Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Past Remains With Us

Beckham Hotel
Mineola, Texas

I've always been fascinated with the past, and I absolutely love historical buildings. My reading choice for years was historical romance, and that's what I wrote for a long while. Then it took a veer into time travel romance. Perhaps I was feeding my desire to travel back to some of those fascinating eras. Who knows? I also wrote paranormal romance before I moved into paranormal mysteries, along with my true ghost stories.
Lately, I've been blessed to have access to one of the most wondrous buildings in the U.S., with a mesmerizing past: the Beckham Hotel in Mineola, Texas. There are also a lot of others who are enthralled with this majestic lady. Some of them are people who were associated with the hotel during their own lives and keep visiting it today. In addition, I've met several new friends who care about the Beckham. The latest one is a very cool man who contacted me through Facebook.
Chris Rhodes' grandparents managed the Beckham Hotel from the early 1950's into the late 1980's. On Monday, Timmy, my equipment tech, and I met Chris at the hotel. We filmed Chris as he walked through the Beckham and related many of his memories, which we will now have for posterity. It was a fascinating journey back through the history of the Beckham and the growing up years of a mischievous little boy. Well, one of the ghosts who claimed to know Chris told me he was "a cute little boy," too. So we can add cute and mischievous. I can safely use mischievous because Chris himself indicated that as he talked about himself.

Chris, Me, Darlena, Connie
Chris, Timmy, Darlena, Connie

Connie Meissner, who owns the hotel and is spearheading the renovations, and Darlena, the owner of the Taste Buds Candy and Coffee Shop, accompanied us. They were as glad to have Chris open up as I was. Darlena is also Connie's manager, and both are suitably proud of the progress they've made on the hotel and very grateful for Chris sharing his memories. There will be what Darlena calls "hot spots" around the hotel, which relate the history of it, and what Chris shared will contribute a lot to those and easier research for Darlena. One prominent hot spot will be devoted to Chris's grandparents, Andy and Flossie Lillie.
During the time the Lillies managed the hotel, it was a boarding house. And yes, many of those past residents are still there. Dan, who gave Chris and his friends the Avon aftershave bottles he received as gifts, died in a horrible accident in the Beckham lobby. Dan wanders the entire hotel, because he made himself known to me when we were on the third floor.
I sensed several other entities as we roamed, and the little girl Suzie is still there. Connie related an experience she had had with Suzie when she was alone in the hotel just after they finished hanging the last chandelier in the beautiful ballroom. Suzie giggled in delight at the sparkling crystals and sent Connie looking for her not once, but twice, that evening. You can see in this photo of the Ballroom why it would enthrall a little girl:


Chris also shared his experiences with Suzie, and caught her on an EVP that day back by the vault, which is in a corner of the lobby beneath the stairwell.


I'd heard one unhappy story in an email from Chris as we talked before we were able to arrange a meeting, and I was interested in pursuing it. When I first visited the Beckham, there was a phone booth in the lobby. As a boy, Chris said he loved to play Superman in that booth. However, there were two phone booths there initially.
One day a man whose name Chris cannot recall wandered into the lobby and went in one of the booths. Next thing anyone knew, the poor man shot himself with a shotgun. The pellets also made a hole in the adjacent booth. There is evidence left behind, too.
Chris pointed at the marble floor and asked Connie: "Have you tried to clean these stains?"
"Yes," she said. "We've used everything we can think of on it, and it just won't come up."
"My grandfather tried to clean it, too," Chris said. "The reason it won't come up is because it's blood. It's seeped into the marble and nothing will get it up." Then he related the story of the poor man.

Bloodstains on Lobby Floor

                            Bloodstains with Outline of Adjacent Phone Booth on Left

As of now, we don't know what drove the poor man to suicide, but Darlena will do some more research. It would be nice for him to be remembered for his sad life. The phone booth where he died is gone, and the other booth is now in storage, complete with the hole in it.
    I felt things in the very same places where I usually find activity in the Beckham. Again, it was the same overall feeling: the ghosts there are delighted with the restoration. Despite a couple scares that happened during the overnight investigation last year, I haven't ever sensed anything negative at the Beckham. There is at least one grumpy ghost, but most of them are quiet and calm entities.

