www.thegrove-jefferson.com                          May 2005                                      ISSN 1558-3252

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!

Hi folks! Well, for once I'm a little ahead of schedule, instead of lagging behind. It's been a roller coaster month, so I've been looking forward to sending out the GroveZine just to have a chance to say "Hi" to everyone.

I think that I told you last month that we've had a new addition to the family, a female basset that we rescued named "Lilly". She and Samantha, our other basset, have been getting along great, but I think that we ALL forgot what it was like to have a puppy in the house. Lilly's a year old, and she's running Tami, Samantha and I ragged - she has *so* much energy. Here are some photos from her first night with us a little over a month ago: http

://www.thegrove-jefferson.com/lilly/ I've already had the question, "Has Lilly seen anything odd at The Grove?" Well, I'll share one interesting event in a minute.

Like I said, this month has had its ups and downs, so I'll tell you about a few, including some of the ghostly goings-on here!

It's almost summertime in Jefferson - school will be out soon, and there will be a lot of visitors in town. Speaking of which, we had a wonderful Pilgrimage. Between the home tours, the quilt show, and the Civil War re-enactment, there was something for everyone. Tami and I volunteered at three of the four tour homes, so if you were in town you may have seen us in our Victorian attire helping out as docents.

I wanted to be sure to mention an upcoming event that is one of my favorites every year: Fourth of July in Jefferson. It is truly "small town Americana", kind of like a Normal Rockwell painting. All of the stores and restaurants are open, of course, so there's plenty of places to browse in the air conditioned comfort. Throughout the day, though, Otstott Park (the one downtown with the gazebo) is the center of the activity. Brass bands belt out patriotic tunes from the gazebo, there are events for the kids, and as the day wears on you can see a cake auction that rivals anything that the world-famous auction houses have to offer. I've seen cakes and pies sell for anywhere from twenty bucks to hundreds of dollars. If a bidding war breaks out, just stand back and watch the excitement! Every dollar of the proceeds goes to benefit the Carnegie Library, so it's for a wonderful cause.

There are stands where you can buy ice cream and other traditional summertime goodies, but the real magic happens after the sun goes down. Fourth of July in Jefferson is capped off by a fireworks display that will literally take your breath away.

It's a weekend that your family will always remember, but start planning now - the B&B's fill up fast!

The Big Day - May 21st!

One of our dreams is to have The Grove listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We have applied for that recognition based on the architecture of the house: the outside is Greek Revival, the inside is Creole Architecture. We really want this to happen - it doesn't benefit us financially, but it may help insure that when we finally have to turn The Grove over to the next caretakers (and I hope that it's not 'til a hundred years from now), they won't tear the house down and put a carwash here. There are basically three steps to the process, and The Grove has passed the first two. The third step takes place on May 21st, when the people from the State Historical Commission get together with the people from the National Parks Service to review each property seeking this status. Needless to say, we'll be VERY nervous around that time. We'll let you know what happens - meanwhile, we need everyone to think good thoughts for us that day!

What's the deal about an all-white cat?

Many of you have seen Daphne, our white kitty that is named after Ms. Daphne Young, who planted the gardens at The Grove. She's a loving cat who adopted us over a year ago - all white fur, with one green eye, and one blue eye. We've always been "dog people", but since Daphne showed up, she's stolen our hearts. And since she wanders in and out of the house at will, she keeps the property (inside and out) free of mice and snakes - something that I really appreciate when I'm working under the house. We've had several questions when people see her, though. They've said, "Oh, a white cat... is she blind?" or "Most white cats are deaf... is she?" Truth be known, Daphne isn't deaf or blind - she's a normal cat (albeit a little bit spoiled). Because of the mysterious coloration of her eyes, though, I guess that people assume something outside of the ordinary is going on.

The next question that we get concerns whether or not Daphne has experienced any supernatural activity here at The Grove. To be honest, I don't know. I'm close enough to the basett hounds to know that they have, but I'm not sure about the cat. If I had to guess, though, I'd assume that Daphne has many stories that she's keeping to herself...

An Odd Story to Tell...

You know, I should probably just let this one go. For some reason, I just can't, though! The whole time that I was relating it to Tami I just couldn't wait to tell the GroveZine group!

So here we go. Forgive me if it's irreverent or inappropriate, but it gave me a smile during a very sad time.

One of the down-things that happened to us this month was that we lost someone who was very dear to us. It was truly an emotional experience, and Tami and I had both shed a few tears as the funeral service was starting.

