www.thegrove-jefferson.com                          March/April 2005                                      ISSN 1558-3252

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Hello Everyone! Thank you for your continuing interest in The Grove and the ghostly goings-on here. I have quite a few tales to tell you this month, so sit back in your chair and enjoy.

First of all, it's been an interesting Spring. We got a call this week about The Grove being on a program about the supernatural to air on the premium cable channel Showtime. We thought that it would be fun, so we agreed, and got ready for them to them to come to Jefferson. On Friday March 4th, the Showtime vans rolled up to The Grove and the crew unpacked to start the cameras rolling. They were here an hour or so, asking about the individual ghosts and the specific hauntings, and we had a great time working with the film crew.

They walked around the house with a group of paranormal investigators, and recorded several of our stories about The Grove. As they were leaving, I asked when the show would be aired, and the director/producer guy told me that it was for a show with world-famed magicians Penn & Teller.

Now, I was very familiar with Penn & Teller's show - the name of it is "Bullsh*t". In that program, they basically make fun of people who believe in anything that is outside of the realm of classic science. I'm sure that they will be making fun of us while showing The Grove on the special. I just keep repeating that old adage, "There's no such thing as bad publicity". If I hear when this is going to air, I'll let everyone know, but since we don't have Showtime I don't have high hopes of seeing it. If any of you have Showtime with your cable, I'd appreciate you having a tape ready when "Bullsh*t" comes on, just in case the episode The Grove is on. I don't think that it's going to be pretty, but I would like to see it.

Oh, and we have a new addition to our family - a young basset hound named "Lilly" that we rescued. You may remember from an earlier Grovezine that our beloved male basset Murphy passed away in January, and we grieved for a long, long time. We weren't sure who was taking it the hardest: Tami and I, or our female basset Samantha. Anyway, a few weeks ago we got a call from our dog groomer telling us about this one-year-old female who was on her way to the pound. We met Lilly, and fell in love. She and Samantha hit it off great, and although we all miss Murphy, Lilly is a welcome addition to the family. We hope that she can adjust to living in a haunted house.

Murphy has visited us since Lilly arrived, so we think that he approves. It's a story that I'll have to share in the future.

More News!

Probably the most frequently asked question that I get these days is: When will the "Ghosts of East Texas" book be out? Well, the day has finally arrived! The book is now available, and I have to say, I'm very proud of it. It's been a long time in the making, so some of the first chapters were written some time ago. I've had a blast going back and reading those, and remembering the places that I visited.

I'd say that one-third of the book is about Jefferson itself, but I ended up writing about places all over east Texas, and had some wonderful experiences - and some frustrating ones. On one of my ghost-hunting treks, I was looking for a particular place in Kilgore. I'd printed off a map, and one of my points of reference was Main Street. I quickly found Main, but nothing else seemed to match up. I drove up and down the street, made many blocks over and over again, and probably wasted half an hour or more. Finally, I noticed something about the map - it was actually of Henderson, TX. My Kilgore map was back in my travel folder. Wow, did I feel foolish, and in fact I made a mental note to never mention it to anyone... so of course, here I am putting it in the Grovezine!

The creepiest place that I visited was Killough Monument, the site of the worse Indian massacre in Texas history. The entire time that I was there, I had to try very hard not to run away. Something was telling me to just get the heck away from there as fast as I could.

Anyway, if you'd like a copy you can get one from The Grove's website: www.thegrove-jefferson.com - just click on the "Online Store" link. Oh, and if you want it signed, there is a box when you order on the secure server that says "special delivery instructions" or something like that. Just put a note there as to who you want it signed to!

I always seem to be reviewing restaurants here in town, and you certainly know how much we love the gourmet burgers at the Hamburger Store and the Mexican food at Licea's. One thing that we've been enjoying is the home-style cooking at the Texas Club Cafe on Polk street. We ate there today, in fact, out on their patio. The food is wonderful, the service is great, and if the owner is there, don't forget to ask her about the ghost stories associated with the old place! There's no clue yet as to who might be haunting it, but some very strange things have been happening there.

It must be springtime again - the historic train is rolling again after its winter break, and the riverboat tours are in full swing. Both are well worth enjoying when you're in town.

Of course, the next weekend is the Historic Pilgrimage, which is always a lot of fun. All the locals dress up in costumes from Jefferson's riverboat days, and you can tour four historic old homes. The Grove was on tour last year... thankfully that's over! We had about 600 people through the house in that one weekend. I'll also be making my acting debut in the Diamond Bessie Murder Trial, the play that reenacts the historic old event from long ago. On the last Wednesday and Thursday in April, I'll be portraying one of the jurors at the trial - a non-speaking part, so I won't be in danger of ruining the play!

