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Jax Daily Record Friday, Sep. 20, 200212:00 PM EST

The Homestead ghost

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“I have witnessed things over 26 years that I’ve had a difficult time explaining to anyone else,” said Steve Macri, the former owner of the Homestead Restaurant. “For example, right before we closed last October, there was a rash of occurrences. She seemed to be touching people in the ladies room. Two different women reported that they felt someone touching them on the shoulder and when they turned around, no one was there.

“Another time, we were talking to a new dishwasher who was from out of town and he asked us who the lady upstairs in the long dress was. He had seen her a few times at the top of the stairs. It’s been going on a long time; she is the protector of the house. Another time, there was about a quart of water pouring through the ceiling onto a customer’s table and there was no plumbing upstairs in that area of the house. There was no rain, or bottle of water or any other explanation. The customers wanted to know to what the deal was, so I ran upstairs and couldn’t find anything.

“Many years ago, a kid that worked for us was playing basketball in the back. The ball had rolled into the trees and he ran to get it. All of a sudden he started screaming, ran home and never came back to work. We called him and he said saw a woman half in and half out of the ground.”

Another occurrence, Macri cited was when an old woman’s boot appeared out of nowhere on the front porch. The staff picked it up and went about their business. But a pest exterminator who came in to do the monthly spraying was down on his hands and knees putting powder in the cracks in the floor and the boot fell on his head. Macri said the exterminator ran out the door screaming.

The ghost is said to be Alpha Paynter, who operated a boarding house in the cabin and is buried in the yard behind the building.

“Nothing bad has ever happened, she is just the protector of the restaurant,” said Macri.

— by Michele Newbern Gillis

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