www.thegrove-jefferson.com October 2007 ISSN 1558-3252
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Happy Halloween from The Grove, everyone! I know that this time of year, people's thoughts turn to things supernatural - so this is the right ezine to be reading. The GroveZine is a bit longer this month in celebration of the month, and I hope that you enjoy the stories. Things happen at the house steadily throughout the year, but folks want to hear more about them in October.
In keeping with the season, the weather continues to turn colder by the day, which seems to have made the dogs and the cats of The Grove a lot more frisky. I've talked a lot about our bassets, but here's a look at our cats, Elsie and Daphne - they're romping and playing around the gardens of The Grove all day long. You may have seen one of the cats on the tour; once they see a group of people assembled out front, they usually can't resist running up and trying to be the center of attention.
It's been a full month of activity here in Jefferson - that's the best thing about October; it seems like there's an event every weekend. There's already been a lot of planning for the Candlelight season here in town, and I think that this will be one of our best yet. Plan on coming to town one of the first two weekends in December for the 25th annual Candlelight Tour of Homes!
Along with the Boo Run, this month also showcased the annual "Taste of Jefferson", and it was quite an event. Although it disappeared for a year or so, the Chamber of Commerce is really stepping up this festival. You buy your ticket, get a cardboard box to hold everything, and start going from booth to booth to get samples from restaurants all around the area. This year there were many places with delicious foods lining Austin Street. I'd like to tell you what our favorites were, but to be honest, it was all good. This is definitely worth a trip to Jefferson next year to experience!
I thought that I'd give a few book recommendations this month - especially for those of you that like a little ghostly slant to your reading selections!
Ghost Worlds by Melba Goodwyn - From communicating with spirits to witnessing orbs burst from an inter-dimensional portal, Melba Goodwyn has seen it all as a psychic spirit investigator. In this fascinating examination of paranormal phenomena, she offers original insights into the nature of ghosts and haunting, true stories of her thrilling adventures, and practical ghost hunting tips.
How are traditional ghosts different from poltergeists? How does a place or an object become haunted? What are orbs, ecto-mist, vortexes, and energy anomalies? Goodwyn defines different kinds of ghosts and entities, how they manifest, and why they are attracted to certain places.
A Ghost In The Guest Room: A Guide To Haunted Texas Inns, B&Bs and Hotels - Scoop up a Texas map and plan an itinerary for a hauntingly fun visit to the Inns, B&Bs, and Hotels found in this book. So much of early Texas history lingers in these lovingly restored hostelries, along with a long-term resident ghost or two. Thoughtfully divided into seven regions, there's a place nearby, or one on your way to wherever you may want to go. Author Olyve Abbott has traveled the entire state seeking out firsthand reports of hauntings, mysterious occurrences and tales of the just plain unexplainable, and she recounts it all in this entertaining read. Be prepared for anything; from a puff of smoke following you down the hall, to a guest you didn't expect joining you late at night.
Ghost Cats by Dusty Rainbolt -
People who have spent a lifetime observing and interacting with cats will say that these amazing animals seem to possess powers - supernatural, psychic, or otherwise - that we can only begin to comprehend. But are they able to return from the grave as well? In Ghost Cats, the strangely heartwarming tales of cats who have refused to let death part them from their human companions are recounted in vivid and captivating detail. From the chilling "Demon Cat of the Nation's Capitol" to the delightful "Phantom Litter Box" to the touching "Poor Puss" of Stonehenge, there's a plethora of phantasms here for everyone.
The legend of the moving chair... you've probably heard about the time many years ago when a chair moved by itself across the parlor. We got a treat this month when author Dusty Rainbolt stopped by The Grove with a video tape of that evening about a year before we purchased The Grove. The chair in question was in the same place as the yellow one in this photo - the door was also closed like it was here. The video started downstairs, but then everyone present (4 or 5 people) headed upstairs to the attic. While filming up there, a deep, slow, dragging noise was heard, and when they ran down the stairs, the chair was in the middle of the parlor and the door behind it was open. No one was downstairs when it happened. We've been hearing about that evening since we first got the house, but it was incredible to see the tape from it... the sound of the chair slowly sliding across the floor was eerie.
Tami had something happen in the middle of October that was kind of odd - she felt someone sit down beside her on the bed one evening. She was watching "Dancing with the Stars" in the den and folding some clothes, but she also had the bedroom TV on so that when she went to put the clothes up she wouldn't miss anything. After putting an armload of socks in the drawer, she sat down on the bed to watch Wayne Newton or whoever was dancing at that time. She said that the bed felt as if someone had sat down beside her. She thought that I'd come in quietly, or that one of the bassets had jumped up onto the bed, but when she looked there was nothing there. There wasn't a depression on the bed either, but she told me that she was sure it happened, because she remembered feeling the bed pull away from her right leg as something "sat down". Living in The Grove for five years, believe it or not, you get so used to these kinds of things that nothing really freaks you out - she just turned back around and finished watching Wayne dance. When she got up to leave, though, over by the door she did walk into an extremely strong, well, "energy field" for lack of a better description. I don't pretend to understand how she felt the bed actually move but there was no depression there, or how any of those things work, in fact. It's just one of those odd occurrences that we run into here at the house.
