Thursday, March 6, 2014

#96 The Lady in Blue, Ghost of the Ely-Criglar Mansion (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)

Ely-Criglar Mansion in Marianna, Florida
Haunted by the Ghost of the Lady in Blue?
The famed "Lady in Blue" is #96 on our list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida. Please click here to read earlier additions to the list.

The Lady in Blue has haunted the beautiful Ely-Criglar Mansion on Lafayette Street in Marianna for more than 100 years. Her name comes from the fact that she is seen wearing an old-fashioned high-necked white blouse and long blue skirt.

No one knows exactly who she is - or was! The leading theory is that she is the ghost of a servant who once worked in the mansion.

Ely-Criglar Mansion is part of the Marianna Battlefield
According to Marianna legend, a beautiful Creole woman was brought to Marianna from New Orleans by Francis R. Ely to manage the household. He was the original owner and builder of the house.

Her name has been lost to time but, as is often the case with female ghosts, she is said to have been the "most beautiful woman" anyone had ever seen. She also is said to have had style and sophistication.

The ghost usually appears at the top
of the main staircase.
The Ely-Criglar Mansion was showered with bullets during the Battle of Marianna and is thought to be the most battle-scarred private home in Florida. The exterior walls of the mansion are dotted with marks where bullets struck the bricks during the fighting.

Some believe that the terror inflicted on the inhabitants of the house during the battle in some way causes the apparition of the Lady in Blue to linger. She and other members of the household were trapped there during the fighting and undoubtedly took shelter anywhere they could find it when bullets began to thud against the walls.

What is known is that every family that has lived in the home for the last 100 years has reported encounters with the ghost. She usually appears on the second floor near the top of the staircase and in her most recent sighting was described as the misty head and shoulders of a woman in an old-fashioned attire.

Beau the "Ghost Hunter"
Animals are often much more sensitive to her presence than humans. Beau, a standard poodle who is part of the family of the current owners of the home, often begins to tremble when the Lady in Blue is near. It is quite remarkable as Beau is a playful and fun loving dog.

So far as is known, the Lady in Blue has never been photographed. Her tale is one of Jackson County's great mysteries and ghost stories and she is #96 on our list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.

The Ely-Criglar Mansion is a private residence, but will be a part of this year's Battle of Marianna 150th tours on September 26-27. More information on how to participate will be coming soon. The house is not, however, open on a daily basis because it is a private residence.

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