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Destination Caledonia

– A Journey Back to Yesteryear

Destination Caledonia

More investigation photos at http://www.paranormaltaskforce.com/caledoniapics.html

By Greg Myers

 

When one dares to travel south from the St. Louis area in Missouri on "Blood Alley", the infamous Hwy. 21 which is very well known for its numerous fatal accidents over the decades, they embark on a journey to yesteryear and become privileged to some of the most historical sites in the Midwest.

This was no exception, when Greg Myers and his team members of the Missouri Paranormal Research division of Paranormal Task Force (www.catchmyghost.com) took a recent eighty mile journey after being contacted by The Caledonia Wine Cottage (www.caledoniawinecottage.com) nestled within the very historic Bellevue Valley of Missouri in the small town of Caledonia (www.caledoniamo.org).

Paranormal Task Force were no strangers to the history and hauntings that are associated with this trudge south for them. It was only a year ago when they began their intensive investigative process to document paranormal happenings in Potosi (www.historicpotosi.com), another small haunted and historic town located along this life taking highway only thirteen miles north of Caledonia and about two years ago when they investigated the very historic Arcadia Valley Academy (www.arcadiaacademy.com) which is nestled alongside blood alley twenty five miles past Caledonia in Arcadia Valley.

As with the locations investigated the prior two years, this one would prove no less historic and just as haunted. How could it not be with the tragic and brutal history that occurred along this area south of St. Louis, MO.? The tragic plight of pioneers attempting to settle these areas as far back as the 1700’s who endured a variety of hardships and tragedies over time including savage attacks from natives, various plagues, whatever mother nature could toss at them, the violence of the great Civil War which pitted brother against brother in a State where loyalty existed equally for each side and even the tragic “Trail of Tears” where many Native Americans lost their lives partially used this route which is now Missouri State Highway 21.

Caledonia was no exception to these hardships and tragedies which have left their everlastingly lasting impressions upon this land. Starting as the Miles Gorforth Spanish Land Grant, the Caledonia portion of it was later bought by a Scotsman named Alexander Craighead in 1812. Mr. Craighead platted the land to form a town which he named, Caledonia, after a village in his native land of Scotland. Although he already built his home here in 1816, the auctions for plats began in 1819 with many buildings following shortly afterward giving birth to a thriving new town within what would be later known as the State of Missouri.

“When we arrived to Caledonia, it was like stepping back 100 or more years in time”, Greg Myers, the leader of Paranormal Task Force recalls. That is exactly how all members felt who attended the recent paranormal investigation at the historic and haunted Caledonia Wine Cottage.

The building which is now the Caledonia Wine Cottage was built in 1824 by Jacob Fischer as the Stage Stop Inn.  The stage coach would drive up on a stone road to the front of the Inn and passengers would disembark for a stay.  The stones from that road are still there today and make the foundation for the steps that lead into the now Wine Cottage.  Upon entering the Wine Cottage one is greeted by a three story continuous walnut staircase, possibly the only staircase of its kind in the Missouri Ozarks.  In addition, the property is stated to have the second oldest persimmon tree in the State of Missouri. 

Caledonia Wine Cottage (www.caledoniawinecottage.com) nestled within the very historic Bellevue Valley of Missouri in the small town of Caledonia

Originally, the house had twelve rooms and a dirt floor basement.  The back of the house contained separate quarters for the slaves.  A separate entrance to the rear side of the second story of this historic building allowed the slaves to enter and exit. Tunnels connected this and the two adjacent buildings on each side with a third tunnel (now under State Hwy. 21) exiting outside in the vicinity of a nearby creek. The slaves were at one time jointly owned by the families in these three building and used these tunnels to get from one building to another and as passage to work in nearby fields. It is also said that these tunnels later served as part of the Underground Railroad for moving slaves from the South to their freedom in the North during the Civil War. 

It was also during the Civil War that this building served as a temporary hospital ran by the Union forces.  Some wounded soldiers from both sides of the nearby Battle of Pilot Knob were transported to this house and treated for their wounds.  Soldiers contagious with disease or other illnesses were put into a quarantine room on the third floor of this house.  This room was pad locked from the outside and a hole was cut in the door to pass food, water and other supplies.  The original door leading to this room still exists this day.  When Confederate soldiers became well enough they were then treated as prisoners and locked up in a separate room within the basement until transported further North to actual prisons. The window bars from this room are still in place today as they were during the Civil War.

