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franklin county times

Halloween Eve at King's Tavern… Things that go bump in the night

By Staff
Editor's note: Staff writer Matt Barrett of The Meridian Star accompanied WOKK Radio's "Breakfast Bunch" to King's Tavern in Natchez Tuesday night for this year's Halloween overnighter. Here is his report from one of Mississippi's most haunted places.
By Matt Barrett/The Meridian Star
Oct. 31, 2001
King's Tavern in Natchez has some of the most bone-chilling ghost stories a person could imagine.
Constructed in the 1760s, King's Tavern sits among some of the oldest homes in the South. It was the perfect backdrop for this year's 97 WOKK ghost hunt. The tavern was purchased by Richard King in 1789 and has had several unexplained occurrences in its 240-year history.
A team of radio personalities, reporters, psychics and contest winners from all over the state arrived Tuesday and spent the night looking for the unknown.
Legend has it that several restless spirits roam the halls. The most frequently seen of these is the mistress of Richard King. Madeline was said to have been slain by her former lover and buried inside the walls.
Madeline has been seen by almost every employee on the property. They say she is a prankster. Her antics include leaving puddles of water where no water could have leaked, turning lights on, throwing crackers off the shelf, breaking glasses and holding doors to trip the wait staff. Employees and patrons shrug it off.
Another of the spirits is a young child who died in the tavern. Locals say the baby's cries can be heard in the attic, and our team set out to hear that lonely voice. Sitting outside the attic for hours, we were not lucky enough to experience the child's presence.
However, several members of the team heard noises throughout the night that cannot be explained.
At 10 p.m., the team settled into a circle and awaited instructions from psychic Rosmarie Sellner of Jackson. We learned about the building, and how and where to find hot spots.
Another spirit said to roam the halls is that of an Indian mail carrier. The Indian is said to appear at midnight in front of the main fireplace downstairs. Our crew was watching and waiting, but the ghost had business elsewhere.
Several team members faded out in the wee hours, leaving just a handful to continue the hunt. At 3:30 a.m., the group decided to stake out the downstairs bar area, where Madeline is often said to visit. While we did not see anything, a few people felt cold spots and hands touching their faces.
After 4 a.m., we lost most of the group. Only a few committed hunters were still awake. We scoured the building until daylight. A few in the group, including me, heard unexplained footsteps downstairs when everyone was upstairs.
When daylight came, the skeptics and believers shared stories from the long night. All thought while she did not show herself physically, the ghost of Madeline left several questions for all of us.
Matt Barrett is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3235.

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