As promised, here is the first part of the weekend when Aunt Belle and I ran away from home:
Jefferson, Texas, is a town that superbly fits one word: quiet. At least it is pretty much that way when there's not a huge festival in town. A couple times a year, Aunt Belle and I run away by ourselves to visit somewhere we can relax from the stress of our daily lives, plus check out the ghosts, of course. Jefferson is filled with B&B's, and we've stayed at several of them. I believe the Claiborne House was the most active haunted B&B we've encountered in this town.
Aunt Belle in Front of Claiborne House
The house was built between 1862-66, and Captain Claiborne purchased it in 1871. It has wonderful porches on it, as well as a swing and chairs to sit in and unwind. Captain Claiborne still hangs around, as well as several other who have decided it's a wonderful place to roam.
Today's owners, Ann and Jerry Leblanc, bought it two years ago without being informed it was haunted.
Jerry and Ann LeBlanc
They are both a lot of fun to talk to, and they have no qualms about discussing the various pranks the ghosts in the house pull on them and their guests. When I first talked to Jerry to make our reservation, we ended up on the phone for a long while discussing the hauntings. He also informed me that he believed they had a portal and said someone he had in once closed it for them. I asked him if he felt it was still closed, and he informed me that he wasn't really sure. So I offered to bring some things to close it and keep it closed, and he agreed enthusiastically.
The only room available on the Friday the 13th we wanted to stay was one of the carriage house rooms, over the garage. I went ahead and booked that one, instead of the Browning Room, which we really wanted. We shopped in town a while after we arrived, then decided to drive by the Claiborne House to see where it was, knowing that we wouldn't be able to check in that early. However, Jerry happened to be outside and we introduced ourselves. During our discussions, he informed me the people who had reserved the Browning Room had cancelled and that he would upgrade us to that room with no extra charge. He also said that if we wanted to go ahead and check in, we could, and he would give us a tour. We were thrilled, since the room was in the house and downstairs.
Jerry showed us around the grounds and home, and even the vacant upstairs rooms. The moment we got out of the car, we started feeling paranormal energy. Aunt Belle wandered off onto the grounds, and when she returned, she said, "The gardener say hello."
"Oh?" Jerry asked. "I thought I was the gardener."
"The man I 'met' says he's the gardener," she said. "His name is Herman."
Jerry knew, of course, from our previous conversation that we were psychic mediums, so he just laughed.
We also toured what Jerry called his "man cave," in the lower garage. There were several cats roaming in there and the grounds, and Aunt Belle and I love cats, so we had lots of petting to do.
Aunt Belle and Claiborne House Cat
Jerry also had some birds in there, and they were fairly upset because he had covered them before we came in. He uncovered them, and they were happy to quit their complaining. We identified a couple ghosts in there, a man and a woman. Jerry agreed he'd had lots of occurrences in there. He had a rempod that he had purchased, and it activated a couple times over by his closet in the room.
The upstairs of the house was somewhat inactive, but we did feel one ghost. She kept following us around but wouldn't stand still long enough to get an identification on her. In fact, most of the ghosts on the ground and in the house moved quite a bit. They definitely weren't lazy.
The most intense encounter we had that afternoon happened to Aunt Belle. I was in the kitchen talking to Ann and Jerry, and again, she had wandered off. She enjoys getting off to herself, or even just the two of us, so we do that a lot. She came back into the kitchen, and I could tell something had happened.
"What did you see?" I asked.
But she spoke to Jerry and said, "Do you have a man who haunts the downstairs? He's fairly tall and very nicely dressed, although he's wearing clothing from the late 1800's."
Jerry gasped. "Captain Claiborne! It has to be him. You saw him?"
She nodded yes, and said, "He's a really strong presence. I saw him as a full bodied apparition."
"I've got a picture of him," Jerry said excitedly. "In here, on my computer."
He led us into an office area off the kitchen and started searching on his computer. Then he pulled up one photo and pointed at it. This time, Aunt Belle gasped.
"That's him," she said. "That's who I saw."
I asked Jerry to email me a copy of the photo.
We had a few more encounters, but I'll have to leave them until next time. However, I highly recommend the Claiborne House for anyone who wants to stay in a lovely place, haunted, of course. They're on 312 South Alley Street in Jefferson, Texas. You can call them at 903-665-8800. They've also got a web site at http://www.claibornehousebnb.com, and you can see the lovely rooms there. Another recommendation is that beautiful Browning Room. You can see it on the web site. Just remember, you'll be sharing the Claiborne House with unseen guests!
The writing's going slow. It always does this time of year, since I'm prone to spend time prowling the internet looking for Christmas gift bargains. Those emails I get listing pre-Black Friday bargains this year distract me. I've already bought a couple gifts, and I'm watching the price drop on some others. Yep, I'll be one of those people in the Black Friday crowds, especially since I've got my eye on some things at Walmart.
I am getting a little bit of time in on the short story (which, knowing how I write, you can believe just won't stay short). This coming week, though, had a lot of time designated for backing pumpkin pies and pumpkin rolls. Yum! Plus I need to get those homemade noodles done, and our turkey injected with the Cajun spices to it will marinate well before Thursday.
I doubt I'll see y'all until next weekend, so I'm wishing everyone of y'all a wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving, filled with food and lots and lots of family. I'll be counting my blessings, one of which is my fantastic readers and the friends I have made through my writing. Sending loads of good wishes and rainbows your way!