Hey, everyone. I hope you enjoyed the Something Wicked tour last week. I had a blast hosting my fellow SE authors. But now, it’s back to normal here. (Or as normal as it can get. LOL) Time for another Mystery Monday.
The small East Texas town of Jefferson lies near the Louisiana border. At just an hour away from my home, it’s a nice place for a weekend getaway.
With its quaint, brick streets, and historic church buildings, you’d never guess Jefferson is a hotspot for ghost sightings and paranormal occurrences.
But it is. Today I’ll tell you about a few of the “haunts.”
First on the list is the Jefferson Hot. Built in 1851, the building once housed a cotton warehouse. Today, the staff of the hotel say encounters with the paranormal happen weekly and sometimes daily. Dishes move, televisions turn on and off, and items fall when no one is around.
Elizabeth Montgomery was a young bride-to-be and a guest of the hotel in the 1870s. When her fiancé stood her up on their wedding day, Elizabeth hung herself from a bedpost in room 19. Some guests say her ghost still occupies that area.
There are also reports of the ghosts of playful children who are bent on playing pranks. Staff turn off lights only to have them turned on again once they walk away.
Another reported spirit is an unknown man. He’s tall and wears a long duster with his pants tucked into his boots. He roams the downstairs hallway, then turns to go into a room. But when the room is checked, no one is inside.
Guests report hearing children’s laughter, the smell of cigar smoke (it’s a non-smoking building), faucets turning on of their own accord, and doors opening.
The Excelsior House is one of the oldest hotels in operation in Texas. Dating back to the 1850s, famous guests include Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and Ulysses S. Grant, former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, and playwright Oscar Wilde.
Unlike the staff of the Jefferson, the garden club that manages Excelsior House downplay the existence of ghosts. Yet some people believe spirits inhabit the hotel. Among them, a headless man, a woman in black with a baby, and Diamond Bessie, a prostitute who was murdered in the woods just outside of town in 1877.
According to rumor, Director Steven Spielberg stayed in what is known as the Jay Gould room. Upon arriving, he tossed his briefcase in a chair only to have it flung back at him. The story goes on to say the spirit of a young boy awakened him during the night to ask if he was ready for breakfast. Spielberg immediately gathered his crew and checked out of the hotel. He then wrote and produced the film Poltergeist shortly after that. (Of note, this is only a rumor and unconfirmed.)
My husband and I have stayed in both hotels and did not have any paranormal occurrences. However, we did do a ghost walk one cold November night. Again, no encounters, but we did hear some fascinating tales. Our guide showed us a photo of a house (now bed and breakfast) where there was clearly the ghostly image of a man standing near a window. I’m no expert, but it did not appear to be photoshopped.
The Grove is a private residence and tour home. It’s said to be one of the most haunted locations in Texas, with ghost stories dating back over 100 years. Several spirits inhabit the house, including a lady wearing white, a man who strides through the lily beds of the garden, and a mischievous entity that is particularly fond of ladies.
Stories of ghosts and paranormal sightings abound in this little town. And I’m sure hubs and I will visit there again someday. Who knows? We might have our own encounter with an unknown entity.