Welcome to Hessian Manor!
Where one night a year trapped spirits materialize in this forgotten lore.
Will you “rap at the chamber door”?
In 1775 the 18th century Revolutionary War was started to declare our Independence.
Shortly after and needing soldiers, Britain enlisted the Hessian Soldier which first arrived in New York in 1776. They were highly trained mercenary German fighters.
“Heads Will Roll”! When the Hessians arrived in New York, they were ordered to fight their way south with a “take no prisoners” attitude. The Revolutionary War ended in 1783, leaving some Hessian Soldiers behind.
Shortly after in Illinois, close to the Manor, General Judy fought a battle in 1799 and secretly secures land clearing a pathway along a small creek. This creek was chosen as it emerged from the bluffs into the American Bottoms from the Mississippi River. Known as Judy Creek today, it still lays just behind the manor. The manor, now known as the Koesterer-Dudley Bed & Breakfast, was also chosen because it was the highest point on the bluffs and enemies could be seen approaching from miles away.
Still unsettled after the revolutionary war on December 24, 1814, Great Britain and the United States signed a treaty in Ghent, Belgium that effectively ended the War of 1812. However, news was slow to cross the pond. On January 8, 1815, the two sides met in what is remembered as one of the conflict’s biggest and most decisive engagements - the Bloody Battle of New Orleans! Entangling some of its residents, they formed a circle and traveled North looking for refuge. Business owners, gangsters, swamp witches and hardworking men all part of the same abolitionists mind set would flee up a secret network following the Mississippi in an early day underground railroad.
Soon to follow, Edgar Allen Poe was born in 1849 in Boston, MA and later moved to New York to publish his writings. While he was known for his great literary work, he was not rewarded for it. His life was full of pain over his ailing wife, who would soon die.
"Avaunt! tonight my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise,
"But waft the angel on her flight with a Pæan of old days!"
As the poem goes, Lenore's fiancé, Guy “Pete “de Vere, found it inappropriate to "mourn" the dead; rather, one should celebrate their ascension to a new world.
Little did the unlikely group know this would be their last stop along the railroad. Aggie, the underground guide and now resident witch tries to cast a spell over the horseman but inadvertently traps all their souls beneath the raven's shadow, which shall be lifted "Nevermore".
Is this the Land of Goshen for this group? Are they celebrating Pæan of old days?
In 1849, Edger Allen Poe dies and is secretly brought to the manor to be buried.
While Hessian Manor was established as a “Safe house”, one Hessian solider was still posted here. And although the original homestead no longer exist, ghostly remnants can be seen glowing one night a year - broken down shutters, dying vegetation and spirits dancing in the windows celebrating their ascension, even though they never found what they were looking for.
Lord Help These Poor Souls! Unfortunately, Aggie’s misguided swamp magic, blind love for Jack, wet spell book and mis-readings from Poe’s work taken from the Hessian Solider may have caused this whole eerie plight.
Though the Hessian Solider is just blocks away from the Covered Bridge he needs his head back and must do Aggie’s bidding till he is free. So steer clear as he may try to trade your soul for his.
And as you know, Poe also writes of talking ravens and a mysterious visit to a distraught lover. However, In THIS supernatural atmosphere, will Aggie ever realize she will love Jack? “Nevermore”?
And will these souls trapped beneath the raven's shadow be lifted?
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore"!
Boni MItchell and Deadgar Poe
New for 2021
The manor would like to welcome singing duo Boni Mitchell and Deagar Poe
A Covid relief band formed for a drive-by experience performing nightly toward the end of October.
Stop by and listen to the band preform titles such as Devil Woman, Voices, Sympathy for the Devil and Long Cool Woman along with many more on your car radio.
Tune into 100.1 FM
Agatha “Aggie” LaRue
Aggie is a jealous 300-year-old New Orleans Swamp Witch. She was cast aside as her Bayou magic was a bit more swampy than black. An ugly rift between Aggie and her sister over a jazz singer named Jack has been brewing. While Aggie is not the only witch at the manor, she is definitely in charge. She fits in nicely practicing her black magic. She was a guide for the Underground Railroad but make no mistake, she is still one powerful witch. With her spells and potions, she keeps Daniel busy diggin’ and the Horseman at bay.
General Edward “Eddie” the Gatekeeper
Retired British Major General Edward was once a handsome blue-eyed devil but now is nothing much more than a wise cracking gatekeeper! While he studied ornithology by day, Eddie ran the Cat’s Meow Club at night. He likes to watch over the Manor and his feathered friends. Edward, now known as “Eddie” keeps a head count and tracks all the hauntings here as a General should. He knows much more than you realize. He keeps count of the bodies Daniel buries and welcomes their spirits into the Manor. He watches Jack for Aggie as Jack owes him for bad gambling debts. Eddie also keeps a close watch on the Horseman, so he doesn’t ride for the bridge.
Innocently rocking the night away, he greets you, then sends you back into the night. Make no bones about it, Eddie knows when a ghost follows you home from the Manor but will summon them back by morning light.
Britain enlisted the Hessian Soldier which first arrived in New York in 1776. They were highly trained mercenary German fighters. This solider is stuck here "beneath the Raven's shadow."
Scarecrow Jack, The King of New Orleans
Jack was a famous jazz singer with quite a sweet tooth. His voice is a little rougher now, but he still sings about his time in NOLA.
Jack sang at the Cat’s Meow and had a gambling problem. He was known to visit a few “seedy” places in his day. He may have had his sharp vest sewn by his mother, but he had his father’s ways. He even tried to hit on Aggie’s sister after a night of gambling and drinking. Aggie was so mad she turned him into a gourd and had him “staked down” here at the manor. He can’t get away from her now but if you look up you will see Aggie’s sister flying by the moon taunting Aggie, trying to free Jack.
Guy “Pete” De Vere
Better known as Handy Man Pete, he is the original caretaker.
Pete welcomed the weary traveler seeking asylum to a new world.
Not mourning, just waiving his lantern to signal a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Here he still stands illuminating the way.
Daniel “Digger” Jackson
Daniel Jackson, better known as “Digger”, is a true New Orleans grave digger. He's seen lightning strike stone angels and describes his longtime profession as "quiet and peaceful."
Digger learned much of his grave-digging craft from Aggies father, a mere mortal.
Depending on the temperature and precipitation, hand-digging a grave can take anywhere from one to two hours. But Daniel only gets to dig one night a year.
"I've worked with the living, the dying and the dead," he says. "I don't believe in that spooky talk… "I often say we rent these bodies. And when we get tired of paying rent on them, we go to the other side”, yet he too is stuck here.
Digger has seen more than he cares to share and while he keeps the bodies buried, he can’t stop their souls from rising on this night.
Digger feels he owes Aggie’s father, so he follows her wishes.