Both sides of Shaggy’s family trace their lineage back to before the Revolutionary War. His mother’s side first got their fortune with French fur trappers in the north, then made even more money in land sales, and have heavy Métis and Ojibwe blood in them, but his Dad’s side of the family is…pretty bad and mostly have their origins in the south. Shaggy has a great Uncle Beauregard who owns an antebellum mansion in South Carolina where Shaggy spent his childhood summers. The place always scared the shit out of Shaggy, who says the place is nothing but ‘bad vibes’ and “I don’t know man, like, horrible things have happened there. You can feel it.” The place probably is actually haunted. As a result, Shaggy is way more sensitive about ghosts and ghouls and the supernatural than most of the group.
While Fred largely concerns himself with the people who are being negatively affected by the ghosts or monsters they encounter, Velma has a scientific interest in the phenomena, and Daphne just wants to fight a ghost, Shaggy is the the one who doesn’t really want to mess with forces they don’t understand and who, along with Scooby, tends to have the best intuition about danger. Shaggy is the member of the group who will get a bad feeling, grab the back of your hoodie and pull you back before you fall through a rotten part of the floor. The main issue is that he has a lot of trouble telling his gut feeling apart from his anxiety.
It’s not really an outright superstition so much as an “I am not going to be a dumb white kid in a horror movie” gut sense. Like, if a group of ‘hip teens’ came up to Shaggy like “We’re going to the abandoned asylum with a Ouija board! Wanna come?” Shaggy would be like, “um, no. If I was like born in 1908 I like probably would have been one of the people they locked up in there. I’m like, not messing with that place.”
The Windsor Ruins are in Claiborne County in the state of Mississippi, about 10 miles southwest of Port Gibson near Alcorn State University. The ruins are those of the largest antebellum Greek Revival mansion built in the state.
In 1927, young belle Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis) and her married lover, John Mayhew (Bruce Dern), plan to elope during a party at the Hollis family’s antebellum mansion in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. However, after Charlotte’s father intimidates him, telling him that John’s wife had visited the day before and revealed the affair, John pretends he no longer loves Charlotte and tells her they must part.
John is then brutally murdered and decapitated in the summerhouse with a cleaver, with one hand severed. Charlotte discovers the body. She returns traumatized to the party in a bloodied dress, leading most to presume that she is the murderer.
The story jumps to 1964. Charlotte is now a wealthy spinster, still living on the Ascension Parish plantation that has been in her family for generations. Charlotte’s father died the year after Mayhew’s murder, believing his daughter guilty. Charlotte has believed all these years that her father killed Mayhew, but everyone else assumes that Charlotte, the crazy recluse, decapitated her long-dead lover.
The Louisiana Highway Commission intends to demolish her house and build a new highway through the property. Charlotte is vehemently against this and ignores the eviction notice, refusing to leave. She keeps the foreman (George Kennedy), his demolition crew, and the bulldozer away by shooting at them with a rifle. They temporarily give up and leave.
Charlotte is living with her housekeeper, Velma (Agnes Moorehead), in the Hollis mansion. Seeking help in her fight against the Highway Commission, she calls upon Miriam (Olivia de Havilland), a poor cousin who lived with the family as a girl. Miriam renews her relationship with Drew Bayliss (Joseph Cotten), a local doctor who jilted her after the murder.
Charlotte’s sanity deteriorates with Miriam’s arrival, her nights haunted by a mysterious harpsichord playing the song Mayhew wrote for her and by the appearance of Mayhew’s disembodied hand and head. Velma, suspecting that Miriam and Drew are after Charlotte’s money, seeks help from Mr. Willis (Cecil Kellaway), an insurance investigator who is still interested in the Mayhew case and who has visited Mayhew’s ailing widow, Jewel (Mary Astor).
Miriam fires Velma, who later returns and discovers that Charlotte is being drugged. Miriam sees the housekeeper trying to take Charlotte out of the house. The two argue at the top of the stairs. Velma tries to escape, but knowing Velma has discovered the drugs, Miriam smashes a chair over her head. Velma falls down the stairs to her death.
One night, a drugged Charlotte runs downstairs in the grip of a hallucination, believing John has returned to her. Miriam and Drew decide to trick Charlotte into shooting Drew with a gun loaded with blanks, after which Miriam helps dispose of the “body” in a swamp. Charlotte returns to the house and sees the supposedly dead Drew at the top of the stairs, reducing her to whimpering insanity.
Now believing Charlotte completely mad and secure in her room, Miriam and Drew go into the garden to discuss their plan: to drive Charlotte insane in order to get her money. Miriam also tells Drew that back in 1927 she saw Jewel murder her husband. She’s been using this knowledge to blackmail Jewel for all these years, while plotting to gain possession of Charlotte’s wealth.
Charlotte overhears all. She moves toward a huge stone urn on the ledge of the balcony, almost directly over the lovers’ heads. Miriam embraces Drew, then the two look up and into Charlotte’s knowing eyes. They are paralyzed by the sight as Charlotte tips the stone urn off the ledge, crushing both to death.
The next morning, the authorities take Charlotte away, presumably to an insane asylum. Many neighbors and locals gather at the Hollis home to watch the proceedings, believing that crazy Charlotte has murdered again. Willis hands her an envelope from the now-dead Jewel Mayhew, who has had a stroke after hearing of the incident the previous night. The note contains Jewel’s confession to the murder of her husband. As the authorities drive Charlotte away, she looks back at her beloved plantation.