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!
"Personally, I'm a lazy kind of guy, and leaving the door open on the mystical saves me work. I don't have to stress my brain trying to explain the unexplainable. It's magic. End of discussion." - Janet Evanovich
Greetings from The Grove in Jefferson, Texas! Wow, can you believe that 2013 is already halfway over? That's a little scary... yet, here we are! The cold days of winter finally turned into those magical two or three weeks of delightful, moderate weather - which has now turned into the sweltering heat of summer. I have to be thankful, however, because we've had rain every week or so, something that our neighbors in Colorado would give anything for. Here at The Grove, Miss Daphne's flowers are blooming and the garden is an explosion of orange. We love her flowers, and always look forward to this time of year.
If you're into the paranormal and are looking for a ghostly good getaway, you may want to take an overnight excursion to Tyler, Texas. Aside from being the "Rose Capital of the World," Tyler has an incredible history that goes back to the Civil War. More than that, however, the city has an incredibly haunted side. My friend George Jones (the paranormal investigator/author/tour guide, not the country singer) offers a wonderful Haunted Tyler Tour. It's given Thursday through Saturday, at 6:30PM and 9:30PM, but be advised that the late tour is a bit more intense than the earlier one - you have to be prepared for anything. On certain Saturday evenings, there is also an overnight ghost hunt/investigation offered to a limited number of people. For information on the haunted tours, as well as other historical and shopping tours of Tyler, check out the website toursoftyler.com. Also, watch for a book on the supernatural that George and I are working on. It's going to be a great ghostly guide!
If you read nothing else in the GroveZine, please read this!!! I discovered a very discreet virus on my wife's laptop a few nights ago, and it was subtle, yet very powerful. The fact that it snuck onto the laptop blows me away, and since it's out there roaming around the Internet looking for victims, I wanted to give you the info to recognize - and eradicate it - here... forewarned is forearmed. First of all, this virus is MalWare; that is to say, it's "Malicious Software," that hooks into your computer and attempts to work various advertising into your daily usage. I noticed it because I wanted to review something in the last GroveZine, so I brought it up in the GroveZine archives on my wife's laptop. Imagine my surprise when I saw that sprinkled throughout last month's 'zine were advertising links - certain words were highlighted and were links to external ad pages. Now, I'm VERY protective of the GroveZine, and I would never allow it to become something filled with annoying advertising. I'll occasionally mention one of my books, or for readers who've been on the tour to give us a good review on Trip Advisor (and if you've taken the tour, we'd absolutely LOVE a 5-star review on tripadvisor.com), but other than that I simply want the GroveZine to be fun and informative. I wondered what had happened, but it suddenly hit me - there was malware on the laptop that was intercepting webpages, and re-formatting them with their own sponsored links. On one hand, I thought that it was genius, while being completely angry that someone had hijacked our computer like that. To make it worse, the laptop was running the latest version of Norton AntiVirus, and the beastie snuck right through those defenses... So how did I take care of this virus that has the power to circumvent Norton? Here's the answer:
Malwarebytes is a free utility that specifically deals with MalWare, and is one of the best in the business. I've noticed that periodically Norton pops up a window and says that "there is conflicting software on the computer," and it wants to delete it... that conflicting software is Malwarebytes. And I'd never let Norton remove it from the computer, even if it is there competitor, because it does things that Norton can't. It's kind of like the Coke guy wanting to get Pepsi out of the local grocery store. Both products co-exist, and compliment each other nicely. When I discovered the virus on my wife's computer, I simply scanned using Malwarebytes, and it immediately eradicated the virus. Whether you're running Norton, McAfee, or some other virus protection, I would highly recommend that you add Malwarebytes to your arsenal. Believe me, I don't own stock in the company, this isn't a sponsored link, I get zero-zippo-nada-nothing from someone using Malwarebytes - it's just a great piece of software that has saved my butt on a number of occasions, that I wanted to pass on to my GroveZine friends. To protect your computer, just click on the banner above and choose the "Free Download" option. The paid option has more features, such as scheduled scans, but the free version is fully functional and is the one that I use. It can really save you when a piece of malicious software sneaks onto your computer!
