The excursion started out as a means for writing inspiration, fun, and adventure. But my three-day vacation turned out to be so much more.
My haunted vacation was initially prompted by a ghost hunt with Brandy Green from Scy-Fy’s Ghost Hunter International series, held at the Catfish Plantation in Waxahachie, Texas on a Saturday night. Though I didn’t come across any ghosts that reside in and around the restaurant, I did meet some fascinating people and had some great food, including fried catfish and hush puppies!
After a few hours of sleep, I drove three hours to Jefferson, Texas! Why? Because my vacation wouldn’t have been complete without spending some time in the most haunted town in Texas!
This small city of only 2,000 people is full of historic homes in Greek Revival, Victorian, English Tudor and Arts and Crafts style. Homes, bed and breakfasts, downtown hotels and restaurants all claim quite a bit of activity from visitors, owners and employees.
This included the place where I stayed, the Delta Street Inn.
The owners mentioned they had quite a bit of spirit activity during renovation of this prairie style 1920 home. It has four very charming rooms and is a quiet, romantic place to stay.
My first experience occurred as I laid down to take a nap before dinner. I started to fall asleep and a deep male voice whispered something in my ear that I couldn’t comprehend. Apparently, this entity didn’t like that I ignored it, because the next thing I heard was a growl. I also heard some other strange sounds within a few feet of where I slept during the night. I wasn’t sure if it was the bathroom door trying to open or close, or maybe it was something sitting in the chair next to my bed. But as soon as I turned on the light, it stopped.
Other hauntings in Jefferson include a perfumed lady in the Excelsior House, white ghostly figures in and around the Haywood House, sweet scents and unexplainable music at the Twin Oaks Plantation, and a myriad of activity at the Jefferson Hotel; footsteps on the stairs, bright orbs following guests around in room 21, the ghost of an elderly woman placing a blanket over a chilled guest in room 5, and reports of children’s laughter in room 7.
However, these are only a FEW accounts of the things that go in Jefferson. If you’re interested in reading about more of the history and haunts of Jefferson and East Texas, check out Mitchel Whitington’s Grove Emporium.
If you go, be sure to spend time talking to the residents of this amazing town to discover more about the history and haunts! You won’t be disappointed!
Historic Home Tours
Mitchel Whitington and his wife Tami lead daily tours through their Greek Revival style home called The Grove, or Stilley-Young House. This guided tour is only $6.00 for an hour of fascinating history, ghost stories and a glimpse into the architecture and interior designs of the past (this is a must see).
There are many other interesting tours of homes built in the 1800’s including Ruth Lester Memorial and Jefferson Playhouse, Scarlett O’Hardy’s, House of the Seasons, the Benefield House, Singleton’s Virginia Cross as well as the Jefferson Hotel and the Excelsior Hotel downtown.
Historic Oakwood Cemetery
Mitchel and Tami took me out to lunch, then drove me around town and down to the historic Oakwood Cemetery. Located at the end of Alley Street off of Highway 49, it contains exquisite ironwork, tombstone art, grave markers and fascinating epitaphs.
It has the tomb of Diamond Bessie, daughter of a shoe store owner and a wayward girl who was murdered by Abraham Rothschild in 1877, the son of a wealthy Cincinnati jeweler named Meyer Rothschild, and a relative of the prominent European Rothschild banking family. Within this place of peace and rest you will also find Confederate and Union soldiers, early settlers, murder victims and murderers, outlaws, lawmen, businessmen and many others from the bygone riverboat days.
Walking around downtown on a Sunday evening was a tranquil, refreshing experience! I had dinner at LaMache’s Italian Restaurant, and had a fantastic pasta dish with cream sauce, mushrooms and clams, and finished with the most decadent tiramusu. Then I strolled through the very quiet streets and took pictures of the Jay Gould Railroad Car, the lobby of the Excelsior and the attached gardens, and the Jefferson Historical Museum.
There aren’t many chain restaurants in Jefferson, Texas. But there is a drug store with an old-fashioned soda counter. What it lacks in culture, the town makes up for in scenery and the mystery of the past. And a small motor boat tour through the canals of Caddo Lake only 20 minutes from town will leave you breathless with white ibis and great blue heron soaring across the water, ancient cypress trees adorned with Spanish moss, and the beautiful white water hyacinth and giant Salvinia floating serenely on the surface.
Traffic congestion for quiet streets. Air pollution for small town charm. Cramped neighborhoods for green, wide open, quaint lots. And the uncaring attitudes of those ensconced in big city life for people who take the time to learn more about you.
For the spirits that resided in this once thriving riverboat town so long ago, their eternal peace is to hang out in the very place they did when they were alive. Whether they roam the streets or nearby woods, sit quietly unseen on porch swings, or hang out in the very rooms where they used to live, they have no desire to move on. And I definitely don’t blame them. I didn’t want to leave either.