Oh, one more thing, and I promise to get on with a few ghost stories. I have to brag on my wife Tami. You've probably heard me talk about the Garden Club here in Jefferson. Through the years, they've pretty much been responsible for saving the town. They have been preserving the history, saving old buildings, and promoting the town. There's a lot of interesting things about the club - first of all, it can only have 50 active members at any given time. To move up from an associate member to an active member, someone has to move away or pass away. Well, this is Tami's first year as an active member, which means that she has to participate in the annual flower show. Each active member is required to submit an arrangement for judging. You wouldn't BELIEVE how much she sweated over this - and most of you have seen the beautiful job that she does in decorating The Grove. On the day before the show, she scrapped everything that she'd been working on and started from scratch. She finished the new arrangement sitting on our driveway while I laid bricks - then drove it over to the Excelsior House to turn in. When the judges finished their job, she'd been awarded the blue ribbon: first place in her category! Like I said, sorry to go on and on, but I just had to brag on her a little.

I often make the statement that something's always happening at The Grove - but occasionally I take it for granted, and the place reminds me just how true it is.

The last two things that happened this week were not as dramatic as seeing the Lady in White, but they were quite interesting. The first took place on one of the warm afternoons that we've been having. I was waiting for a friend to stop by, and was standing out on the front porch. No one else had been in the house all day. Suddenly, I heard something heavy being scooted across the floor in the parlor. My first thought was that the 1880 sofa had been pushed from its place in the corner to the center of the room. Since the house is on piers, I could even feel the vibration as I stood on the porch. I quickly walked back inside, fully expecting to see the couch in the center of the room - but nothing had been disturbed... nothing at all. I was reminded of two years ago, when we had someone weeding the west side flower bed. We weren't home, so we left her a key to the house in case she needed to get inside. When I got home, she told me that as she was working under the parlor window, she'd heard heavy furniture being scooted around inside. Twice she opened the front door to see what was going on, but everything was in its place. After that she was too afraid to go step back into the house, and just let the noises continue while she pulled weeds. I'm not sure why these sounds are manifesting, but they occasionally do.

The second thing that happened this week was in the den, or the "New Room" as you'll hear us call it on the tour. Tami collects old tins, and you might have noticed that there is an antique Whitman's chocolate sampler tin on the coffee table. We were sitting here watching television a couple of nights ago, and right before our eyes, the top to the tin opened and flipped over. It's heavy enough that it couldn't have even blown open in a heavy wind, and there was no one near it... not human or basset! I have no idea why that happened, but I do have one theory. We have two friends that are very gifted - Jim and Brenda Two Feathers - and the first time that they visited The Grove Brenda told me that she was sensing the spirit of a woman who had lived here in the past, but was continuing to show up here. While she is here, she is still keeping house: moving things around, fiddling with this or that, and getting things set to her liking. Maybe there was something in the tin that she wanted to see, or perhaps she just wanted to make us aware of her presence.

We've had some interesting tours in the last month or so. Folks ask me all the time whether things happen during tour, and like everything else, the things that occur are on their own schedule, not ours. That means that things may be going on when we're not home, or they may be happening in front of a tour group. Just a few weeks ago, for example, I was doing the Saturday afternoon tour and had six people in the dining room. As I was telling the stories of the Young family, one lady squealed - "the temperature just dropped over here!" She was standing in front of the china cabinet, and apparently a cold spot manifested right where she was standing. The Grove is air conditioned using window units, and none were on in the front of the house during the tour. The doors to the back of the house were closed, so there shouldn't have been any significant air flow up front at all. Everyone on the tour had to stand there, though, and each reported an area of very cold temperature. One woman held out her arm, which was covered in goosebumps.

On another tour, something even more interesting happened. I was handling everything myself, since Tami wasn't there. Since I don't have the eye for detail that she does, I'd missed something and as I corrected it, I apologized to the group and told them that any problems that we encountered would be due to the fact that she wasn't there to lend her expertise to preparing the house for tour. Again, in the dining room, a lady interrupted me - "I thought that you said your wife wasn't home," she said. I was a little puzzled, but told her that was correct. The woman pointed into the game room - a.k.a. the "blue room", and said that a woman had just walked past the door. Of course, I asked what she looked like, but the lady didn't have much information... she'd noticed movement in there, and looked at the door in time to glimpse a woman walking by. I hadn't told them about the Lady in White yet, so I just said, "Let's go ahead into the game room, and man, do I have a story for you!"

Well, that's it for this issue of the Grovezine. I hope that I didn't get TOO long-winded! Thanks for reading, and thanks for your interest in The Grove. Stay tuned, because there's always something happening here.

Well, that's this month's edition of the GroveZine. We're very happy to get to share some of the current goings-on around the house. For some reason, supernatural activity during the tours has picked up - hopefully we'll have a few more tales for you by the time the next month rolls around. See you then!


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