In 1969, a Louisiana judge named Nathan Gaines inherited mass land in Port
Vincent, Louisiana. On the land sits the historical St.Esther plantation home,
in which back in the early 1900’s was a popular hangout spot for a lot of
soldiers returning home during World War I. The home became popular for all the
wrong reasons as it was said to have been a whorehouse, and a place where
Louisiana voodoo was practiced on a regular basis. During this time, the home
was owned by Ms.Rudine Larue, an admitted voodoo priestess that everyone new,
along with her trusted confidante and overprotective lover Asafa Paul. Many of
the soldiers stationed in and around Louisiana would spend time at the home and
would often participate in rituals or any voodoo protection spells, and amulets
used to protect them during war while in combat.
During the summer of 1917, several soldiers from this part of Louisiana
were killed, and most of the residents were filled with hate filled vengeance
and blamed Ms.Rudine for cursing their sons and blaming her practices for their
demise. So a lynch mob was formed out of anger and prejudice rage. The mob set
out to torture, and kill Ms.Rudine, Asafa, and burn down that horrible
plantation home for good.
Ms.Rudine was captured, stabbed repeatedly and hanged out back from a
tree. Asafa’s was never seen or heard from again. Even though a small boy, a son
of one of the lynchmob, says he saw a man’s hand rising on the edge of a tub of
boiling crabs, thinking Asafa may have been hiding inside, but the idea was
quickly dismissed since everyone knew no such human being could hide or survive
such a fate. It is said it’s a sin of major proportions to kill a voodoo
priestess, knowing the consequences is far beyond anything of this earth and it
could haunt, torture and cause bad karma for years to come for anyone involved
as well as their kids, and generations to come.
So in 1971, no one knew the reason for Judge Gaines conducting an
experiment at the St.Esther Plantation home that he was inherited with. Did he
know or hear about how soldiers would often leave riches as gifts to Ms.Rudine
that would be worth a lot of money as well as other reportedly treasures that
are believed to be hidden inside the home, from settlers and pirates from early
to the mid 1800’s? No one, not even the warden from the Louisiana State Prison
knew about this, but no one would question the longtime Judge.
So in order for this particular experiment, he needed willing
participants, and who’d be most willing would have to be prisoners on death row.
Judge Gaines knew these men would be willing to go through hell, in an exchange
for freedom or a lighter sentence so it was a done deal. They chose six men, Ron
Bell, Manuel Thomas, Joseph Rivers, Earl Wilson, Max Stanley, and Alvin Platt.
The men were released, transported on a bus to St.Esther’s. None of the men knew
about the place, all they could think of was freedom, in which they were all
willing to sacrifice anything to achieve this.
What they would eventually find out is sacrifice is what they were going
to deliver for this experiment to succeed. Just to spend a couple of days in an
old abandoned plantation home couldn’t be too bad, since they were told they
were going to do work on the place, under the supervision of prison guard Henry
A day later and very distraught, and scared prison guard Henry Davis was
found in a church in downtown Port Vincent, Louisiana covered in blood, sweat,
and other substances of crab. This started the whole mystery surrounding this
tragic event. No one believed him. Before any type of investigation could take
place the bodies were found, and got rid of.
Henry Davis has disappeared since this event, presumably dead, but one of
this family members was told about this in detail, and even manage to produce a
drawing of who or what Henry Davis saw that night. It was said that Henry was in
a paralyzed state of some sort and could only watch in horror as each prisoner
was torn to shreds and their bloody bodies tossed onto the ceiling like wet
paint. He didn’t know how he was able to escape, he didn’t remember much at all.
This whole experiment or sacrifice has all but disappeared from all accounts of
Louisiana history and facts.
As of now it remain as a bit of an urban legend, tale, or just something
people whisper about from time to time, but most people in Louisiana still are
not aware about this, and it appears this haunted plantation home called “The
Devil’s Playground” or St.Esther’s in Port Vincent, Louisiana wants it to stay
that way. E.Pegues 2010