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Secrets of the Pike House

Updated on June 11, 2012
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Rooted in History

Originally known as Fisher Hall, the famous Pike House of San Marcos was built in 1903 as a boy’s dormitory for the Coronal Institute, a coeducational private school that blossomed in the years following the conclusion of the Civil War. The school underwent many changes, all of which proved ineffective in helping to bring up the steadily falling enrollment numbers. The school closed its doors in 1917. As the United States entered World War I, the buildings which made up the campus were rented out as barracks and for the training of soldiers. After the conclusion of the war, the buildings were put to use again as the Coronel Military Academy – an endeavor that only lasted until 1919. In 1923, it was converted into a memorial hospital and remained such for the next four decades.

After a brief stint as a Baptist Academy dorm, the building was bought by the Zeta Theta chapter of the Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity in 1969. It was at this point that the building became known as the “Pike House”, and the hospital feel of the building was adapted to the needs of the busy students who lived there. Members of the fraternity regularly heard the sound of footsteps walking back and forth along the second story balcony that ran across the front of the building. No one was ever able to explain the walking, so residents figured that it must have been one of the patients of the hospital, pacing as he forever looked out over the scenic expanse of the front lawn. The building was sold in 1997 when the fraternity decided to buy a more practical living space, and the old building was abandoned as it waited for renovations by the new owner. At this point the mysteries surrounding the house abounded and actual fact faded into nonexistence.

Truth Fades into Obscurity

The most famous of the stories surrounding the house is that if the dead pledge. The story goes that one year the fraternity’s hazing of their new pledges went a little too far. One pledge (or more depending on who tells the story) was accidentally killed in the process of hazing, so the rest of the pledges were told to write the events of the night down in their books. The books were then burned and nailed to the wall of the room where the boy died, and the event was never to be talked about again. Rumor has it that you could go down into the abandoned house and see the bloody smears of the dead pledge as well as the burned remnants of the pledge books nailed to the wall of the room. Accounts from those who have investigated the house confirm that there was a room where burned books or pages of papers were nailed to one of the beams, although the story itself is far from being confirmed. The real story of the strange contents of the house has been lost in time, and there’s no telling whether it is as interesting as the tales that have been woven around the abandoned building.

Most of the other rumors about this property can be easily written off as exaggerations, though several paranormal investigations of the house have provided interesting evidence in supporting the haunted aspect of the property. Stories abound that there are tortured spirits of civil war soldiers who died in the hospital, or that the hospital was really an insane asylum that used to conduct terrible experiments on their patients. The truth behind that story is disappointing to thrill seekers – it is well known that the Pike House was built in 1903 which was well after the conclusion of the Civil War. The hospital remained until another hospital was built close by, and was not closed because of the practices of mad scientist doctors. Instead, any spirits that remain from the building’s days as a hospital prove to be simple residual memories of the patient’s last days alive. There are also stories of secret passageways and rooms, which may in fact just be a result of the many renovations that the building underwent as it changed hands over the years.

When the house was abandoned, it became a haven for all kinds of destructive activities. Beyond the beer cans and vandalism is the story of satanic cult meetings that took place in the empty house. The validity of this claim is debatable, the presence of pentagrams on the walls of the building could just be an extension of the vandalism, but could be a mark of the cult presence. In any case, it is thought that the satanic cult brought forth a darker presence to the building. The feeling of being watched and followed as well as hearing voices cursing is a far cry from the inquisitive and forlorn spirits thought to be sticking around from the hospital days.

The spirits of the Pike House may never be fully discovered, as the building met its untimely end in 2007 when two arsonists inexplicably set fire to the famous haunt. The house that was a historical landmark and which was home to some of the most interesting aspects of San Marcos history went up in flames – taking with it every speck of evidence of the mysterious stories surrounding it. The site is privately owned, but can be seen from the street if you wish to find out if any of the house’s spirits remain.

Location: 1132 Belvin Street, San Marcos, Texas 78666

Note: This location is on private property.

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