Posts Tagged ‘historical’

Jefferson, Texas

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.

The Excelsior House Hotel

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.

Main Lobby of the Excelsior House

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!


by Amy Robbins

In the ancient Chinese port city of Penglai, a mystery blooms over the water.

The city, featuring a booming tourist trade and a rich history and mythology, is
known for its recurring mirages.  Images of buildings, people, mountains, and
lights fading into view and then vanishing into the air have been recorded for
centuries, prompting tale after tale of immortals and their mountain cities that
slip between worlds.

This occurrence had not been caught on video until 1988, when it was filmed by a
television reporter.  The mirage city was captured on film again in 2005, and
later in 2006.

The  footage of the 2005 mirage is spectacular, and records an event lasting nearly
two hours.  It began at 4:55 p.m. as a small hill on the horizon and three tall
buildings to the east faded into view.  One of the buildings took on the shape
of a pagoda with shining lamps while in the east, a cross could be vaguely seen.
The slopes on the archipelago shifted form to become a peaked hill, and by
5:30, a domed church could be discerned in an easterly direction.  The scene
continued to gradually shift in shape, at its most distinct by 6:20 before
fading completely by 7:00 as the wind shifted.

A  mirage occurs when the air density is higher at one level than at another,
causing the light to bend and create a reflective effect.  An “inferior image”
is formed below the horizon, a reflection of an object above it.  A “superior
image” is formed above the horizon, when there is a cooler layer of air below a
warmer one, bouncing reflective light upward, for instance to form the illusion
of a city on the ocean.

Of course, the site of such a fascinating phenomenon would spark the imaginations
of witnesses throughout the centuries.  Elaborate stories were told of the
vanishing cities and the immortals thought to reside within them, of the Three
Mountains of Immortality known as Penglai, Fangzhang, and Yingzhou.  The Eight
Immortals of Taoist myth were thought to have crossed the sea by throwing their
instruments of skill onto the surface of the water, creating a bridge made of a
bottle gourd, a crutch, a paper donkey, a fan, and other objects personal to
each Immortal.  In 219 B.C., a Taoist master spoke to Emperor Qin Shihuang about
the Immortal Mountains and the elixir of immortality thought to be possessed by
the residents of the otherworldly city.  He sent out numerous people to search
for the fabled city, but none succeeded.  The Emperor Wudi waited on the shore
for years for the mirage to appear, and built the city of Penglai as a balm to
his sadness when the city never took form before him.  Su Dongpo, known as a
great calligrapher, poet, and politician, is said to have encountered Lü
Dongbin, one of the Eight Immortals, while in Penglai.  He sought immortality
from the Eight Immortals, and they acceded to his request, but he lost courage
when it came time to leap onto the sea.

It  is truly remarkable that one could witness such an event that has recurred for
millenia, written of in ancient records and recreated in folklore and colorful
legends.  Whatever one’s explanation for the phenomena that occurs in Penglai,
it is a fascinating curiosity that speaks to our imaginations of fantastic
worlds and possibilities beyond imagination.

Link and reference list:
PengLai Mirage Video, Part One
PengLai Mirage Video, Part Two
Visions of Immortal Life in Penglai
Penglai,Land of Fairy Tales
Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea
Eight Immortals of Taoism
How Mirages Work

Want to step back in time? If so and you live in the East Texas area, consider taking a trip to visit Jefferson Texas, listed as the third most haunted city in Texas as well as the fifth oldest city in Texas. Let me give you a little bit of the background of the city and maybe you will see why it is considered haunted.
The rich history of the town begins in the 1800’s when Jefferson was a mecca for riverboat traffic and a prosperous and influential city. It was one of the state’s biggest and busiest river ports and was reported to be the biggest west of the mighty Mississippi.The city was dubbed Queen of the Bayou because of the proximity to the swamps of the Cypress River.

Jefferson, Texas

Clock in Downtown Jefferson

Walking down the streets of Jefferson today is just like stepping back into time and the atmosphere is one of a much gentler era, one where manners and grace once were abundant. A time where everyone knew everyone else, the yards were filled with laughter from kids playing, and music could be heard on a warm summer night from one of the hotels or saloons. Upon walking down main street, you will get a sense of what life might have been like back then. Even on its busiest days of the year however, it is strangely a quiet place seemingly cut off from all the noise and bustle of modern life. Big oak trees surround the area and a gentle breeze seems to always be drifting through. The river is not a far walk from town, and that brings me to one of the reasons it is haunted. I will not go into great detail about some of the reported tales in this article but I will give you some information to pique your curiosity.
The most famous haunting is that of Annie Stone better known to townsfolk as “Diamond Bessie Moore”. She was murdered just outside the city and is said to still roam the streets, river bank and one of the hotels in town. You will see many things about her throughout the town, as she is now somewhat of a celebrity and they are proud to tell you the story and direct you to the spots where she has been seen. There is also the Excelsior House (Hotel) where she has been sighted and many strange things happen if you were to be staying in one of the rooms or wandering the halls at night.

The town has a surreal quality about it, as you can hear the clip clop of the horse and buggy that makes its way through the town, on the cobblestone streets, and a the lonesome whistle of the haunted train the “General Lee” as it makes its rounds telling the history of the town as it goes.

General Lee

General Lee

So whether you want to experience a time gone by or try and catch yourself a glimpse of a ghost. Try checking out beautiful Jefferson, Texas. If your really up for an adventure into the paranormal book you a room at one of the downtown hotels or a bed and breakfast. In my next article,  we will examine details of the hauntingly  sad tale of “Diamond Bessie Moore”.
Until then… Sleep tight.