Crazy Mary is a scary true ghost story about a cursed jail cell in New Orleans. The story was reported in the New Orleans Times of November 1872.
There was a cell in the New Orleans 4th precient police station that was believed to be haunted. Over the years, 22 prisoners had stayed in the cell and few of them lived to see the morning.
It all began one night in 1861 when the police brought in an old woman named Mary Murphy. People called her “Crazy Mary” and she was a drunk and a vagrant. She was the 23rd inmate to be confined in that cell.
The following morning, Crazy Mary was found hanging by the neck from the window of her cell. She had used a strip of her skirt as a rope. The fifth brick in the wall had been pried loose and she had used it to jump off, breaking her neck. Her body was hanging so that she faced the south wall of the cell. All of these details were recorded by the inspecting officers.
After removing her body, the police cleaned up the cell and replaced the loose brick, getting it ready for the next prisoner.
The next prisoner to spend the night in the cell was a petty thief. In the morning, he was also found hanging by the neck from the cell window. He had used a strip torn from his shirt as a rope and had loosened the 5th brick to jump off. He was hanging facing the south wall.
The same thing happened to the next prisoner. He was a horse thief and all the details were the same. He was hanging from the window. he had used a strip of his shirt as a rope. The 5th brick was loosened and used to jump off and his body was facing the south wall.
As time went on, every prisoner who stayed in the cell was found dead in exactly the same circumstances. In all, 14 prisoners tried to kill themselves after spending a night in the cell. A few of them were unsuccessful, but when they were found in the morning, they were hopelessly insane. One man, a pickpocket, was cut down by the guards while he was still alive. He started screaming about someone in his cell about midnight. The police tried to question him, but he made no sense, so he was released.
Finally, the police decided to get to the bottom of the mystery. When the next prisoner, a vagrant, was put in the cell, they stationed two reliable police officers outside so they could watch the cell.
Around midnight, the policemen watched in astonishment as the man tore a strip from his shirt, loosened the 5th brick, and attempted to hang himself! They rushed in and rescued him before he could take his own life.
Afterwards, the vagrant claimed that he had seen an old woman enter his cell just after midnight and she urged him to hang himself. He was unable to resist. As if in a trance, he had followed her instructions. The old woman he described was Crazy Mary Murphy!