It's all just a harmless paranormal hobby until someone burns a historic plantation home to the ground.
Ghost hunting has become a popular American pastime thanks to both a widespread belief in the paranormal and shows like Syfy's Ghost Hunters, but rarely does the activity end in ashes. Sadly, things went awry on this particular paranormal excursion when a group of seven would-be ghost hunters got so frustrated (and, apparently, intoxicated) that they decided to burn down a historic Louisiana plantation.
Dating back to 1851, the LeBeau Plantation in Arabi, La., was one of the oldest plantation homes in the state (one of the few to make it to the 21st century), and was once the largest plantation south of New Orleans. After its plantation life it became an illegal casino, a boarding house and a hotel, but it's beeen vacant for decades and has given rise to numerous ghost stories, which a group of would-be ghost hunters recently decided to investigate.
"They had been looking for ghosts, trying to summon spirits, beating on the floors," Col. John Doran, a representative for the local sheriff's office, said of the suspects in what's become an arson case.
According to St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann, seven men between the ages of 17 and 31 entered the 16-room home last Thursday, finding their way through a hole in a fence that had apparently been cut by previous trespassers on the site. Once there, they drank alcohol and smoked marijuana before eventually deciding to light a bonfire in the house, apparently frustrated and angered by its lack of hauntings. The fire burned into Friday, until there was nothing left of the historic plantation but chimneys.
"Such a devastating loss to our community," said St. Bernard Fire Chief Tomas Stone. "It was a beautiful historical plantation. It’s a fire chief’s worst nightmare, to lose a historical structure due to fire."
Five members of the group have been arrested and charged with arson, simple burglary and criminal damage over $50,000, while two more have been charged with accessory to arson.
So an apparent lack of ghosts led to the destruction of a historic building. It's definitely a bizarre reason to burn down a house, but it also serves as a cautionary tale to paranormal investigators: No matter your level of experience, don't drink and hunt ghosts. Whatever you do, leave the history in one piece.