Note: All of the thoughts, opinions, comments, etc. relayed in this article are solely my own and do not reflect those of Ghost Hunters, my fellow team members, Pilgrim Studios, or A&E.
I was stoked to investigate the Duff Green Mansion in Vicksburg, MS, because the area is home to one of the biggest turning points in the Civil War: the battle of Vicksburg. While Gettysburg is often talked about and studied, Vicksburg is what really turned the tides. The Union army was able to gain control of the Mississippi River, which spelled the end of the war for the Confederacy; they were starved out as a result.
The Duff Green Mansion was a Civil War hospital.
This building has seen a lot. It survived cannon fire — there's literally a hole in the roof where a cannonball came crashing through during the siege of the city. Tons of amputation surgeries were also performed here, and Brandon and I got a chance to talk about these surgeries with an expert who also dispelled a widely believed notion.
Ever hear the term "bite the bullet?" People believed that painkiller bullets were used by soldiers who had amputations performed on them. They'd bite on bullets as a means of dealing with the pain of undergoing an extreme medical procedure when no anesthesia was present. Well, as it turns out, anesthetic was available for soldiers during the Civil War, and "biting bullets" was generally a bad idea: you'd destroy your teeth. So yeah, it wasn't a real phenomenon.
The bite marks actually came from little challenges soldiers would issue to one another around campfires, usually as a way to pass the time. What's really cool is that Brandon was able to find one of these painkiller bullets at a local antique shop.
But that doesn't mean there wasn't a history of some gnarly surgeries here. Gangrene was often the biggest reason why people would need to have limbs amputated. You usually didn't die from getting shot instantly; you'd most likely perish as a result of an infection that would occur after sustaining a bullet wound.
And amputations were so prevalent at Duff Green that, at one point, there'd be stacks of limbs in a room that would almost reach the ceiling. In fact, bone fragments and soldiers' remains were even found on the premises, even recently.
Harry Sharp owned the Duff Green before selling it to his friend, Harley Caldwell, who now operates the home as a bed and breakfast. Harry provided us with a wealth of knowledge not just about the mansion but the Siege of Vicksburg.
What stood out most to me, in this case, was the tragedy that occurred here. Duff Green was a man who was respected by his community — he was an astute businessman in good standing. The Greens were beloved by all, but once the Civil War broke out, he lost everything. To preserve the home he loved so much, he had to turn it into a hospital.
It was the only way to make sure it didn't get destroyed or razed to the ground. (William Tecumseh Sherman would've seen to that otherwise.)
Duff died in the home at the age of 55 in 1890, but before that, two of his children passed away as well, Annie and William. In 1892, his other daughter, also named Annie, had passed away at the age of 31 from blood poisoning. His wife, Mary Green, died at the age of 63.
Is Duff Green Mansion haunted?
There were several claims here, but three really jumped out at us: the apparition of a woman that a worker in the home had seen "floating" through the dining area; a child who was seen on the premises, who many called "Mean Annie Green" that children would often see; and the apparition of a soldier.
We tried to "entice" the Annie Green to come play with us, as there were reports of a ball being tossed down the stairs or a child approaching other children visitors to come and play with the ball. We didn't have any success with that, nor were we able to capture the apparition of the woman or the soldier. What was interesting, however, is we got tons of readings on our data logger, in areas where people claimed to spot entities.
We immediately ruled out the spots with high levels of EMF activity because that could play with someone's mind, especially in the bedrooms where people sleep at night. Almost all of the EMF activity was on the bed, which meant that guests would be sleeping under some significant EMF activity for hours on end.
What we couldn't explain, however, were the sporadic pressure spikes that occurred out of nowhere in the same areas that people had claims of either seeing apparitions of hearing noises of moans and groans.
We also managed to capture an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) of someone groaning, as well as pressure fluctuations in a room where people say they saw the ghost of a Union soldier standing at the foot of their bed.
Another weird occurrence happened in the dining room, in the same pathway where a worker at the Duff Green claimed to see the apparition of a woman she believed to be Mary Green floating. There was a moment in our investigation where Brandon and I experienced a cold chill and the air felt "charged" — I don't know any other way to explain it. That coincided with the pressure change readings on our data logger. It happened twice and then didn't happen again for the rest of the night.
So are there ghosts at the Duff Green Mansion? If it is haunted, then the data we collected suggests that it's residual and in no way conscious. The "energy" of whoever was there was captured in this historic location and sporadically manifests itself in ways that don't seem like the entities are in control.
Watch Ghost Hunters Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on A&E.
Mustafa Gatollari is the paranormal historian and site analyst on the Ghost Hunters reboot, and he will be blogging about the show's paranormal investigations each week exclusively for Distractify! Follow Mustafa on Instagram at @mgatollari.
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