Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Oakland Plantation - Haughton, LA (The Good Doctor and the Coffin)

Sligo Rd.
Haughton, LA 71037

            Every small town has that one particular house known as the official “haunted house” that no one wants to go near. Growing up, we had a small home down the street that we swore belonged to infamous devil worshipers. I chuckle when I look back at how na├»ve we were growing up. I know I keep harping on it but growing up, there was nothing that instilled more fear in us than the idea of devil worshipers. Although we had no evidence that any Satanists even existed anywhere near our town but the mere mention of them was enough to send us kids all running. It didn’t help that in the mid to late 80’s the news was full of stories involving kidnappings and human sacrifices being pinned on Satanist. I can’t tell you how many times my mom would scare me when I was acting up by saying, “If you keep on being bad, I’m going to call the devil worshipers on you!” At the time, it was enough to quickly send me into an angelic state unlike no other. Looking back, I can’t believe I was so gullible to fall for it. I mean, come on, it’s not like my mom had the local devil worshipers on speed dial!

            Just to the west of Shreveport, sits the small town of Haughton. Just like my small hometown of Mansura, you can bet your life that Haughton too, has their local haunted house that has been the source of many spooky tales for years. Oakland Plantation lies just off of Sligo Road, adjacent to
Even the historic marker mentions the coffin.
Highway 157. Don’t let the name fool you, as the home is not as grand as the traditional plantation you may be accustomed to. Here, you won’t find endless rows of centuries-old oak trees surrounding a massive home. In this case though, if it doesn’t look like a duck and doesn’t sound like a duck, it can still be a duck, as Oakland Plantation boasts plantation-like hauntings just as much, if not more, than some of its grander counterparts.

            Construction of the home was fairly slow. Whether it was due to lack of money and/or supplies, the home was built in phases, beginning in 1832. Officially complete in 1850, Oakland Plantation was constructed for local physician, Dr. Abel Skannal. From this house, the family controlled five plantations totaling over eight thousand acres. Dr. Skannal was said to be quite an eccentric character. Rumors have run rampant regarding some of the outlandish acts the good doctor is said to have carried out. The most common report was that Dr. Skannal kept a coffin in his attic. The fact that the true motive for this odd keepsake remaining unknown has garnered even more urban legends as to what the coffin was actually used for. Some say Dr. Skannal used the coffin to sleep in while chaining himself to one of his slaves while others say he would eventually murder his wife and store her body in it for quite some time.
            Whether or not fact can be pulled from fiction remains an ongoing mystery. Regardless, ghostly tales of encounters with the paranormal are as old as the house itself. Obviously if Dr. Skannal was even half as crazy as he has been portrayed, who knows what other outlandish acts may have taken place behind the closed doors of Oakley Plantation. Records indicate that in their early years, the Skannal’s had lost several young children. The most common report of activity is said to be
Sleep Tight!
associated with the death of these kids. The spirits are mischievous in nature, pulling blankets off of residents while they are asleep and throwing them in a pile in the corner of the room. Other poltergeist-like activity has been reported here such as chairs rocking on their own, cabinet doors all being opened and the thermostat continuously being turned to the lowest possible setting.

            According to the current homeowners, they have had numerous encounters with these child-like ghosts. In one case, the owner’s young son woke her up in the middle of the night because he couldn’t sleep. When she asked him why, he stated, “I can’t sleep because of all the people that keep running around.” Although the encounters are a nuisance, the owners have learned to cope with the strange events, making them a daily part of their lives. I often tell homeowners that if their residence is inhabited by a residual spirit, this is often the best tactic to take. Obviously, religious provocation will have little to no effect on a residual haunting. In many cases, by simply standing your ground and either ignoring the spirit completely or giving it boundaries can alleviate much of the activity, if not causing it to stop all together.
            Today, Oakland Plantation remains a private residence and there is no sign that the activity has subsided any. The true origin of these hauntings remains as much a mystery as the acts of Dr. Skannal. Does the good doctor, in fact haunt the home? That question will probably stay shrouded in speculation until a formal investigation is conducted. I have always had my eye on this interesting home and would really like to be the first one to try and communicate with whoever resides here.

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