If you think you see any ghosts in your house this Halloween, you may want to talk with Pascagoula’s own Brandi St. Cyr and ask her to check the place out. I recently talked with Brandi, the owner and proprietor of Clary and Sage Apothecary on South Market Street in Pascagoula. She partners from time to time with Southern Specters, a coast-based group of ghost hunters. They can use the latest technology to tell you if any spirits have taken up residence in your home. Southern Specters is “a nonprofit Paranormal Investigation and Research group based on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, serving the Southeastern United States,” and they’ll either track down your pesky poltergeists or, if there are none, they’ll give you the all-clear.
“We are a ghost-hunting group,” Brandi told me, “and we are science-based. We try to explain situations naturally. Sometimes there are natural energy outputs that can be explained, but once we can’t explain it away, we treat it as a paranormal occurrence.” In other words, Southern Specters doesn’t automatically assume that every time somebody gets a case of the willies it means there is some uninvited spirit walking around the house. “It may be that all they need to do is ground their wiring,” she said, “and after the house is properly grounded, it will have a completely different feel because you don’t have all the ‘wavies’ hitting you all at once.”
Whatever the cause may be, it can be unsettling to have a spooky feeling about your house, and Brandi and her friends want to put your mind at ease. “We want to help people who are having things happen that they don’t want to happen and that they can’t explain. We want to give them peace of mind.” And it may help your peace of mind to know that Southern Specters will check out your place at no cost to you. “We do it for free,” Brandi said. “The point is to help people. The spooky stuff is fun, but the real service we offer is to calm any fears you may have.”
But for Brandi St. Cyr, ghost hunting is only a sideline. Her real business is the Clary and Sage Apothecary. “The technical term for my business is ‘metaphysical shop,’” she said, “and that includes anything ‘above the physical.’ I call it an apothecary because that’s what it was called back when society had a more holistic approach to medicine when they used teas and herbs and tinctures as opposed to the lab-based chemical medicines we get today.” But Brandi’s approach to health and healing includes more than medicines. “I also focus on the spiritual side of things, the things we can’t necessarily quantify. For example, we deal in crystals and how they work, which, although science-based, is something we don’t fully understand. As science gets bigger and better, we are able to explore some of these things, like how crystals work on the body. Like why people wear magnet bracelets because it affects the internal wiring – that’s how crystals are too – and I find that fascinating.”
The apothecary sells teas, herbs, crystals, and various art and antiques, all from local sources. I was surprised to learn how many products sold in Clary and Sage come from here on the coast. “There are two mushroom farms nearby. The mushrooms are edible, just like the ones you’d get in a store. But they also have healing qualities. Digestive problems, inflammation, brain health, dementia – mushrooms can help all these conditions. You can eat them, or you can get a tincture that you can mix in water and drink.” A particularly popular product is her locally sourced tea. “We get tea from the Great Mississippi Tea Company in Brookhaven,” she said. “They do a mushroom tea that is very popular. We carry about thirty types of tea. Various types of teas come from a single plant, the variety comes from when you pick it and how long you roast or dry it. Great Mississippi has been in operation for eleven years. They ship all over the world under the Great Mississippi Tea Company Brand.”
Clary and Sage stock a large variety of herbs. One product that caught my eye was Frankinsence. “People use it specifically for arthritis,” Brandi told me. “You distill it down to an oil and rub it on the joints and it helps with pain and inflammation.” She also stocks a variety of crystals, as well as artwork and clothing. “A lot of the crystals come from a young lady out of Ocean Springs. I make the hats and the candles myself, but I also buy other products from at least twenty vendors, and all of them local.”
Clary and Sage Apothecary will soon be moving to the old Rainey’s TV building on Ingalls just east of Market Street. “The building dates from the 50s,” Brandi said, “and it has some beautiful detail that we are really big on keeping.” And the Rainey TV building is not the only Pascagoula landmark she wants to promote. “I came over here after graduating from St. Martin High School,” she said, “and I found out a lot of really cool things about this place. I had no idea the Longfellow House was here; I had no idea about the alien abduction in 1973. I mean, I grew up down here, how did I not know about how cool Pascagoula is? We have some really neat history that nobody else has.”
Brandi wants to start some Pascagoula tours. “In New Orleans, they have the walking tours and things like that. I want to spin that idea and make it very ‘Mississippi Gulf Coast,’ probably a golf cart tour. I want to do a history tour and a pirate tour. But I’m really interested in a creepier tour, specifically featuring the ghosts we have here in the city. Do you realize the Longfellow House is one of the two or three most haunted places in the state?”
So if you think your house may be one of Pascagoula’s haunted structures, give Brandi a call. Maybe she’ll sign your place up for the ghost tour.