of in very hushed tones is the haunting of Griffin
House. This grand home was originally built
by Adam Griffin in 1852, and as the ghost tale
goes, it was abandoned by Griffin after only
a few months of him living there. This was the
begining of the War between the States, and
Griffin was said to have fleed before the Union
Located at 1447
Constance Street Griffin House still stands
in it's ageless beauty. Whether it is still
haunted or not, remains quite another unsolved
mystery, but the stories that have been told
about the place over the many many years can
still raise the hair on your neck.
Built as an
elegant private home with high ceilings and
spacious rooms that were perfect for dress balls
and fancy parties, but there was little in the
way of festivity going on here in 1862 when
the Federal Army took over New Orleans. When
General Benjamin Butler's Union troops occupied
the city in the early years of the war, they
began selecting large homes and buildings in
which to house men and supplies. The house on
Constance Street was one of the buildings selected
During the occupation
period of the Civil War, the large Mannor house
was used by Union troops as a barracks and munitions
storage. However, the first soldiers who entered
the house heard a chilling sounds, that of rattling
chains and groaning coming from upstairs. In
the third floor attic, they found several slaves
shackled to the wall and in a state of advanced
starvation. Some of them even had untreated,
maggot-infested wounds. They were removed to
a field hospital where they could be better
taken care of and the house was turned into
a barracks for soldiers and prisoners.
While the Union troops were staying in the Griffin
House, two Confederate deserters dressed in
stolen Union uniforms had been caught looting
homes. Since looting by either Union or Confederate
soldiers was an offense punishable by death,
the two were arrested by the Federal Army.
While being held for trial and
feeling that they might receive mercy, the pair
attempted to keep up the ruse of being Union
soldiers since they also faced death from the
Confederates if found to be deserters. Sympathetic
Union soldiers supplied the two men with whiskey
and they repeatedly sang "John Brown's
Body", a popular song among Union soldiers.
This was still an attempt to
convince all that they were Union soldiers.
However, once the pair realized that they were
not to receive leniency and would be shot, they
decided to commit suicide. They bribed a soldier
to smuggle them two pistols and, lying on a
bed facing each other, each fired his pistol
into the other's heart. It is said that the
two bled so profusely that the blood was seen
seeping through the floor of the room and down
the walls of floor below.
Since the end of the war, the Griffin home has
housed many different commercial businesses.
Those employed there throughout the years have
reported seeing and hearing the two soldiers
standing in Civil War uniforms singing "John
Brown's Body" while holding whiskey bottles
in their hands. There have also been reports
of hearing the sound of marching feet, always
accompanied by singing voices.
After the war, the building was
used for commercial purposes as a lamp factory,
a mattress factory and a perfume bottling plant.
In the 1920's, it was a union hiring hall and
one previous owner of the house was an old man
who rebuilt air conditioners... until he disappeared
one day without a trace. The old man always
claimed that he had "seen things"
in the house, but when pressured to elaborate,
he always refused.
Over the years, there have been
many reports of a haunting in the house. All
through the various owners, the ghosts remained
a constant force. Occupants spoke of hearing
heavy boots coming from the third floor, the
rattling of chains and screams from the dark
attic. Neighbors and passersby also claimed
to see two white-faced soldiers in blue uniforms
standing at the third-floor window. Both of
them were said to be holding a bottle in their
hand and singing the words to "John Brown’s
Several incidents took place in
1936, during the period when the house was used
a lamp factory. One night, a maintenance man
was working there alone. It was just shortly
before midnight and he was working on the second
floor. To his surprise, a nearby door opened
up on its own. As he stood there in shock, the
sound of a pair of marching boots stomped into
the room with him. Then, a second pair of boots
joined the first and the pounding footsteps
became almost deafening. Terrified, he scrambled
for the staircase as the sound of the boots
began to fade away. The footsteps were immediately
followed by the spectral sound of drunken laughter
and then the refrain of "John Brown’s
Body". The maintenance worker claimed to
still be able to hear the horrifying voices
as he ran down the street. Nothing, including
the promise of increased wages, could convince
him to return to the house again.
Shortly after taking possession
of the house, the owner, Isadore Seelig, arrived
at the factory one morning and was nearly killed.
He and his brother were standing in the front
hall talking when a huge concrete block was
hurled at them from the head of the stairs.
"It didn’t fall,"
Seelig later reported. "It was thrown.
It never struck a stair as it came and it landed
just where we had been standing. My brother
saw it coming and pushed me out of the way.
It probably would have killed us if it had hit
The two men charged upstairs to
find out who was there and discovered the place
to be empty. In one area, where the floors had
been freshly painted the day before, they found
not a single footprint.
"The upper windows and doors
were all locked," added Seelig, "and
when we went upstairs no one was there, and
no one had been there. No such blocks had been
used in any of the repairing around here either."
A few years later, when it seemed
impossible to keep tenants in the place, the
structure was turned into a boarding house for
a brief time. A widow rented out one of the
second floor rooms and settled in quite comfortably.
Everything seemed very quiet for some time until
one afternoon when she was sitting by the window
with her sewing. She happened to look down and
noticed that there was blood on her arm. Thinking
that she must have accidentally scratched herself,
she wiped the blood away but in an instant,
it was back! Before she could wipe it off, another
drop of blood appeared on her arm, then another,
and another. She quickly looked up and saw the
blood was oozing through a crack in the ceiling
directly above where she was sitting. As she
tried to understand what was happening, she
heard an eerie sound coming from the third floor...
the faint strains of "John Brown’s
Body" being sung by two drunken men!
The widow began to scream and
she ran shrieking from the house, never to return.
Her relatives later came back and packed up
her household for her. They encountered no dripping
blood in the house but as they were locking
the front door, they claimed to see two soldiers
in blue uniforms looking down at them from the
In the late 1970's, Kathleen and
Anthony Jones bought the house with the intention
of restoring it. In an interview with authors
Richard Winer and Nancy Osborn, they said they
had experienced nothing strange at the old place....
but for some reason, they never occupied the
Residents of the decaying neighborhood
weren't speaking much after the 1970's, but
one anonymous witness told an interesting story.
He said that the rundown area (near a housing
project) had deteriorated to the point that
any abandoned house in the neighborhood had
become fair game for drug addicts.
The house at 1447 became one of
these, but within a month, even the addicts
had deserted it. They claimed they saw two white
men there in "police uniforms" that
walked through walls and sang "old timey
Residents reported seeing what
appeared to be droplets of blood drip from the
ceilings and two soldiers peering at them from
outside the windows. He was forced to abandon
the building also.
In recent years, the house has been fully renovated
and has been occupied by a nice normal family
who have not had any sightings of the ill-fated
pair of soldiers up to this date.