Later, the home became residence to the Crenshaw Family for many decades followed by the Ramsey family. It is known fact that Mr. Ramsey passed away in this home in the 1980’s while resting on his couch. Mrs. Ramsey also passed away in the early 1990’s within the home and was found one Sunday afternoon while sitting in her chair within the same room after others were concerned about not seeing her at church services. It was during the Ramsey’s tenure within this historic home that it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. However, after Mrs. Ramsey’s death the home sat vacant for over a decade with the small exception of being used as an antique store for a short tenure. As with any historic treasure such as this, without constant upkeep and maintenance deterioration and decay starts to set in at an accelerated rate. Luckily, Dave Buis and Pepper Carpenter purchased this historic wonder in 2006 and began the restoration which saved it in 2007. Opening as the Caledonia Wine Cottage in August of 2007, it is once again full of life and vigor. It now serves its visitors like it once did over one hundred years ago as a Bed and Breakfast, a restaurant serving lunch and dinner, a shop selling various specialty items and a place to enjoy a glass of house wine or specialty beer while relaxing on the large patio area with others.

The haunting history is a bit more recent as it seems recent renovations may have added that needed spark to ignite paranormal activity or else this is a town where the resident locals like keeping their stories to themselves. Whatever the case, it was during the renovations when the new owners had their first unexplainable encounter which was the opening of the door which leads to the old slave quarters. Nothing much was thought of this incident at that time.

Then in March of 2008, the basement took in an inordinate amount of water after the creek across the highway rose above its banks and somehow back flowed through the once existing tunnel that exited near it. It seems that this event somehow became the catalyst that invoked the recent and more significant unexplainable activity witnessed by many since then.

These more recent numerous ghostly encounters have included people hearing the voice of an elderly lady saying “Hello” on the first floor accompanied by the sounds of loud unexplainable footsteps coming from the second and third floors when the doors are locked and they are alone inside the Wine Cottage. The footsteps have even been loud enough for the owners and employees to think someone broke into the building after it was locked up. Customers have also heard the sounds of footsteps coming down the stairs and ghostly voices on numerous occasions.

Employees have also witnessed a shadow man wearing a hat and trench coat near a doorway in the kitchen area. Employees have also experienced objects dropping out of thin air and have had small objects tossed at them by the unseen. Overnight guest staying in the Bed and Breakfast rooms all night have reported hearing voices, footsteps and having objects in their room moved or knocked over for no explainable reason. Children visiting the Wine Cottage have been noted to wave at someone unseen by others then when asked they say they are waving at a little girl named Erica.

There was also a time when Pepper, one of the owners, hung a new tapestry in the wine room. Upon opening up the next morning she found it taken off of the wall and sitting ten feet away from the spot it was originally hung. This happened on several occasions before the spirit finally gave up. Even the resident canine, Blue, has been observed looking curiously at areas where nothing is seen by others.

Exactly what and whose ghost haunts this location is not fully known, but many local residents speculate that one of them is the ghost of Mrs. Ramsey and who is saying hello and other things to the owners, employees and customers. With the age and history of the location, one can only guess as to how many spirits actually reside here.

Even Greg Myers and Sandra Oates of Paranormal Task Force had a very eventful stay their first night in the Wine Cottage. Greg further elaborated that he had an experience he will always remember. “I was starting to fall asleep in the Bed and Breakfast Room called the Cottage Room which served as the old Civil War quarantine room when I loudly heard the door knob rattle” he explained and further stated “after awakening, I watched the door to my room open part way then closed on its own”. He then did what any ghost hunter would do and reached for his camera and other equipment in hopes of documenting the haunting. “While trying to reach my equipment, I then observed the small rocking chair in my room rock on its own then ambient temperature of the room suddenly seemed to drop several degrees Fahrenheit” he concluded. After making enough commotion, Sandy Oates, the Case Management Coordinator and an Investigator for Paranormal Task Force who was sleeping across the hall in the “Garden Room” awakened and heard multiple voices coming from the empty and locked up downstairs below. “It was like several people having a conversation” she avowed.

Although the full review and analysis of all the collected audio, video and photographs of Paranormal Task Force’s weekend investigation have not been completed, investigators are comfortable in stating that this location has a lot of paranormal potential and is most likely haunted as collaborated by the multitude of the first hand witness accounts of others and their own personal ghostly experiences while staying there. The haunting type, classification and full content are yet to be discovered through their extensive analysis of collected media and correlated equipment data. The Paranormal Task Force team utilized many types of video recording devices including high definition equipment as well as several audio recorders, radiation detectors, temperature sensing devices, electro magnetic field (EMF) meters to monitor both man made and non man made levels, motion detectors, various still photography cameras and more in hopes of quantifying the existence of unexplainable paranormal activity at this location.

Paranormal Task Force also utilized and field tested a new device designed by Bill Chappell of Digital Dowsing ( www.digitaldowsing.com ) during this investigation. This device is called the Ovilus which utilizes an Environmental Communications Mode (ECM). ECM takes various environmental energies believed to be easily manipulated by ghosts or other paranormal entities and converts them to speech. Greg Myers stated that this device provided some very interesting results during the all weekend investigation which would have to be further analyzed as well before coming to a final conclusion.

