I spent the weekend communing with ghosts. Not kidding.
Jefferson, Texas is a tiny, forgotten tourist town with a rich, sometimes dark history. Once the second largest city in Texas between the 1850s and 1870s, the population of wealthy civil war generals, riverboat captains, prostitutes, slaves and union soldiers created a dynamic of conflict worthy of the war itself. In the pages of Jefferson's history, you'll find human stockades for captured union soldiers, lynchings, gun battles, murders, infernos--all within a mile radius of the historical main street.
A regular destination of paranormal investigators, it's been featured HGTV, Sci-Fi Channel, Discovery Channel and the History Channel for it's ghostly activity. Even Stephen Spielberg couldn't last the night at the Excelsior Hotel because of the encounter he had.
After nightfall, camera in hand, I braved the cold with twenty or so others on a Ghost Walk to try to capture an image or sense of paranormal activity. Led by a wonderful guide, a self-proclaimed scientist and former skeptic, we toured the areas where reports of ghostly activity can be traced back to the 1880s through court documents, newspaper accounts and, of course, folklore.
The photo above shows McGarity's Saloon, one of our first stops. Many attempts have been made to renovate the building, but workers never stay long enough to finish the job. Owned now, but vacant, by a couple who lives near Dallas, it has been a boarding house, brothel and saloon among other things. Behind me, the dense East Texas trees concealed distant street lights and eliminated all possibility of reflection. Photography captures pockets of energy the naked eye cannot. Most sightings have occurred on the top floor in either the middle or right window. You be the judge.
This was my second visit to Jefferson, but not my first paranormal encounter there. At the fabulous McKay House B&B, in the upstairs room, exploring late at night, I found I couldn't breathe--like something was sitting on my chest. As soon as I walked into the hallway, the feeling disappeared. Before I knew the McKay house had its own ghost, I had found her.
Jefferson is an amazing town for history buffs and anyone who wants to get away from the city and step back in time. Make sure you bring your digital camera and an open mind. Once you leave, you'll be convinced.
What do you think? Trick of the lens? Dust? Humidity? Or the energy manifestation of the lawman gunned down here?
Mood Saturday night:: sufficiently freaked out