I had the bed thing happen at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio a couple of years ago. We had just turned in for the evening and turned off the light, when I felt a pressure at the end of the bed as if someone had sat down on my side beside my feet. My first thought was that it had to be Tami, but I couldn't figure how she had climbed out of bed without me noticing it. I snapped on the light beside the bed, but there was no one down there. Tami, who was already falling asleep, was wondering what the heck I was doing! There was no depression on the bed, and I never felt whatever it was that had sat down "getting back up."
This next story comes from the Delta Street Inn here in Jefferson, a beautiful 1920s Prairie Style B&B in the historic district. Innkeepers Bob and Pam Thomas are perfect hosts, and make every stay a memorable experience. You can check them out at deltastreetinn.com. I hadn't heard any ghost stories about the place, but as we were eating dinner there a few nights ago, Pam & Bob started telling us about footsteps they hear when the inn is empty. The balcony of Room 1 is above their own room, and one day Pam heard footsteps walking across the balcony. She told Bob, "I didn't realize that you checked in the Room 1 guests already" - but as it turned out, he hadn't. The upstairs was empty. Since then, they've both heard the phantom footsteps on many occasions.
The other ghost story from Delta Street Inn comes from Masha Hamilton, an author from New York who was staying in Room 4 while in town for an appearance. She called me to personally tell me what happened, and I greatly enjoyed getting to visit with her. On her first night there, she'd turned in about 11 PM and was lying in bed reading a book. Suddenly, the bed began to shake. Her first thought was that it had one of those "magic fingers" features like hotels had in the 60s and 70s where you'd put in a quarter and it would vibrate for twenty minutes. After sitting there a minute, she realized it wasn't quite like that, though - it was more centered around the area near her calves. The shaking was enough that she could see the flowered bedspread visibly moving. When Ms. Hamilton got out of bed, the floor was solid and still. Not knowing what else to do, she climbed back in bed, and the motion continued for another 15 minutes before stopping. Masha told me that she found it extremely interesting, and even though she could find no explanation, it wasn't a frightening experience at all!
To close out the month of October, I have a few stories from the tours to share with you - kind of a hodgepodge of the things that have happened over the last few weeks. First of all, if you've taken The Grove tour, you know that one of the most strong and active places in the house is the northwest corner of the parlor, where there's a long mirror and a sewing machine table. We've had several people who'd never heard the stories tell us that the corner has a very strange ambiance to it. On one of the tours this weekend, a group of people who'd never been to The Grove came through the front door, and as I was doing the greetings a few of them were snapping photos of that corner. When I asked why, one lady said, "It just feels funny!"
This is something new that I'd never heard of before. On a tour this month, a lady asked me, "Is your wife singing?" I hadn't heard anything, so I asked what she was talking about. She pointed toward the southernmost part of the side gallery, and said, "I heard singing coming from there." About that time, another lady on the tour stepped up and added, "I did, too, but I didn't want to say anything." Tami walked into the room, so we asked her if she'd been singing, and she quickly said that she hadn't. I already knew that, because we both sing, but it's usually in the car with Styx or Lynard Skynard blaring on the CD player at top pitch. We have no idea who this soft, gentle singing was on the side gallery, but it is the first time that someone's reported it.
This last story truly fascinates me. I was walking down Austin Street during the "Taste of Jefferson" on Sunday the 28th, when a gentleman who had been on the tour the previous day came up to me. He asked if we'd ever had anything happen concerning the rocking chair in the parlor - I told him that we hadn't. He proceeded to tell me that when everyone on the tour first came into the house, he saw that the chair was rocking even though no one was near it. His wife saw it as well, and both assumed that someone had bumped it without them seeing it - but then something very strange happened. It stopped rocking; not a slow, gentle abatement, but instead a sudden stop as if it had been abruptly halted by an unseen hand. The rocker belonged to Louise Young, the fifth owner of the house, who spent her entire life at The Grove. We've never seen her chair rock by itself before, but will now be keeping a closer eye on it... and that's the perfect way to close out the Halloween issue of the GroveZine.
I know that I went a little long this month, but I thought that you'd enjoy it in the spirit of the season.
Happy Halloween, and I wish you a wonderful upcoming holiday season... after all, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. Until we talk again, have a great month!
If you'd like to check any of my books on ghosts and the supernatural, you can find them at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon.com, or
at The Grove's website if you'd like a signed
copy of anything.
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