Haunted Places in Texas
The Haunted Alamo at Night
The Lone Star State. Texas is almost a country in and of itself. Stretching from the high desert, to the panhandle, to the coastline, Texas is bursting with ghostly tales and haunted places. Ever since settlers arrived from the east, and populated what at one time was part of Mexico there have been stories of haunts, ghostly appearances and strange unsolved mysteries.
The ranchers and farmers were hard at work carving a place for themselves out of this unforgiving land. However, when the work was done for the day and evening arrived they would gather on a hacienda to enjoy the cool of the evening, and talk would turn to ghosts and other strange things.
Over the years the stories would vary, but legends of phantom pirates still guarding buried treasure, ghostly defenders of the Alamo, and the Texas headless horseman who would carry his head on his side held by a leather strap were often told. As time went on new stories of haunted schools and hotels, ghostly forts, and houses which were visited by unknown forces were added to the mix. It seems as if every town, river, and mountain in Texas has a haunting attached to it: however, in a place with such a bloody history as the lone star state, this may not be that surprising. So let's take a look at some of the most haunted places in Texas.
Interior of the Alamo
Spirits of the Alamo
The Alamo is a Texas institution, a monument to Texas independence from Mexico. The phrase "Remember the Alamo" which was the rallying cry of the Texican army after the Alamo defenders fell, is known nationwide. It is a very popular tourist attraction. However, when the tourists and visitors go home strange things have been reported on the Alamo's grounds for over one hundred years. Decades after the battle, a police headquarters and jail were located on the grounds. Both police and prisoners reported hearing moans and cries, and seeing a phantom sentry walking along the roof. Before long San Antonio found a new home for the police.
Visitors at the nearby hotels have reported seeing figures coming out of the walls of the Alamo chapel. Some have heard explosions, screams, and the sound of "El Deguello," on trumpet which translates to "no quarter". this was the song that Santa Anna, the Mexican general who was attacking the fort ordered his trumpeters to play during the attacks. Many have also seen the ever present sentries walking along the rooftops forever looking for an enemy who has long since departed. A number of park rangers have even claimed to have seen Davy Crockett standing in different areas of the old fort.
One of the most interesting reports is that every March people claim to hear hoof-beats racing down the road next to the Alamo in the early morning hours. Many feel that the phantom horse is ridden by James Allen, who was the last rider sent out from the Alamo before the final attack. it is said that Allen is still trying to rejoin the defenders in time for the last battle.
El Paso's Haunted Old West Cemetery
Concordia Cemetery in El Paso is an old burial ground that long served as boot hill for the then growing town. Famous gunfighters and lawmen of the old west such as John Wesley Hardin, Bass Outlaw, and John Selman are buried here. The cemetery is also the eternal resting place of civil war and WW1 and 2 veterans, buffalo soldiers, and El Paso's movers and shakers from the last century. Over 60,000 people are buried there in all. It has become a tourist attraction itself because of the famous people buried there. With a giant freeway next door it's not very quiet there anyway during the morning and early evening. And as we shall see it's not always all that quiet in late hours either.
When darkness falls, and the visitors leave a pall descends over the place. People who live around the cemetery and those who happen to be walking nearby have reported strange sounds and sights at Concordia. Children running around and laughing in the middle of the night when the gates are locked and the cemetery is empty. The sound of riders on horses galloping through the park is also heard late at night. Is it the buffalo soldiers going for a midnight ride?
A lady in white has been seen drifting through the gravestones by dozens of persons over the years. Nobody knows who she is or why she haunts Concordia. And reports claim to have seen shadow people all over the cemetery. Passerby's have heard moans and sobbing coming from the graves for decades now. There seems to be a great deal of ghostly activity at this old cemetery, and the hauntings continue to the present day.
The Ghost Bomber of the Guadalupes
On December 31st 1943, just a few hours short of the new year, a B-24 Liberator bomber left Biggs Air Field in El Paso on a nighttime navigation run. Shortly thereafter, the aircraft sent a position report in the area of Salt Flat Texas. The bomber was never heard from again. Searches proved fruitless until a trapper up in the Guadalupe Mountains ran across the wreckage in a desolate canyon a few months later. The military climbed up into the canyon and brought out four of five bodies from the wreckage. They were unable to find the fifth crew-member. The wreckage was left in the canyon.
Over the years strange stories have been reported by rangers, backpackers, and hikers from the canyon area. Numerous people exploring the area have heard a loud explosion which seems to come from up high in the canyon area. Others have seen a military figure walking around a trail by the Liberator crash site. When they approach he disappears. Could this be the fifth crew-member who was unaccountably left behind? Reports have continued to the present day. The wreckage still is spread out over the canyon wall today.
Haunted Baker Hotel
The Ghosts of the Baker Hotel
Built in 1929 at the then astronomical cost of $1.2 million dollars, the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas was a lavish, cosmopolitan facility which could compete with any hotel in America. The fourteen story structure had air conditioning (a novelty in those days), and circulating ice water. It also offered a pool with the naturally occurring healing mineral waters which brought people to the little town in the first place. The skyscraper towered over the town of (then) 7,000 souls.
It was also the first building of that size to be constructed outside of a major metro area. The curing waters and the hotel brought numerous celebrities there like Clark Gable, Curly and Moe Howard, Ronald Reagan, and Lucille Ball. The hotel was a popular destination throughout the 1930s and 1940s, but began to decline in the 1950s. The Baker closed for good in 1972.
It seems as if the hotel had a reputation for being haunted long before it's closing. Visitors and staff have reported seeing a woman on the seventh floor since the 1950s. Legend has it that she was a mistress of the owner who jumped to her death decades ago. A recent caretaker has heard things on that floor in recent years, so whoever the unfortunate woman is, she is still there. In another part of the building, a tour group walking through the former dining room heard an orchestra playing, the sound of voices, and the tinkling of plates and glasses from a long ago evening.
A bellhop named Douglas Moore died at the hotel in 1948. The story goes that he was involved in an elevator accident and crushed. Other stories state that he murdered there to keep him quiet about a prostitution ring that he was involved with. However it may have happened a ghost hunting crew recorded a scream down in the basement by the elevator. His spirit seems to haunt the basement. And footsteps have been heard when no one is in the hotel except a caretaker. In fact some people refer to the Baker as the most haunted hotel in Texas.
Jean Lafitte's Ghost Battle
On the grounds of a old home called Stewart's Mansion in Galveston is a marker denoting that pirate Jean Lafitte's headquarters was here. It is not a quiet place. A battle once took place here between Lafitte's pirate crew and the local Karankawa Indians. The Karankawas were a warrior tribe and attacked the pirates after they kidnapped a native woman. The pirates lost numerous men, and the Karankawas were virtually wiped out. Since that time, hundreds of people have heard sounds of a pitched battle and the screams of dying men. Some have heard cannon fire. A few have seen pirates and native warriors in battle. Stewart's mansion itself has been torn down to be replaced by condos. It will be interesting to see if ghostly sightings will increase.
On the same grounds are said to roam twelve spectral black dogs. They have been seen for over 100 years, and are thought to have originally belonged to Lafitte himself. They have glowing eyes, and unsurprisingly are believed to be a bad omen for anyone that sees them.