At one point, the tears were really rolling, and I reached down beside me to get a tissue out of the box - the funeral home had placed them every few feet on each pew. When I looked down to get it, I noticed the fellow's arm who was sitting next to me... there was a tattoo of a bikini-clad girl on it. He was shedding a few tears as well. Now, lots of folks have ink, and some of the designs are quite interesting. The thing that caught my eye about this one, though was that as he cried his body shook a little, and he would move his arms to dab his eyes with a tissue. With every movement, the bikini-girl appeared to dance a tiny bit.

So there I was, grieving a person that I loved more than I can express with words, yet every time I looked down to get a tissue I saw this dancing bikini-girl. I couldn't help but laugh, because it was such a surreal situation. For the next half-hour or so, I'd go from crying at the minister's words to trying to suppress a full-gut, laugh-out-loud guffaw. I was feeling kind of bad about it, until I realized that our loved one was probably looking down at me and laughing herself silly. Maybe she even orchestrated it just to watch me squirm - I don't know, but I'll never forget her funeral. I can close my eyes and see her smiling right now. And of course, I'll never forget that tattoo.

On the way to the cemetery I told Tami about it, and she just shook her head and said, "You're terrible!"

Ghosts of East Texas

I really want to thank everyone for your kind words about the new book, "Ghosts of East Texas and the Pineywoods". It makes me feel great to know that you're enjoying it. All of the distribution agreements are in place, so it should be in your local Barnes & Noble in the next month or so. In the mean time if you'd like to read it, just go to The Grove Website (www.thegrove-jefferson.com) and click on the link that says, "Something Strange is Happening in the Pineywoods of East Texas...", or just go directly to the book's page at: www.thegrove-jefferson.com/easttx/

I wanted to include one of the emails that I received, this one from one of our friends on the ezine named Leigh Kuchera. I mentioned the Killough Monument last month in conjunction with the Ghosts of East Texas book, and Leigh wrote in to add some of her own experiences there:

"I just love getting the issues of the GroveZine. Anyway, you mentioned Killough Monument. I have lived in Jacksonville most of my life. I have visited this place many times and I definitely know what you mean about wanting to get the heck out of there. If you have a few minutes I will tell you about my experience. Back in 1986 there were many reports of devil worshipers using the monument site for rituals. A friend and I drove out there after school one afternoon to see all of this for ourselves. There were numerous pentagrams and other satanic symbols painted all over the road and parking area. Being young and silly we ventured into the woods to see what we might find. We came upon what appeared to be an altar, and nearby we found a pair of ripped up blue jeans with what appeared to be blood on them. We were scared, and downright hysterical, when we suddenly heard a car driving up. We thought for sure that we were going to be the next sacrifice. It was an elderly couple who also wanted to see the site for themselves. We both swore never to go there again."

"In 2003, a friend of mine and I were coming back from Tyler from a night out on the town and she saw a sign that said 'Killough Monument'; of course, she was curious. I told her the story and she wanted to go visit it right then at midnight. My husband was a skeptic and thought all the stories were silly. Anyway, we did go and my husband entered the fenced-in cemetery while my friend and I remained by the marker outside. I have never wanted to run so fast in my life. It was just a feeling that something was there. About that time my friend decided to sit in the car, and I agreed. We all but ran to the vehicle and promptly locked the doors. My husband was really laughing at us at that point. We finally got him back in the car and turned to drive out. He suddenly said, 'Shine the lights that way!' It was only a brief glance, but there were two tall silhouettes with 2 shorter ones right behind, and they just drifted across the road in front of us and into the woods. We searched but couldn't see them again. When we got outside the gate we stopped the car and my husband was saying that we didn't really see anything. I replied, 'okay, then let's go back in!' He quickly said, 'No! I really did see those things - did you?' We did. Since then my husband and I have been back several times, both at night and during the day. I have never had a feeling like I had that night again. I did, however, take some pics on last time I was out there during the day and I believe that there is something that appears to be a little girl in one of the photos."

Thanks, Leigh, for a wonderfully detailed description of your visits to Killough Monument. If anyone else visits it, I'd love to hear your experiences. As you know from reading the 'Ghosts of East Texas and the Pineywoods' book, I had quite an experience there myself.

