Whether you live in Texas or just happen to be passing through, paranormal enthusiasts have plenty of chances to encounter a ghost. You can up those chances by visiting some of Texas's most haunted places, which share a rich and colorful history of ghosts and paranormal activity. Locations of tragedy, dastardly deeds, and deadly gunfights conjure up spooky tall tales of restless spirits.
Remember the Alamo? As it turns out, so do the spirits who remain there. Located in San Antonio, it's one of Texas's most infamous locations, known for the Battle of the Alamo. Originally a mission to train "uncivilized" Native Americans in Christianity, the Alamo later became a fort that was invaded by Santa Anna's armies. Soldiers were killed, dismembered, looted, and then buried in a mass grave.
With such unrest and violence, it's no surprise the Alamo is rampant with ghost stories and has been for most of its history. The first report occurred in 1836 when Santa Anna sent soldiers back to the fort to burn down the church and prevent it from becoming a Texan shrine. His soldiers returned claiming guards with flaming sword had surrounded them. When Santa Anna sent his general with another detail, they saw a white spectre with balls of fire in his hands and fled in terror. Many visitors have seen sentries standing guarding around the fort. Other ghostly apparitions include:
- Grotesque figures leaving the fort
- Trumpets playing El Deguello (last song played at the fort)
- Disembodied voices and phantom footfalls
- Marching ghost army in front of fort
- Ghosts around church and walking through fort walls
- Blond-haired boy at windows
- Mexican solider ghost outside Alamo walls
The Alamo is a state historic site and is open to visitors.
If you're in Seguin and you want to spend a night with restless spirits, then check into the haunted Magnolia Hotel. Claims include 13 spirits that peer out the windows, including young Emma Voelcker. Emma was murdered by Wilhem Faust, a serial killer who stayed at the Magnolia. Now, she roams its halls. People also report seeing apparitions, black and white mists, and furniture that moves by itself. Likewise, guests frequently report hearing disembodied voices and phantom footfalls.
The Magnolia Hotel is open to the public and has been featured on numerous ghost hunting and paranormal TV shows. Magnolia Hotel doesn't allow private paranormal investigations, but it does let Strange Town paranormal investigators host a quarterly paranormal investigation open to the public.
Texas State Capitol
Rumors of ghostly activity have long plagued the Texas State Capitol in Austin. It's on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a National Historic Landmark. The majestic domed building had humble beginnings as a two-room log cabin with a small meeting room.
Over the past decades, several ghosts have taken up residence in the Capitol building. Eyewitnesses have reported seeing a Lady in Red wandering about the third floor. Another regular apparition is tophat-wearing Robert Marshall Love. The state comptroller was shot what sitting at his desk in his Capitol office.
However, the ghosts don't just haunt the State Capitol. It seems they also like the Governor's Mansion. Many of the former governors love the mansion so much, they decided to stick around after death. Sam Houston is one of the former governors haunting the mansion.
You can visit the Texas State Capitol by participating in a tour. Be wary if you do. You may just bump into one of the resident ghosts.
Shafter Lake is now a ghost town. Its original name was Salt Lake, but today it's a dried up salt bed. The town was abandoned when Andrews was chosen over it for the county seat. Many locals have reported that on fall nights you can see a small army of soldiers on their horses galloping across the dried-up lake. Some say that it is General Shafter and his men as they were attempting to escape certain death at the hands of pursuing Comanche warriors. The salt bed attracts other apparitions, such as the Lady in White often seen walking across it.
Closed in 1972, the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells has several ghosts still waiting for the doors to be opened once more. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places but is closed to the public. Fundraising for renovations began in 2015, and renovations started in 2019.
It's believed the ghosts of Bonnie and Clyde hide out in the hotel. Some eyewitnesses claim to have seen the infamous couple. Other resident ghosts include a Woman in White believed to be the spirit of the owner's mistress. It's rumored she committed suicide by leaping from the seventh floor window. A bellboy who met an ill fate being sliced in two by a malfunctioning elevator is said to roam the hotel.
Currently, the hotel is closed to the public. While some ghost tours skirt the hotel, no one is allowed inside the building. However, once it reopens, you can plan a stay to see if you might have a ghostly encounter.
The Hotel Galvez was built in 1911 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Named for the city's namesake, the Bernardo de Gálvez, it is a functioning hotel.
The hotel is rumored to be haunted. Guests have told stories of seeing the Lovelorn Lady wandering the fifth floor of the hotel. Room 505 is said to have the pungent sweet smell of gardenias. Many stories surround the room and the Lovelorn Lady who is still waiting for her husband who died at sea. Another ghost story tells how she hanged herself in Room 505 when she learned her husband was lost at sea.
The Hotel Galvez is an operating business, so if you wish to check out the ghosts there, you need to check in.
Granbury Opera House
The Granbury Opera House is a registered historic landmark located in Granbury. In 2012, the building was renovated into a state-of-the-art theater. Off-Broadway productions are held in the renovated building.
The story of the tall apparition dressed in black and wearing black boots is a bizarre tale. The ghost is said to be that John Wilkes Booth. Yes, the man who killed President Abraham Lincoln apparently escaped to Granbury, changed his name to John St. Helen and lived out his days there. This anomaly in history is explained with the tale that the man killed in the barn in Virginia was a look alike actor and not the infamous murderer of President Lincoln. As ghostly evidence, Ghost Lab, a Discovery Channel show, captured an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) of a man's voice claiming to be Booth.
You can visit the Granbury Opera House by attending one of the productions. There is no information about the building being haunted or allowing paranormal investigations.
Located in Jefferson, the Grove is often said to be one of the most haunted houses in America. It's also known as the Stilley-Young House and is listed as a Texas Historic Landmark. It's also on the National Register of Historic Places.
The numerous stories of the different types of paranormal activity on the premises have attracted a lot of attention, including William Shatner's former show, Weird and What? Stories of murders and secret graves underneath the house have plagued The Grove. Some of the strange activities include:
- Strange white figures of women appearing in photos taken inside the house
- Mirrors that fall from the walls for no apparent reason
- Disembodied voices, phantom footfalls, and objects moving on their own
- Wailing sounds that echo through the second floor
While The Grove is a private residence, it is also a tour home. You can visit The Grove and participate in a tour. Many people report having a paranormal experience or encounter while on the tour.
As with many former military ships that have been turned into museums, the USS Lexington has seen its share of tragedy and is rife with reports of hauntings. Nicknamed The Blue Ghost, the USS Lexington is a World War II-era Essex-class aircraft carrier that had numerous wartime deaths. The ship was decommissioned in 1976, and it became a museum in Corpus Christi in 1991.
As with other haunted ships, its military skirmishes left behind a number of spirits that roam the ship. Visitors and staff report seeing the spirits of sailors, including a helpful one who points the way for visitors lost on the giant vessel. People also report seeing shadows darting on the decks, and staff admit that playful spirits hide objects which later turn up in strange places.
As the USS Lexington is now a floating museum, you can take a self-guided or guided tour (including a paranormal tour) when you're in Corpus Christi. You can also enjoy Lockdown on the Lex (escape rooms) or join an overnight camp-out on the ship.
Explore Haunted Texas
Texas is overflowing with tales of ghosts and stories of haunted places. You can explore many of these locations and perhaps catch a glimpse of the other side.