Our local newspaper, the Jefferson Jimplecute, is reporting that the Executive Inn hotel chain has purchased property out on Highway 59 to start building. Apparently the hoopla surrounding this is that the land was bought with the assumption that there was water and sewer service there, but unfortunately it didn't exist. At the initial city council meeting that the hotel reps attended, the mayor said something like, "Well, this is embarrassing for everyone!" Fortunately, the Jefferson Economic Development Council has stepped up to pay for the service, so construction of the hotel will apparently go forward. Stay tuned to the GroveZine for the story as it develops... hey, this is big news here in Jefferson! While an Executive Inn won't compete with people coming to town to have our B&B or historic hotel experiences, it will provide overflow for Mardi Gras and our other festivals, and give travelers on Highway 59 a place to stay for the night.
You may remember from last fall that The Grove was on HGTV's show Home, Strange Home. We had a lot of fun with the HGTV crew while they were filming here, and greatly enjoyed the experience. A lot of people must have seen the show, because it seems like every few tours we have guests that comment on it. We've even received an email from the sculpture from the bottle tree in the garden who saw it on the show, and also people from my Alma mater who saw my college ring in the show. It's amazing what people catch - me, I just see it and think, "Wow, I need to cut back on the French fries..." Anyway, I got an email from the producer this month to tell me that our episode was being replayed, but he also told me that The Grove was going to be on an HGTV Halloween special called America's Creepiest Homes - I'll pass on whatever information that I get as it develops, so stay tuned to the GroveZine!
Just to get our supernatural stories started, there was a very interesting story on ABC's Good Morning America. You may have seen it this month, but just in case I wanted to mention it here. Since it is happening at a museum, everyone's looking for logical, physical explanations, but the story is more than a little strange. There is a thousand-year-old Egyptian statue that is sealed in a glass case in a British museum that is now slowly turning around; the 10-inch tall statue of Neb-senu has been on display at the Manchester Museum in Manchester, England, for 80 years but it was only recently that museum staff noticed the statue moving... it slowly turns in place. Some are writing it off to floor vibrations of the people in the museum, but of course, it's been on display for 80 years with people walking around it all that time without movement. A museum employee said that she was working alone in the gallery where the statue is located - alone, mind you, no foot traffic at all - and by the time she had finished it had turned 45 degrees. Check out the video for yourself - I think that it's very interesting: just click here to see it.
And now on to The Grove. In past GroveZines I've talked about the "shadow people" activity here at the house, and for quite some time that had virtually gone away - and when that happens, I always get those creeping doubts in my head that say, "Were you really seeing them, or was it your imagination?" The activity always seems to come back around, though and for some strange reason the shadow figures have been very active this month. The seem to play in the corner of your eye; you'll see some movement, and then turn to catch a glimpse of a shadow darting out of sight. We usually don't say anything about this on the tours, yet we've had someone ask, "What is the deal with all the shadows darting around???" The strange thing is that the question was asked in the exact area where we experience the activity most frequently - our guest was seeing them in the same places that we do. So why does one spirit manifest as a scent of tobacco, another looks as real as you or I (such as our Garden Guy in the black suit), others are simply a strong emotional feeling, and still others appear as a shadow? I have no idea at all - I've been told that it takes different amounts of energy for a spirit to manifest in different ways, but I don't know. To me it's all part of the mystery of the supernatural that surrounds us.
