Word spread quickly last week that Eddie Munster was in town. Butch Patrick, who's real name is Patrick Lilley, starred in the television show "The Munsters". The sitcom about a family of friendly, good-natured monsters aired from 1964 to 1966. Butch and his sister Michele Lilley spent several summers in Macon visiting their grandparents, Bill and Marjorie Greenstreet. Butch also attended junior high school in Macon for a portion of a year.
Last Thursday, Butch and Michele returned to visit their grandparent's former home at 411 N. Wentz Street to be interviewed by Michael Lynch Ph.D of St.Louis. Lynch's company Para-Vision deals with ghost and entity investigations. Lynch is producing a documentary about the strange happenings in the house.
"It is very emotional to be back here in Macon," said Michele. "I was about six or seven when I first started to spend summers here."
Butch says that during his visits he didn't really feel a presence in the house. "I was a typical boy, I spent most of my time outdoors and playing in the carriage house," he said. "My favorite memories of Macon include shooting pool downtown at the Pool Hall and going to the roller rink and the swimming pool."
Michele said she and her grandmother were very close and she immediately told her the first time she saw a woman standing at the foot of the stairs. "Grandmother said, 'I know, but she won't hurt you.'"
Michele says over the years she saw the woman several times, mostly near the staircase. "She had long hair and was wearing a long dress. She seemed to be holding something in her hands," said Michele. "She always looked so sad, it made me feel sad too when I saw her, but I never felt threatened or afraid of her."
The history of the house has led them to believe that the apparition was Elizabeth (Wardell) Rubey. Local historian Merlyn Ameidi says that the house was built for Elizabeth and her fiancee Harry Rubey by her father Thomas E. Wardell Sr. Wardell had come to Macon from Illinois when he read that coal had been discovered in Macon County. He was murdered on Oct. 12, 1888, during a mining labor dispute. Elizabeth and Harry were married on Dec. 27 of that same year with the bride dressed in her black mourning clothes.
During the course of filming for the documentary Lynch says that he has come to believe there may be as many as 13 different entities in the house on Wentz.
Also interviewed by Lynch was current owner of the house Stephen Keithly. Keithly and his wife Lynn moved to Macon 19 years ago and purchased the place for their photography business. "My wife always said she felt a woman's presence in the house," says Stephen. "We did a lot of entertaining and many of our visitors said that they had the same feelings."
Page 2 of 2 - The Keithly's also had strange incidents while living there. Several items of jewelry were misplaced and never found. "I thought, maybe the ghost likes jewelry," said Stephen.
After 18 years of living there, Stephen says he saw the woman. "It was early, about 6 a.m.," says Stephen. "I did not see her face, she was going down the stairs. She was wearing a white nightgown and a shawl. She was very elegant and graceful. It was not at all scary, it was really a very pleasant experience."
Other former owners, Richard and Marjorie Waller say that they never felt like there was any type of presence in the house when they lived there. "Our family lived there for over 20 years and no one ever saw a ghost," said Marjorie. "It was our home and we never felt uncomfortable there."
Butch currently lives in Anaheim, Calif. Michele lives in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Michele began collecting skeleton keys when she used to go to estate auctions with her grandmother. She has turned that love of keys into a customized house key business named Keys to my Castle.
Nothing has been finalized, but the siblings plan on becoming the new owners of the place that holds so many childhood memories for them. They hope the documentary will spur more paranormal interest in the house that they would like turn into a Bed and Breakfast.
"We are looking forward to it," said Butch. "We think it will be great for Macon."