I'm fortunate this month to get to include the report of someone who had a supernatural experience on the tour. It happens occasionally, but usually not when everyone is wanting it to. On this particular occasion, the Sawyer Parapsychology Investigations Research Information Team joined the tour as we were in the dining room, so they only missed the intro tothe house and the Stilleys. Anyway, Gigi Sawyer/McDavish sent me the following email, which I'm including with her permission:

"Dear Mitch & Tami - We came in at the tail end of the tour on Sunday. Again, thank you for allowing us to attend. Because you see so many people, to refresh your memory, I was the one who was being choked and was coughing while standing near the stairs. I was also poked in the side by one of the playful ghosts in your home as you stood in the kitchen at the end of the tour. I experienced a great deal of mouth and teeth pain while standing in the entry way between the kitchen and your living area - my face felt as if it had been hit with something very heavy. I was just about in tears the pain was so great."

"After stepping out on the front porch the pain eased, and after walking about a block away from your home the pain was completely gone. However, my face has felt as if I was burned with a rash for the next two days. That could also be associated with the wind and walking around your fantastic city on Saturday."

"I'm highly sensitive when it come to paranormal. If you ever get a change to find out from your psychic friend, I would be interested in knowing who in the history of the house experienced a beating and may have been hit in the face and mouth. I can tell you that the pain begin after I experienced the chocking near the stairs, and I almost left the room because my face and mouth began to hurt. The presence does not like females."

"Thank you Mitch and Tami for allowing us to enter your home.
Be blessed
Gigi Sawyer
Blood Moon Paranormal and Investigations

Gigi had a very interesting experience, although I'm very sorry that there was any pain involved on her part. That usually doesn't happen, although some people are touched by unseen hands, usually on the shoulder. I'd love to know why the spirits of The Grove were paying special attention to Gigi - maybe they felt a connection!

On a different note, we had a little bit of vandalism here at the house last month. We woke up on a Saturday morning to discover that someone had broken our decorative mailbox off at ground level. We don't have a clue who did it, since no other mailboxes on the street were disturbed. Our only clue is that on Friday evening Tami was calling parents to tell them that their kids didn't turn in their research papers (Tami's a teacher, if you recall). I'm sure some kids got in trouble that night, and we suspect that one of them may have taken our their frustrations on our mailbox.

I called the police when I found it, of course, and when one of Jefferson's patrolmen came out to take a look he wrote down all of the details, then started telling me stories about The Grove. Officer Redd has been a loved and respected member of Jefferson's Finest for years, and he was around in the years before we purchased the house. During that time when it was sitting empty, he told me that every now and then he would get a call from one of the neighbors complaining that there was the sound of a woman screaming coming from the house. Since it was usually unlocked during those days, he said that he would have to walk the entire house, including the attic, but he never found anyone there. The people reporting it were adamant, though - they swore that they'd heard the screams of a woman coming from the house.

That sort of reminds me of my neighbor down the street, who told me that before we moved there, he would sit out on his front porch and occasionally see some very strange things happening at The Grove. One time, for example, he saw a light come on in the front parlor and assumed that someone had purchased the house and had the electricity back on. As he watched, the middle chandelier in the parlor started to swing around. He figured that someone was dusting it or cleaning it, and didn't think anything else about it. The next day he went over to see who the new owners were, and the house still looked deserted. When he looked at the electrical box, he noticed that there was no meter plugged into the box - of course, it's impossible for electricity to flow into the house without a meter in place.

Although I love telling all of the things that happen to us here at The Grove, some of my favorite stories are from years past. It's wonderful to hear some of the things that have happened to other people here!

Before I close, I had promised to tell you something weird that happened with Lilly. It was a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago after the tour and lunch, and things were very quite at the house. We were in the den, and we saw Lilly trotting up toward the center stairwell. Suddenly, she bolted down the side gallery at lightning speed, like something was running after her. She burst through the doggie-door and ran into the back yard, where she turned around and started barking non-stop. It was so weird that we ran outside and looked to see what was wrong - whatever had spooked her initially really did a number on her. It took us a good five minutes to get her to calm down and come back inside the house. When she did, she stayed huddled at our feet, as if she was a little unsure as to what might be going on. Lilly finally relaxed, and everything went back to normal.

Well, that's it for this issue of the Grovezine. As always, I hope that I didn't get TOO long-winded! Thanks for reading, and thanks for your interest in The Grove. Stay tuned, because there's always something happening here.

Well, that's this month's edition of the GroveZine. We're very happy to get to share some of the current goings-on around the house. For some reason, supernatural activity during the tours has picked up - hopefully we'll have a few more tales for you by the time the next month rolls around. See you then!


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