"Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you remember last month's GroveZine, it started out with an old-timey photo of the parlor of The Grove with metal lawn chairs, and a teaser that I'd let you in on what was going on this month. I had promised to keep it a secret until the project was finished, but now I can share the whole story. It all started out a few years ago when a friend of mine, Skip Torrans, who is in the metal lawn chair business decided to write a book on the subject. Out of the blue, Jimmy Fallon featured it on a Tonight Show segment called "Don't Read These Books" (click that link to watch it) - he was making fun of it, but there was a spike in sales because of it. Anyway, Skip got together with friends from all around Jefferson and made a rebuttal video to send to Fallon. You can watch the great rebuttal video by clicking on the link. It was a lot of fun, and it really shows the way that folks in Jefferson rally together for a good cause and a good time.
I seem to be getting more and more confused at the grocery store these days. Do you remember last month when I was talking about the Tide detergent that smells like Febreeze and the Febreeze spray that smells like Tide? Well, if that wasn't enough, I was buying a couple of candles for The Grove the other day (our favorite scent is Glade's "Pure Vanilla Joy") and I was looking in the candle section, I saw one made by AirWick and the flavor was... Snuggle Fabric Softener. I mean, really? People actually want their house to smell like a fabric softener sheet? At least it burns for 30 hours, so you get over a full day of fabric softener. Sometimes I think that my grocer is simply playing a colossal joke on me...
This one is kind of morbid and weird... I was driving down the highway a week or so ago, heading for a day of research on a new book, when I glanced over and saw a sign that made me do a double take. It had the name of a funeral home, a phone number, and the slogan, "...a better funeral experience." I was sure that I'd read it wrong, so I actually looped back around and parked to take a closer look at it. Sure enough, that's what it said. I took a photo to show you, although I whited out the name and marked out the phone number. I was amazed... I've said goodbye to friends, family, even my parents, and I wouldn't consider even the best funeral to be a good experience. So are they actually claiming to provide fun funerals? Do they have clowns and jugglers? Between this sign and Snuggle fabric softener candles, I'm really starting to wonder about the world that we live in!!!
We love it when people feature The Grove on their website, and here's a posting on The Creepy Small Town In Texas With Insane Paranormal Activity: The historic property known as "The Grove" has been deemed the most haunted place in Jefferson and one of the most haunted in Texas altogether. The ghost stories date back to the late 1800s - none of its earlier owners were able to occupy the house for very long due to spirit infestations. Today, although still a private residence, The Grove is open to the public for tours. Among the ghosts you'll see are a woman in a white dress, a man in the garden, and a malevolent entity in the basement. You can even hear EVP recordings captured in the house on its website.
The only problem is, The Grove is a pier-and-beam house that's a couple of feet off the ground, so by definition it doesn't have a basement... malevolent entity or otherwise! Now, I've been under the house many times over the last 15 years for repairs and such, so I'm fairly certain that there is no basement. Still, as a writer, I believe in being thorough, so the photo is me giving it one more look before sending out the GroveZine just to be sure. Nope... no basement. The folks at that website must have gotten some incorrect information, but we're thankful for the mention so I wanted to plug their site anyway.
A GrozeZine reader sent me a link to a ghost story from Merry Olde England - specifically, from The Coronation Street Studios in Manchester. One thing about this story that I like is that it's about a theater ghosts - and in all the theaters that I've investigated and written about, almost all seem to have a resident ghost that the actors simply adopt and befriend. This story has something in common with one I reported on a couple of months ago where some people experience supernatural activity, and what do they do? They call an exorcist!!! Don't get me wrong, exorcists have an important place in our world, and that is to deal with demons. Demons, like angels, are real but are only one aspect of the supernatural world around us. Supernatural activity definitely doesn't automatically equate to demons, so calling an exorcist immediately when ghostly goings-on are experienced is like calling an auto mechanic when your bathtub drain is stopped up. Oh well, some people labor under the illusion that all supernatural activity is evil and demonic, when that's simply not the case. Anyway, this link will take you to the haunting of the Coronation Street Studios.
We had a very interesting visitor to The Grove this month. She and her husband were on a tour with a few other folks, and didn't introduce herself or say anything in advance. When we got into the Dining Room, I could tell that something was distracting her. She kept looking behind her, and at one point even turned snapped a photo, even though no one was there. I was watching her, and I guess that her husband saw that and said, "She's a psychic." She told me that she was seeing an African-American gentlemen walking around the room, listening to my talk, and smiling. In the next room when I showed her a photo of Charlie Young, the man who purchased The Grove in 1885 with his wife Daphne, and she smiled and said, "that's him!" They were visiting Jefferson for the first time, and had never been to The Grove or heard its stories, so I was duly impressed. Later she emailed me with more info and said, "I meant to tell you the African American barber told me to tell you that he likes it when you talk about him; he said it keeps his memory alive and to keep doing it." Believe me, I will!
After the tour she told me that even though I hadn't said anything about it on the tour, there was a lot of activity on the east side of the house. She said, "So much activity on the outside of the house on the east side. I could feel spirits walking back and forth out there. You are safe and protected and totally meant to be there and care taking the home, though." The activity on the east side of The Grove actually goes back through several owners and visitors as well, and many have had unsettling experiences there. This old photo is of the east side from the very first time that we looked at the house over 15 years ago... wow, could it really be that long?!?
We talked for quite a while before she left, and her accuracy about things at the house - things that I didn't mention on the tour - was amazing. As she was leaving, she hesitated and then told me that I was going to be around for a long time, but there was one physical thing that I needed to pay attention to. I don't want to go into it too much, but it was more of a "keep this part of you healthy" thing - I completely understood and appreciated her comments. Her name, by the way, is Leisha Olesch, and her website is www.readingsbyleisha.com. I really enjoyed her visit, and appreciated all of the information that she shared!
Okay, time to close out this GroveZine and get back to work - like I said last month, I have a new book to announce soon that is very cool. As always, I want to thank you so much for reading the GroveZine and being part of this project. I really enjoy writing it, and I hope that you enjoy reading it, but one of the reasons that I record all of these ghostly experiences at The Grove is to leave a record of them for future owners. Oh, how I wish that Mr. Charlie (who bought the house in 1885) would have left us a diary of his life... so this is kind of my gift to future generations of Grove owners to come. I wonder what they'll think of candles that smell like fabric softener sheets? Oh well, if I think about it too much, my head might explode. I'll therefore say goodbye for now, and I'll be talking to you soon with the April GroveZine - see you then!
Here's what's coming up around Jefferson...
5/5-5/6/2017 - Pilgrimage Tour of Homes
5/5-5/6/2017 - Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Play
6/2/2017 - Corvette Car Show
6/10/2017 - Jefferson Historical Museum's Great Jefferson Treasure Hunt
7/4/2017 - Jefferson Salutes America
9/9/2017 - Fire Brigade Benefit Car Show
10/14/2017 - Grillin' on the Bayou, Jefferson Eggfest
12/7-12/9/2017 - Candlelight Tour of Homes
...and much more throughout the coming year!
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