Thursday, August 18, 2016

Susie Plantation - Centerville (The Grave & Ghost of Addie Harris)

Susie Plantation (Centerville/Garden City)

            Between the small towns of Centerville and Garden City, along the winding Bayou Teche, lies quite the little hidden gem when it comes to haunted plantations. Susie Plantation was built and completed between 1848 and 1852 by Royal and Adeline Harris as a working sugar cane and rice plantation. In 1858, Royal would pass away, leaving the home to his wife who would remarry to John H. Darnall. In appearance, the home is your standard smaller plantation for the period; a two story home with large columns to the front and to the rear of the building.
            The conversation piece of this home is not what’s inside, but what lies on the property. Only several feet away from the home sits an above ground grave. The grave is the final resting place of Addie (Adeliza) E. Harris, daughter of the original plantation’s owner, who died in 1872. The cause of death is still uncertain, while some say she died during childbirth, others claim she fell to her death from the second floor of the home. What’s most interesting is that her tombstone is etched with this ominous epitaph:

"Weep Not For Me, I Am Not Dead, I Only Sleepth"
Susie Plantation
           Apparently the eerie message is more of a promise than a soothing pacifier for the mourning, as many feel that Addie regularly wanders the home. She is not quite the gentle spirits that residents have claimed as she is not quite a fan of men and does not mind expressing her dislike for them. When the current owners bought the home in 2002, they began an extensive remodeling. History has shown that this is always one of the easiest ways to reanimate a once dormant haunting. Activity quickly picked up during the renovation, as sturdy scaffolding was literally flung from the home and left in pieces with no explanation as to how this happened.
              In a more serious incident, the man of the house was on a ladder with a chainsaw, when he felt as though he was pushed off. He came crashing down and unfortunately broke both of his wrists! Less severe activity has been reported here such as the aroma of food cooking and unexplainable cold spots. The apparition of a young woman, probably that of Addie, has been seen on the stairs as well as gazing out the upstairs window.
Headstone of Addie Harris
            There have been rumors of other deaths taking place on the grounds that researchers have been unable to validate. The gumshoe that I am, I have tried to locate additional information on the home. While going through an issue of  the St. Mary Parish Coroner's Inquest Book, I found logs for two deaths that took place at homes listed as "Susie Plantation". On January 4, 1883, Isaac Brown died of a "stab wound to the head at the hands of John Austin at T.J. Shaffer's Susie Plantation." The other took place on June 18, 1883 when Ann Smith died of "apparent poor health of the heart and extreme heat in the front of the home of Susan and William Smith on Susie Plantation." I cannot confirm that either one of these were the same Susie Plantation I initially mentioned, as there are no records of a T.J. Shaffer or William Smith owning the home.

             As far as the home of Addie Harris goes, I have always been interested in investigating Susie Plantation. Not only for its interesting history, and its large amount of activity, but I have an uncanny way of getting under the skin of women. Just ask my ex-wife! I truly believe if I cannot stir up Addie and obtain some form of valuable paranormal evidence, then her ghost doesn’t exist. I will just make sure I am not atop any ladders or holding any chainsaws!

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