Sturdivant Hall

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Signs of spirit residents appear in ways that they find amusing.

A male entity who had legal trouble is still master here.

The back house is a spectral hangout.



Built in 1853 by a plantation owner who had excellent taste, Sturdivant Hall is a superb example of an antebellum, neoclassic, two story, 6 columned mansion, capped with a cupola on top. On the top floor, there is a door that leads to a porch located on the back of the mansion.

The mansion has been beautifully renovated and is furnished with many antiques of the period. This mansion is immensely popular with tour groups and visitors and is considered to be the grand architectural jewel of Selma.

Behind the mansion, there is a small, in comparison, 2 story house, that had the kitchen for the mansion. It was common to put the kitchen in a separate building, so the main mansion wouldn’t burn down from an accidental fire.

There were also orchards and gardens on the estate.




Sturdivant Hall was bought from the original owners by John Parkman in 1864 and was occupied by the Parkman family until 1866. John Parkman was the President of the First National Bank of Selma. In 1870, Sturtivant Hall was sold by Parkman’s estate, to a family who owned it until 1957, when it was turned into a museum, run by the Sturdivant Museum Association.



While John Parkman was a bank president, his foot slipped and he illegally used bank funds for speculating in cotton, and was caught and thrown into federal prison by the Yankee general who was occupying Selma with union troops at this difficult reconstruction time after The Civil War. It doesn’t sound like he had a fair trial before his peers. When he tried to escape, he was either shot and killed at the age of 29 by his guards or perhaps, some say by his cohorts in his business venture, to prevent him from turning state’s evidence against them. He left behind a wife and two little girls. While Parkman had bought the mansion for $65,000 in 1864, his wife was forced to sell Sturtivant Hall in 1870, just 6 years later for a mere $12,500!



Apparition of John Parkman

Three years after his 1867 death, in 1870, when his mansion was sold, the apparition of John Parkman started to appear in the back house, the orchard and the big house as well. His apparition is still seen leaning against the side portico, and is also fond of standing in the cupola, on the top of the mansion, to enjoy the view.

John Parkman’s unseen presence has been strongly felt in the parlor and the upstairs bedroom close to the main staircase.

One guide reported that a man, who was new in town, was hired to spray in the mansion for pests. After going upstairs to start the spraying process, he made a hurried retreat from the second floor down the main staircase. He said that an unseen presence in the bedroom nearest the stairs, nearly pushed him to the ground.

While downstairs, various guides have heard a man’s restless footsteps walk across the second floor, stopping at the top of the steps. Investigation by the living always proves that no one alive is making the footsteps. After stopping at the steps, the footsteps continue down the hall, going into the bedrooms.

Spirits of Two Little Girls

Also seen by various people are the apparitions of two little girls looking out of an upstairs window on the second floor. These little girls are assumed to be John Parkman’s daughters, though it isn’t know for sure.

From this same window, smoke was seen coming out of the window, but when the fire department showed up, the smoke suddenly stopped. The window was found to be locked tight and there was no sign of smoke ever being there.

Two guides had identical experiences, that sounds like the two little girls teasing the living. When they went through the upstairs door that lead to the porch off the second floor, the door closed and locked by itself, forcing them to walk down the outside stairs. Perhaps this porch was their favorite play area.

In fact, caretakers who have lived in the small house in the back report that this door freely opens and closes by itself, setting off the security alarm.

General Activity

Guides downstairs also hear doors and windows being opened and shut. Both the shutters and the windows are locked before the museum is closed. A security person was specifically hired to be sure it was done. However, every morning, the shutters have all been opened, which can only be opened from the inside, when the windows are unlocked.

The same security person checked the rooms as well. Sometimes, a warm room he was checking would suddenly become frigidly cold.

This sudden coldness in a formerly warm room has been reported by other employees as well.

Small House Behind the Mansion

… also has its manifestations.

While on the second floor, residents can hear foot steps moving around the first floor.

Objects have been known to be moved around, and pictures that are hanging on the walls have been made crooked.


A big YES is in order, with 3 known ghosts making Sturtivant Hall their home.

One can understand why John Parkman is restless, but why are the two little girls there? The smoking window suggests that they might have died there from smoke inhalation or some other accident.




713 Mabry Street
Selma, Alabama 36701

Sturdivant Hall is located in the center of the town of Selma, Alabama.
Selma is in south central Alabama, on U.S. 80.

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr


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