Arguably, The Most Haunted Restaurant in Mississippi
My first morning in Natchez, I had wandered down to Steampunk Coffee (highly recommended!) for a quality cup of coffee. The baristas and I were chatting about why I was in town and I mentioned The Pilgrimage and, that I was searching for ghosts, when Ricky walked in. Robert, the barista, leaned over and whispered to me, “You’ll want to talk to Ricky. He’s the General Manager at King’s Tavern.” Ricky made the rounds chatting with folks before we were introduced. After explaining what I was doing in town, he proceeded to whip out his phone and show me security video from the previous night. In the video the refrigerator door under the bar flies open by itself!
He was on his way in to close the door and re-secure the tavern. The security sensors hadn’t been triggered and, it seems, events like this are the norm rather than the exception. Heading in on a day off to undo what the ghosts did during the witching hour, last night, is just part of working at King’s Tavern. He invited me up to look around and I took him up on that offer!
Walking up, I couldn’t help notice the neat and tidy herb gardens in the yard, the plethora of flags flying or the old, dark, weathered wood. The place looks old, but fresh and well-tended. And it should. Constructed out of old ship wood, the first bit of the place was built in 1769, years before the American Revolution. It was a block house for the nearby British fort. After the American Revolution, it changed hands and was bought by Richard King who, with his wife and child, ran it as a tavern and inn, calling it King’s Tavern. Richard, also, handled the mail for the town and became an affluent citizen.
However, it is quite possible that Richard had some dark secrets! The most famous ghost at King’s Tavern is Madeline, who was supposedly Richard’s mistress. Rumor has it that when renovations were being conducted in the 1920’s/1930’s, the fireplace opened up a dark secret. Three skeletons were discovered there - 2 men and 1 woman. It is believed that the woman was Madeline. Speculation abounds about how she and the others ended up bricked up in the fireplace, but surely, the end was not good. Was it a jealous wife? Was Richard to blame? Or was she a victim of the notorious bandits that, occasionally, stayed at the inn?
She certainly wouldn’t be the only victim of the bandits! In the early years of Natchez, boats slid down the MS, wares were distributed at Natchez Under the Hill, the boats were dismantled, the wood sold and the men off the boats headed back up the Natchez Trace to make another trip. This gave rise to a bunch of bandits who robbed the travelers on the Trace. According to legend, a young mother was at the inn one day and her child was fussy. One of the bandits walked toward her and the child. The mother, thinking he was going to help, was totally unprepared when he lifted the infant up and slammed the child against the wall, killing her, before returning to his seat and ordering another drink.
Cries of a child are still heard in the King’s Tavern. Glasses fly off shelves, security sensors occasionally go off in the dark of night, refrigerator doors fly open, and shadow figures are often seen in the building. The second and 3rd floors hold some of the history of the place as well as a small store, which can be explored. While we were there, we did have intermittent K2 activity and got very responsive flashlight interaction. My audio recorder malfunctioned and for the first and only time ever, while investigating, I walked away with completely blank audio. People have seen a Native American and based on other sightings, it is probable that one of the notorious bandits still frequents the tavern, as well!
King’s Tavern certainly has paranormal activity. We experienced it and you can find out more about it by watching the 2013 episode of Ghost Adventures that was filmed there. Or, check it out yourself. Be sure to get one of Ricky’s mouth-watering cocktails (oh so good!) and grab a bite to eat. The food is “farm-to-market” and features a delicious assortments of flat breads, scrumptious hors d'oeuvres and desserts to satisfy the most discerning. Open Thursday and Friday 5-10 pm and Saturday and Sunday 12-10 pm, this is a stopping place for the “who’s who” visiting Natchez and, apparently, there are other spectral visitors, as well! Who knows who you are going to meet?
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