has been described as a gambler’s paradise, a cesspool of
depravity, and a resort for the damned. It was one of the wildest
landings along the Mississippi River. There were saloons, gambling
havens, and, of course, houses of ill repute. As the farmers and
boatmen sold their wares, they took advantage of an opportunity
to spend a little of their money and raise a little cane before
starting the long and treacherous journey along the Trace back
to their homes. Unfortunately, there was abundant treachery also
to be found right there by the river.
With a limited land
area, there were many saloons built on stilts out over the river,
known as “trap-door saloons.” Naïve visitors
who partook of the attractions there were sometimes clubbed, robbed,
and their bodies dropped through trap- doors in the floors of
the saloons into the river below. Knife fights and killings were
simply an accepted everyday incident of life in the community.
It is rumored that
one of the more common ghostly sightings for the last hundred
years involves the unfortunate souls dropped through those trap-doors.
Strange lights and smoky wisps are frequently seen off-shore.
Some people claim to have seen tortured faces in the small patches
of fog; others swear that they have heard screams of agony and
moans of sorrow. These sounds always come from where the small
balls of light dance across the water. There have even been reports
of people hearing a splashing noise before the sounds begin, as
if made by something the size of a body being dropped into the
water from several feet above.
The sightings are
generally reported very late at night. Witnesses claim that during
a calm evening, a stiff breeze suddenly kicks up, the lights and
eerie sounds start immediately, and then the quiet tranquility
resumes within a few minutes.
These tormented souls
are assumed to be destined to forever repeat their fatal last
moments, dropping to their watery grave from those trap-door saloons.