Eerie Eateries

EDM Oct Nov 2013eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI
October/ November 2013

If you haven’t already made plans for this Halloween, consider forgoing the costume party and make dinner reservations instead.  It’s common knowledge that Mississippi has its share of haunted houses, so it should come as no surprise that we have a few haunted restaurants as well.  Whether the legends surrounding these establishments are true or not, that’s for you to decide.  Just remember when ordering “spirits” from the bar, it may come with a little something extra.

Weidmann’s Restaurant
Meridian, MS

Weidmann’s Restaurant is one of Meridian’s most well-known restaurants.  It opened in 1870 when the population of this city of over 40,000 people numbered less than 4,000.  After 143 years in operation, it is the oldest continuously operating business in Meridian.

It would be impossible to speculate how many people have come and gone through the doors of Weidmann’s during its long and enduring history.  Henry Weidmann, grandson of the original owner, ran the establishment from 1927 until his death in 1956.  He was known as a kind-hearted entrepreneur, extending business hours to accommodate railroad workers and even opening up the restaurant on Christmas Day to serve servicemen during World War II.

It was Henry’s kindness that surrounds one of the restaurant’s legends.  During the Great Depression, a young couple traveling through the state looking for work stopped into Weidmann’s for a meal.  Henry picked up the tab, telling the couple it was an engagement gift.  The couple promised to return on their first wedding anniversary, never to be seen again.  No one knows exactly what happened to them, but restaurant staff claims to see the ghostly shadows of a young couple sitting at one of the tables.  Doors have also been known to fly open, loud bangs are occasionally heard when nothing in the room is overturned, and footsteps can be heard walking around upstairs when no one is there.

Aunt Jenny’s Catfish
Ocean Springs, MS

Travel down Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs, and you’ll spot an antebellum home dating back to 1852.  Surrounded by stately 500-year-old live oaks, the house has served as the home of Aunt Jenny’s catfish for more than 30 years.  However in a past life, the 160 year-old house served as a sanitarium, marketing its nearby mineral springs as having healing powers.

The establishment’s most noteworthy ghost is that of a gentleman with dark hair wearing dark slacks and a white shirt sitting at the bar in the Julep Lounge.  People who have seen the man claim he is drinking beer from a can, even thought the lounge does not serve beer in a can.  Patrons have also reportedly tried to buy a drink for the stranger, only to come back and discover he has vanished into thin air.

Other ghostly sightings include a face in the second story window and a young girl playing with a ball.  Lights flicker, faucets turn on by themselves, doors fly open, and footsteps can be heard coming from the second floor.

Cedar Grove Mansion Inn and Restaurant
Vicksburg, MS

While Cedar Grove Mansion Inn and Restaurant was built out of love, the house has seen its share of tragedy.  Completed in 1852, the Greek Revival style mansion was built by planter and businessman John Alexander Klein for his young bride Elizabeth.  The couple had a happy marriage and took pride in the upkeep of their home.

During the Civil War, the home was used as a hospital for Union soldiers.  Obviously, some soldiers likely died in the house from their injuries and perhaps their spirits remained.  Later, the Klein’s 17-year-old son accidentally shot and killed himself on the back stairway.  A daughter also died in one of the upstairs bedrooms, while two infants died in the nursery.

Staff members and guests have both reported seeing the apparition of a young girl playing and soldiers dressed in Civil War-era uniforms have been spotted wandering the grounds.  The ghosts of both John and Elizabeth reportedly enjoy checking on their guests and the smell of smoke from John’s pipe can occasionally be detected in the Gentleman’s Parlor.

King’s Tavern
Natchez, MS

Built sometime in the mid-to-late 1700’s, the King’s Tavern is the oldest building in Natchez.  The tavern was originally opened by Richard King, the tavern’s namesake.  The King’s Tavern closed back in early 2012, but was recently bought by chef and Natchez native Regina Charboneau and her husband Doug  The restaurant reopened in September 2013.

The King’s Tavern is probably Mississippi’s most infamous haunted restaurant.  Ask anyone who from Natchez and they can probably tell you about Madeline.  According to legend, Madeline was a young maid who worked in the tavern and was supposedly also having an affair with Richard King.  When King’s wife Esther discovered the nature of their relationship, the jilted wife reportedly had Madeline killed.  The legend goes on to claim that many years later in the 1930’s, the remains of a young woman and two still unidentified men were discovered buried in the wall behind the fireplace.  The only actual confirmed death in the house, however, is that of Elizabeth Postlethwaite, who died in 1860 and whose family owned the building for over 140 years.

Staff and visitors to the tavern have seen full-bodied apparitions of a female walking throughout the tavern.  Footsteps appear across freshly mopped floors.  Jars come flying off the shelves, faucets turn on by themselves, doors open and close when no one is there, and chairs rock and move by themselves.

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