The Haunting at Waverly Mansion
Magnificent magnolias stand tall shadowing the grounds of the mansion built by Colonel George Hampton Young in 1852. Upon entering the main brick gates, a rich green path of shrubbery guides visitors to the Italian marble steps leading to the front door. It’s a stunning sight of grandeur that causes its guests to halt in their footsteps as they approach. Two giant towering white columns line the front of the mansion, and the octagonal shaped cupola rests atop the fourth floor like a crown claiming its glory as the mansion overlooks the Tombigbee River.
As visitor’s marvel at the interior self-supporting staircases and the craftsmanship of detailed molding that frames every room in the house, a host of invisible eyes watches each guest travel from one room to the next. These eyes once belonged to lovers who courted in the parlor now filled with exquisite antique furnishings. The piano’s keys that once filled the air with a light melody are now silent except to the few guests who are privileged to catch the residual haunting sounds.
During the years of Waverly’s magnificence, the plantation was a community of gardens, orchards, and livestock. The property included a brick kiln, cotton gin, ice house, and swimming pool with a bathhouse. Gas for the chandeliers was produced by burning pine knots. In Waverly’s later history, the plantation boasted its own lumber mill, leather tannery, and a hat manufacturing operation. It has been said that the first American-made saddle blankets were produced at Waverly, and the first fox hunt association was reportedly formed in the mansion’s library in 1893.
After the death of Colonel Young’s last surviving son, Captain William Young, the house remained vacant for fifty years. Harsh weather and vandals took a toll on the mansion, but the foundation and all of the interior mantels and mirrors remained intact.
In the years that the house was abandoned, rumors circulated about the mansion’s haunted history. The present owner, Donna Snow believes that the ghost child was once the three-year old daughter of a neighboring plantation owner. It is believed that while visiting Waverly, the child got her head trapped between the stair spindles on the second floor and broke her neck. There have been numerous accounts of hearing the ghost child calling out “Mama”. Other reports include sightings of the child by Waverly visitors touring the property. She is reportedly wearing a white, high neck gown and has dark blond hair. The ghost child is also believed to sleep on the bed in one of the upstairs bedrooms where the linens often appear rumpled in the shape of a small child.
If the ghost child is indeed the daughter of a neighboring plantation owner, then her body is buried in the Young cemetery located a block from the Waverly mansion. Her ghost is most often seen on the stairs leading to the second floor. When she is approached, she simply disappears.
Other reported sightings include the appearance of a Confederate soldier who appears in the mirror while standing behind guests. Piano music has also been heard in the house and near the parlor. During Waverly’s early years, the parlor was used for parties and courting. It’s likely seen hundreds of guests over its lifetime, and the music that is now heard is a residual haunting of the energy that once thrived in that room.
L. Sydney Fisher, bestselling author and paranormal researcher visited the Waverly mansion for the second time in several years. During a previous visit, she experienced the residual haunting in the parlor while she was touring the opposite side of the house. She said the music was “light and vibrant”. The experience left her in awe, and she lingered near the parlor for several minutes hoping to catch a glimpse of the person responsible for the music, but the ghostly pianist never appeared.
This past Sunday, September 4, 2016, Sydney visited the property again, and this time she took an EMF detector to see if she could pick up any electromagnetic fields that were not man-made. Upon entering the front door, she turned on the detector and was greeted by the owner and tour guide who then took her from room to room. Sydney noticed that the detector was non-responsive in the dining room, the library, and the master bedroom on the main floor. Then she followed a small group of tourists and the guide into the parlor.
Sydney looked down at the detector and noticed a slight shift in activity. The meter began to slowly light up. One light, two lights. As the guide began discussing the love affairs and courtships of the many people who occupied the parlor during its early days, the meter’s lights began to zip across the detector in a mad dash, locking itself in a neon display. It was as if the spirits were screaming to be heard! And Sydney stood frozen in place, a smile on her face as she watched in amazement. She fought to stay quiet, her eyes wide. She wanted to speak out loud and question the spirit that had just joined them. The other guests began to notice the ghost communication and soon gathered around Sydney as they all stared at the EMF recording. For Sydney, it was enough proof to validate her suspicions. Waverly had ghosts, but her feelings at that moment were that the spirits who were attached to the mansion were benign and anxious to tell their stories. If only she could stay longer…
After walking the outside perimeter of the house, Sydney got in the SUV and started the search for the abandoned cemetery where the graves of Waverly’s descendants lay. After traveling a block away from Waverly’s main gate, she came upon a dilapidated cemetery located several feet off the road and in the middle of a forest. The fence and many of the headstones had been vandalized. Several of the grave plates had been pushed aside exposing the interior of the vaults. A sense of emptiness washed over her as she looked upon the graves of the people who once brought Waverly to life.
During the years after 1913 when the house was abandoned and home to bats, squirrels, and climbing vines that wrapped around the staircase spindles, Waverly’s only neighbors refused to go near the mansion. The African American community reported hearing music coming from the old house almost a mile away. When the present owners bought the home in 1962, the Black folks warned them of the house’s tenants.
As one Black man said, “You don’t want nothing to do with that house, I tell ya. That house has got haints that will lift you out of the bed when you are asleep and lay you in the floor.”
It’s now 54 years later and although the little ghost girl hasn’t been heard since the 1970’s, there is no denying the energy that once lived at 1852 Waverly Road, West Point, Mississippi.
Front gates leading to Waverly~