McRaven House isn’t your run-of-the-mill hangout for ghosts — it has actually been named “The Most Haunted House in Mississippi.” Five former residents are known to have died here, and one of the original owners was murdered outside. Add to that the fact that it was used as a field hospital for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, and you can imagine why the premises might be a little…spirited.
The first part of the house was built in the 1700s in what is now Vicksburg. In 1836, Sheriff Stephen Howard bought it and added a dining room and the bedroom above it.
The final section was added in 1849 in a more Greek Revival style. It’s on the market now and the listing says, “Each section is furnished according to its period in time. Every room is lavishly furnished with museum quality antiques which will remain with the house.”
National Geographic Magazine once featured the house, calling it a “Time Capsule of the South.” Looking at these rooms, I can see why! Aside from adding a modern kitchen and bathroom, McRaven has remained mostly unchanged since the 19th century.
More from the listing: “McRaven is internationally recognized for the popular Historical, Architectural and Way Of Life guided tour, friendly ghost stories, and annual Civil War & Colonial battle re-enactments on the grounds which attract thousands of tourists a year.”
Sheriff Howard’s wife Mary Elizabeth died during childbirth in 1836 in her bedroom, and sightings of her ghost have been reported ever since. Some people say they’ve seen her in the windows. Others say the lights go on and off in this room when it’s empty.
Janie wrote a blog post about it on Southern Lagniappe after visiting the house, and a reader reported:
“My husband and I visited this house many years ago when it was open for tours. I had never heard of it, nor did I know it was supposedly haunted. We toured the home and when we went to the upstairs bedroom, I saw a woman sitting up in the bed. She was young and had long dark hair and was wearing a white gown. I did a double take and she was gone. I whispered to my husband what I thought I saw. He rolled his eyes and said I was imagining it. Then the tour guide told us about the woman who died there during childbirth. It was creepy, but it was real. I saw her plain as day….”
Cue the “Twilight Zone” music.
The listing photos all look like they were taken years ago, and some of them have “fuzzy spots” that make the rooms look even more ghostly.
I never believed in ghosts or haunted houses until I had a couple experiences with them myself. One time I was visiting a friend in her cute little ranch house that she had just moved into. It was adorable — she had a knack for decorating and making everything look bright and cheery. But I had an uneasy feeling from the minute I walked in.
It got worse that night when I was trying to sleep on the sofa in the living room. It felt like someone was walking around the room but whenever I turned on the lights to see, I was alone. Then I started hearing angry voices rumbling, but everyone in the house was fast asleep. Finally, a loud voice boomed in my ear, “Get out! Get out! Get out!”
The next morning, I told my friend what had happened, expecting her to tell me I was crazy. But she said ever since they moved in, her three-year old had been telling her there were angry faces in the mirrors telling them to leave. She thought he had an overactive imagination until I told her what I heard. Yikes.
McRaven has an official website that features this old photo of a ghostly figure in it. The caption says it “depicts what could be Mary Elizabeth Howard standing by the table in the parlor that is in the 1849 section of the house.”
When it was first built in the 1700s, McRaven only had a kitchen with one room above it. This part of the house is known as the Pioneer Section:
The 1797 kitchen below was only “updated” once in the 1840s and the occupants (amazingly) continued to use it until 1960. At that point the Bradway family restored the house and opened it to the public as a tour home.
In the 1980s, Leyland French purchased McRaven and continued to work on it. He said he once had an encounter with the ghost of former owner William Murray on the staircase.
Would you be brave enough to buy a house that’s haunted? (I wouldn’t! Total scaredy cat here.)
McRaven is on the market for $575,000 (as is, furnishings included). For more information, check the McRaven Tour Home website and the Coldwell Banker listing (sorry, it’s no longer active). There are more photos and stories in an article on Southern View and on the blog Southern Lagniappe.