The Chapel of the Cross – A Ghostly Gothic Centerpiece

Who doesn’t love a spooky Gothic-style church? The Chapel of the Cross in Mississippi is an architectural masterpiece complete with stunning height, sharp stained-glass windows, and beautiful brick. The craftsmanship is obvious as one walks up to this historic chapel, which was built by Mrs. Margaret Johnstone in 1855 in memory of her husband. The inside is just as magnificent, with a pipe organ, baptismal font made from a stone altar, and communion rail.

However, not all is glitter and gold behind the walls of this infamous house of prayer.


Who Haunts the Chapel of The Cross?


It’s believed that more than just a few entities haunt the Chapel of the Cross and its surroundings. The spirits range from young children to a former caretaker who met his demise inside the chapel. Keep reading to find out who these entities are and why they refuse to vacate this haunted house of worship.

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A Brief History of the Chapel of the Cross

The church was initially conceived as a house of worship for the Johnstone family on their now-destroyed Annandale Plantation. John T. Johnstone migrated from North Carolina to Mississippi in 1819 and established other forced-labor farms. He had envisioned a chapel on the plantation but died in 1848 before he could implement his plans. After his death, his now-widow Margaret took the reins and began constructing the church.

Almost no records exist anymore for the construction of the church, but it is believed that English-born architect Frank Wills designed the chapel for Margaret.

Johnstone had much of the labor done by enslaved people, who painstakingly made all of the bricks by hand on-site. The rest of the construction was handled by artisans, with Margaret spending a total of $3,000 on the chapel. She deeded the church and ten acres to the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi in June 1851. The building was consecrated on September 19th, 1852, by the first Episcopal bishop of Mississippi, William Mercer Green.

Margaret later passed away in 1880, and her plantation was sold. Her grand three-story, forty-room home was left unoccupied and later burned down in 1924.

The chapel still hosts congregations one hundred fifty years later, though its incredible architecture isn’t all it’s known for. It also has an adjoining graveyard and a reputation for being haunted by a handful of ghosts.

Hauntings of the Chapel of the Cross

Love Gone Awry


Of all of the spirits at the chapel and its surroundings, Helen Johnstone is the most notorious. She’s often seen sobbing by the grave of a man named Henry Vick. According to the story, Helen was happily engaged to Henry, and the two were set to marry in May of 1859. Sadly, Henry died in a duel just a few days before they were to meet at the altar.

Helen was utterly heartbroken — she attended his funeral in her wedding gown and spent hours upon hours at his grave. She eventually moved on to marry a minister, but it seems like part of her never healed, leaving her to long for Henry in the afterlife. 


The Two


There are reports about two child-like apparitions who walk through a locked gate, climb up a tree, and sit there before vanishing.


A Caretaker’s End


One story tells of a caretaker who was in charge of the chapel. It’s said that he had been struggling for quite some time with mental health issues and ended up committing suicide inside the chapel. Visitors today tell of an apparition of a man pacing back and forth between church pews.


Other Strange Happenings


On several occasions, the church organ will begin to play on its own. The sound of phantom laughter, footsteps, and non-stop manic giggling is also reported. Sometimes, bloodstains even appear on the chapel floors with no known cause.

Haunted Mississippi

The spirits at the Chapel of the Cross are active and well! While the church and graveyard are closed after dusk, visits are welcome as the church is still active and welcomes new members and visitors.

Check out our blog for more terrifying tales about the most haunted places in the nation. To learn more about the most haunted places in Mississippi, book a ghost tour with Jackson Ghosts!

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