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Bragg-Mitchell Mansion, Mobile Alabama

One of the most photographed homes in Alabama

Its Mardi Gras season in Mobile, Alabama and you're in town for some late night revelry. Make time to visit the Bragg-Mitchell Museum for a different flavor of fun. You won't find live marching bands, brilliant-colored floats and tipsy parade goers, but you might get lucky enough to spot a ghost...

Bragg-Mitchell Mansion, AlabamaBragg-Mitchell Mansion, AlabamaI'll admit I'm a sucker for a great ghost story, but I was a more than a little surprised when my nerves cut to the chase and my heart began racing within moments of stepping foot in the Bragg-Mitchell Museum in Mobile, Alabama.

Bragg-Mitchell Mansion's history

haunted mansion ghost??haunted mansion ghost??Pulling into the drive of The Bragg-Mitchell Mansion is like passing through a time warp. The antebellum mansion, adorned by gleaming white columns and flanked by a grove of stately oaks exudes a charm that modern brides and debutantes covet. The mansion is currently a museum with daily tours available as well as a reception hall for private parties and weddings.

But the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion began life as a family home. It was built in 1855 by Judge John Bragg, a 13,000 square foot Greek Revival facing Springhill Avenue in Mobile, Alabama. The good judge built the home for his wife and family to enjoy Mobile's social season, Thanksgiving through Mardi Gras, spending the rest of their time at cotton plantation in Lowndes County outside of Montgomery, Alabama.

Bragg-Mitchell Mansion dining roomBragg-Mitchell Mansion dining roomDuring the Civil War, Judge Bragg and his wife feared a Yankee attack and moved all their worldly possessions to a plantation in Virginia for safekeeping. Ironically, the plantation (and all of their belongings) burned to the ground, but their mansion in Mobile survived the war unscathed. Mrs. Bragg died shortly after the war - some say of a broken heart - leaving her husband to raise their brood of young children by himself.

Judge Bragg died in 1878 and four additional families have owned the home since his passing. In the early 1970's, the mansion was donated to the Explore Center by the A.S. Mitchell foundation. Instead of adapting the home, The Explore Center built a separate science museum, The Gulf Coast Exploreum, and began work to restore the Mansion to its antebellum grandeur.

In 1972, Bragg-Mitchell Mansion earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places. After
$3 million in renovations, the home was opened to the public in 1987 and now serves as the location for wedding receptions, corporate dinners and historic home tours.

Where do you keep the ghosts?

ghost stories ... can you feel them?ghost stories ... can you feel them?The Bragg-Mitchell Museum may change your view of ghosts - it changed mine.

Beneath the gleaming crystal chandeliers, there's an under-current of energy. It's not angry but sad and confused and looking for help. It gripped me the moment I stepped from the shadows of the 200-year-old oak trees through the two-story doorway. I went back the next day for a second visit and felt the same sadness. My friend dared me to visit in the evening with him - the time when ghosts are supposed to be most active - but I declined. Sorrow on a sunny day is painful enough - I had no desire to see that kind of pain in the quiet hours of the dark.

Apparently, the unsettled presence appears only to a chosen few. The newly installed elevator regularly operates without passengers and once an air conditioner repairman found himself locked in the attic. Some visitors report a woman watching from the bedroom window. It's enough to make me wonder if Mrs. Bragg isn't still there, weeping over the loss of all she held dear.

grand history and ghost storiesgrand history and ghost storiesThe South is littered with plantations and mansions inhabited by ghosts - it's the sub-structure of the culture. The locals believe it (or so they say) and we tourists lap it up along with our fried green tomatoes and crawdads. In Mobile, Alabama, you have a better than average chance of encountering the mysterious, provocative and weary souls who linger. Just listen and watch. They're here.

Want to learn more about the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion? Visit them online at BraggMitchellMansion.com, connect with them on Facebook or read reviews on TripAdvisor.com. Want to learn more about the ghosts of Mobile, Alabama? Elizabeth Parker, "Ghost Whisperer of the South", can help you out.

Want to meet past residents and maybe (if you're lucky) hear the rustle of crinolines and whispers as old as the houses themselves? Would you answer if one called your name? Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook!

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