The Wikipedia description of Madame LaLaurie begins like this:
Marie Delphine LaLaurie (née Macarty or Maccarthy, c. 1775 – c. 1842), more commonly known as Madame LaLaurie, was a Louisiana-born socialite and serial killer known for her involvement in the torture and murder of black slaves.
And this is the New Orleans house where it all took place…
If you are a fan of the hit show American Horror Story, you might be familiar with this woman. Madame LaLaurie is played this season by none other than the superbly wicked Kathy Bates – whom we all love and remember as the deranged Annie Wilkes from the movie Misery. The writers of AHS: Coven (season 3) have mined the real life history of the sadistic socialite killer to depict on the small screen.
Here’s what you need to know:
Born in New Orleans in or around 1775, Delphine LaLaurie married three times over the course of her life and was a prominent socialite in the upper echelons of New Orleans society.
Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie
She was long rumored to be abusive to her household slaves – above and beyond what was even acceptable back then in the age of slavery – but the community largely turned a blind eye due to Madame’s wealth and social standing.
All that changed on the night of April 10, 1834 when fire fighters responded to a blaze at the LaLaurie mansion on Royal Street.
LaLaurie House in a 1906 postcard
The rescuers discovered an elderly slave woman chained to the kitchen stove. She admitted starting the fire in an attempted suicide to avoid the fate of the slaves in the room on the upper floor. Sure enough, the rescuers found bound slaves in the third floor slave quarters who exhibited evidence of malicious long-term torture.
This Merion Pennsylvania English-style coaching inn dates back to 1704. Famous guests include none other than George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Edgar Allen Poe, and General “Mad Anthony” Wayne, for whom the place was named.
The General Wayne Inn was originally known as the William Penn Inn, then it became the Wayside Inn, then Tunis Ordinary, then Streepers Tavern before settling on its current name in 1793.
Murders at this location date back to the Revolutionary war when Patriot soldiers killed and burned a Hessian soldier and buried his remains in the cellar. There have been literally hundreds of recorded accounts of paranormal sightings in the following centuries.
Due to its propensity for hosting famous guests and infamous spirits, The General Wayne Inn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Fast forward to the 1990′s and all hell broke loose at the General Wayne. In the early 1990′s, there were frequent sightings of a beheaded soldier – whose disembodied head often appeared to employees on a pantry shelf. Ew.
Have you ever seen the movie – or read the book - Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil? Did you know that the story was based on true events?
And true events mean there is a real live house behind the fiction.
This is that house.
The home’s official name is the Mercer Williams House.
It is located at 429 Bull Street and stands at the southwest end of Monterey Square, in the mystical southern city of Savannah, Georgia.
It is now run as a museum house, so anyone from the public can visit this showpiece.
Here’s the back story:
Construction began on this stately brick home in 1860 but was interrupted by the American Civil War. It was designed by architect John S. Norris for Confederate General Hugh Weedon Mercer, but changed ownership in 1868 and was completed that same year for new owner John Wilder.
It changed hands again in the twentieth century and was used for a period of time as the Savannah Shriners Alee Temple. The grand house was vacant for a decade in the 1960′s until it was rescued by a fellow named Jim Williams - one of Savannah’s earliest and most ardent champions of historic restoration & preservation.
Williams was an antiques dealer and art collector. He restored the Mercer house to be his home and professional office, furnishing it with exquisite museum quality pieces.
Here’s where it gets juicy…. Williams had a young assistant named Danny Hansford. Danny was widely known to be, um, Savannah’s most popular male escort. Anyway, in 1981 he was found shot dead in the study of the Mercer House.
Mr. Williams claimed self defense.
Joplin Missouri has become known for the devastating tornado that struck there in May of 2011. But the town has a lesser known claim to fame connected to the greatest outlaw couple in American history.
Tucked on a quiet street in Joplin, is the 2-story stone apartment house that was once occupied by the infamous crime duo Bonnie & Clyde.
In April of 1933, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker rented out the upper level apartment of the house on Oak Ridge Drive.
They were joined by friend William Daniel Jones and Clyde’s older brother Buck Barrow and his wife Blanche.
The “Barrow Gang” didn’t stay long, however. They rented the apartment on April 1st but fled in a bloody shootout with police only 13 days later when they were discovered.
This creepy looking relic is located in Rehmeyer’s Hollow near Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania. It is also known as the Hex Hollow Murder House. On a cold November night in 1928, a terrible crime occurred here and vestiges of the crime remain to this very day.
This is how it all went down…
Three members of the Pennsylvania Dutch community had been experiencing a spell of bad luck and ill health. They were told that they had been hexed by another member of the Dutch community – Mr. Nelson Rehmeyer [pictured below].
The men were also told that the only way to rid themselves of the hex was to find the guy’s spell book and burn it, along with a lock of his hair. (Apparently the early Dutch community in Pennsylvania was into witchcraft.)
On the night of November 27th, the three men went to this very house – Mr. Nelson Rehmeyer’s house – and confronted him.
It did not end well.
Rehmeyer refused to cooperate and was subsequently strangled to death in his kitchen. The perpetrators went a little further and mutilated his body for good measure. They then attempted to burn the house down in order to hide the crime. But the old house at Rehmeyer’s hollow had a stubborn soul.