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"Ghosts don't haunt us. That's not how it works. They're present among us because we won't let go of them."
"I don't believe in ghosts," I said, faintly.
"Some people can't see the color red. That doesn't mean it isn't there," she replied.
- Sue Grafton, from her book M Is for Malice
Greetings from The Grove to one and all! I hope that your holiday season went well, no matter how and what you celebrated. And speaking of which, here we are at the end of the year, with the New Year just around the corner. Is it just me, or is time moving faster and faster these days? It seems like only a short time ago I was writing the January GroveZine, talking about the upcoming Mardi Gras celebration here in Jefferson and many other things in the upcoming year... but here we are now, wrapping up 2012. Where in the world does the time go?
And speaking of time... well, it appears that the Mayans were wrong... the world didn't come to an end on December 21st. Here at The Grove, we saw the impending apocalypse in much like we did back at the Y2K rollover over a decade ago - we had a couple of friends over, had some snacks and refreshments, and just enjoyed the evening. I'd read all the theories on-line, and we were relatively sure that Planet X wasn't going to slam into the Earth, the magnetic fields weren't going to suddenly shift, and a super-volcano wasn't going to instantly destroy all life on the planet. It was a good excuse to celebrate a little, though, which we did!
Leaving the subject of time, and moving to the weather, it's finally started feeling like winter... and it certainly took long enough! I've been a little worried about this winter, though, because all through the fall I've noticed something odd. You probably know that The Grove gets its name from the grove of Native Texas Pecan trees that surround the house, and this year, we were happy to see that the trees held a great crop of pecans. Unfortunately, we picked up very few. It seems that as each one fell, the squirrels grabbed it and spirited it away to their winter hiding place. I've never seen such impulsive behavior from them before, which makes me wonder what kind of winter we're in for. After all, they say that animals have instincts that we can never fully imagine or understand... we may be in for a cold one.
You know, it seems like just when I start to understand one form of social media, another crops up to mystify me. I've finally - after all these years - been sticking my big toe into the pond of Facebook, and then Twitter showed up on the scene. I thought that by using both of them I'd have the whole "social media" thing covered, but lo and behold, while wondering around the web the other day, I found a page on something called "Pinterest" that featured The Grove. Apparently a Pinterest user named Cam Lachowitzer has a page of haunted places, which she was very kind enough to include the Grove on. It's there with some other famous places that I've visited and written about - The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, LA; Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, MO; The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, AR; The Grove, and many more. While I'm still getting acquainted with Pinterest, you can visit Cam's page at http://pinterest.com/cmarielach/haunted/.
As I mentioned, though, I have been making my way into other social media areas - specifically, Facebook and Twitter. I know that many of you are friends with me on Facebook (if you're not, just look for me, Mitchel Whitington) and you know that I'm not overly bothersome - I don't post every time that I'm going to the grocery store or the post office. Sometimes my weird sense of humor gets me in trouble, though. There were several postings on my main page from people I'm friends with about how terrible the book "Fifty Shades of Grey" is, and although I haven't read it, I know what a huge seller it was. I therefore posted - strictly in jest - something like, "I can't believe such an exploitative book was a NY Times Bestseller, and made the author a millionaire. On a totally unrelated note, watch for my next book coming out soon: Forty Shades of Greene." The crickets could be heard chirping after my little joke. Okay, so I've got a really weird sense of humor. If you'd like an occasional sample of it, you may want to follow me on Twitter. I'm @mitchelwhit, and I promise not to tweet too much - maybe once every few weeks at the most. My tweets are usually my occasional humorous ramblings, or a heads-up to some ghostly goings-on, so I promise not to flood your world with nonsense and garbage... unless it's my nonsense and garbage! :)
As we end 2012, I have a few ghostly tales from the tours of The Grove over the past month. These things are all from the tour, which sometimes surprises folks. We have many tours throughout the year where things just proceed normally - no interaction with the spirits of The Grove, nothing out of the ordinary at all. We have others where people have all sorts of individual things that occur - much like the stories in this issue. Other tours have incredible things that I pick up on and spend the entire time hoping that our guests don't notice and freak out... but that's another story. Let's instead get to a few end-of-the-year happenings at The Grove!
Earlier this month, I went out to start the tour one day as I always do. We went through the next hour, telling about the history and hauntings of The Grove, and finished up back in the kitchen (which once was a stand-alone building, but was joined to the house in 1870). In the course of things my wife came through, as she sometimes does. When we got back up front one fellow seemed surprised. He told me that while the group was waiting on the porch, he was looking at the window in the front door, and through the lace curtain he saw a lady in a white dress walk up to the window and look outside at him. He said that her hair was in a bun, and he could clearly see her white dress. He assumed that it was my wife, but when he saw her later in the tour wearing a gray tee-shirt and blue shorts, her brown hair down like she always wears it, he realized that the person he saw was not her. She was not up front at that time anyway, because she was working on the kitchen. Could it have been our famous lady in white? Perhaps, because even if we'd been up front looking out of the window, one certainly wouldn't confuse my wife or I as the white-dressed lady with the bun.
