Episode 15: The Spirits of St Louis Cemetery No. 1 and the Devil-Man of Algiers

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Things are about to get groovy as we visit St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 with our special tour guide, “The Witch Queen of New Orleans,” Mary Oneida Toups! Follow us as we venture through New Orleans's oldest and most haunted cemetery while socializing with the spirits that dwell there, including “Voodoo Queen” herself, Madam Marie Laveau. We also have a run-in with the Devil of Algiers, so look out!

Born in Mississippi in 1928, Mary Oneida married a Cajun Freemason, Albert Toups. In 1968, Mary and Albert moved to New Orleans where Mary's love and passion for witchcraft and the occult blossomed to such heights that she  chartered the Religious Order of Witchcraft in 1972, the first coven to be registered as an official religious organization within the state of Louisiana.

Mary Toups said, “the dead walk the alleys of St. Louis No. 1 more than the living. And when I pass over, I’ll certainly be one of them.” Her cause of death is a mystery,  with historians speculating that she was either poisoned or suffered a brain tumor. While it is believed that Mary and Albert Toups are buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in a deliberately unmarked tomb, this has never been confirmed.

The most famous spirit said to roam the cemetery  is that of “Voodoo Queen,” Madam Marie Laveau. Born in 1801, Marie was a free woman of color with African, Native American, and French decency.  Laveau was a Louisiana Creole practitioner of Voodoo, herbalist and midwife who made a lucrative life for herself in New Orleans. Renowned for her healing and wisdom, many naysayers believe she acquired her knowledge from the help of New Orleans elite, and not always by kind tactics. She died in 1881 at 79 years old, peacefully in her bed.

The tomb of Marie Laveau is often marked with the “X”s by hopefuls requesting good fortune from her spirit. If their wishes are met, they are to return to her tomb with an offering in repayment. While this is a long tradition of St. Louis, defacing the tomb today will get you fined (just write the “X”s with your fingers).

While St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is one of New Orleans's most popular haunted attractions, NOLA is haunted by more than just ghosts. The “Devil-Man” had Algiers in a panic in 1938. Terrorizing drivers, shouting sexist & racist comments to residents, and storming bars demanding free beer to evade eternal damnation. The Devil-Man was an unstoppable nuisance. When police went to shoot the Devil-Man, their bullets were said to have been returned to them by a summoned set of furry hands.

Police apprehended a man who called himself, “Lord Herold.” Later identified as Clark Carlton, a black man who had traveled to NOLA  all the way from Arkansas. He claimed all of the chaos in Algiers was his doing and that he was sent to New Orleans by the ancient Roman god of the sea, Neptune. Despite admitting to the crime spree, the PD kept getting reports of devil sightings. After that night, the devil made one last appearance in Algiers, as a woman was said to have given birth to a “Baby-Devil.” 

For photos, cast info, updates, and more, follow us on Instagram @thetalegatepodcast and share YOUR encounters to thetalegatepodcast@gmail.com.

See you later, Talegaters!

Credits:

“Cheese Head” & “Paul Morphy” played by Aaron Sherry
“Florida Man” & “Bernard de Bore” played by Harrison Foreman
“Mary Oneida Toups” played by Kathryn Baker
“Ernest Nathan Morial” played by Greg Hernandez
“Maria Laveau” played by Zemelis Samuel
“Dev” played by Tommy Schwanfelder

“Groovy Retro 70's Vibe Police Theme Music” by Studio Rodent
“Talegate Theme” by Mat Jones

Written & Edited by Harrison Foreman