This Jail is One of Louisiana’s Most Haunted Sites

Some of the inmates never left this haunted jail in western Louisiana, and it turns out their warden may have remained in order to keep them in line.

July 20, 2021
The Beauregard Parish Jail was established in 1914, under Sheriff W.A. Martin. The gothic style jail is commonly referred to as the "hanging jail". [via Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office]

The Beauregard Parish Jail was established in 1914, under Sheriff W.A. Martin. The gothic style jail is commonly referred to as the "hanging jail". [via Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office]

The Beauregard Parish Jail was established in 1914, under Sheriff W.A. Martin. The gothic style jail is commonly referred to as the "hanging jail". [via Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office]

Usually it’s New Orleans that comes to mind if you consider where to find ghosts in Louisiana. After all, the coastal city has 300 years of diverse history that includes, and super old cemeteries.

But 4 hours away from New Orleans, in rural Louisiana, stands an old jail with a whole host of supernatural residents to rival even the creepiest tales from the French Quarter.

The Old Beauregard Parish Jail, often called the Gothic Jail, was built in 1914 in the middle of DeRidder, right next door to the parish courthouse. Its architecture is gothic revival with lots of stone arches and bay windows, a style that was usually reserved for universities or other prestigious establishments.

Beyond its external architecture, the facility was one-of-a-kind in that it had considerable amenities for a jail. Each cell had a window and bathroom, and cells on the top floor had a skylight. A spiral staircase in the center of the building led to each floor with a large open space on the top floor.

The jail was also the site of Louisiana’s first double execution.

To learn more about the history of the Old Beauregard Parish Jail, stream the "Dead Sentence" episode of Ghost Brothers: Lights Out on discovery+.

Dead Men Walking

In August of 1926, Joe Genna and Molton Brasseaux hailed a taxi but then murdered the driver, dumped the body in a pond, and made off with $14—the equivalent of about $215 in 2021.

They were caught just days later and booked into the jail where they would spend their remaining months. They were sentenced to death at the end of 1926. According to an old newspaper article, the duo managed to get two last-minute stays of execution in 1927, but on March 9, 1928, they were both hanged despite insisting on their innocence. Both executions took less than 35 minutes total.

Some Occupants Never Left

The jail remained in operation until 1981. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places and is open for daytime tours. Every October, the jail offers haunted, nighttime tours. People who maintain the jail and its museum report being physically pushed, hearing voices, and seeing apparitions. In a semi-recent photo of the jail, a shadowy figure believed to be a jailer can be seen standing on the porch outside of the apartment where he lived during the time he worked at the facility.

Who is Still There?

Dalen Spratt, Juwan Mass and Marcus Harvey, an Atlanta ghost-hunting trio known as the Ghost Brothers, explored the haunted jail for their series Ghost Brothers: Lights Out where they enter each haunted hotspot blind, cutting through local legends to replace their fear of the unknown with understanding. Learning who still lurks inside the century-old jail and what they have to say is worth hearing.

You can stream full episodes of Ghost Brothers: Lights Out on discovery+.

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