If you recall from last month's ezine, I included an email from one of our visitors who'd had an experience during the tour where she was feeling very strange, almost faint. One of our other readers saw it, and sent me an email with her experience, which was very similar. She was kind enough to let me share it with all of the readers:
I just read the May addition of "The Grove". My heart started pounding as I relived my experience through the story told by the lady from the May 2012 tour. We had a very similar experience. I took the tour for the first time the morning of October 20, 2012. I was fine during the first part of the tour, listening intently, enjoying the history, and laughing at the thought of anyone needing to run out the front door (after you explained about the key) [Mitchel's Note: I always lock the front door after the group comes in]. As we moved to the dining room, I too was standing next to the pillar by the front door with my husband behind me. I started feeling dizzy, clammy, cold sweats and just a state of panic not knowing if I was going to pass out or not. I told my husband to turn the key, I needed out. We exited the front door and set on the steps on the porch. I immediately started feeling better. I decided we should just walk back to the Jefferson Hotel where we were staying just in case I was really sick. I didn't want to get anyone else sick. We WALKED back to the hotel. I was perfectly fine but very confused and disappointed because I wanted to finish the tour. A little before 3:00, I decided to call to see if there was room on any other tours that day because I really wanted to finish it. Your wife was very gracious and immediately knew who I was. She invited me back to the tour that was going to start at 3pm. After I explained what happened to me, she told me that it has happened before so I knew I wasn't sick. On the second tour, I again was fine in the living room. In the dining room, I immediately started breaking out in a cold sweat again, was light-headed, but I didn't panic because I knew it wasn't me. At one point, I felt someone touch my neck. I guess I reacted somewhat to it because you asked me if I was okay. I said that I was handling it. As we moved to the next room, I completely went back to normal and stayed that way the rest of the time. When the tour was over, I walked back into the dining room, and immediately broke out in a cold sweat again. You told me a few stories of others who have had similar experiences. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Thank you for opening your house and its history to us. I can't wait until the next time we get tour again.
This seems to be happening a lot lately. We usually don't mention it on the tours, but this month we've had a couple of ladies comment that they felt sick when they stood in a certain spot, and almost had to leave the tour. It's strange that it is never men - it's always been our female guests. I continue to chastise the house about this trend... we definitely don't our visitors feeling uncomfortable at all. I hope that is helping, although it doesn't seem to be in every case.
I love it when I get an email from a visitor to The Grove that has a photo or two attached. Sometimes I can explain them, and sometimes I definitely can't. Such is the case with one of our guests this month; she sent me a few photos to look at, and this one was my favorite. It is of the east side of the house, where there have been all kinds of interesting things - a black fog, the lady in white, and any number of other things over the years. When our guest took this photo, there was clearly a white mist around the chair on the left, as if something was hovering there; I hope that it translates as well in this smaller photo:
I tried to explain it as flare from the bright white color of the chair, but two things rule that out. The first is that the photo wasn't taken in bright sunlight - note the absence of harsh shadows that would indicate lighting conditions like that. Secondly, such flare would be affecting both chairs and the table, all painted the same, all in the same light. Looking at the original photo, it is apparent that the mist is - dare I say it - sitting in the chair. This was on a warm early June day, sunny but with clouds, about 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside. The photographer had been snapping photos around the outside of the house, and the mist didn't show up anywhere else - not on the chair on the right, just around the chair on the left. Very strange... or, given that it was taken on the east side of the house, perhaps not!
All right, that's about it for the June GroveZine - I sincerely appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen to my meanderings. I enjoy writing the 'zine, and I hope that you enjoy reading it. I'll be back with some really special things to share at the end of July, so stay tuned. 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.
In the mean time, here's what's coming up around town...
07/04/2013 - "Jefferson Salutes America" 4th of July Celebration
08/2-8/11/2013 - Theater Festival
08/17/2013 - 2nd Annual Civil War Symposium
09/14/2013 - 5th Annual Fire brigade Benefit Classic Car Show
09/28/2013 - 2nd Annual Medieval Wine Faire
10/5/2013 - Jefferson City Wide Rummage Sale
10/5/2013 - Cypress River Airport Fly-In
10/11-13/2013 - 16th Annual Boo Run Benefit
10/20/2013 - A Taste of Jefferson
11/2/2013 - History, Haunts & Legends Paranormal Conference
11/9/2013 - Toys for Tots Casino Night
11/29/2013 - Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony @ Lionís Park
12/5-14/2013 - 31st Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes
Oh, one more thing...
I'd really like to say thank you so very, very much to everyone who's taken the tour of The Grove, and posted their review on Tripadvisor.com. At the moment, The Grove is the #1 attraction in Jefferson! 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.
The Grove says "Thanks!"
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, and to The Grove.
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