While researching this historical hotel in Jefferson Texas, things seem to be a bit strange indeed. While, officially, the hotel takes no position or conveys information about the alleged paranormal activity, many of the staff will gladly tell you of their personal experiences with things they have witnessed as well as other guest’s encounters within its walls.
While there seems to be no official record of when the hotel opened, all information that was obtained in my research leads one to understand that The Excelsior House Hotel has been in business since 1855. It has been host to many famous guests including Ulysses S Grant, Jay Gould, Oscar Wilde, Lady Byrd Johnson and rumor has it Steven Spielberg. As a matter of fact several of the rooms are named after its famous guests.
While the story of Diamond Bessie is a tragic one it seems that this murdered lady still regularly visits the Excelsior. Many guests have even left the hotel in the middle of the night, refusing to return due to the activity there. There are numerous claims about Bessie’s presence in the hotel including: that she has been seen in the upper hallway, pulling the covers from your body as you sleep, and even that she is said to steal the diamonds off of sleeping women’s fingers.
Another report involves the Jay Gould room, which is said to be the most haunted of the hotel. Reports of a rocking chair that will not stop rocking, cigar smoke that can been seen and smelt, a headless man that appears right outside the doorway of the room, as well as a woman in black carrying a child and a little boy.
Rumors abound in town about how Steven Spielberg and a film crew once stayed at the Excelsior. According to these unverified rumors Mr. Spielberg stayed in the legendary Jay Gould room. Checking into the hotel, he went up to the Jay Gould room with bags in tow. He then tossed his briefcase on the Victorian chair and it flew back at him immediately. Sometime after midnight he was awakened by a small boy that asked him if he was ready for breakfast. By 2:00 a.m. he awakened his film crew and fled the hotel; saying he could not sleep for the rocking chair that would not stop rocking. Oddly enough, this reportedly happened just before the release of his blockbuster movie Poltergeist. Although I can find no evidence to the fact that he actually stayed in the hotel as is claimed.
While one guest reported phantom smells of perfume wandering the downstairs area, the night clerk said it was not the first time something like that had happened and was reported.
So, with the chance of seeing and gaining evidence of a full bodied apparition in this quaint New Orleans style hotel with court yard, plantation type breakfast and fancy iron works seeming to be a pretty sure thing, this investigator is looking forward to checking this one out. I will definitely be reporting on my findings as soon as I do.
Jefferson, Texas seems to be the happening place for many ghost stories, and bumping into the past, on a pretty consistent basis. I have personally visited many times and love the area. Walking through town one truly gets a feel for a much simpler time. The spirits abound and the people are friendly. So, let us know if you decide to visit. We will look forward to everybody’s personal experiences while visiting there.
Till next time! Sleep tight!