Content of this web page copyright ©1997-2002 melodief.com, All Rights Reserved. This page used by The Grove with written permission from the author.
As I sat there, I watched the hairs on my arm stand up straight, one by one. I FELT something I had never felt before moving THROUGH me. I felt it move up one arm, through my body and down through the other arm. At the same time, I felt a tremendous drop in temperature. Leslie grabbed her meter. I reached out my left hand and told her where to place it...the needle suddenly began jumping wildly! Any lingering doubt was suddenly and irrevocably erased from my mind. One can not experience something such as this and walk away, still shaking their head in disbelief.
The entire night had been filled with unexpected and unexplained phenomena. This was simply the "icing on the cake" as far as I was concerned. I had entered into this endeavor with an open mind. It wasn't that I did or didn't believe in ghosts or paranormal phenomena, I guess it was more that I simply had not fully experienced them until this night.
Over the years, I had taken some photographs that, when developed, showed to have some pretty bizarre things in them. They had peaked my curiosity to say the least but I had no terms to attached to the weird images that had appeared in them. It was after this nights experience that I decided it was high time to make some sense out of all of it through doing some of my own research!
My friend, Leslie, had been investigating paranormal phenomena (specifically ghosts) for a few years. During this time, she had made numerous trips to the small town of Jefferson, TX. (which is considered to be exceptionally haunted)! During her visits she met and became friends with Patrick, the owner of "The Grove" restaurant. The Grove sits on the outskirts of town, away from the main streets and as you have probably guessed, is considered to be haunted.
Patrick wanted Leslie to try to spend a night in the restaurant. When her investigation partner flatly refused, she asked me if I would be interested. I jumped at the chance!
Before telling you of our experiences that night (did I mention that NO ONE else had made it through an entire night there in many, many years?), I should first give you a bit of history about the place.
Originally, The Grove had been a house. The history of the area is a well documented thing so I will just give you some of the high points of it's varied past. Several murders (including a hanging) happened on the property following the Civil War. One occupant of the house (Mr. Charlie, the town barber), according to locale legend killed quite a few people and buried them on his property. He then purchased land which he turned into a cemetery. Supposedly, he removed the bodies from his back yard one by one and under the cover of night, transferred them to his cemetery. With a history such as this, it is not surprising that a few restless souls still lay claim to the land.
Mr. Charlie had been married to Miss Daphne. Patrick has a picture of her. Her photo shows a lot of dignity and yet there is a tremendous sadness in her eyes. Stories about her speak of her kindly as a very sweet lady yet also tell the tale of the hellish life she endured at Mr. Charlie’s hands. She both lived and died in the house. Their daughter died (I believe it was in the early 1980's) at the age of 96. She had been moved to a nursing home/retirement home many years earlier. The property stood empty until Patrick and his sister bought it somewhere around 1990. Patrick had to do a lot of restoration on the house before it could be made into a restaurant. It was during the restoration process that strange things began to happen and Patrick became aware that the building was haunted. According to Patrick, objects fly through the air, sudden cold spots appear, items are rearranged, strange noises are heard...all of the things that are normally associated with a haunting.
Being away from the main portion of the town, the house sits comfortably on a back street, surrounded by trees. No other house or building stands right beside it or behind it. The street is a quiet one with hardly a car disturbing its solitude. We arrived there around 8:30 PM. We spoke to Patrick and his two waiters while we ate a wonderful dinner. They filled us in on what had happened since Leslie's last visit there. After dinner we went for a walk. The street was dark except for the one-day old full moon, hanging in the sky and adding to the overall atmosphere of the evening.
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!
We headed back inside. Once there, we walked around the house. Leslie has a meter that checks the electromagnetic energy in an area. We took base readings around the house with it. We set up her video camera down a long hallway in the back. She uses this both for the video portion and for the sound as it is much more sensitive than a regular recorder. Later viewing only showed one slightly unusual thing. At one point there was some sort of movement that made the video camera attempt to auto focus, yet there was nothing there for it to focus on.
At one point, Leslie and I were standing just inside the entrance to the blue room (from the small hall). We both heard a noise simultaneously coming from the powder room/small hall area, and turned to look. We heard it a second time and of course, there was absolutely nothing there that we could see! What we heard sounded like the bustling of a heavily starched, (full length) skirt. As if a woman (in a bustled skirt) had just walked by. Patrick was in the small dinning room (no where near where we were) and could not have made the noise. It was distinct, clear and unmistakable!
