Do the spirits former residents of this mansion still reside within? Hear the story of the Woodruff-Fontaine House Musuem in Memphis and judge for yourself.
Who wouldn’t love spending Halloween inside a haunted museum? One of the most well-known haunted locations in Memphis to try your hand at ghost hunting is the beautiful Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum. This Victorian-style mansion was built in the late 1800’s, and, despite its beauty, it has quite the history of death and tragedy. Could the spirits of the former owners and inhabitants still be wandering around the grounds?
A brief history of the Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum
The house was built in 1871 by Amos Woodruff, who was looking to expand his carriage business into Memphis. His family moved into the house, and his daughter Mollie was married in the house a short time later. Mollie and her husband Egbert moved into an upstairs bedroom in the mansion, and she eventually became pregnant. Sadly, her first child passed just days after birth. The two were grief-stricken, and Egbert’s friends wanted to cheer him up with a fishing trip. As the story goes, Egbert fell out of the boat, and although he was pulled back in, he became ill and died a short time afterwards. She eventually would marry again after moving from the estate but would suffer through the death of another child and the death of her second husband as well, before her own passing.
The Woodruffs moved from the residence in 1891, and the Fontaines became the new owners. They too would suffer through not only deaths in the family but deaths inside the house. Noland Fontaine, the wealthy businessman who purchased the house, would undergo kidney surgery inside the house and would die a short time later in the ballroom. After his death, his son Elliott vowed he would never leave the house, and he stayed there until his death from the Spanish Flu in 1918. His mother, Virginia, would also die of heart problems inside the house.
Ownership of the house would change a few more times until its vacancy in 1959, and it would remain vacant until the Association for Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities saved the mansion through a public fund and began its restoration. It currently serves as a museum with artifacts and heirlooms from Memphis and Mid-South families. The house was featured in an episode of the SyFy show “Ghost Hunters,” and the paranormal investigators concluded that the house was indeed haunted by benevolent spirits.
More on Mollie Woodruff
It is said because of the tragedies in such a short-time span that Mollie still haunts the grounds of the Woodruff-Fontaine. While it is believed several other spirits haunt the house, she is the most well-known of the spirits at the house, and people seem to connect with her story because it is such a sad one. Witnesses have seen depressions on the bed in her room, as if someone was kneeling at the bedside to pray, and have felt overcome with sadness and despair. However, children are the only ones to have ever reported seeing Mollie, as if she only reveals herself to them. People believe she loves to make contact with kids given her tragic story, and children even write her letters and leave them in her bedroom.
For more information on the Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum, visit their website here.