After filming, Timmy, Chris and I went down to Taste Buds for another delicious lunch. There, I got to "talk" to Evangeline, the ghost who makes herself known in the bathroom. She's the one who told me, "That Chris was a cute little boy." The other two ghosts were there, also, Pauline, the little girl, and Eleanor, the elderly lady who is Pauline's protector. Yes, they'll be moving down to the Beckham when the restaurant goes. I've told Darlena that if she has any doubts, I'll be glad to come out and escort her ghosts to their new "home" in the Beckham.
Afterwards, Timmy wandered off to prowl some of the antique shops while I accompanied Chris as he walked around the outside of the hotel and talked about some of his other memories. It was almost like being there with him, and I could have listened to him for several more hours. However, we all have responsibilities we have to return to.
Way too much happened on Monday for one blog, including all the information Chris passed on. Be assured, the Beckham is going to welcome everyone when it opens in September. Chris will be back again and again, also, and the hotel and her past residents will always welcome him.
It's been a slow writing week, but never a no-writing-week. I've finished two more chapters of Dead Man Ohio. I also have some notes for another one of the articles at the end of Ghost Hunting Diary Volume VI. It started out as a blog, but evolved into something I wanted to elaborate on more. I think it will be really interesting to my readers, since it concerns how a haunting can effect a home and the people in it if one is not careful.
We're finalizing plans for our upcoming Beckham events. The first will be Aunt Belle's Birthday Bash on June 21 at the "new" Taste Buds after it moves into the hotel. I hope our nearby friends will all join us there. I'll soon put an "event" sign-up on Facebook or you can contact me in email. I'll be going back to Mineola in the next week or so to see how many people we'll be able to accommodate.
In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy life. Stop and smell the flowers this time of  year.
T. M.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

More Beckham Fun

What a crazy week. And I still don't have my income taxes done! It's been sort of crazy fun, though. We're set as to the dates for our Beckham events, even with a lot of planning to do yet. That includes coming up with a name for our Halloween bash, but with all the creative minds on our SRT team, we'll work something up. Connie, owner of the Beckham, likes the word Spirit in the name, so we'll go from that.
The first event is easy to name. It will be Aunt Belle's Birthday Bash and will be held at Taste Buds after it moves down to the Beckham Hotel. Their food is scrumptious! They've reserved June 21 for us to celebrate Aunt Belle's birthday with any friends who can make it. We're looking at the party starting at 12 p.m. on that day, so send me a message on Facebook or in my email letting me know if you'd like to be added to the list of party goers for the celebration. Lunch will be on  your own dime, and depending on how many people respond, we might have a cut off point. However, I'll check with Darlena, who owns Taste Buds, and see how many she can accommodate after she moves to her new home in the hotel.
Contact me at:
The email is the one I check the most often, and since I'm getting ready to move my web site host, that one might be down for a while.
We've also set the date for the Halloween event as October 18, 2014, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. I'm gathering up people now for the tables we'll have for rent in the Beckham Ballroom. For sure we will have some readers of various types: card/tarot, psychic readers, etc. There will be vendors also, and a Celtic/folk music band. SRT will have a table, and Timmy will be there explaining how to use some of the equipment we use on our investigations. We also plan to have one of our computers set up to show some of the cool evidence we've caught at the Beckham.
There will be an entrance fee to go up to the Ballroom, but we'll keep it as low as possible. The readers will set their own prices, and right now, I'm not sure what types of vendors we will have. Lots, though, I'm sure.
We will be closing down the afternoon portion as promptly as possible, because we need the vendors and others to clear out at least by 7 p.m. For the next hour and a half, no one will be allowed up there while Aunt Belle and I, along with our SRT crew, clear the vibes in the Ballroom. Because….
We will be having three separate ghost hunts that night, led by various SRT crew members. One will be in the Ballroom and a few other parts of the hotel, led by Aunt Belle and me. We'll firm up plans for the other two, but as of now, they're set to be elsewhere than the hotel. Tentatively, one will be in the cemetery in town, led by SRT's equipment tech, Timmy, and Lonestar's James Faulk. The third will hopefully be in the Chamber building in town, where Sarah, Angela and I had the awesome experiences that I reported in my blog. Floyd and Sarah will be leading that one. Cost for each participant will be $10, and I'll let you know when we are set up for reservations. Be forewarned, we will be gathering at 8:30 prior to the ghost hunts to lay out the rules you'll have to follow. There will also be a waiver for you to sign. Anyone who disrupts the ghost hunt or baits or disparages the ghosts will be told (not asked) to leave, and there will be no refunds. The same goes for anyone who is disrespectful of the ghosts, the paranormal or our team members. No apologies for these rules.
This is going to be both a lot of fun and serious. No promises on ghosts, but we'll have you in places where we've identified them before.
No ghost story this week, just the usual glimpses of a few of my residents. I think I've been moving too fast for the ghosts to catch up to me!
Writing wise, I'm still having a ball with Dead Man Ohio, at least when I find time to do some writing. I wish I had more time for that, but I am getting well into the last half of the book. I always love writing, but even more when it's something I'm enjoying as much as I am this book.
We're having mostly gorgeous days here in Texas, although Spring also brings some nasty weather to us. So far, the tornadoes and hail have missed Terrell <knock on wood>. I hope all of you enjoy whatever season you are experiencing right now.
T. M.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nosy Ghost

