The name of this building from the 1700s harkens back to when the United States was in its infancy and still shaking off the King’s rule, a tavern fit for a king that no longer ruled the land it was built in. The King’s Tavern sits proudly in Natchez, Mississippi and has done so since 1769. A historic building with a haunted and dark past, wait til you hear what they found in the walls.
The Tavern was originally built to be a tavern, stage stop, and general store in the newly incorporated town, staying over the years as primarily a place to grab a drink and hear the local gossip. Sometimes, however, the gossip came from inside the tavern itself.
It was during a routine renovation that a grisly discovery happened behind the fireplace- Three skeletal bodies were found stuffed behind the walls, bricked in like a cask of amontillado. Rumors flew about who the skeletons could have belonged to, one of which was a woman and the other two were men. A jeweled dagger was also found when the bodies were revealed, believed to be the murder weapon for the gruesome ends of the three people in the walls.
It’s believed the female body might be that of the mistress of the first tavern owner, Richard King. The lady was named Madeline, so that’s the name many of the employees and patrons use for the ghostly happenings within the walls of the King’s Tavern. Legend says Madeline met her end at the tip of a dagger owned by Richard King’s wife when she discovered the affair. Mrs. King may have then covered her crimes by bricking the young lady into the walls, keeping her from her husband forever.
Guests have reported feeling cold spots and hot spots, as if someone had just been sitting in a seat or on a bed. Sometimes, the ghostly figure of a young woman will appear in mirrors around the place, peeking over the shoulder of the living person checking their reflection, but she’s gone when they turn around.
A second ghostly appearance is that of notorious outlaw, Wiley Harpe. Wiley is believed to haunt the tavern after a particularly gruesome act– legend says he was angry with a woman in the Inn for having a crying infant, so he barged into her room, took the infant, and ended its life by bashing the child against the ground. Absolutely horrifying, the sound of a crying baby can still be heard in the upstairs portion of the tavern that was once the Inn. It always seems to happen when no one is upstairs, adding more creepiness to a story already rife with tragedy. EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) have identified Wiley as one of the specters willing to talk to paranormal investigators.
More ghostly experiences have happened at the King’s Tavern, but with the death of a child and three skeletons in the walls, it would be surprising if the 1700s building didn’t have any paranormal activity at all. Today, the Kings Tavern is open for business, serving wood fired flatbreads and delicious cocktails. You just might be dining with a spirit a little stronger than the ones in your glass.
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Born in Death Valley and raised on the prairie, Deborah is a Wyoming-based paranormal researcher and a senior at the University of Wyoming, studying Communication. Her interests lie in folklore, history, rhetorical analysis and research. With an obvious love for ghost stories, frequently those interests combine with her work on Ghostlandia.