This colorful little haunted house story appeared in “The Town Talk,” October 30, 1987:
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Dorothy Weisler says her 120-year-old house is haunted. What else can explain the knocking in the closet one night, the table that slid across the floor, or the punch bowl that exploded into pieces?
Shortly after Mrs. Weisler joined her husband in buying their home in the magnolia-scented Garden District they discovered two slate tombs beneath the foundation.
“There were 27 yellow fever epidemics from the time they founded the city," Mrs. Weisler said. "If they ran out of room in the cemeteries they buried people any place they could find."
Her home is an inviting haunt for a spook. Built in 1867, the house proudly displays Greek columns and an Italianate architecture typical of the Garden District. High ceilings are graced with glass chandeliers and the rooms with antique furniture. Taffeta drapes flow and the gloomy eyes of a Spanish maiden stare down from an 18th-century painting.
"Twenty-three years ago we bought the house, but it was not until our air conditioning workmen came to do some duct work that they found these two sealed crypts," she said.
Those workmen fled and others finished the repairs. But Mrs. Weisler said her husband one day was checking under the house a year later and found one of the tombs unsealed and empty. "They had been sealed tight when they were found. From that time on we've had the most bizarre things happen here. And we've just finally accepted that there's no other explanation than we have a very active ghost."
She has never seen a ghost. But she said she can recall a string of eerie occurrences: a key turning and unlocking a mahogany bookcase; the crash of a chest wrenched from a wall; and a lamp that rolled 30 feet down a hall.
"This chair would be moved all the way across the room and turned around. The lamp would have fallen over and rolled down the hall and turned the corner and hidden behind the gold drapes," she said. "It happened five times."
Then there was the trash compactor. "I cannot tell you how badly I hated that and I couldn't throw it away," she said of the gift from her husband. One day the family left on a trip. "Without anyone to press the switch and no one able to get in with the alarm system on, that thing turned itself on and when the heavy lever came down with the drawer open it just crunched up its own body," she said. "I came home to this wonderful little pile of metal on the floor."
Mrs. Weisler said a punch bowl once shattered in the dining room, and another time, an ashtray given by the mother of a new bride. "I have never seen anything break in so many pieces. And I couldn't figure out why the ghost was suddenly turning against me," she said. A short time later, she said, she learned the bride had divorced.
At one Halloween party thrown by her children, a piece of ceiling molding--a bunch of plaster grapes--fell down on the head of a youngster in a loud yellow sportcoat and tie, she said.
"They had a party here on Halloween and all the kids came in jeans but this one little kid," she said. "The next thing we know there's this crash and this bunch of grapes fell on the guy's head. He went to the hospital to have his head sewed up."
Despite all that shaking and rattling going on, she said she's not frightened and won’t call in a ghostbuster.
"One lady called last week because she knew how to have the house exorcised of this ghost. But I love my ghost and I don't want my ghost to leave," said Mrs. Weisler.
Any ghost who hates yellow sportcoats is A-OK with me, too.