Some time during the spring of 2009, we saw the show "Ghost Adventures" with Zack verbally assaulting the spirits at Preston Castle, where we visited this past August. Not enjoyable to watch. However, that show and my recent involvement documenting gravestones at perked my interest in returning to that grand, fascinating castle. Who better than to bring than the Orbettes, DonnaLee and Jay?

We buy the tickets to spend the night in the castle, which caused some confusion between the castle and the paranormal hostess. After that was straightened out (bless Yvonne who helped so pleasantly and quickly) we out on our anticipation and waited for the day to come.

DL appears that morning, we pack up the Turtle, collect Jay, and wander off on the the Turtle's first, real adventure into the unknown.

Right from the start, the comedy routines started, this time, in full scale war. Lovingly and smiling, as only the best of friends can do, we bantered, snorted, giggled, roared well timed and aimed accurate shots and issued stunning, brilliant comebacks at each other. David just drove and shook his head as we buckled over from the pain.  This would continue the rest of the trip. Peals of maniacal laughter could be heard, drifting down the hallways.....

Arriving in Ione a few hours later, we drive to the same spot where we had stopped last year, where almost a full view of that magnificent building could be seen. It is again, a rush, for me as well as DL and Jay. Just enough time for a snack, gas and potty break before we meet up with out tour guide at the castle gates.

The Preston Cemetery is first, a short drive through private gates and up a wooded, dirt road, then a short walk to the cemetery, surrounded by a short, tired white picket fence. This is a very, very unusual tour, permission received only because our goal was documentation of the wooden gravestones before time took an additional toll on the worn slabs and faint lettering. The cemetery is no longer on Preston land and not available for public tours.  Eighteen no-nonsense wooden markers, painted white with black stenciled lettering, fading every scorching, sun filled, hot day. Eighteen boys, all young, all unclaimed by their families, who died while at Preston Prison. I mean Preston Reform School. Very sad. I am sorry we will not be able to return at night time.

The dairy area with one picturesque, dilapidated barn is next, resting quietly on the top of a hill, overlooking the castle and the graveyard. A parade of ducks swim in the nearby pond, and you can almost hear the toils of the boys who once worked there.

Before we met for the tour of the castle, we snacked in the Turtle, and headed for the Ione Cemetery, taking about 600 pictures of gravestones for Findagrave. Temps had reached near 100, so the going was slow. Jay slept (she works nights) while David, Anne and DL took as many shots as time permitted, then back to the castle one more time.

It was lovely to meet Yvonne at long last. She was a fun guide, knowledgeable and very comfortable. The work and effort that is being put into saving the castle is incredible, but they need so much more. Wish I could win the lotto. The tour included owl feathers, ghost stories and some really decent day time pictures. I am hoping to update my maps of the castle as I found I had missed many a detail and many a small room trying to map it from memory after our first trip.

After the tour and before the night's festivities began, we needed food. Ione hosts a small variety of eateries, but the first to be encountered was the old "Twisted Fork," now "Cravings" in the infamous, haunted Ione Hotel. Another natural. DL and Jay got to see the hotel they have been hearing about since last year, where Jay's mother ran into a ghost and heard a non-existent band playing. Marisa was our waitress, who got a few points right off the bat for not only putting up with our silliness, but responding to it in kind. We wish her the best when she goes off to college in Missouri to major in wrestling and soccer. (She's rather tiny!)

For the third time today, we drive up to the castle to be 'locked in' and spend the night in a truly haunted castle. More about that night can be found here.

DL went to bed around midnight, I crashed with a headache after 2:30, David and Jay slept about 4:30, all of us waking at the sound of packing up and departing cars at 7 am. A pot of the world's most horrific coffee, and we manage to wind up the mess we made through out the night, coming and going, exchanging batteries, flashlights, pictures and stories.

The next stop would be the Ione Cafe, where the food is really welcome, and delicious. The little daddy wren appreciated it, too.

The journey home was more hilarious than ever, probably from being so exhausted. We can't decide what to paint on the Turtle. A string of various orbs along the side, leading to the back where you would see, "Got orbs?"  Or maybe Raj and the Mystic Gypsies. (We gave David a hard time about what the other guys at the castle must have thought to see one guy with three women, all of whom obviously knows him well enough to hug him freely.) One of the most frequent expressions for the trip was "Sqwwwuirrrell" (nope, not going to explain that one) so by the end of the trip, we were laughing about "The Secret Squirrel Society" and Jay wants "The Nut Tree Inn" on the Turtle, too. Who knows, maybe I will add all three.

It was an incredible, unforgettable trip, and we plan on having more!!

Preston 2009 Pictures

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