This is a tiny little free subscription ezine for friends of The Grove - it is by request only. In other words, we NEVER arbitrarily add email addresses. We also NEVER sell or share email addresses with anyone else, for any reason at any time. We hate SPAM as much as you do!
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." - Albert Einstein
What a difference a year makes! One year ago, we'd been an unbelievable number of days without rain, and were setting records for the number of days over 100 degrees. If you read the October GroveZine from 2011 in the archives you'll see that wildfires were raging through East Texas, threatening our beautiful city of Jefferson. This year, however, has been very kind to us. It has rained at least once a week or so - sometimes a drizzle, sometimes a downpour, but we're very thankful for every single drop. You can see one of those rainy days in the photo. I also had that "magic morning" not long ago - that day when I stepped out of the house and instead of a wave of heat hitting me, there was actually a chill in the air! It's a wonderful sign that the heat of summer is finally going to give way to fall here at The Grove. But enough about the weather - let's get started... there are many cool things to talk about this month!
Although it has been a crazy, busy month, we were able to get out of town for one weekend and go to one of our favorite getaways, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. We usually stay at the Crescent Hotel, a place with quite a past. It was built as a resort hotel in 1886, but in its history also served as a girls' boarding school, and then a cancer hospital run by a "doctor" who claimed that his treatments could cure the disease. He was eventually arrested and sent to jail, because as it turned out, he wasn't a doctor after all, and some of the things that he was doing were, well, questionable at best. Today it's a luxury hotel again, and we love the place; you may remember some of the stories from the December 2011 GroveZine (we try to get up there a couple of times a year). Ghost stories abound, and it's worth being open to the supernatural during your stay there.
While we were in Eureka Springs, we were looking for new things to do, and discovered Intrigue Theater. We purchased tickets, hoping for a decent magic show, and instead had one of the most incredible evenings that we've ever experienced in Eureka. The show was fantastic - it's sort of reminiscent of an 1800's mentalism show, which of course only added to the attraction for us. All I can say is that the performance was unforgettable - there's no way that we can recommend it highly enough. In the words of Jean-Paul, the illusionist himself, "In the Victorian era, mentalism and illusion were as popular as they are today, so we combined that concept of Victorian prestidigitation with the idea of a 'spiritual séance,' a very popular form of entertainment in the 19th century. We are in a sense reproducing that experience, hopefully to the enjoyment of our audience." We certainly loved it, and talked about it for the rest of the evening. Not only that, but when we got back to the Crescent after the show, a number of people who were also at Intrigue Theater and were staying at the hotel were sitting around the lobby discussing what an experience it had been. Seriously, this was the highlight of our trip! This is not only worth checking out while in Eureka Springs, but it is worth planning your trip around. Don't dare go to Eureka without seeing this show - we'll certainly be going back! You can find out more at their website intriguetheater.com.
There is always something interesting going on in Jefferson, and there were two incredible conferences this past month - the first was the East Texas Ghost Con (a paranormal conference actually held a few miles away in Marshall, Texas), and the other was the first annual Civil War Symposium in Jefferson. Since I write books in two different genres - the paranormal and history (although it's amazing how often one bleeds over into the other) - I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at them both. Each conference was fantastic, and I can assure you that they'll both be well-worth attending next year. I appreciate the Unknown Paranormal group for the invitation to speak about the supernatural at their conference, and also to the Jefferson Historical Museum for asking me to give a talk on Jefferson during the Civil War at their symposium. Stay tuned to the GroveZine, and I'll be announcing them when they both come around again in 2013.
For all of you paranormal enthusiast GroveZine readers (and aren't we all?!?), there are some upcoming events that you might be interested in that I thought I'd mention. Jefferson is definitely a city of spirits, and this is going to be a fall season of supernatural-themed events in town. Here are some coming up that you won't want to miss...
I have to give a shout-out to our friend Jenny who owns Pride House, and be sure to mention that on Sept 14 & 15, The Pride House - the first B&B in Texas - will be hosting a weekend with Dakota Lawrence: Clairvoyant, Medium and Psychic Paranormal Investigator, as seen on the SyFy Channel, Chiller, and NBC. There will be a gallery reading on both Friday and Saturday evenings at 7PM. It is $35 per person, and seating is limited to twenty people each evening - it will be a very intimate gathering, which should make it all the more interesting. There are other associated events at the B&B that weekend, such as a ghost tour, and of course a limited number of rooms are available to stay at the supernaturally-active Pride House. The contact info in on their website thepridehouse.com.
