Welcome back to this crazy story that we somehow made come true in our lives. If you recall we left off having bit the bullet and bought the house.
The banks then proceeded to laugh at us when we told them what we were doing. The city of Gainesville bailed us out with a temporary loan and that’s where the “fun” really begins…yes these are the ghost stories. Since the city was not used to loaning money for constructions projects, the draw system was a bit unusual. Basically they would not give us any money until they saw something accomplished. Enter Cindy’s mom (Beth). She was our temporary bank. She would give us money to work with, the city inspectors would come in and see progress, they would give us money and we would give money back to Beth…until the next time. It was a vicious cycle.
We finished off a bedroom inside the gutted attic and lived on the 3rd floor of the main house during this time (and have yet to leave it 26 years later). The rest of the attic was where we would store our purchases for the Inn.
One day I was up in the attic when I heard a voice say, “I like your taste in books”. I looked down at the book I had dug out of a box and the title was “A Scarlett Letter”. I threw the book back in the box and ran downstairs. Joe was just walking up the stairs at the time and saw the look on my face. I had that whole fish out of water experience going on but when he got me calmed down a bit I was able to explain to him what had just happened to me in the Attic. Joe, the engineer, very calmly told me that he too felt something going on in the house. GREAT—just GREAT. We have a @#$^&$ haunted house. And not even with a cool ghost who could be fun like Casper, but one who just wanted to sit around and read a wordy book about a loose woman. I was terrified and would not go anywhere in the house alone.
Shortly after I was asleep one night and had a dream. I was in the tower part of the house and a woman was standing there. I asked her name and we had a complete conversation. I woke up with a start and kept repeating her name over and over and then fell back asleep. When I woke up in the morning I had forgotten her name but remembered it was an odd first name and her last name was 2 syllables.
GREAT—just GREAT. We have a @#$^&$ haunted house.
Since we were restoring a historic building we discovered we were entitled to historic tax credits. We hired local historian Melanie Barr to do a house history and apply for tax credits. As we were reading through the history I remembered my dream. The original owners were Dudley and MELINZA WILLLIAMS. Melinza Williams was the name from my dream. As soon as I heard her name, it all came back to me. I could actually describe the person I saw in my dream.
A few weeks later, one of the college kids who had lived in the house stopped by to check on our progress. During his visit he asked if we ever heard things that went bump in the night. I asked him what he was talking about. He told me a story about a woman he saw going up to the third floor one day. She turned around and nodded to him but kept going up the stairs. She had her hair tied in a bun and it was gray. She had on a black mid calf dress with old lady shoes. She also had a string of pearls around her neck. He had just described the lady who was in my dream.
Over the next few months other people would ask me if I had noticed the woman who wandered around at all hours. One of my painters saw her at 4:00AM walking down the stairs. The odd thing about seeing her is it did not seem unusual at the time to see an older woman walking around. It was hours or days later that the person who saw her would suddenly have a “what the heck was that” moment.
During the frenzy of getting the Inn open, we pretty much just accepted her presence until about a month after we started having guests. Joe and I both realized that we had not felt, heard or had any run in’s with her. Our theory is that when we started tearing the walls down, she got concerned. After she realized that we were actually saving the house, she felt she could leave the house in our hands and we would take care of it for her.
Inspectors, you have to love them because it’s illegal to lock them up in the freezer.
Next up: Inspectors, you have to love them because it’s illegal to lock them up in the freezer. We were almost thrown out of our living space by an inspector. We have a handicap accessible bathroom door….on our third floor. The fire escape that almost wrapped around the house and more funny stories.