Who's Haunting the Halls of Louisiana's Loyd Hall Plantation?
On the first occasion, the main house was full so I shared the Commissary, an old kitchen out back — newly renovated, of course, and accented with lovely antiques and a fireplace — with a friend who had not known of the hauntings. Needless to say, when my friend found out, she hardly slept a wink, afraid that some phantom would visit in the night.
I, on the other hand, welcomed the apparitions but alas, saw none.
The second time was a different story.
Remove the Extra L
William Loyd came to central Louisiana and built the impressive home around 1820 after he was cast out of the Lloyd family in England, the ones associated with the prosperous business, Lloyds of London. Upon arrival in the United States, William took one l from his name to differentiate himself from the family, or so the story goes.
The black sheep of the Lloyd family didn’t do so bad for himself in the New World, creating a plantation of tobacco, corn, indigo and sugarcane on hundreds of acres near the town of Cheneyville, south of Alexandria. Some claim William was a bit eccentric and the local Native Americans were not too fond of him, which might explain the spent arrowheads in the kitchen doors. Another story claims he worked both sides of the Civil War and was hanged for treason by Confederates, his body swinging from a front yard oak tree .
Today, the home is listed on the National Historic Register and serves as a bed and breakfast with guests enjoying a full breakfast in the main house with walls of windows overlooking the property and nearby fields. In addition to two elegant suites on the second floor, there are numerous “cottages” in the rear, including the old commissary and kitchen, where I stayed the first visit.
There are several stories about who haunts this centuries-old plantation. Naturally, William Loyd is high on the list, considering his demise on the front lawn. Some people believe he favors the front porch.
A Union soldier killed on the third floor still hangs around as well, some claim shot for being a Yankee, or possibly due to a failed love affair.
According to Louisiana Spirits paranormal investigators, “Mr. Loyd's relative, Inez Loyd, jumped to her death from the third-story attic. The suicide was said to have taken place due to Inez being stood up by her fiancé. The third floor was also said to have been home to a small schoolhouse on one side and the room of the teacher on the other. It was this teacher that was said to have been in a relationship with a Union soldier who chose to stay behind after the troops left. He was often seen on the front porch, serenading the teacher with a violin. It is at this point that the history is unclear. Some sources say that the soldier was then shot by the teacher's sister, while others say it was an angry neighbor that committed the murder. Needless to say, the soldier was, in fact, shot on the third floor and buried under the house. Years later, his remains were exhumed and moved to an undisclosed location.”
Former owner Virginia Fitzgerald heard the stories, related in a 1982 Town Talk newspaper article that William's daughter Inez slit her wrists in the third-floor room after being spurned by a lover, perhaps a Union soldier, but also that Loyd's wife killed the soldier and threw his body from the third-floor window, then buried him. According to a 1969 Shreveport Journal article, a grave was found underneath the house.
“A bit of marble was at one end of a mound, and old rusty wire at the other,” the article stated. “No one seems to have heard of a grave, and it’s not surprising, for Loyd’s Hall underneath is so complex a maze it’s difficult to get through.”
Fitzgerald never saw the ghost(s) and told the Town Talk reporter she deemed all the stories false. But who is this "Harry" people claim plays the violin on the second-floor balcony at midnight?
Another former manager, Melinda Fitzgerald Anderson, told the Town Talk in 2005, "We have several ghosts. The most famous, I guess, would be Harry. He is the Union soldier who was killed on the third floor and is buried under the house. At times you can hear him playing the violin from the second-story balcony at midnight.”
If you inquire, Miss Beaulah Davis, who has worked at Loyd Hall for years, will tell the ghost stories over breakfast. She claims guests have reported things moving on their own, felt pressure on furniture when no one was there and heard unusual sounds.
The second time I stayed at Loyd Hall I received the second-floor suite in the main house, the room where most guests report seeing or hearing ghosts. A tour of the house in the afternoon included the third floor where there is, indeed, a large stain near the window, said to have been the blood stain of the fallen soldier. We were told that no matter how hard owners, managers and housekeepers have tried to remove that stain, it stubbornly refuses to be cleaned.
As for my stay in the giant antique bed of the Fitzgerald Suite, I experienced the usual sounds of an old house settling and the trees outside my window moaning in the wind. Were some of them from the Other Side? I can't say. And for all I know, Harry and Mr. Loyd visited me in the night but my head was deeply buried beneath the blankets. A wasp had found his way inside and was buzzing around the corner of my room.
I'm not scared of ghosts but I'm deeply afraid of bees.
Loyd Hall is located at 292 Loyd Bridge Road in Cheneyville. Stays include a full delicious breakfast. A pool out back is an extra treat during the long hot summers of Louisiana.
Want more Louisiana haunted stories? Check out my recent artist in Louisiana Life.
Weird, Wacky & Wild blogger Cheré Dastugue Coen is the author of "Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana" and numerous ghost stories in a variety of publications. She also writes the Viola Valentine paranormal mystery series under the pen name of Cherie Claire.