Throughout the years, I have not made a secret of how much I love Halloween. It has always captivated my quirky nature and big imagination. My younger Halloweens were celebrated with parties hosted by my parents including hayrides. As a teenager, I still dressed up and enjoyed the edge of supernatural in the air. For most of my adult years, I began to throw the elaborate costume parties with decorations executed to my yearly themes from Voodoo Shoppe to Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.
So as soon as I feel a breeze of cool air that can hint at Fall weather, I begin gorging on Halloween content. Living in these times I have found more things than I could ever get through in a season. I particularly love the things that nod to ghosts of my childhood as well as vintage Halloween Americana. So in the ‘spirit’ of the season here are my favorite bits of entertainment that focus on Gulf South and state of Mississippi Halloween themed enjoyment.
Podcasts have become a great way to ingest a lot of content quickly while I walk, drive, or chill on the porch. I have found so many great ones over the years and shared them in two different favorite podcast posts. However, I direct my attention towards creepy stories and Halloween history come October. Here are my favorites…
This podcast covers ghost stories from all over the world in a narrative format. Transport yourself into each story in order to enjoy the tales. There are over 140 episodes as of writing this post. So here are my Gulf South recommendations from the show archives:
This one goes past just ghosts into tales of the supernatural and unusual. This podcast and book was adapted into an Amazon Prime Series a few years ago. It’s creator Aaron Mahnke is still keeping the podcast current creating new tales bi-weekly. Check out the episode #40 where he visits Marie Laveau in New Orleans.
Mississippi Paranormal and Cryptids Podcast
This brand new podcast has begun creating episodes just in time for Halloween 2020. Yours truly personally knows one of the hosts and is familiar with their former group. The hosts Chris, Terry, and Bobbie were once part of a paranormal investigative group that looked into Mississippi Gulf Coast hauntings. They discuss ghosts and other phenomena as well like BigFoot. I enjoy their banter and listening in to their opinions of the great beyond. Especially, the local spin on the Gulf Coast’s more shadowier residents.
This is another very local focused podcast that discusses topics related to ghosts and paranormal along the southeast. They actually discuss the Pascagoula Alien Abduction of the 1970s in detail in their earliest episodes. Episode #16 also discusses the haunted books housed in Local History and Genealogy at the Biloxi Public Library. There are many episodes that take place in the South!.
My best friend at The Muddy Mermaid recommended this one on our recent road trip. I thoroughly enjoy the host’s voice and the different stories from listeners aired each episode. They all cover a different personal haunting experience. Some do not indicate where the story takes place, but all are entertaining. Listen through their show archive and find the most spine tingling one!
Each October the wonderful hosts both past and present make a batch of Halloween themed episodes. They range from goofy like the history of Candy Corn to the macabre of unsolved murders. They have also been posting previous episodes on Saturdays as well that fit the topic. Carl Tanzler’s Corpse Bride from October 2017 was particularly freaky. They also have a 2 part series on the Building of Disney’s Haunted Mansion which happens to be my favorite ride at Disney. I can’t wait to see what they have planned for 2020.
The History Chicks-The Marie Laveau Episode
The episode # 89 is about Voodoo Queen of New Orleans Marie Laveau. Growing up next to New Orleans, she is a legendary figure being so revered that many pay their respects at her tomb in St. Louis #1 right outside the French Quarter. (Myself included!) I enjoy the intensely researched episodes and the variety of sources referenced in their show notes. This was particularly great with the topic being one so close to home.
Listen and read their resource list here!
Now, I must mention this book with reservation. The positive side of this book is every story included is from the Gulf Coast and many are well known here. (For example, Rock-N-Roll Graveyard and Beauvoir.) It is part of the Haunted America series from The History Press. Although the author came to the Gulf Coast for research, he is not from here. So I think there is something lacking in this book. There is such a richness in our histories and stories. To me, there is no better place to find that than in our ghost stories.
So my recommendation is to check it out, but look further on your own.
I like this book so much that I accidentally ended up in 2 copies! (I found this to be the case in my massive book declutter of 2019.) Published in 1992, it is an oldie, but a goodie. The stories “The Boy in the Yellow Shirt” and “Sanctuary for a President” are both set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They are written by the people who experienced them, and are short reads.
The Haunting of Mississippi by Barbara Sillery
The Haunting of Mississippi is another broad anthology of hauntings. It also includes tales from Beauvoir. However, it also has a story about Pascagoula’s Singing River.
Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts by Kathryn Tucker Windham
Kathryn Windham grew up in southern Alabama and is known as a notable folklorist and storyteller. After discovering a ghost she named “Jeffrey” in her home, she began to write a series of southern ghosts stories. In total, Windham wrote over 7 different books full of ghosts stories. Her Mississippi collection includes Nachez and Vicksburg hauntings. However, her 13 More Southern Ghosts has the story “The Harpist of the Gulf” a popular tale set in Gulfport at a house that used to stand on Highway 90.
Sadly, Mrs. Windham is no longer with us, but she has a lasting legacy on the internet. Check out this interview of Kathryn Windham discussing her thoughts on her book series.
The cast of American Horror story spent season 3 in the Big Easy. The series followed a group of young witches training in the picturesque Garden District Mansion. Marie Laveau and Madame LaLaurie also made appearances. It is one of my favorite seasons of American Horror
Bonus: Want some more New Orleans screen time? Check out Scream Queens as well. It was filmed in the Garden District, but is definitely pretty ridiculous.
Based on the wildly popular book series, HBO adapted this show back in 2008. (Does that seem like a long time ago to anyone else?) It is set in a small Louisiana backwater town and follows a host of supernatural creatures from vampires to werewolves and everything in between. It is pretty raunchy, but so entertaining! Currently, True Blood is streaming on Hulu.
This 2005 Kate Hudson film was a great homage to the eerie tales that come out of Louisiana swamps. It also has elements of hoodoo and voodoo that is so much part of the folktale landscape.
One Last Haunt
I hope you find these suggestions enjoyable leading up to Halloween! This list is not meant to be complete, but a highlight of my favorites. Feel free to research and look further. The Gulf Coast is a tapestry of colorful tales that is as much part of our heritage as a spicy batch of jambalaya. Keep an eye out, you never know what you will find under the moss covered oak trees.
What Halloween content do you enjoy?
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission is you click through and make a purchase.