Friday, April 29, 2016

Haunted Waxahachie Restaurant

South of Dallas, Texas is the charming little town of Waxahachie and just outside the downtown square is where the Catfish Plantation restaurant is located. It is well known for having perhaps the best Cajun cuisine outside of Louisiana as well as some of the best catfish found anywhere. And one more thing it is famous for - the three ghosts who have claimed it for their permanent residence.

The restaurant is in a house which was built in 1895 and is the birthplace of the great professional baseball player Paul Richards. The owners of the business opened the restaurant in 1984 and it was soon after when they got an inkling there was something not exactly kosher in the house. One morning as they arrived to prepare for business, they found a number of coffee cups neatly stacked inside a large tea urn. They had been the last to leave and had securely locked up the night before, leaving the empty tea urn in its usual place on a counter. They found the urn with the cups inside on the floor. After several weeks with nothing new happening, the incident had just about been forgotten, but then, once again arriving early to begin preparing the food, they found a pot of fresh coffee waiting for them. From that point, unexplained things began to happen almost constantly.

Water glasses sitting on a counter with no one near them would suddenly shatter. Several female employee's reported toilet seats flying up by themselves as they entered. They heard the toilets flush and upon entering the restroom finding nobody in there. Sometimes doors would open as people approached them and close behind them with no help from human hands - not living human hands anyway. On several instances when it was time to open, the front doors would unlock themselves even as a staff member was walking toward the door to do it. And evidently the spirits didn't like their house to be too crowded as often, on very busy evenings, the front door would lock itself as if someone was saying, "OK, that's enough people in here."

Often, the house would have a strong smell of roses even though there were no flowers of any kind present. So many other things happened almost every day that it's hard to list them all; decorative clocks that don't work would chime on the hour even though the hands haven't moved and don't point to the hour, a stereo turning itself on and off and the radio station changing itself, patrons and staff hearing the sound of a piano playing even though there isn't one in the house, strong breezes felt in rooms with no windows, cold spots felt by patrons and staff alike especially in the ladies restroom, knockings on walls, silverware and place mats carefully set the night before would be found in the morning crumpled and jumbled around the tables, dollar bills left by patrons as tips on the table for their waitress sometimes would be seen floating several inches in the air and cups, dishes and pots suddenly flying across the kitchen. One of the cooks abruptly quit when suddenly pieces of cheese and bottles of chives flew around the room. Another cook left when a basket of fries rose up out of the boiling grease, floating in the air beside him.

For a while, the owners tried to keep the mysterious incidents quiet, but eventually the sheer number of weird things that kept happening drove them to seek advice from a professional parapsychologist.
Within a few weeks, the house had been investigated five times by scientists, engineers, psychics and individuals with sound equipment, thermometer gauges, infrared cameras and laser lights. After spending days and nights investigating every corner of the house, they all agreed the place was haunted by 2 female and 1 male spirits.

One of the 2 females was identified as Elizabeth, a young lady who had been strangled to death in the dining room on her wedding day in 1920. She evidently was murdered by a jealous ex-boyfriend. Elizabeth appears to be a helpful sort. The male spirit is harmless and doesn't really do anything except quietly sit by the fireplace and watch the people coming in and out of his home. It is the female named Caroline who is the most active and apparently causes most of the mischief. The investigators agreed she isn't pleased with all the living humans in her home. It seems she doesn't mean any physical harm to anyone, but she does try to frighten people into leaving.

After enduring the pranks for a while, the owners, who did not believe in ghosts before, started talking to the spirits and told them they know they live there and are happy to share the place with them. They told them they no longer need to throw things or make noises so they would be recognized. Amazingly, soon afterwards, things began to calm down and they remain fairly calm. Every now and then though, it seems Caroline just can't help herself.

A young couple was eating a celebratory meal in The Catfish Plantation one recent evening. Just a few weeks earlier, they had been blessed with their first child and that night, grandparents were happily baby-sitting. It was the couple's first time going out since the birth - a date night. All of a sudden, they both shouted out in alarm and bolted from the restaurant without finishing their meal. What had startled them so? In the misted-over window they were sitting by, their baby's name had suddenly materialized.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Love of Dead Sue

Most folks are skeptical of ghost tales. They may be drawn to them for some reason a skilled observer of human nature would no doubt be happy to explain, but when it comes down to it, most think they are nothing but passed down fanciful legends of overactive imaginations. Young Tom McAlister isn't like most folks. He knows the truth first-hand.

