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Wow - just a few days to go, and 2006 is in the history books. I
genuinely can't believe it - the year seems to have FLOWN by so
fast! The Candlelight Tour of Homes is over, and you may
remember me saying that The Grove was one of the four historic
houses invited to participate this year. We opened our doors and
had over 3,000 people go through the house in the first two
weekends of December... WHEW! One of the most interesting things
for me was that as I was working the front porch, I met many
people who are GroveZine subscribers. To all those folks, I'd
like to say, "Thanks for coming by!"
After Candlelight, we spent some wonderful time with family
during the Christmas holidays, and it was fantastic... but there
was WAY TOO MUCH DELICIOUS FOOD! I'm going to have to double my
exercise regiment next week, and go on a bread-and-water diet
just to knock off the pounds that I most certainly gained. What
fun it was, though!
I don't know whether or not you'll consider this to be progress,
but Jefferson is getting a McDonald's in the near future. It
will be out on Highway 59, at the intersection with Highway 49,
and in fact, I think that they break ground in the next few
weeks. They're promising to keep the design in the Jeffersonian
tradition, so stay tuned for more info. Mickey D's can't begin
to compete with a breakfast at the Bakery or Excelsior House, of
course, but an occasional bacon, egg and cheese biscuit will be
Oh, and as long as I'm talking about Jefferson, the next big
event in town takes place in only a few weeks - the annual Quilt
Show. It is January 26-28, 2007. Tami and I both volunteer at
the show that weekend, so we know just how interesting it is.
For all the info, go to www.jeffersonquiltshow.com - we'll see
The other big news here at The Grove is that there's a new book
out that I contributed to named "Ghostly Tales From America's
Jails." It has stories of haunted jails around the country, many
that you can visit, and even sleep in (yep, there's a haunted
jail that's been turned into a B&B). I wrote two chapters in the
book, and many of my friends are in there as well - including
well-known ghost hunters like Troy Taylor, Olyve Abbot, and Joan
Upton Hall (who edited the book). For more info, go to:
http://www.thegrove-jefferson.com/jails/ - it's a great book for
anyone interested in the paranormal.
To begin with, I have a story that actually scared me a bit. The
first weekend of Candlelight was a few days away, and we were
putting the finishing touches on the house one morning. Tami was
working up in the parlor, and I suddenly heard her yelling like
something was terribly wrong. I ran up to the front of the
house, and she was pointing at a black trash bag that was
labeled, "Front Parlor Decorations". She said, "Something's in
there! Something's in that bag!", and by that time she was
standing on one of the chairs in the dining room. Not that I'm a
brave guy when it comes to things like that, of course, 'cause
I'm not... I'm the world's biggest chicken. Still, I saw the
opportunity, so I grabbed the top of the trash bag and ran
toward the front door. As I held it, I could feel something
thrashing around inside, so I could only guess that it held a
skunk, opossum, or some other varmint that had snuck its way
into the house. I tossed the bag out of the front door and onto
the porch. As I slammed and locked the door, I was looking
outside to see what sort of creature might have been inside...
suddenly, I saw emerging from the bag, our white cat Daphne. To
be honest, I didn't know whether to scold her or hug her - she'd
obviously bedded down inside the bag for the evening, and had
innocently scared the crap out of me that morning. Of course, I
probably scared her even more. People sometimes ask me, do you
ever get frightened living at The Grove? The answer is "yes, but
not for the reasons that you'd think..."
I've received quite a few emails with people asking, "Did
anything happen during Candlelight, with all those people in the
house?" As it turns out, I do have a couple of stories to tell...
On the Sunday morning after the first weekend of Candlelight, we
went over to The Bakery for breakfast, and had a great meal. I
always have the "pancake sandwich" (which isn't a sandwich at
all), but does include two eggs, two pancakes, and bacon. As we
were leaving (stuffed, after the huge breakfast), a couple came
up to us and asked whether or not we owned The Grove, whether it
was on the home tour, etc. The whole thing boiled down to a
problem that their daughter had during the tour. We had the
chance to talk to her, and in the den she was standing in front
of the computer table when she felt someone touch her on her
bottom. Since her husband was across the room, she figured that
it must have been some deranged guest on the tour that was being
very fresh with her. As she quickly looked around, though, she
saw that she was all alone - no one was near her. That kind of
thing happens all the time in that room - I just hate that it
startled the poor lady!
The other thing that happened during Candlelight was on the last
evening of the tour. We'd shut the house down, and a few of the
docents were hanging out in the kitchen, talking about the
evening. Our friend Renee saw someone walking down the hall past
the kitchen door, but there was no one out there - she said, "I
just saw a man go down the hallway!" Since no flesh-and-blood
person was in the hall, we figured that it must have been our
"garden guy", who sometimes shows up there. The hallway used to
be a side porch that was open to the garden, so it wasn't part
of the house proper. We've seen him there before, and apparently
Renee saw him there on that Saturday evening. If only he could
have been there earlier to help with the tours!
The final story that I have for you from The Grove is one of the
best ones of the year, and comes from a visitor named Lisa.
Although I've cut it a little for length, here's what happened,
in her own words:
"My husband is from South America, and a lot of his family is
sensitive to spirits. While standing in the parlor, I felt like
someone was watching us from up near the attic. I just assumed
it was me being afraid of your house to start with, and never
made mention of it during the tour. When we walked into the game
room I heard footsteps on the staircase. I never saw anything,
and had just decided that it was your wife, since you had told
us you were getting ready for Christmas and I figured she may
have gone to get something from the attic. That room made me
very dizzy, by the way. I don't know if you noticed me holding
my head for a minute. That's never happened to me before - and
after we left that room I was fine. I don't know if it is just
the way the house isn't exactly level or what. Anyway, I never
saw anything... I just assumed I was scared! The ghost walk had
convinced me that I never wanted to set foot on your lawn, much
less in your house. As soon as we got back in the car, my
husband looked at me and said, "Did you see the man in the black
suit looking down on us from the attic when we were in the
parlor?" Now, I was paler than I usually am. I told him no,
but I thought I had felt like someone was looking at us from up
there. He then went on to tell me that the figure walked down
the staircase while we were in the game room, and down that
little hall. He didn't want to mention it at the time since this
isn't a spirit that has ever been reported as being seen around.
But he is absolutely sure of what he saw. He wondered if it
could have been an early owner of the home."
As it turns out, there is a presence that we occasionally feel
in the stairwell, and on the staircase. We've dubbed him
"Thomas", and he seems to be a friendly, apprehensive spirit. It
could well be Thomas that Lisa and her husband encountered that
day. She said that they'll be coming back in the future, so I'm
looking forward to their email after that visit!
That's a wonderful story to close the year out with, so I'll end
this issue of the GroveZine. I can hardly wait to see what all
will be happening at The Grove in the year to come.
There's only a short time left in 2006, so please allow me to
wish you a happy, prosperous 2007. I hope that you have enjoyed
the GroveZine this past year, and that you have a great time
with it in the coming year. Thanks for reading, and for being a
part of The Grove family. We sincerely appreciate you.
If you missed any issues of the GroveZine, you can find them at:
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