Since its founding in 1718, New Orleans, Louisiana has been a city associated with magic, mystery and murder. Many of its older homes are believed to be inhabited by the spectral shades left behind by the tragic events that transpired behind their walls such as the Madame’s House of Horrors. One such place is found in the city’s legendary French Quarter at 716 Dauphine Street. Colloquially known as The Sultan’s palace, this location was the site of a vicious mass murder that covered the house in blood and left a psychic scar on the city that still exists to this day.
In 1836, Jean Baptiste-LaPrete, wealthy plantation owner, desired to be a bit closer to the high society of New Orleans. Sparing very little expense, LaPrete, built a lavish mansion at the corner of Dauphine Street and Orleans Avenue, dead center in the lively French Quarter. Sadly, the LaPrete family’s fortunes took a turn for the worse. In the time of the American Civil War, Union forces took control of New Orleans spelling the end of the high times of this southern city. The LaPrete family knew their time was up and needed to get out of New Orleans, but what would they do about the mansion?
Around this time, a mysterious visitor from far away exotic lands in the Middle East arrived in the Big Easy. The man boasted to everyone he encountered that he was a wealthy Turkish Sultan. Prince Suleyman, as he called himself, put the word out that he, his servants, and harem needed a place to call home and money was no object. Upon hearing of the noble and his housing needs, LaPrete immediately met with Suleyman and rented him the mansion. It wasn’t long until the family realized that this was a grave error.
Shortly after moving in, the formerly gregarious sultan became withdrawn and paranoid. The prince placed heavy curtains over the windows, put deadlocks on the doors, and hired a team of scimitar wielding henchmen to guard the entrances. Something shifted within the sultan and it wasn’t long before Suleyman abandoned his caution and returned to his raucous lifestyle.
Neighbors began complaining of loud, rowdy parties coming from the house at all hours of the day. Upon hearing the reports, the police ignored the grievances because the resident was royalty and nobody wanted to inadvertently cause an international incident. However, by ignoring these complaints, the police didn’t realize something much darker was going on in the house.
Since moving into the house, several children had gone missing from the community. It was rumored that Prince Suleyman was engaging in the unspeakable crime of child molestation, and quite possibly murder. The residents of the Quarter didn’t care about Suleyman’s titles if this were true. The felt that Suleyman must be dealt with immediately if peace and safety were to return to New Orleans.
As the sun rose one morning over the French Quarter, a local man was walking past the Sultan’s mansion when he noticed something peculiar. The house that was normally alive with frivolity was unusually dark and quiet. He assumed the celebrants had finally passed out, having drunk themselves into a stupor. He was about to dismiss it and go about his day when he noticed a thick, dark liquid pouring out from under the front door. When he went to inspect the substance, he realized it was blood. Something terrible lay beyond that door and the man hastily contacted the authorities.
When the police arrived, they had to force their way in. When the door opened a scene of unimaginable horror met their eyes. Every last person in the house was dead. The walls and floor were covered in blood and bodies were hacked to pieces with body parts laying around everywhere. Someone, or several persons, managed to overpower the heavily armed guards and brutally slaughter everyone in the house. But amid the remains, Prince Suleyman, the master of the house was nowhere to be found. If he wasn’t dead, Suleyman would be made to answer for this horrific crime.
After diligently searching the house, the remains of Prince Suleyman were discovered hacked to pieces in a shallow grave in the garden. But dead bodies weren’t the only horrors discovered in the house. Hidden in the basement was what appeared to be a torture chamber along with the broken little bodies of several small children. It would seem the rumors about Suleyman were true. To the people of the French Quarter, Prince Suleyman got exactly what he deserved. Although investigators agreed, they still needed to know the who and the why. Someone was responsible for this scene of untold gore.
When considering who could be capable of this, investigators believed the Sultan ran afoul of pirates. That theory was quickly dismissed on the grounds that even pirates weren’t capable of such wholesale slaughter and brutality. This wasn’t just some random act of violence. This was a professional hit and the police would soon find out why.
It turned out Prince Suleyman wasn’t a real Sultan after all. Rather, he was the criminal brother of the real Sultan. Suleyman fled his country when his brother placed a bounty on his head due to stealing and his monstrous sexual appetites. The police came to the conclusion that a team of assassins caught up with their prey and murdered him and everyone present to send a message. That message was clear: never mess with the real Sultan.
It’s been well over a century since the bloody carnage that turned the elegant mansion into a gruesome house of death. Those bloody acts of violence have left a number of ghosts in its wake. The ghosts of Suleyman and his guests are believed to roam the halls of the house where they met their fates, and these ghosts are just as terrifying as one might expect.
Bloodcurdling shrieks and pleas for mercy are heard echoing throughout the house. Shadowy specters have been spotted sticking to the darkest corners of the house. The apparition of Suleyman himself has been seen running throughout the house as if he’s desperately trying to escape the person seeking to end his life.
Although these apparitions may be frightening to behold, it’s the phantom noises that are truly chilling. Visitors to the house have reported hearing the sounds of phantom music playing throughout the house accompanied by the grotesque sound of body parts and blood being thrown against the walls. The sounds of the slaughter come to an end replaced by an unearthly silence.
LaPrete Mansion, or the Sultan’s Palace, is not a haunt for the faint of heart or the squeamish. The many souls who met a bloodthirsty end over a century ago are still reliving the slaughter that brought their existence to an end and sent them screaming into the cold, black abyss.
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