www.thegrove-jefferson.com                          July 2004                                      ISSN 1558-3252

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Hi everyone - well, we just got back from a little summer getaway and it's already time for an issue of the GroveZine! We had a great time: In Memphis, we had barbecue down on Beale Street at a place called "The Pig", then switched gears a day or so later for some St. Louis style at a place voted one of the top 100 places to eat barbecue in the U.S.: "Charlotte's Rib". We also had a chance to tour many old homes along the way, which is one of our favorite things to do. It was a nice little getaway, but it's always great to get back to The Grove.

We had friends checking on the house, feeding the cats, etc., but we didn't leave instructions for anyone to water the plants in the garden. Because of that, we were a little worried about losing some of the plants. Turns out, that wasn't a problem. It must have rained every single day that we were gone, because there is water standing EVERYWHERE! It's too wet to mow, weed, even walk through the garden in some places. It's even beat down some of the flowers that are blooming right now. Oh well, come August I'm sure that we'll be wishing for some of this water!

One thing that we brought back with us from our vacation was a cat. Not a real one - this one is made out of mohair but looks VERY REAL! When I saw it in a store in St. Genevieve, Missouri I thought that it was a cat asleep on a chair. When it wasn't moving, I became concerned that it was a *dearly departed* cat on a chair. The shop owner told me that it was fake, and at that point I had to have it. We named him "Louie" since we were near St. Louis at the time, and I'm going to have some fun with him on tours of The Grove. If someone asks whether it's a real cat or not, I'm going to put on my somber face and say, "No, that was our favorite cat Louie. When he passed on we couldn't bear to say goodbye, so we had him stuffed." :) Don't worry, I'll come clean after everyone is sufficiently creeped out!

It's July 2, so everyone in Jefferson is getting ready for the big July 4th celebration. If you've never been in town for it, you simply have to put it in your travel plans. It's a big day in Otstott Park downtown, where a brass band plays patriotic music in the gazebo, there's a charity cake auction where the bidding can go through the roof, and there are tons of games and activities for the kids. Every building in town is draped in American flags, making a picture-postcard view no matter which direction you look. The day is capped by a professional fireworks display over the Big Cypress Bayou that rivals any that you've ever seen. Small-town America is alive and well in Jefferson, Texas!

One of my favorite things about the ghost stories from The Grove is that since there is such a long history of the hauntings there, some of the common manifestations have been witnessed by different, unrelated people through the years. One of the things that keeps getting reported is a dark mist. I've heard it described as a black fog, dark smoke, and other things like that, and I have to rely on the descriptions... unfortunately, it's a phenomenon that we've never experienced.

Some of our friends have, though, which makes it a tale worth telling. The first person that we know of who experienced it was named, coincidentally enough, Mrs. Daniel Grove. She and her husband had owned the house for a short time and hoped to retire there. Unfortunately he developed a terminal illness, and they were forced to put the property up for sale. Before doing so, however, she decided that she should spend at least one night in the old place. They had set their bedroom up in the Blue Room, and as she lay in bed that night reading her Bible, Mrs. Grove drifted off to sleep. She awoke to find that the room was considerably dimmer than usual, and when her eyes focused she saw that there was a dark mist slowly circling the chandelier in the room. Since it was obvious that it wasn't smoke from a fire or anything else easily explainable, she closed her eyes tightly and began to pray that everything would be okay. She awoke the next morning, with no indication that anything at all had been amiss. Mrs. Grove related that story to Patrick Hopkins just before he signed the papers to buy the house. She pulled him aside before the deal was final, and said, "You should know that the house is haunted..."

Patrick told me the story of his experience with the dark mist that happened some time after he opened a restaurant at The Grove. He had organized a dedication ceremony for the garden in honor of Mrs. Daphne Young, the woman who had so lovingly planted and nurtured it. The ceremony took place in the garden, and Patrick had run back inside to the kitchen to check on the refreshments when he found a dark cloud of smoke there. His first thought was that something was on fire, but there was no indication of anything like that. As he studied it, he saw that the "smoke" was slowly moving in a circular pattern, certainly nothing like regular smoke would do. It suddenly dissipated, and the room was clear. Patrick recalls a very positive feeling in the kitchen, and took it as a sign that the house and the spirits there were pleased with the dedication of the garden.

The next time that the dark cloud was seen was by a lady who spent the night in The Grove when it was a restaurant. Patrick let her and a friend stay there one evening, and she chronicled her evening in a website named, "One Haunted Night - A True Story". There's a link to it on The Grove website under the link "Ghosts" (www.thegrove-jefferson.com). Here's the story in her words: "We arrived back at the house and walked around the outside of it and through the gardens. I was about to turn the corner to walk down the right side of the house when I suddenly got a very strange and spooky feeling. Mind you, I am a very logical person and I don't get spooked very easily, but this definitely caught my attention. I stopped and carefully looked down the side of the house. I saw a very large, black massive shape (had to be at least six feet tall and extremely broad)! I looked very carefully to see if it could be part of the tall bushes - it wasn't. The blackness was more like a void than a shadow. I called to Leslie and asked her to look and tell me what she saw. She described the same thing that I was seeing. It was definitely NOT a human. This was one of the two things that really freaked me out during our visit. I don't know what it was but it was not good! Did it make me uneasy? Hell, it made my skin crawl! Needless to say - I DID NOT walk down that side of the building!"

The final time that we have a record of the black mist being seen comes from a friend of ours. After we purchased The Grove, she confided to us that one evening while it was for sale and sitting empty, she and several people had snuck inside one Halloween. Mary Kay had already experienced strange things in the house, so she wouldn't go past the front parlor. While the other people were walking further into the house, and daring each other to go as far as the kitchen, she sat on a windowsill in the East Parlor - the Dining Room. Someone had turned the lights on up front, so she was sitting there waiting for everyone to come back. The light suddenly dimmed in the room, and Mary Kay looked up to see that the Dining Room light was enshrouded by a dark mist that was slowly moving in a circle. She yelled for everyone to come back up front, and everyone ran in to see the phenomenon. One particularly brave fellow dragged a chair over, stood on it, and stuck his hand into the cloud. Mary Kay told us that the only thing that he said was, "It's freezing!" He removed his hand, and the group fled The Grove.

So what is this dark mist that has been seen over the years? We don't have a clue. It's been seen by several people under much differing circumstances. The only thing that is certain is that it is forever a part of the haunted history of The Grove.

Well, by next month I'm sure that there will be more stories to share. Thank you so very much for spending a little time with us, and we hope that you enjoyed it!

www.thegrove-jefferson.com

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