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!
"Anyone who has experienced a strange episode in their life that defies all present scientific knowledge can appreciate the limits of human knowledge. There's nothing like such an event to make you keenly aware of how little we truly know and understand." - Steven Symes
Heeeeere's Mitchel! Greetings from The Grove, although this month I have something special for you - stories from a few other haunted places that you may have heard of, all from the state of Colorado. One of them, as you might have guessed from the photo, is the Stanley Hotel that inspired Stephen King to write the book The Shining. We were there this month, and had some very dramatic paranormal experiences. One of the fun things, though, was getting to ham it up with a prop that they had where you could re-create the Jack Nicholson shot from the movie. There was a seriously haunted side to the place as well, which I'll get into later. Meanwhile, I thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day for the GroveZine, and I hope that you enjoy some of these ghostly stories!
I had fun meeting some GroveZine readers out on the road this past month. We were sitting at a table at the Estes Park Brewery having dinner on our Colorado trip, and a family came over to the table to say hello. They'd been on The Grove tour, and happened to recognize us. They had been in town visiting the Stanley Hotel just like us. Coincidentally, the same thing happened a few weeks later in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. We'd gone up for a few days at the haunted Crescent Hotel, and while in one of the little specialty shops downtown I heard a voice say, "Aren't you from Jefferson?" Sure enough, a GroveZine reader was in town and we just bumped into each other.
Speaking of Jefferson, one of the city's classic institutions, the Hamburger Store, closed a couple of months ago and it didn't go unnoticed by the visitors to town. I can't tell you how many people have asked me about it, inquiring what was going to become of the restaurant. To be honest, I don't know much of the story myself... only that the owner was ill and had to sell it for health reasons. No one was sure what would happen to the Hamburger Store, but as I drove down Austin Street recently, I saw a big sign hanging on it that said "Help Wanted" and another that said "Opening Soon." Stay tuned as we learn more in the weeks to come.
Jefferson lit up the night once again on the evening of July 4, during the annual "Jefferson Salutes America!" celebration. I've mentioned it in the GroveZine before, and it's the perfect way to spend Independence Day. There's always a gathering in the city park downtown, and patriotic music fills the afternoon air. There are choral groups, brass bands, all giving musical tributes to our great country. While enjoying that, you can purchase hot dogs from the local boy scout troop and sample homemade ice cream from the annual competition held right there. When night falls, there is a fireworks display that is worthy of any large city, but we have it right here over our bayou. The entire day is a true slice of Americana, and something that I highly encourage you to check out - put a note on your calendar next year to celebrate July Fourth here in Jefferson!
My favorite thing in the world is to share the latest ghost stories from The Grove in the GroveZine, but like I said earlier, this month I want to take you to a few haunted places in Colorado. I was researching a new book about haunted prisons and needed to visit a particular location in Colorado, and of course, why make the trip if you're not going to see some of the sights that the state has to offer. We spent time in both Manitou Springs (right beside Colorado Springs) and Estes Park, and have a few ghostly tales to report from both areas.
In Manitou Springs we stayed at the Cliff House, which has what most people consider to be a residual haunting - a supernatural sighting that is more or less like a video being replayed over and over. As the story goes, on July 11, 1909, two masked man ran into the lobby of the hotel to rob the safe. Bellhop Albert Whitehead tried to foil the robbery, but was subdued and restrained. Four years later to the day, there was another robbery attempt, but by this time Whitehead had been promoted to the position of Night Watchman. He once again tried to stop the crime, but on this evening was not so fortunate. He was shot by the bandits, staggered out onto the veranda, and died in front of a group of guests who had gathered. In the past - usually on July 11, the anniversary of the death - people have reported a shadowy figure dashing by them, and many believe that it is the residual energy of Albert Whitehead running from the long-ago shooting. Others believe that his spirit still walks the halls, performing his night watchman duties at the hotel he loved so much in life. We arrived on July 11 and checked in, and kept our eyes open, but during our visit we simply enjoyed a quiet night at a beautiful hotel... with a few very interesting ghost stories.
While in Manitou Springs, CO, we booked a "lantern tour" of Cave of the Winds. There are regular tours given, of course, but the lantern tour goes into a remote part of the cave where supernatural experiences have been reported. There are no lights in that part of the cavern, so everyone on the tour carries their own lantern. It is more physically challenging than the regular tour... but it is well worth it. The cave itself has been open to the pubic for 130 years, but is actually millions of years old. It was sacred to the Ute Indians, who thought of it as the entrance to the underworld. They conducted many sacred ceremonies in the cave, and in the late 1800s many artifacts were discovered. An early owner of the cave displayed the mummified remains found in a nearby burial area as part of the cavern tour. Some say that this unfortunate history contributes to the supernatural activity there.
There have been deaths in the cave, especially in the early years. An early owner hosted formal parties deep in the cavern, and hired boys to maintain the torches used for light. The lure of the cave was too much for a couple of the youngsters, who wandered off to go exploring in the dark. Once this was discovered, a massive search took place for the children, but their bodies were never found. Exploration is still being done into newly-discovered parts of the cavern, but even to this day the remains of the boys have never been encountered. Guides doing a walk-though prior to daily tours have heard the sound of children's laughter, even though they were alone in the cave. One guide walking down a set of steps felt unseen figures rush past him, as if a child or two were running along playing.
Early in its history, two brothers owned the cave, and in exploring it one discovered stalactites hanging on a wall that, when tapped, produced different musical notes. One of the brothers built a ladder to more easily reach them, and practiced hours until he could play them like musical pipes. He would often perform with them during the brothers' cave parties to everyone's delight. During one performance, he suddenly fell from the ladder and was severely injured. He was rushed to a hospital, but he died from the damage to his body during the fall. He regained consciousness a few times, but was only able to say one phrase, which he repeated a number of times: "I was pushed."
