Ghosts on the Move

The ghost of Eugenia Gary haunts Merrehope, a twenty-two room mansion in Meridian, Mississippi. Eugenia died tragically of consumption and was buried in Livingston, Alabama. She neither lived nor died at the mansion. So how is her ghost haunting a house in Mississippi, and why? Docents at the elegant home blame it on her portrait.
The president of the Meridian Restorations Foundation, which opens Merrehope for tours, believes she encountered the ghost of a young girl standing in the front hall wearing an 1860s-era green dress. A positive identification was confirmed with the arrival of her portrait. Eugenia was the daughter of John Gary, formerly of Alabama. Following the death of his daughter, John and his wife purchased, expanded, and restored the mansion in Meridian. “Some of the Gary descendants lived on the Gulf Coast. During Hurricane Camille [1969], their house was destroyed, but they managed to save the portrait of Eugenia which was sent to Merrehope for safekeeping,” says Bebe Stuart Jones of the Meridian Restoration Foundation

The oval portrait of the sweet young girl is heavily damaged, but Eugenia’s face shines through. Most of the current staff believe that Eugenia’s spirit traveled with her portrait and took up residence. Hostess Donna White has a special connection to the teenage ghost. Through marriage, she is a descendant of the Gary family. On her first encounter Donna was alone in the house. “When I came through the double parlor into the main hall it was dark, and then all of a sudden, I ran into Eugenia . . . She was heading away from me towards the back of the house. I called out her name, ‘Eugenia?’ I drew in my breath and she was gone.”

Little Lucy Paine drowned around 1718 in the cellar of her house in Barnstable, Massachusetts. The foundation of the house sat over an underground river. Lucy fell in trying to retrieve her favorite blue ball. Lucy couldn’t swim. Her childish ghostly giggles were heard for decades coming from the second floor nursery.

Two centuries later as her former home went from restaurant to office building, Lucy was lonely. Owners of a new restaurant in town purchased some furniture from the building and Lucy’s ghost hitched a ride.
Lucy has been spotted at the new location by wait staff and diners alike.

The forty-five carat, three- hundred-and-fifty-million dollar Hope Diamond is said to carry a four-hundred-year-old-curse. The curse travels from owner to owner bringing sickness, death, and ill-fortune to all who wear it. Among the more infamous wearers was Marie Antoinette.

Poor Marie lost her head to the guillotine. Today, the diamond it is on display, but heavily guarded at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.

And then there’s Annabelle, also under lock and key, at a Connecticut museum. But unlike the horror flick which depicted Annabelle as a ferocious porcelain figure, the real Annabelle is actually a beloved floppy Raggedy Ann doll. However, the reputation that surrounds the doll is such that the current owners keep her behind glass.

Be it doll or diamond the moral of the story: Caveat Emptor. Buyer Beware. When purchasing an antique object, do your due diligence, and May the Spirits Be With You!

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