Monday, August 11, 2014

Horn Island: An Artistic Ghost

Horn Island

Horn Island, Mississippi, is located in the Gulf Coast area just south of Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

This Island is one of five Mississippi Barrier Islands that separate the Gulf of Mexico from Mississippi Sound.

Today the only thing left on this island besides tourists is the ranger station and the ghost of a famous artist.

From 1943 to 1945, the U.S. Army closed Horn Island to the general public. They used it for a biological weapons testing site until it was determined that it was too close to a populated area.

Most of the structures the army built were later destroyed by hurricanes, so Horn Island after this was reclaimed by nature.

Walter Inglis Anderson

Born to a prominent New Orleans family, Walter Inglis Anderson became a favorite painter in the thriving Ocean Springs’ art community.

Walter Inglis Anderson
Anderson experienced a mental breakdown in 1937 and spent time in and out of psychiatric hospitals from 1938 to 1940. He was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder or severe depression. 

Some doctors’ feel his illness was caused by recurring symptoms connected to malaria, others feel Anderson experienced depression caused by alcoholism.

Despite his illness, Anderson was an extremely prolific and creative artist. He became reclusive and loved to visit and camp on Horn Island.

He painted various wildlife and landscapes of Horn Island all in radiant watercolors from 1946 to 1965. His paintings are trendy today.

Varies watercolors by Anderson--he often painted
the island's animals and sea creatures.
Anderson died at age sixty-two, in 1965.

A Friendly Ghost

Many feel that Anderson didn’t leave his beloved island after his death. It is said that his ghost is the one seen on Horn Island.

Witnesses have reported seeing him “walking along the island’s beach carrying a messenger bag containing his paints and canvasses.” *

Several rangers who have been assigned to the island say they saw Anderson’s ghost and approached him. They all reported he smiled and waved at them before disappearing.

Anderson was known to camp for several days on the island during his visits. Some state this accounts for reports of campfires being seen along the beach.

When rangers have investigated the source for these fires --no trace of them has ever been found.

* An excerpt from Haunted Mississippi Gulf Coast, by Bud Steed

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