We're also only a couple of months away from Jefferson's Fall "History, Haunts and Legends" Conference that will be held at the Visitor's Center on Saturday, November 3rd. The day will be filled with a slate of speakers talking about all things paranormal, and that evening there will be investigations of some of Jefferson's most haunted places led by some of the region's top teams. During the past conferences, the evening investigations have yielded some incredible experiences. I'll be speaking that weekend, and of course visiting with everyone throughout the day... I'm really looking forward to it! We won't be having a Grove tour on Saturday, but if you're in town for the conference, be sure to stop by Sunday morning at 11 AM to round out a perfectly paranormal weekend. The conference is sponsored by the Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk, and there is more info at jeffersonghostwalk.com.
And there's another conference coming up in town October 19-21... Cryptopalooza! It's a study and celebration of all things cryptozoological, including bigfoot and many more mysterious creatures. I'm sure the latest photos of the Loch Ness Monster will be a hot topic. It's a full weekend starting out on Friday night with a BBQ dinner and concert by The Boggy Creek Boys. Saturday's conference at the Visitor's Center includes world-class speakers like Ken Gerhard, Chester Moore, Loren Coleman, Jerry Hestand and Dave Coleman. That evening there will be a movie night with "Southern Fried Bigfoot" and "The Legend of Boggy Creek." I was interviewed for Southern Fried Bigfoot so I have a segment in the movie (because I grew up near Fouke at the height of the monster sightings), and you know, with all of the TV shows that I've been on talking about spirits, for some reason it's the bigfoot show that people recognize me for. I'll be out and about when someone will stop me and say, "Hey, you're the guy from TV!" I'll ask them, "Was it My Ghost Story? William Shatner's Weird or What? If Walls Could Talk? Which one?" The person will shake their head and say, "No, no, no... it was that bigfoot show!" Anyway, to continue, Sunday will feature a road-trip to Boggy Creek (about an hour away), the stomping grounds of the famous Fouke Monster. It's going to be a full weekend, so check out their info at cryptopalooza.com.
And finally, I have to give you a heads-up to watch out for the November issue of Texas Monthly - the National Magazine of Texas. A reporter was in town toward the end of the month gathering information for a story on Jefferson, and came to The Grove for a tour. While I don't know exactly what she'll be writing about, she was a wonderful guest and seemed to really enjoy the tour. Be sure to pick up the magazine in November, and get her take on our lovely little riverport city.
I was mentioning our trip to Eureka Springs earlier... so what does one do when staying in a haunted hotel? Well, you watch a movie about a haunted house, of course! We watched Insidious and be forewarned, there are spoilers here. If you haven't watched it and are planning on doing so, scroll past this movie review. Seriously. Okay, I would give Insidious the exact same review that I would the recent film The Lady in Black - they're wonderfully entertaining movies, up until the very end. As an author, I know that when you're writing a story there is an unmentioned, unwritten contract with the reader. The author gives the reader the set of parameters to solve the problem, no matter what it might be: storm the DeathStar, escape from Alcatraz, get in the Delorian and head back to the future, whatever. The unmentioned contract is that when you do what needs to be done, things work out. In both Insidious and The Lady in Black, the mortals do what they need to do, and yet the supernatural force comes back and triumphs in the end. We were greatly disappointed in the end of both movies, even if we did watch Insidious in one of the most haunted places in the state of Arkansas. It's something that I've noticed in our world today, whether in movies or in the supernatural reality shows... the spirit world is painted as a dark, evil place to be fearful of, not a place of intrigue and mystery to be explored. This new trend really bums me out, because after a lifetime of immersing myself in the world of the unknown, I have had many incredible experiences. I've discovered that the more open I am, the more wonder I see in the world, and it makes me hungry for more.
