www.thegrove-jefferson.com                          December 2006                                      ISSN 1558-3252

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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 good.

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 you there!

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.

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