1. Dead bodies cannot be buried underground.
The water levels are so high in New Orleans that the dead need to be laid to rest in tombs above ground so their bodies will not resurface.
2. Five school children haunt the Andrew Jackson Hotel.
This hotel is said to be haunted by five small boys who were killed in a fire when the building was a boarding school in 1778. Guests say other ghosts in the hotel include a nun who leapt from the window and a Confederate solider.
3. There’s a vampire in the French Quarter.
Ramon, one of the first-known vampires in New Orleans, still haunts the French Quarter. In the 1830s, Ramon owned a home in the French Quarter with many servants. When Ramon died and the servants dug a hole for his body in the garden, they found dozens of bodies buried there that had been drained of all of their blood. The servants kept disappearing after his death. Some say Ramon still lurks at night.
4. Funerals have their own soundtrack.
Jazz funerals began when more than 41,000 people in New Orleans died from yellow fever from 1817–1905. People began to believe that the dead were coming back to infect the living, so during funeral processions the body was carried in a random route through the streets to “confuse” the deceased so they would forget where they lived. Jazz music was added to celebrate the person’s life.
5. Some families never leave a corpse’s side to keep them from coming back as a vampire.
This is called “sitting up with the dead.” The corpse is never left unattended until the body is buried. The tradition began in the 1800s. If there was a sign of paranormal activity, the family would call a witch doctor to make sure the corpse did not come back as something evil and unnatural.
6. A sultan was buried alive.
In the 1840s, a sultan from Turkey rented the Gardette-Laprete house in New Orleans where he created a harem. One afternoon an onlooker noticed blood draining from the home. When the authorities broke down the door, they found dead bodies everywhere. Every person in the house had been killed. They discovered the sultan’s body in a shallow grave behind the house. He had apparently been buried alive. No one ever found out who the murderer was.
7. Werewolves are said to prowl New Orleans.
Since the 1800s, people say werewolves hunt in the surrounding swamps and cemeteries of New Orleans.
8. A voodoo queen lurks in the Saint Louis Cemetery.
Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau (1794–1881) is said to be buried here and regularly haunts the area. She places curses on whomever trespasses. Her large snake, Zombi, is said to be buried with her.
9. Graves are often left open.
Many graves in New Orleans can be found open because grave robbers can easily access all of the tombs above ground.
10. An old woman’s ghost sits on hotel beds at Le Pavilion Hotel.
People have allegedly reported that an a old gray-haired woman sat on the side of their bed when they stayed there. They could feel the weight of her body and her cold hands stroking their head while she said, “I will never let you go.”
11. Dead doctors and soldiers roam the Hotel Provincial.
Parts of this hotel were once a Civil War Confederate hospital. It is haunted with the medical staff and wounded soldiers who reach out for help and moan. The hotel staff have seen bloodstains appear and disappear on the sheets.
12. The LaLaurie estate used to have a human centipede torture attic.
In the 1830s, Madame LaLaurie tortured her slaves in horrific ways. In her attic, she strapped her slaves to operating tables and performed botched sex-change operations, bizarre amputations, and other horrific medical experiments. It is rumored that their souls haunt the property. To this day, the house has not had a single owner for more than a five-year period.