The question remains if they were really religious monks. Records say that they sure did not act that way when they reached Natchez, MS that spring. Many say that they were one of the first cults to come into the country.
At that location they stayed for a few months and headed up river past Vicksburg, turned up the Yazoo river and to the town of Yazoo City as it is called today. The people of each town were frightened of these dark, hooded men that rarely spoke and always kept their hoods up. none were sad to see them go. Months went by and finally a long private boat arrived at the dock and they loaded up their meager belongings and headed north to the last of the Indian lands in the territory. They landed at Col. Parkers Landing and moved inland to the bluffs.They set up camp on the bluffs overlooking the delta swamps, just a few miles from a well known Indian village and went to work. After a couple of years they had built a small monastery in the wilderness and disdained all help or contact with mankind.
Not much is known of the monks except, according to the Indians, that the leader (Brother Leonius)seemed a forceful and somewhat cruel man. Living was hard and there were few visitors allowed, but the monastery grew as more of the strange and reclusive monks arrived to join them. There were at least 80 at the last count, before tragedy struck. The name of this mysterious order was known to be the First Order of the Black Woods, and rumors grew of strange live sacrifices involving deer and later as their self imposed exile removed them from civilization, stories of human sacrifices arose.
The riverboat captain reported smoke in his log and traveled to the Abbey with his men to investigate when no one met him to collect the supplies he had carried to the Landing. They spent the day following the rutted and winding road up the bluff and arrived at a burned and deserted ruin. Since that time it has been known as The Black Abbey.
The Abbey was complely burned to the ground. The strangest thing noticed was a huge pile of ashes in the center of what had been the courtyard. A tremendous amount of burned bones were found in this pile of ashes where a huge pyre had burned.They left quickly, afraid that the Indians had killed the monks and were watching them. Little investigation was done, the Indians relocated with the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek and the monks were soon forgotten. Was it suicide or murder?Not one of the monks was ever seen alive again.
150 years later we have located a few crumbling pieces of the old ruin on a long flat part of the bluff within a mile of our camp house. Arriving in front, there is one lone pillar of the old gatepost. Moving forward you will come to a wide bare spot in the woods. This area is almost square and hardly any grass will grow on it. In the winter, the leaves even seem to lightly skip over this spot, leaving it bare year round. I can assure you that you do not want to be standing here after the sun goes down.
Early in the mornings, but most often, late in the evenings, many people have reported that while you are on a deer stand, you will spot one of these unfortunate ghostly souls striding through the woods in their long robes.
A glimpse of red eyes glowing in the dim light is terrifying to all who have met these silent and dark figures. We leave them and the bare spot on the bluff in peace.