The first time that we stayed at the Jefferson Hotel years ago, we booked notorious room 19. When we got upstairs and opened the door, my wife put one foot inside and then stepped back out. "This place doesn't feel right," she said, and we went back to the desk for another room. On a subsequent trip we booked room 19 again, and this time spent the night there. Nothing had happened all evening, and as we were lying in bed we were talking about that fact, and I finally said, "If someone's here, let us know!" It was quiet, and then suddenly there were footsteps crossing the room from the outside wall toward the door. We sat up in bed, snapped on the lamps, but of course, nothing was there. On a tour this month, we had a couple who told us that they had reserved room 19, but as the night went on, they were hearing noises from the adjoining room - even though they were the only ones on that end of the hotel. Room 19 also had an incredibly strange feeling to it... to the point where they felt compelled to leave and drive all the way to Marshall, fifteen miles away, and check into a motel there. Although people who work there tell me that most every room at the Jefferson Hotel has its own individual activity, room 19 is the place with the most notorious reputation, and apparently the couple must have agreed with that assessment. The legend of notorious room 19 continues...
There are a lot of people in the world that have a sensitivity to the supernatural, but just haven't realized it. Such was the case with one of our visitors this month. As we went through The Grove on the tour, we stopped momentarily in the stairwell for me to tell a story or two. While we were there, one of the gentlemen on the tour was standing in front of our china collection - we call it that because it contains pieces that we've "collected" from the garden, attic, and under the house... all around The Grove. Anyway, this fellow started moving around, looking back behind him, and fidgeting. When the tour was over, he told me that it felt like someone was standing right behind him - like someone was there in the corner. That didn't surprise me a bit - if you've been reading the GroveZine for any length of time, you know that feelings are one of the most common occurrences at The Grove. And if you're the least bit sensitive to the supernatural, you're very likely to pick up on something here... whether you want to or not!
The Grove is a 151-year-old wooden structure, so we rely on Terminix to keep the little critters away who might much on our home. A couple of years ago, the Terminix lady who does the inside termite inspection knocked on the door and heard someone say, "I'm here!" When no one came to the door, though, she eventually left and came back when our cars were home. As it turns out, no one was home when she first came by, but she swears that she heard the voice. Well, our spirits must have some kind of ongoing relationship with the Terminix folks, because the technician that does our bug treatments was doing my aunt's house a few blocks away, and since I was there, we started talking. He told me that he'd come to spray the house one day, and knocked on the door - much like his co-worker had done some time before. A man's voice inside called out "Who is it?" He answered, "Terminix, for our scheduled treatment!" Everything was quite, so he stood there a minute, knocked again, and then started walking away... just as I pulled into the driveway. He asked if anyone was home, and I told him that my wife was at work, and I'd been at the post office. I don't know who it was that answered him, but no one was in the house - no human anyway. I just hope that the spirits are just as diligent if we ever have a burglar snooping around the property.
I was walking around downtown Jefferson the other day, when the owner of a store (whose name I am protecting, since it wasn't a public conversation) called me over. She started talking about our haunted experiences at The Grove, and finally said, "You know, we have a few interesting things that happen in our store..." This wasn't the first time that I'd had someone do this - that is, to confide in me about their supernatural experiences - because since I live at The Grove, they figure that I wouldn't think that they're crazy. And I don't! This person told me that she has the one and only key to their shop, and she would lock up in the evening, and then come back the next morning to find that things have been moved all around. If I had a dollar for every time some shop owner here in Jefferson had told me a similar story, I'd be rich! This particular person told me that the displaced items included things that couldn't be reached without a ladder, yet she'd find them taken down off the wall and lying on the floor - not as if they'd fallen, but as if they'd been carefully placed there. All I can say is that the longer I live here, the more I realize that the city of Jefferson is full of supernatural activity!
When I was at the East Texas Ghost Con this past month, a lady asked me why I hadn't written a book on The Grove... which is actually a very good question. I've written or co-authored some twenty-odd books in my career, and I've lived at The Grove for ten years now and had innumerable supernatural experiences there - so why haven't the two worlds collided? Believe me, I've tried. I've started a book on The Grove at least a dozen times. My problem is this - in the real and actual realm of the supernatural, it is more mysterious and wondrous than a Hollywood movie; unlike the Amityville Horror, the walls at The Grove don't bleed, there's not a giant, translucent pig floating outside of our windows, and if there is a sudden infestation of unexplainable flies like they had, we'd call the good folks at Terminix and not a medium. My problem is that when I'm considering a book on The Grove, people will be comparing it to The Amityville Horror, A Haunting in Connecticut, Insidious, and The Lady in Black... and it's not like that... IT'S MORE INTERESTING, just not more dramatic than you'll see at the movies. I tell people that my wife and I are blessed to live at The Grove - while so many people struggle with the question of life after death, we get to see conclusive proof on a regular basis. We get to see that life isn't confined to what most people would consider "natural" or "normal" - instead, the world is far beyond both of those. It's SUPERnatural, it's PARAnormal, and that's simply the reality of it... although a lot of people in the world aren't willing to make that leap. So how can I present The Grove in a book? Well, stay tuned, because the GroveZine readers will be on the front lines when I'm putting it together one of these days - and it will hopefully be sooner than later.