The next story to relate is a recurring theme that I've told many times over in the GroveZine, but is interesting nonetheless, because it keeps happening. We'd just started a tour one day this month, and had only made it as far as the front parlor. A lady on the tour raised her camera to take a photo, and she then got excited and started whispering to her friend. I was curious, and asked what had happened, and she said that her camera was completely dead. Her friend added that the batteries were fresh just before the tour, yet now they had no charge at all. I apologized, because this does happen from time to time. I've heard one theory that the manifestation of spirits requires energy on their part, and they sometimes zap it from whatever source is handy - which is why at some places active in the supernatural there are electrical anomalies, people feel weak or feint, etc. On our tour, some folks take pictures for the entire hour with no problem at all, while others have their camera batteries die as soon as they come in the front door. It's happened to visitors, film crews, and friends, and there seems to be no discernible pattern to it. Just another anomaly of The Grove, I suppose.
I've saved my favorite story for last. If you've toured The Grove, or have been reading the GroveZine for a while, you probably know that there is one corner in the front parlor where a female presence is often felt. It's quite a mystery, because she is very strong, yet not much is known about her... we just get little pieces of info here and there. Recently we had a lady on the tour who is a sensitive, and she started picking up impressions about the lady from the time that we first entered the house. After the tour she stayed and visited with us; her feeling was that the lady in the corner was an older family member who'd been moved into the house at one time - much like a family would move their infirm aunt or mother into their home to take care of them. While it wasn't her first choice to be there, she took her afternoon tea in that corner where she could look across the front rooms of the house, the front door, and see out onto the front porch. She apparently loved sitting there, as if holding court. I thought that was a very interesting assessment, and it is one that I have definitely filed away for future reference. I don't know who the lady in the corner is, but I enjoy all of the little tidbits that we find out about her. I find her presence to be fascinating.
I started out the GroveZine talking about how the world didn't end as the Mayans supposedly predicted, and I want to end this issue with an interesting twist on that idea. I knew that the world wasn't ending, and if you watched some of the documentaries on TV, even the descendants of the Maya felt the same way - it was just something that everyone wanted to believe. There was a thrill to think that some cosmic "thing" was going to happen at the end of the world, and we had actually reached that point... which of course, wasn't the case. I did hear one theory that was a little interesting, though... that the 2012 end of the Mayan calendar didn't signal the end of the world, but instead, the end of an era, where a new one would begin. That isn't all that far-fetched - after all, in human history we've had the age of stone, the age of iron, the dark ages, the age of enlightenment, etc. It would be hard to argue that we aren't currently in the age of information, with the advent of the Internet in the last decade or so. Maybe what the Maya were predicting was the turning of a corner, that mankind would start slowly - perhaps undetectably at first - along a new path of existence. Maybe we are starting into a new age. Who knows... I certainly don't. I am keeping my mind open, though, and I'm simply looking forward to a wonderful new year.
And with 2012 coming to a close, I have to say a great big "THANK YOU" to all of the GroveZine readers. I write this ezine every month for two reasons; the first is the fact that the issues are all archived on the website, something that I would like to see continue for many years - and decades - to come. My wish is that whoever the next owner of The Grove is (and I hope we don't have to give it up for another hundred years), they'll have an accurate perspective of life at The Grove and in Jefferson, Texas during our time here. The second reason for the GroveZine, and perhaps the most important, is for you, the reader. The fact that you take time out of your day once a month to read it is something that I greatly appreciate. I hope that you enjoy reading the GroveZine as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to spending 2013 with you - have a safe, healthy, and extremely prosperous New Year!
Here's what's coming up around town...
12/31/2012 - New Yearís Eve Party @ Jefferson Carnegie Library
01/18-20/2013 - Pulpwood Queens' Girlfriend's Weekend
01/25-27/2013 - Quilts on the Bayou, Jefferson's 10th Annual Quilt Show
02/08-10/2013 - Mardi Gras Upriver
03/22-24/2013 - 2nd Annual Route 49 Motorcycle Rally
04/06/2013 - Jefferson History, Haunts & Legends Paranormal Conference
04/19-21/2013 - Outlaw Nationals Classic & Antique Car Show
04/19-21/2013 - Diamond Don's 11th Annual Vintage Motorcross
05/03-05/2013 - Battle of Port Jefferson Civil War Re-enactment
05/03-05/2013 - 66th Annual Pilgrimage Historic Home Tour
05/25/2013 - Cypress River Airport Fly-In
05/31/2013 - 3rd Annual Big Cypress Corvette Classic
07/04/2013 - "Jefferson Salutes America" 4th of July Celebration
10/11-13/2013 - 16th Annual Boo Run Benefit
10/20/2013 - A Taste of Jefferson
11/29/2013 - Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony @ Lionís Park
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