Monday, May 14, 2012

James Franco blogs about haunted New Orleans tour

Franco in 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'
Over at Huffington Post, actor James Franco goes into detail about a nighttime field trip on a haunted New Orleans tour while taking a break from filming The End of the World (the Seth Rogen-directed meta movie where celebs Franco, Rogen, Emma Watson, Jason Segel, Mindy Kaling play themselves when the apocalypse happens).

After hearing some real facts about the city ("the dead buried in New Orleans outnumber the living 10-to-1") and likely less-real ("the French Quarter is cursed because it was built on top of a Native burial ground"), Franco compares New Orleans to "amusement park where you can get killed."

Of the few ghost stories Franco heard about on his tour, there was the haunting of the Andrew Jackson Hotel, a few vampire legends and the tale of the LaLaurie Mansion - previously owned by Nicolas Cage. Perhaps the most infamous (and supposedly most famous) location in New Orleans, the LaLaurie Mansion was the site of slave torture, although some of the more gory details Franco relates (a [secret chamber held "living and dead victims of a variety of mutilations: amputations, limbs exchanged between people, sexes switched ... skin flayed in designs to turn the victims into 'human caterpillars' and other grotesque monstrosities") is the stuff of folklore and fiction.

However, while Franco does not explicitly admit to a belief in ghosts, he does relay a ghostly story that took place in New Orleans while filming Sonny (which was, interestingly, directed by Cage):

"Nic Cage and I purposely took the two haunted rooms in the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, itself a former convent. My room was said to house the spirit of a nun who had leapt from the window. After unpacking my bags, I heard the sound of rushing water and realized that the sink in the bathroom was running full blast. It hadn't been on when I entered the room, and its knob wasn't the least bit loose. I spoke to the empty room and assured whatever spirits resided there that I was on their side. At first I thought it was a gag for tourists, but when I asked the maid, she knew nothing about it. Instead, she told me about the ghost of a Confederate soldier who chased female guests with blond hair. People in New Orleans believe in ghosts."

-Aaron Sagers