Once the home of a sadistic slave trader, Bellevue (AKA Longfellow House, AKA Pollock House) in Pascagoula, Mississippi is believed haunted by the ghosts of abused and murdered slaves. Slave trader Daniel Smith Graham built the home in 1850. The Greek Revival style, wood-frame cottage overlooked the Gulf of Mexico, and was clearly subjected to its fair share of increment weather of the years. Graham reportedly didn’t treat his slaves very well and his wife developed a reputation for intense cruelty. She reportedly beat her slaves til they were within an inch of their life. Those were the lucky ones. The ones who survived. Several slaves actually died from their wounds. But, it’s believed that they decided to stick around and drive their former masters insane.
The house was turned into a girl’s school, a private home, and then a hotel, owned by Ingalls Shipbuilding. It’s believed that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stayed there and wrote “The Building of the Ship” while a guest. Most of the strangest experiences occurred when the house was used as a hotel.
Bobbie Slaughter was a night manager at the Longfellow House, when it was a hotel. She recalls getting slapped across the face by a ghost: ”The slap was loud enough for people to hear it," she said. "It was hard enough to leave a hand print." When Slaughter first started working at the hotel she wasn’t familiar with the house’s dark past:
"I was new to the area," she said. "I didn't know the stories. I told my husband about what was happening and he was getting worried about it. It's real; I would have never have believed it, but it's very real. A jukebox would come on at three in the morning and play until five," she said "We would hear babies crying, toilets flushing, cafe doors opening and closing, sometimes, it would sound like a party was going on upstairs; you'd hear conversations and ice tinkling in glasses. But when you got upstairs, the noise stopped.”
Slaughter recalled how the ghosts would shatter glasses at the bar. It got so bad that they stopped keeping glasses in it. It got so bad that hotel staff sought the guidance of psychics, who blamed the strange occurrences on the work of poltergeists: ”They said whatever was in the house was mean, but it wasn't evil, and it was either three ghosts or one ghost going through three different stages in life."
The building was later bought by Richard and Dianne Scruggs, who restored it and donated it to the University of Mississippi, who then sold it to Drs. Randy and Tracy Roth, after Hurricane Katrina. The Roths use the house for their private residence. The historic house is also now listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002: “It is one of the most prominent surviving Greek Revival houses of the antebellum period on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the most significant Greek Revival building in Jackson County.” Over the years occupants would complain about doors slamming, items levitating and various other supernatural phenomena.
Here’s a poem by Longfellow, entitled “Haunted Houses:”
All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.
There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.
We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.
The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.
Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.
These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.
And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—
So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.