Was Chloe a Real Enslaved Girl in the Myrtles Plantation? How Did She Die?

Since there’s no denying Myrtles Plantation was built upon the back of slaves, rumors of aggrieved ghosts are the ones that thrive when guests get an eerie feeling while wandering the grounds. This much has even been explored in Netflix’s ‘Files of the Unexplained: File: Ghosts of Myrtles Plantation,’ with a specific focus on the legend of a relatively young girl named Chloe (or Cloe). She has actually always been described as a small black female who faced more than her fair share of issues while enslaved to plantation owners Sarah and Clark Woodruff in the early 1800s.

Despite Rumors, Chloe Never Existed

With her head wrapped in a turban to hide her missing left ear, Chloe was a house servant who’d gained the interest of Clark while his family was growing, according to one iteration of her story. He thus reportedly ended up making her his mistress, only for things to change once he moved on to another girl as she began fearing for her place — she didn’t want to work the fields outside. That’s when she concocted a plan to prove herself worthy, just for it to backfire in the worst way as not only did she lose her owner’s favor for good but several lives were also unnecessarily taken.

Per various accounts, Chloe had actually decided to bake a cake containing oleander leaf extract (which is exceptionally poisonous) for the Woodruff daughters for an upcoming birthday. She hoped to make them sick enough so that her quickly nursing them back to health would be significant and land her a near-permanent spot inside the house, yet this did not pan out. Instead, the amount of poison she incorporated resulted in the deaths of all those to have consumed her cake — daughter Cornelia, daughter Octavia, plus pregnant with a third child, Sarah.

However, there is another version of Chloe’s story that is slightly different; within this, the abused young girl actually had her ear cut off for eavesdropping on Clark as he discussed family business. She then apparently formulated the same plan, yet while some believe it was truly to get back in the Woodruffs’ good graces (as indicated above), others assert it was a deliberate act of revenge. She’d seemingly grown tired of having to go along with her masters’ every whim, so she poisoned the cake to kill in cold blood, resulting in the death of pregnant Sarah as well as both her daughters.

But alas, neither of these tales nor any other version of it, is real — Chloe was and always will be a fictional being concocted to intrigue the guests of Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana. We actually assert this with confidence because historical documentation proves it; while the Woodruffs did have 5 enslaved people in 1820 and 32 in 1830, none of them were named Chloe or Cloe. Moreover, per the official census, Sarah, her firstborn daughter Cornelia, plus her thirdborn/youngest son James died of yellow fever in the 1820s, whereas secondborn Octavia lived well into adulthood.

Chloe Was Killed for Her Actions

According to all forms of the legend, Chloe ultimately confessed to her sins, following which she was supposedly hanged by her fellow slaves before being disposed of in the Mississippi River for good. Though while some claim these steps were taken by the latter on their own since they feared charges of murder by association soon coming their way, others believe Clark ordered this punishment. No matter the case, “they believed if they weighed down the body in the river, the spirit could not rise and harm anyone,” yet rumors assert she eerily wanders around Myrtles Plantation to this day.

Researcher Troy Taylor actually said in the aforementioned episode that, “The most famous ghost story connected to the Myrtels, unfortunately, is the one that doesn’t have much authenticity behind it. And that’s the story of Chloe… In the 1950s, when Marjorie Munson took over this plantation, she started to hear some of the ghost stories, and she was told about an experience with a woman in the house who wore a green turban or a green wrap around her head. This story sort of stuck around, that there was a ghost who haunted the house; she seemed to be the resident spirit there…”

He added, “When the story of Chloe was created out of thin air, it was using the story of the ghost with a green turban, even though the descriptions didn’t match.” After all, per expert Dr. Karen Stollznow, the latter was initially “a little old French lady who wore a green dress, and then, as time has worn on, she has become a young French-Canadian nanny who wears a green bonnet. Sometimes, she is said to be white. Other times, she is said to be black. In some stories, she is said to be young and beautiful. In other stories, she’s a large older woman.” In other words, Chlo is truly just a lore.

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