We headed up into the attic. Patrick had plans of finishing the attic and turning it into another room, but he had not worked on it for years (he really doesn't like it there!). There is no electricity up there, so we were using candles and a flashlight. There was a group of three chairs stored off in an area to the right that juts outward. I saw a shadowy figure sitting in the back chair - very plainly visible. It vanished as I watched. We set a tape recorder up in the attic but did not get anything unusual on it.
I have often heard about "cold spots" associated with hauntings, but had never experienced any. Until this night. Now, I must tell you here that it was a very hot and humid East Texas night. The restaurant had two window air conditioning units for the whole place. They were not working well (and weren't cycling on very often). The temperature inside the building was around 85 degrees. Even if you stood directly in front of one of the units while it was cycled on, there was not a major drop in temperature (5 degrees tops).
There is an interesting photograph in the small hallway that has taken on the name of another of the houses earlier inhabitants (Minerva) despite the fact that it is not her picture. This picture dominates the wall it is on and the eyes in the picture have that rare ability to follow you around. No matter where you stand or what angle you look at the photograph from, she is staring directly at you. Needless to say, this is a bit spooky of itself!
At one point, I was standing in front of "Minerva's" picture when suddenly I felt an ice cold blast of air (like from a deep freeze) that moved THROUGH my legs. It started at the floor and went up about 16 inches. None of the air conditioning units are even anywhere near there. There were a few other "cold spots" that I experienced but this was the most pronounced (the others varied in size and coldness yet none of them could be explained).
Patrick left about 12:30 AM. Things were fairly quiet. Other than what I have already mentioned, it was like any other night at any other "house". We decided to try to get some sleep around 3 AM. Ha! (TRY is the operative word here!) We put sleeping bags in the middle of the entry way. There was a crystal chandelier right above us but we had it turned quite dimly. This was the only electric light that we had on (we had been using candles). We lay down to catch some shut-eye and the light started turning itself up and down! Needless to say, that has a tendency to get your attention! The switch was in plain sight. No one but the two of us were anywhere near this place. The light had behaved itself quite nicely (acting like lights NORMALLY do) until the moment we laid down. When we got up, the light stopped it shenanigans! Lay back down and here it goes again!
We sat up and talked for a bit. Suddenly, we heard a very loud sound (like something large and heavy had been dropped onto the hard wood floor). We both jumped and turned to look at the corner of the right dinning room simultaneously. Of course, there was nothing out of place. We had placed a recorder on the stairs nearby. When we checked the recording later on, we heard the same loud sound so we knew it had not been our imaginations playing a trick on us in unison!
The next thing that happened was that we began to hear car doors opening and closing outside. Now, this might not seem strange to you, but, from where we were, we could see any cars that might be anywhere in the vicinity. The only car we could see was Leslie’s (and her doors were not open). This drove us a little nuts! Every time we heard a car door, we went to the window and looked out. Never saw a thing. Being on the outskirts of such a small town, believe me when I say that there was absolutely NO traffic (especially at that time of the morning). We never heard the sound of a car engine, just doors opening and closing. Leslie’s car was locked tight.
A side note here on the cars - the next morning we learned something very interesting from Patrick about these car doors. Perhaps an explanation for what we heard. Apparently, back in the 20's, the house across the street had belonged to a man that had a very dastardly reputation. He was in the business of selling moonshine (bootleg, rot gut, home made liquor). There had been rumors of lots of bad goings on there. Patrick thought the car doors that we kept hearing in the middle of the night might be tied to the man’s illegal liquor trade. (i.e.: the ghost that kept arriving to get its moonshine... did something happen? Did the person never make it out of there alive? Just supposition here but in light of what we heard, it is a possibility).
The next bit of history comes from more recent years and the last two owners of that house. One of them had talked about some bizarre experiences in the house. One morning, right outside his front door, he dropped dead from a sudden massive heart attack. The next owners had not been there long when they suddenly up and left - they left many of their possessions in the house. No one knows why. The place then stood vacant for about two years.
