Video and Photos as Ghost Hunters Investigate Rampant Hauntings at Louisiana’s Hanging Jail
Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - A Gothic jail sits in Deridder, Louisiana, and reports of hauntings of two men executed by hanging run rampant. An organization of ghost hunters in Lafayette is investigating to find out if there is any credence to the reports.
The jail was built in 1915, and the architecture resembles a mansion more than a place of incarceration. When it was in operation, the jailer and his family lived on the first floor, which also had a cell for short-timers.
The second and third floors had four cells, each with its own bathroom, for criminals who would be incarcerated for longer periods of time. The top floors are accessible via a spiral staircase that stands in the center of the building.
Explorelouisiana.com notes that there were skylights on the top floor, an amenity that was not typical for any jail. You may notice that the term "bathroom" is applied loosely. The more interesting fact is that amenities like this were rare during that time.
The historical building is open for day tours Monday through Friday, if you'd like to get a look for yourself. Of course, they set it up for Halloween with a haunted house, but it may not need much in the way of spooky decorations to be frightening.
While the accommodations sound more like a boarding house than a place to house criminals, "The Hanging Jail" comes by its name honestly. Explorelouisiana.com tells the story behind the moniker:
The jail is believed to be haunted by the two men hanged for the slaying of their taxi cab driver. The story goes - Joe Genna and Molton Brasseaux hired taxi driver Joe Brevelle, killed him, stole $14 and dumped his body in the old Pickering Mill pond. However, the body was soon found, and taxi records led to the men’s arrest, confessions and convictions. They were hanged in the Jail on March 9, 1928.
The paranormal investigative group organized in 2005. Marci Lee is a Lafayette teacher by day and has been the state director of Louisiana Spirits. She has 20 years of ghost hunting experience. All member of the group are volunteers, and they host classes and conferences to fund their missions.
Marci says she has been fascinated by the paranormal since she was a child and is intrigued by everything from UFOs to ghosts to Bigfoot. She describes a personal experience with what she believes was a spirit that sparked that interest:
Once when I was around 10, I was staying at my grandmothers house. I saw a figure move down the hallway. Thinking it was my mother, I got up to go see her. She wasn’t in the room the figure went into. I walked up the hall to the living room and she was sitting there talking to my grandmother. I’ve had other experiences later which led me into learning everything I could about the paranormal!
Full of interesting history and even a few spirits roaming the jail. A few of us could smell the old jailers pipe tobacco a few times throughout the tour. If walls could speak, these would scream.
The group conducted their investigation on December 2, 2023, and are compiling all the data. Marci tells me they sift through all the information and videos, and then release their findings.
She shared a couple of the raw videos ahead of the completed report. Check them out and see what you think!
You can also check out one of their classes and participate in a class and ghost hunt in Opelousas!
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Gallery Credit: Chad Hasty