The owners of an abandoned Louisiana mansion are facing criticism after the house was burned down last week, allegedly by stoned ghost hunters, the Times-Picayune reports. "We made our best efforts to secure the land from trespassers," say the owners of the LeBeau Plantation near New Orleans. "But it is doubtful that anything short of 24-hour patrols would have kept out these intruders intent on engaging in illegal activities." According to the sheriff, the suspected arsonists entered easily Thursday night through a gap in the fence often used by trespassers.
The seven suspects, aged 17 to 31, are accused of beating on the floors in the hope of summoning spirits—which some say inhabit the historic property, which was built in the 1850s and was once regarded as one of the biggest plantations south of New Orleans. "We all heard the ghost stories while growing up," the sheriff says. (Per legend, a lady in white roams the upper porch.) "In combination with smoking dope in there, it appears it was intriguing to them." When no ghosts appeared, one of the inebriated and stoned visitors got frustrated and allegedly set the fire. Now they all face charges ranging from trespassing to burglary to arson. For more on the mansion's colorful and brutal history, which includes a suspicious fire 17 years ago, check out this earlier Times-Picayune article.