at the Excelsior House hotel in Jefferson, Texas


Come along on a
ghostly journey...

This is a view of the front of the hotel. The main entrance is to the left, although it's kind of hard to see in the shadows. The Excelsior House was built in the 1850's, and has hosted many famous guests: Ulysses S. Grant, Oscar Wilde, Rutherford B. Hayes, Jay Gould, Lady Bird Johnson, and there are also unconfirmed stories about Steven Speilburg.

The historic hotel has been restored to its original beauty, and is furnished with period antiques that accent every room. The lacy iron work on the front of the hotel gives it a New Orleans flair, something that the entire city is rich in. If you visit the hotel, be sure to try their Orange Blossom Muffins at breakfast!

We stayed in the Jay Gould room, a place that The Dallas Morning News has described as being especially haunted. There are reports of spectral figures, the wispy smell of cigar smoke, a rocking chair that moves by itself, and more. The hotel officially doesn't discuss the ghosts, although during the hotel tour that we took, the docent told many chilling stories. The only spirit that we encountered was in a hallway, as described below.

excel The above diagram will provide some points of reference for our story. All the events took place at the Excelsior House hotel, where we were staying in the "Jay Gould" room upstairs. Click on any of the numbers in the above diagrams to see actual photographs of the areas.

We had just arrived back in the room from dinner, when we realized that the doggie bag had been left back down in the car. I volunteered to go get it. It was almost 8:00 PM, and a show was coming on that we wanted to watch, so I hurried down the staircase. I crossed the foyer entered the hallway - the smell of perfume overwhelmed me! It was localized in that one area as if someone had applied a rather large amount right there in the hall (the spot marked 1 in the diagram). Figuring that it was from one of the other guests, I shrugged the incident off and went on to get the food. As I left the lobby, I noticed that the clerk was in the sitting area in back of the main lobby watching television (#2 in the diagram).

I came back in and stopped to ask some questions about a couple of the things that we were going to do the next day, so I was in the lobby another few minutes. When I finally opened the door and went back into the hallway, I ran into the perfume cloud at about the same location (#3 in the diagram). It struck me as odd that it hadn't dissipated by that time. The more that I thought about it, the stranger it seemed. It was a Monday night, and there weren't many tourists in town, much less at the hotel. Very few rooms were occupied, and we hadn't seen anyone but the night clerk that evening.

When I got back to the room I told Tami what had happened, and when the next commercial came on (about fifteen minutes later) we went downstairs to check it out again. Tami hit the bottom of the staircase and found herself right in the middle of it (#4 in the diagram). She agreed that it was very stong indeed, but had the smell of both perfume and make-up to it. I pointed out that it had moved to the staircase, and was no longer in the hallway. We walked all over the area, and its one location was in the foyer.

We went back upstairs, gave it another fifteen to twenty minutes, then went back down. The foyer was now free of the smell, as was the hallway to the lobby. Tami took the hall in the other direction, which dead ended into a guestroom, and found the perfume cloud about halfway down the hallway (#5 in the diagram). At this point, it seemed to be that some unseen, perfume-doused person was wandering the downstairs area.

Once more, we returned upstairs and waited for about a quarter of an hour. We went back down to find that the perfume cloud had now moved between the foyer and the lobby (#6 in the diagram). Again, there was no trace of it in the other places that we had found it. As we looked around, its position moved toward the foyer - the person was definately wandering around.

Tami and I decided to go outside and enjoy the fountain in the courtyard for a while, since it was a beautiful night with a full moon. We were out there a good thirty to forty-five minutes. Of course, when we were headed back in we had to check out the hallway one more time. The perfume cloud was in a completely different place in the hallway (#7 in the diagram). It was getting pretty spooky at that point. Tami continued down the hallway and into the lobby, and found the clerk to ask if she was wearing perfume. The clerk said that she was, which Tami took to be an explanation. The clerk was curious about the question, though, and so Tami gave her a brief explanation of the evening's events. She said that it wasn't the first time that something like that had been reported. The clerk also said that she hadn't been in the hallway for the last few hours, and that we were the only guests that she'd seen come in. Very strange.

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