms. Kermeen has made a mockery of the history and legends of The Myrtles and I sincerely hope that no one who reads this book will take it seriously. I do not discount paranormal activity at The Myrtles, but this narrative is clearly fiction. I am thoroughly sorry that I ever read this book. As has been said before - it's a waste of money and it insults your intelligence.
I would also like to mention that the current owner and employees of the Myrtles do not endorse this book. When asked about it, they will tell you quickly that it is not true (the ones that I talked to used much stronger language). This book is not even sold in the gift shop on the premises. ___________________________________
"This book, like the Amityville Horror, was sensationalized to sell and, apparently, readers were not disappointed.
Although The Myrtles is advertised as the most haunted house in the US in which at least 10 people were murdered, records indicate only one person was murdered inside the house.
Chloe, the mistreated slave mistress who wears a green turban to conceal her missing ear, is the invention of people who owned the house in the early 1970s. In GHOSTS ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI, published in 1948, the ghost in the green turban is described as that of a French governess who had lost an ear to frostbite while working in Canada, and family records confirm such a governess was employed at The Myrtles.
Although oleander is a deadly poisonous plant occasionally utilized by murderers, no such poisonings took place at The Myrtles. This, too, was an invention of the people who changed the green-turbaned governess into Chloe, the slave.
This is not to say The Myrtles isn't haunted. The French governess may still haunt the house along with a few other spirits. But I would think the most active spirit would be that of Judge Woodruff who is angry about his good name being maligned by modern-day sensation seekers.
Regardless of all the hoopla about The Myrtles, it is not even the most haunted house in Louisiana, let alone in the US. Destrehan Plantation has several real, not manufactured, spirits and is more likely the most haunted house in Louisiana."(less)