The guide who took us on the lantern tour had no doubt that the Cave of the Winds was haunted. As he shared the above stories and more, he said that some of the things had happened to him personally, while many others had been related to him first-hand by other guides whose word he trusted completely. While we didn't have any personal experiences during our visit, it was a fascinating place and we hope to return again someday. And while the regular tour is probably great, we'll be taking the lantern tour again!
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park was different in that we did have a brush or two with the supernatural while on the ghost tour. A lot of its fame is thanks to Stephen King and his book The Shining. According to King, he and his wife were in Colorado while he was working on his third book, and they arrived at the Stanley as the hotel was closing down for the winter. He was given room 217 and permission to wander the hallways of the near-empty hotel. He reportedly spent some time in the bar, where the bartender Grady told him many of the ghost stories of the old hotel. By morning he had the basic outline of the story complete, and the Stanley Hotel had secured an international place in haunted history and popular culture. It was built by F.O. and Flora Stanley and opened in 1909, and some say that their spirits still return there.
One of the most interesting things that we did at the Stanley was to take their evening ghost tour. It started in F.O. Stanley's Billiards Room, where everyone sat down for a few minutes for the guide for the tour, Maria, to give an introduction to the hotel. The Billiards room was one of F.O.'s favorite places at the Stanley, and he would often hang out there hoping to pick up a game with the hotel guests. He is seen, and his presence is felt, more in the Billiards Room than anywhere else in the hotel. Everyone on the tour was given time to spread out and walk around the spacious area, and as my wife and I independently drifted around, we finally hooked back up to compare notes. We both had experienced the same thing - an intense feeling of energy in a far outside corner of the room. It was very similar to the feeling that we experience in the front parlor of The Grove, which I've talked about a lot in the GroveZine, and always mention on the tour.
After the Billiards Room, we went through the Pinon Room, and then moved into the hotel's Music Room. The ghost stories were interesting, and our guide Maria gave a lot of personal experiences. When we entered the Music Room, we saw a piano on a small stage at the far end. My wife Tami gravitated over to it, but as she approached the piano she felt dizzy and there was the strong smell of roses in the air. Our guide Maria asked the group to let her know if anyone picked up on anything strange, and Tami told her about the dizziness. The guide immediately asked, "Did you also smell roses?" When Tami told her that she had, the guide explained that the presence of Flora often manifested in that manner. No one else in the group felt anything strange or smelled roses or any other scents - just my wife. We were told that the piano belonged to Flora, and she was seen and felt around it... and sometimes its music was heard when no one else was in the room. The piano was tuned several times by the world famous John Philip Sousa.
The last stop on the tour was the building known as the Concert Hall - it was built as a smaller scale replica of the Boston Symphony Hall, but was still a large building. In the basement there was a small room that has a sad history. In the late 1970s the building had been basically abandoned and had fallen into disrepair. When workers were preparing to renovate the Concert Hall, they discovered that a young lady, a runaway named Lucy, had been living in a basement room. She fled the grounds, but was found in a city park that winter, frozen to death. Our tour guide explained that her spirit still hangs out in the basement, especially in the room where she was staying - she will often close the door to the room, even though it drags the carpet and does not swing freely on its own. As the group spread out over the building, Maria stayed in the room with a small number of people, and after talking to Lucy for a few minutes, the door began to close on its own. This repeated several times, and some of the more skeptical in the room quickly examined the door, but it wasn't hung at an angle to close automatically - in fact, as I said, it dragged the carpet which would prevent it from closing without assistance. Since time at the Concert Hall was limited, people eventually spread out to other areas to explore. Tami & I found ourselves back in Lucy's room with another couple and a father & daughter after a while, so we took a seat and began to speak to Lucy on our own. As we encouraged her to close the door, the hinges began to creak, and the door slowly moved. It was quite an amazing thing.
When the tour disbanded, we went to a Pet Cemetery that is on the outskirts of the Stanley Hotel property - animals that have belonged to employees and guests who have died over the years are buried there, and on another tour of the hotel (a history tour) the guide told us that Stephen King was inspired by the pet cemetery to later write his book of that name. We're huge animal lovers - you probably know that we have two bassets and two cats at The Grove - so this was a bittersweet ending to the day. While it was sad to see all the pets that had died, it was heartwarming to see that their owners had loved them enough to bury them at such a special place.
Well, I certainly appreciate you taking a little time out of your day to explore a few of Colorado's haunts with me. All in all, I'm looking forward to getting back to the spirits of The Grove, and believe me, I have already collected several stories to tell next month. Including one about a visit from an interesting little fellow about a foot tall in a white, sequined jumpsuit with a pompadour hairdo and long, black sideburns - but more about him later. For the moment, I'll just enjoy a little refreshment at the bar of the Stanley Hotel. Although I may appear to be all alone, trust me, there's this old bartender named Grady who's been taking care of me, and he seems to be an interesting fellow who's full of stories. Until next month...
Here's what's coming up around town...
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
11/30/2013 - Hustler's Ball @ Auntie Skinner's
12/5-14/2013 - 31st Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes
To repeat our words from the beginning, this is a free
subscription ezine for friends of The Grove - in other words, we
NEVER arbitrarily add email addresses. We also NEVER sell or
share email addresses with anyone else.
Feel free to pass the GroveZine on to your friends - all I ask
is that if you forward it, please include the header, trailer
and everything. Thanks!
To subscribe, just go to The Grove's Website and put your email in the blank at the left bottom of the page.
To unsubscribe, although we'd sincerely hate to lose you, simply follow the directions at the bottom of the this email.