Team members of Paranormal Task Force also had the pleasure to paranormally probe the historic Wilcox House across the street from the Wine Cottage and also visit other very historic locations during the daytime in their step back to yesteryear. Sandra Oates of Paranormal Task Force stated “this seems to be a place where history has remained untouched” after her visits to many local antique shops which were located in many very historic homes also on the National Register. Both Myers and Oates were in awe by the number of buildings in this small town which have seemed to remain the same as day they were built over one hundred years ago. When asked about the most impressive place within this very historic town, Myers responded the “Old Village Mercantile which still looks the way it did inside and out a hundred years ago.” Myers further stated “If someone wanted to see what an authentic mercantile looked like a hundred years ago with the glass jars of candies and other goods, soda fountain, clothing areas and much more then they need to come to Caledonia and visit this business of historic beauty”. “When you enter its doors, like a lot of other places here, you feel like you transcended several decades back in time … you can spend hours upon hours just looking at all of the nostalgic items in this place”, he further added. Their web site can be found at www.oldvillagemercantile.com

For a taste of history or a haunting, one has to place Caledonia, Missouri on their “must see” list of places to visit. For an extra indulgence of both with a special touch of southern hospitality, then one has to definitely spend part of a day, evening or an entire night at the Caledonia Wine Cottage as well.

About Greg Myers

Greg Myers - Director - President Paranormal Task Force Co-Founder - Lead Investigator - EVP SpecialistGreg Myers
Administrator MPR Divison Email: greg@paranormaltaskforce.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/gregory_myers I Am Haunted: www.iamhaunted.com/Gregory_Myers

Greg has had personal paranormal encounters since being a teen and has years of paranormal investigative experience. He is well versed with haunting classifications, paranormal investigative techniques and leadership through example. Greg has served as a technician and supervisor while serving in the military and has further enhanced his education and abilities with legal issues while serving over ten years in the legal field. With his background of legal issues, lobbying experience and issue advocation, he hopes to apply these skills to the enactment and strengthening of "haunted house" and "psychological impact" disclosure laws for prospective property owners, tenets and lessees. Greg also has an extensive background in genealogical research and familiarization with record research vital to the research of potential haunted properties.

Greg is one that shares the philosophy that paranormal investigations can come with many unknown dangers which are not properly addressed by most of the paranormal research field. This and other important issues are overlooked and need further advocation to current and future researchers and investigators within this field. Greg adheres to a Humanistic Approach to investigations which always places the client first above everything else.

Greg became part of MISSOURI PARANORMAL RESEARCH™ in August of 2005 serving as a co- administrator, lead investigator and EVP specialist. While serving with MPR, Greg became an instrumental element in the collection and analysis of evidence in a case involving an extreme "inhuman" haunting and possession. This Haunting was featured on the Discovery Channel's "A Haunting" series as the Season 3 opener in October 2006. Greg then co-founded PARANORMAL TASK FORCE, Inc. in October 2006. PARANORMAL TASK FORCE™, Inc. is a not for profit incorporation which educates and promotes the awareness of paranormal research as well as other historical and paranormal related issues along with providing assistance to the public and other organizations. MISSOURI PARANORMAL RESEARCH™ now serves as its non-extreme investigative and research division while other divisions will be launched making Paranormal Task Force™, Inc. a "One Stop" resource for all paranormal needs of clients, the public and other organizations as well.

Greg has been a featured guest on many radio stations across the US, UK, and Canada and has completed filming in 2007 with Keith Age and The Booth Brothers for "Children of the Grave" which was released October 2, 2007 on DVD and aired on the SciFi Network in 2008 and recently finished filming for another Booth Brothers (Spooked Television Releasing) production titled "The Possessed" which should be released on DVD in 2008 and air on the SciFi Network sometime after that. He also served as a Location Manager for that project. He also completed filming for the Exspiro Productions documentary "The Other Side" which was released in 2007. Greg has also authored articles and short stories concerning his experiences within the paranormal realms and theories related to such which are published on the World Wide Web. Some of these articles and stories have been selected for
inclusion in “Weird Encounters” and “Weird Missouri” which will be published in the near future.

Greg has also recently been added to the League of Paranormal Gentlemen and is also a Missouri Statewide Representative for the American Ghost Society (AGS). He was also voted as one of the top 10 best most haunted up and coming people, places and things to investigate on Haunted America Tours (www.hauntedamericatours.com).


 

 

PARANORMAL TASK FORCE™
"Your One Stop Paranormal Resource Center"

PARANORMAL TASK FORCE™

 

Gina Lanier

Also read: Is It Really Paranormal? Questioning The Unknown Side Of Ghosts And Demonic Possession - With tales of being raped or beaten by ghosts, to stories of even a ghost giving a person a loan of some cash. I ask myself do these things really happen? -- Ginalanier.com

 

 

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