This was one of those special weeks in each month when Aunt Belle visits. Her stays are breaks for both of us from our responsibilities, so I always clear my schedule as much as possible when she comes. That's why you're getting the blog on Sunday.
Thursday, we went out to Mineola and did some planning for the fundraiser in October. Unless something unexpected happens, the date is set for October 18 from 1-6 p.m., with three different ghost hunts from 9-11 p.m. Now we can start gathering people who would like to have a table in the Ballroom during the afternoon hours. We already have a couple confirmations. I'll be posting additional details as we get things firmed up, but we're also planning on a raffle with some neat prizes.
We felt several of the ghosts while we were at the Beckham. As we stood in the lobby chatting with Julia, the Beckham's marketing director, more than one ghost joined us to listen in. Also, when we went up to measure the Ballroom to get an idea of how many more tables we will have to rent out, we were welcomed by quite a few more. They all told us that they are happy with the restoration that's going on. It's going to be totally awesome.
My ghosts here at the house are always active when Aunt Belle comes to visit me (and them). The moment she walked in the door, we both felt paranormal energy around us — the ghosts welcoming her here once again. Each morning I asked her how she slept, meaning, "Did the ghosts show themselves?" Sometimes she will have an experience during the night. This time, she only replied, "They were there in the bedroom, but they just hung around without bothering me."
That's mostly everything that happened this time, except for one stronger incident — which I actually experienced. We have a Doberman named Bonnie. She hangs around the table at every meal, hoping for human food. Of course, she does get her share. Bonne can use those pretty brown eyes to her advantage.
While we were eating lunch, I felt Bonnie nudge the back of my arm quite hard. She does this a lot, also, if we are too long in between slipping her a taste. I looked around … but there was no Bonnie there beside me. I felt the blouse sleeve, since Bonnie usually leaves behind a wet nose print. The sleeve was dry. Then I started glancing around the dining room, and there was no Bonnie in sight.
Aunt Belle said, "What are you looking for?"
"Bonnie," I said. "Where did she go?"
"She's still in on the couch," Aunt Belle said. "She hasn't come in here yet."
"Well, something just nudged the back of my arm, and whoever it was poked hard, like Bonnie does. I would have sworn it was her."
"Couldn't have been," she said.
Just then we heard a thump from the living room, the noise when Bonnie jumps down from the couch. Then we heard her toenails click-clicking across the hardwood floor, and she appeared in the dining room. Aunt Belle and I just looked at each other and shook our heads.
I glanced around again, this time to see if I noticed any ghost lingering nearby. Howard spends a lot of time in the dining room, when he's not outside roaming around. No Howard, and none of my other paranormal residents. I looked over at Aunt Belle and she shrugged, indicating she didn't see anyone either.
So I just said, "Nosy ghost," and went back to my hamburger.
Writing-wise, Dead Man Ohio is coming along great. I read a couple chapters at our critique meeting and couldn't help myself. I had to look over at Amanda, the only one who could make that meeting, to see how she was reacting. She was giggling! So that was great, because it was one of the funny scenes. I just love getting my characters in humorous situations instead of the horror a lot of readers expect in stories with ghosts.
I think our Texas Spring is here for real now. Aunt Belle said the bluebonnets are blooming in her neck of the woods, so we should start seeing them around here soon. I love bluebonnets, but it's a close tie with azaleas. You might recognize this from my new Witch Angel cover.

Happy Spring, and …
T. M.

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