In mid-December 1997, Tom was a handsome 17-year-old high school athlete living with his bank officer dad and his stay-at-home mother in Sweetwater, Texas. He made good grades, he was popular in school and with his outgoing personality and good looks, he usually had his pick of the teenage girls in town. His life was good. Since Thanksgiving though, he had been troubled with a growing concern, something he had kept to himself. He felt as if he was never alone. Whether in his room studying, driving in his car, in bed asleep or even while taking a shower, he felt there was somebody with him, somebody watching.

Tom, like his parents, was a devout Baptist and didn't believe in ghosts, but he just couldn't shake this feeling that an unseen being was always with him. On night while doing homework, he saw the edge of his bed depress as if someone was sitting on it. Feeling alarmed and foolish, he called out, "Hello whoever you are. What's your name?" Then he screamed.

Hearing her son cry out, Tom's mother rushed into his room and immediately saw the heavy dictionary he used laying open on the floor. When she asked him what happened, Tom told her something had picked it up from his desk, floated it across the room to where it now lay and began to turn the pages. When it stopped, one page was folded to point to a single word. Sue. 

Nothing else happened that night, but Sue made her presence known over the next several weeks. Driving home from a friend's Christmas party, the car's ashtray flew open and several peppermint candies Tom had placed in there after eating at Sonic were tossed out onto the floor. When school resumed after the Christmas break, not once but twice his car's glove compartment flew open and the owner's manual and insurance papers flew out. Tom tried to dismiss these things as merely bumps in the road, bumps he had not noticed, but the next night, the ceiling fan in his room clicked off and the door slowly closed. Two nights later, the fan clicked off and the door closed again. The next night, suspecting an electrical short, he left the fan off - it clicked on and the door once again closed with the aid of unseen hands. Without thinking, he blurted out, "I'm tired of this nonsense! Go away and leave me alone!" In the next instant, the wooden birdhouse he had made by hand, his proudest handiwork, was thrown across the room to smash into pieces against the far wall.

The next night, as Tom was coming to bed, he saw an indention in his mattress, as if something lay there, full length - a clear body indentation. He couldn't force himself to touch it. He knew Sue was waiting for him to lay down with her. He went to the living room and slept on the couch.

The next morning, Tom took his usual hot shower, but when he emerged, written on the steam-covered mirror in antique script, were the words, "I love you." Over the next few days, messages kept appearing in Tom's bathroom mirror. He began taking colder showers so there would be no steam, but when he opened the shower curtain, the messages would be written in the same antique script with the bar of soap kept next to the sink. "I love you." "Do not fear me. I love you." "I will always be with you."

His parents had no answers and in desperation, hired a medium to come to their home. The medium said it was very simple actually - a young female spirit inhabited their house and she was in love with Tom. The family next sought counsel from their minister who insisted Tom be examined by a mental health professional. After  examination by several psychiatrists who pronounced Tom sane, an exorcism was advised.

The minister and 2 assistants came to the McAlister home on a Thursday evening in late March. His exorcism, or blessing , as he called it, followed a direct plan. He told the family that he would be the psychic relay through which they could communicate with the spirit. While in a kind of semi-trance, the minister said Sue told him she was 20 years old and thinks the year is 1796. Tom told Sue that he couldn't handle this anymore; he was sorry, but he didn't love her and she had to go and leave him and his family in peace.  Through the minister, still in a trance, Sue replied that she understood. She had meant no harm and would leave, but she hoped Tom would never forget her. And with that, Tom had a feeling from Sue of great sadness and then felt her leave.

That was almost 20 years ago and she has not returned. Tom is now married with two children and living in a suburb of Ft. Worth. He said at first he thought she was of the Devil, but now he doesn't think so. "I have no idea why she came to me. Maybe I just reminded her of someone she once knew, someone she once loved dearly."

Will she return some day? Nobody knows. Where did she go? Nobody alive knows.