Vicksburg’s McRaven House has history…and ghosts!

Behind the wrought-iron gates at 1445 Harrison Street in Vicksburg sits the notorious McRaven home. Since being built in the late 1700s, ownership of the home has changed several times but one thing has remained the same – it appears to be a magnet for paranormal activity. From unexplainable occurrences to malevolent spirits, McRaven has definitely earned the title “the most haunted house in Mississippi.”

In 1797, McRaven was a simple two story dwelling, consisting of a kitchen on the first floor and a bedroom on the second. At the time, it belonged to notorious criminal Andrew Glass, who was known for robbing and murdering unsuspecting travelers on the Natchez Trace. Since there were no stairs, the second floor was only accessible by a ladder – a ladder that was never left out because Glass feared that other criminals or the law would come for him. According to local legend, Glass returned home one night after being shot, pulled up the ladder, and had his wife “finish him off” so he wouldn’t be hung. Glass was the first person to die in McRaven but definitely not the last.

By 1836, the Vicksburg home belonged to Sheriff Steven Howard and his wife Mary Elizabeth. The new owners closed in a balcony and added a set of stairs, dining room, two side balconies, and an upstairs bedroom. Local records indicate that Mary Elizabeth died in the upstairs bedroom soon after giving birth to the couple’s son.

McRaven’s final renovations came in 1849 when John H. Bobb from Philadelphia acquired the home. At this time, a front entry area, parlor, flying wing staircase, upstairs bedroom, and a dressing area were added. Because portions of McRaven were constructed at different times and exhibit varying architectural styles, the home has been referred to as a “time capsule of the south.” The three different styles of the home can be seen in the above photograph, moving from left to right with the left being the original portion of McRaven.

During the Siege of Vicksburg, McRaven was transformed into a makeshift hospital. According to local legend, John H. Bobb caught some Union soldiers tampering with his crops, became enraged, and threw a brick at one of them. Seeking revenge, the soldiers returned later that night and killed Bobb, making him the third resident to die at McRaven.

By the time McRaven was put up for sale in 1960, it had become so overgrown with weeds and vines that many residents were unaware of its existence, but the new owners, the Bradleys, saw McRaven’s potential, restored the home, and opened it for tours. Not long after, the home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1886, the home was purchased by William and Ellen Murray – the only residents known to have raised children in McRaven. The last Murray family members to reside in the home were two spinster sisters, Ella and Annie.

In 1984, Mr. Leyland French purchased McRaven, making him the first to reside in the home in over two decades. French had several frightening supernatural encounters while living in McRaven. In one instance, he was chased by the ghost of former resident Mr. Murray. Not long after, French was pushed to the ground by an unseen force. He fell down face first, broke his glasses, and required stitches. Another time, a drawer mysteriously slammed on French’s hands with such force that it broke both of his thumbs. This last instance persuaded him to move from McRaven. The photo above was taken in one of McRaven’s bedrooms. Notice how the lady on the right is somewhat transparent?

French’s supernatural encounters were only the beginning. In the years that followed, the Vicksburg home became the site of a number of unexplainable mysteries, such as doors slamming, lights flickering on and off, alarm clocks going off in the middle of the night, and, of course, sightings of former occupants. The dominos pictured above were left stacked up at closing one night and by morning they were scattered about.

One of the home’s most haunted rooms is the upstairs bedroom in which Mary Elizabeth passed away. Witnesses have reported the lights in the room turning on and off by themselves as well as an impression of a body suddenly appearing on the bed. For quite some time, Mary Elizabeth’s wedding shawl was on display in the home. Several visitors have claimed to feel a presence pulling the shawl from their hands. Another hotspot for paranormal activity is Mr. Glass’ old room. In one instance, a tour guide was in the room when a chair suddenly slammed to the ground on its own.

Mr. Bobb (pictured above) has been seen on several different occasions, even appearing in the middle of a tour!

Since McRaven played such an important role in the Civil War, several spirits are believed to be fallen soldiers.

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