COLD SPRING PLANTATION
The Cold Spring Plantation, near Pinckneyville, has been rumored to be haunted by more than one ghost over the years, but the most famous, and perhaps the most enduring phantom, is that of the home's original owner, Dr. John Carmichael.
He was a man for whom the word "eccentric" seemed to have been invented.... and his ghost is said to be exactly the same.
Carmichael came to Pinckneyville in the late 1790's, founded the plantation and began construction on the house. The mansion was regarded as one of the finest in the area and reflected the odd tastes of the owner. The house was built with the finest blue poplar lumber and stone masons were used to lay the foundation and the front and back porches of the house. Around the front porch, linking four tall columns, and around the arched entryway at the rear, Carmichael had iron fences erected. The front fence was made up of white wooden pickets, but the back fence was an iron barricade of tall spikes with brass decorations atop the posts. Carmichael explained that the fencing was used to protect the occupants of the house but he also placed a Masonic emblem over the back porch to provide a more divine protection.
Despite these fine additions, Carmichael's favorite part of the house was the wine cellar. He was a man who loved to drink and he collected fine wines and shared them with his friends on a regular basis. The old Army surgeon even moved a rocking chair into the cellar and placed it in front of the huge, wooden wine casks. He would sit there and rock contentedly, sipping wine and admiring his collection.
Before his death, Carmichael made some unusual arrangements for this funeral. His instructions were that he wanted to be laid to rest by his friends. These friends, his wrote in his will, were to place his coffin in the wine cellar and then they were to consume every drop of wine in the cellar before they buried him.
At his death, the doctor's carried out his wishes. They assembled at Cold Spring and placed the doctor's body in the cellar. Then, they started drinking.
The next two days vanished into oblivion and when the men began to sober up, they began trying to recall the details of the drunken funeral. To their dismay, they realized they they could not remember where they had buried Carmichael's body. It was several days before they recalled where they had placed him.
Later, the body of Dr. Carmichael was exhumed and taken to Woodville for a proper burial. Even that journey was a strange one..... The coffin fell from the wagon maybe half a dozen times and the absence of it was not noticed before the men had traveled a half mile or so.... it makes me wonder if any of that wine had been left over after the first funeral after all.
Even though the body of Dr. Carmichael was properly buried, it seems that he may not rest in peace. Many believe that he still comes back to visit his wine cellar today. It is said that sometimes the unmistakable sound of a rocking chair can be heard slowly swaying back and forth in the cellar.
Pinckneyville, Mississippi is located in the extreme southwestern corner of the state, right along the Louisiana border. The mansion is a private residence and located northeast of town.
Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor
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