Looking from Sligo Road nestled between the massive trees and surrounded by bushes lies a white house. You might miss it upon first glance. This two-story plantation home was built by Dr. Abel Skannal in 1832. The construction continued until 1848 and was completed in 1850. This home is known as the Oakland Plantation.
Blood, sweat and tears went into the building of this home. Supposedly, blood, sweat and tears continued in the home far after the construction was completed causing it to become a haunted site.
Haunting sights, scary sounds and paranormal photographs have all been discovered in this historical home. This house is the poster-child for legends and myths that have thrill seekers wanting more.
The reality of this home goes back to the loss of the Skannal’s children. Dr. Skannal and his wife lost several of their children. Some didn’t make it past childbirth; those that did most likely didn’t make it past teenage years. The death of their children was caused by illnesses and natural causes. The death of his wife, however, is up for interpretation.
Many have heard that the hauntings started once they had discovered Dr. Skannal had passed in his home. That is the least haunting find.
According to an article about Oakland Plantation by KTBS, Dr. Skannal was rumored to have slept in a coffin in his attic. The same article also has a conspiracy that he murdered his own wife and placed her in the very coffin found in the attic.
Bossier Parish Libraries History Center has done interviews with people that have ties to the house in some form or fashion. One interview with a previous history librarian, Nita Cole, and the great grand-daughter of a former owner of the Oakland Plantation, Melinda McCallon Coyer, is available online. Coyer’s family eventually were given the plantation where her dad renovated the inside, but still kept the outside appearance the same.
The interview talks through experiences Melinda remembers from the house and stories that have been shared with the family long after they left Oakland Plantation.
“Mom would tell us one day she said she set the table–fork, knife, spoon, went around the table and all of a sudden the fork, knife, and spoon starting popping off like someone was hitting the end of them and nobody was there,” Coyer said.
She also remembers being told about glass milk jugs being kicked across the front porch with no explanation.
Coyer also spoke about the time when her and her sister had their blankets ripped off their bodies, in the middle of the night, and thrown into the corner. Possibly done by the ghost figure her and her sister had seen in the house before. She described it as having no face, just a shape.
“She (the figure) wasn’t moving, she wasn’t saying anything, she was just looking,” Melinda explained. “So I said, ‘Well, let’s just close our eyes and maybe she’ll go away.’ And we just held hands under the covers.”
During the McCallon family’s stay at Oakland Plantation, the thermostat would never work. They would turn the temperature up but regardless of how high, it would always go back to zero at some point during the night. Some would assume that none other than Dr. Skannal brought on the complaint of the cold.
A more recent eyewitness, Sassy Williams, was interviewed by KTBS four years ago. Their paranormal experience started with every kitchen cabinet being opened on their own. Then it turned into an empty rocking chair rocking alone, to a “ghost baby” being caught on camera.
During the interview, she recalled the activity that took place in in her son’s room. Williams asked her son why he was having a hard time sleeping. His response was that people were running across his room.
There is a chilling feeling when you finally see Oakland Plantation. Is it the fact that you’ve read the stories and seeing where they have taken place makes it even creepier? Or is it the historical marker outside letting you know that the family cemetery is located nearby in the woods? Or, could it be that Dr. Skannal and his family members letting you know their spirit lives on?
Too afraid to drive and see the real thing? The Bossier History Center has created a replica of the house guaranteed to make you feel like you’re there. If you want to see the family cemetery in the woods, well…that might call for a field trip.
Oakland Plantation photo courtesy of Brad Duplechien