And with that said, it's time to close out this issue of the GroveZine, and head into September and the Fall season. You have no idea how much I sincerely appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to read the GroveZine. Without folks like you, there would be no GroveZine, and I'd have no one to share our ghost stories with. Thanks again... you folks rock.
Please allow me to say...
GroveZine Readers are AWESOME!!!
I'd like to say thank you so VERY much to everyone who's taken the tour of The Grove, and posted their review on Tripadvisor.com. We so appreciate the four-star reviews, but we absolutely LOVE the five-star reviews! so if you've taken The Grove tour, and you have a few spare moments, we'd really, really (did I say really?) appreciate you visiting TripAdvisor.com's site for The Grove, and leaving a review of your experience. You can go to TripAdvisor.com and search for "The Grove Jefferson TX," or go to The Grove's website www.thegrove-jefferson.com and scroll down to find the Trip Advisor logo-link, or simply click on the TripAdvisor logo right here in the GroveZine to take you to the page. I know that it takes a couple of minutes to do this (although not many more), but we'd really, really appreciate it. Thanks, folks... you're so very wonderful to us.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention - there is a Medieval Wine Faire coming up in a few weeks sponsored by the KnightLight Theater here in Jefferson. It features five regional wineries, including some of our favorites like Los Pinos and Enoch's Stomp. There will be live music, with Megan Turner performing on the Cat and Fiddle Stage from 2-5pm, and Carmel & Nightwork Jazz in the Great Hall. There is also a medieval marketplace on Walnut Street featuring crafts, wares, and food. This should be a great event, and is 2-10PM on Saturday, September 29th. For more information, go to KnightLight's website knightlighttheater.com.
If you missed any issues of the GroveZine, or if you'd like to find out what's been going on for the last several years here at The Grove, you can find past issues at the GroveZine Archives.
9/8/2012 - Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department Classic Car Show
9/14-15/2012 - Dakota Lawrence at the Pride House B&B
9/14-15/2012 - Trammel's Trace Rendezvous
9/29/2012 - Medieval Wine Faire at the KnightLight Theater
10/06/2012 - Jefferson's City Wide Rummage Sale
10/06/2012 - Cypress River Airport Fly-In
10/12-14/2012 - 15th Annual Boo Run Benefit Motorcycle Rally
10/19-20/2012 - Cryptopalooza! - a Cryptozoology Conference
10/20/2012 - Lion's Club presents: Mustang Car Show
10/21/2012 - A Taste of Jefferson
10/25-27/2012 - Marion County Fair
10/27/2012 - Krewe of Hebe & Auntie Skinner's "Monster Bash"
11/09-10/2012 - Trammel's Trace Rendezvous
11/23/2012 - Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony @ Lion's Park
11/29-30/2012 - 30th Annual Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes
12/01,06-08/2012 - 30th Annual Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes
12/03/2012 - Jefferson's Old Fashioned Christmas Parade
12/16/2012 - Uncertain Floating Christmas Parade
12/31/2012 - New Year’s Eve Party @ Jefferson Carnegie Library
2/8-10/2013 - Mardi Gras Upriver
3/22-24/2013 - 2nd Annual Route 49 Motorcycle Rally
4/19-21/2013 - Outlaw Nationals Classic & Antique Car Show
5/3-5/2013 - Battle of Port Jefferson Civil War Re-enactment
5/3-5/2013 - 66th Annual Pilgrimage Historic Home Tours & Spring Festival
5/25/2013 - Cypress River Airport Fly-In
5/31/2013 - 3rd Annual Big Cypress Corvette Classic
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