|~ A Journey Back to Yesteryear ~
When one travels south from the St. Louis area in Missouri on Blood Alley, the infamous
Hwy. 21 known for its number of fatal accidents over the decades, they embark on a
journey to yesteryear and become privileged to some of the most historical sites in the
This was no exception, when Greg Myers and other 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.
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
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 website can be found at www.
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.
© 2008 - Gregory Myers, Paranormal Task Force, Inc.
Also published on WWW.HAUNTEDAMERICATOURS.COM
|"Destination Caledonia "
~ A Journey Back to Yesteryear ~
by Gregory Myers, President of Paranormal Task Force
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