During that two year period, the house literally imploded upon itself. We went over and took a look at it in the morning - quite interesting! (It is nestled in amongst very thick undergrowth and trees - not visible from the road). The doorway is all that is left fully standing. You can see the chest of drawers and belongings standing where they were left. The walls and roof all fell inward, as if it had been semi folded up! According to Patrick, the house had not been in bad shape when the last owners had left. It is quite unusual for a house to fall in upon itself in two years time! We can rule out termites too (most of the houses there are built with cypress wood and termites, I am told, won't touch the cypress). It would be very interesting to study this house more! It peaks my curiosity!
We made many trips through the restaurant that night (especially after all of the activity started). At one point, I was walking through the blue room and a movement caught my eye. I stood there and watched the chandelier swing back and forth. Leslie was in a different room, so I called her in. No, my eyes were NOT playing tricks on me... it was NOT my imagination... it WAS moving. The other chandelier in the room was perfectly still. The other chandelier was close enough to this one that whatever was making this one move should have also affected the other one...unless of course, it was being intentionally moved by unseen hands. We stood and watched it swaying for 5 - 10 min. We could not find any logical reason for the movement. The room was still and quiet. No breeze, no air conditioning, no fan. Nothing that would sway a chandelier.
Finally, being rather tired, we decided to go ahead and try to get some sleep (regardless of the antics going on in the house). Needless to say, we did not sleep much - perhaps one and a half hours total! As soon as we would drift off to sleep, there would be another loud noise of some sort (banging, bumping, etc.).
There were a few times where we had gotten into a deep enough sleep that, when we were startled awake, we were not sure exactly what we had heard. I would say that I was awakened a bare minimum of thirty times! Many of the times we were both awakened simultaneously.
On only one of these occasions did I feel really freaked out. Unfortunately, I do not know what it was that woke me. All I know is that when I woke up, I felt extremely spooked - to the point that it was all I could do to keep from jumping up and running out of the house. Now, I must reiterate here that I am not someone that really spooks easily. Believe it or not, I have too much of a logical mind for that. I wish I knew what awakened me, but I don't. I have no "earthly" (pardon the pun!) idea of what freaked me out. It took me a while to go back to sleep, but I finally did (only to be awakened quite a few more times!).
We both finally gave up on trying to sleep at about 7:30 AM. Interestingly enough, we had left the chandelier that kept dimming itself in the on position. When we finally got up, we discovered that the light had nicely been turned completely off for us!
Patrick showed back up at about 10:30 AM. He was quite surprised that we lasted through the night! We were sitting around the small table in the right dinning room when I had the most phenomenal experience of all. Patrick was sitting to my right and Leslie was getting something out of her bag.
I suddenly felt as if someone (or something) had walk right behind me, not only brushing against my back but moving THROUGH part of my back. I looked at Patrick. His eyes were huge and he said "something is here right now". He held up his arm - he had mega goose-bumps! The "presence" moved through Patrick and back towards me. As I sat there, I watched the hairs on my arm stand up straight, one by one. I FELT something I had never felt before moving THROUGH me. I felt it move up one arm, through my body and down through the other arm. At the same time, I felt a tremendous drop in temperature. Leslie grabbed her meter. I reached out my left hand and told her where to place it...the needle suddenly began jumping wildly! Any lingering doubt was suddenly and irrevocably erased from my mind. One can not experience something such as this and walk away, still shaking their head in disbelief.
I had felt it and the meter was going nuts! It was the strongest reading that we had gotten on the meter through out the entire experience! When you feel something like this - it is strange. You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have felt something. There is absolutely no question in your mind. You have touched something unlike anything you have ever touched before, and believe me - you KNOW it! It was phenomenal to have Patrick react and then the meter go bonkers! It is like having this unbelievable confirmation of something that you suddenly no longer need confirmation of! Words truly do not do it justice and can not even begin to describe it. It is one thing to feel a cold spot here and there, to hear unexplainable noises, to have lights and chandeliers behaving abnormally, to see shapes and dark spots, but, to feel this "presence", this "thing" so very strongly and to have it verified by another person and the meter leaves no more room for doubt!
All in all, the night answered some questions for me. It made a true believer of me. Would I do it again? Well, actually I have! No, not at this same place and not under the same circumstances but I have spent the night in haunted places since and I hope to be able to continue doing so! Each place I have visited is different and unique... I chalk it up to the "Spirit" of the place!
Content of this web page copyright ©1997-2002 melodief.com, All Rights Reserved. This page used by The Grove with written permission from the author.