Ghost Stories and Tall Tales of the American South

New Orleans Sausage Ghost Story

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Sensational New Orleans murder that inspired The Sausage Ghost story.

“The Sausage Ghost” is based on a sensational New Orleans crime story that has been passed around for years. The story has appeared in many forms, most notably in Gumbo Ya-Ya, a collection of Louisiana tales from the oral tradition, compiled by the Louisiana Writers Program of the Work Projects Administration in the 1930s. In this important collection, the story was entitled “The Ghost Who Walked the Sausage Factory,” and it identified the German couple as Mr. and Mrs. Hans Muller.

Muller Home

Most people agree that Mrs. Muller’s ghost stopped haunting the sausage factory after her husband’s suicide. The factory no longer exists, but some people claim that her ghost still haunts the old Muller residence at 725 Ursulines Street (see picture). If you’d like to see the place for yourself, a ghost tour listed at the bottom of the page will take you there.

But like other Southern stories, “The Sausage Ghost” also has its roots in world folklore. There are numerous European tales about children, adults or pets disappearing in a neighborhood occupied by a mad butcher. Some of these stories are light hearted, others gruesome. There was also a famous folk song written in 1894 called “Dunderbeck.” Believe it or not, it is sung to the same tune as the Georgia Tech fight song,“I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech”:

“Oh Mr. Dunderbeck, how could you be so mean?
I told you you’d be sorry for inventing that machine.
Now all the neighbor’s cats and dogs will nevermore be seen,
They’ve all been ground to sausages in Dunderbeck’s machine.”

“There was a man from my hometown
His name was Dunderbeck,
He sold a lot of sausages
And sauerkraut by heck.
He made the greatest sausages,
That ever had been seen,
Until one day he invented a sausage-making machine.”

“Oh Mr. Dunderbeck, how could you be so mean?
I told you you’d be sorry for inventing that machine.
Now all the neighbor’s cats and dogs will nevermore be seen,
They’ve all been ground to sausages in Dunderbeck’s machine.”

“One day a very little girl came walking in the store,
She bought a pound of sausages and laid them on the floor.
Then she began to whistle, she whistled up a tune,
And all those little sausages went dancing round the room.”

“Oh Mr. Dunderbeck, how could you be so mean?
I told you you’d be sorry for inventing that machine.
Now all the neighbor’s cats and dogs will nevermore be seen,
They’ve all been ground to sausages in Dunderbeck’s machine.”

“One day the machine it busted, the darn thing wouldn’t go,
So Dunderbeck, he crawled inside to see what made it so,
His wife, she had a nightmare while walking in her sleep,
She gave that crank one awful yank and Dunderbeck was meat.”

“Oh Mr. Dunderbeck, how could you be so mean?
I told you you’d be sorry for inventing that machine.
Now all the neighbor’s cats and dogs will nevermore be seen,
They’ve all been ground to sausages in Dunderbeck’s machine.”

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Old Hans Muller Residence

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Old Hans Muller Residence 29.961780, -90.062187 Stories: The Sausage GhostOld residence of Mr. Hans Muller, a New Orleans butcher who, according to legend, murdered his wife and put her body in a sausage grinder. Mr. Muller was later driven to madness in an asylum, while Mrs. Muller\'s ghost is said to still haunt this building. Local ghost tours stop by. This sensational New Orleans crime story appeared most notably in \"Gumbo Ya-Ya,\" a collection of Louisiana tales compiled by the Louisiana Writers Program of the WPA in the 1930s.

 

Special thanks to Thomas Duran for letting us use the Muller home photograph. Thomas will show you this place and other haunted locations on his popular New Orleans Ghost Tour.


You can help keep the stories coming by making a donation to The Moonlit Road.com. Large or small, any amount helps!



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2 Responses to “New Orleans Sausage Ghost Story”


Stanley Boris:

Great post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

David McKibbin:

I have heard this song with a closing verse that goes like this:

Oh, When his wife she woke up,
Dunderbeck wasn’t there.
She looked around and all she found were bits of hide and hair.
When she figured out what happened,
She never made a sound.
She just wrapped him and sold the sausage,
20 cents a pound.

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