The 6 Most Haunted Places All Across Texas
Abandoned hospitals, ghostly hotels and more reasons to lose sleep at night
Each October, cooler temperatures and falling leaves are met with the strange but accepted practice that, all over the country, people will dress up in costumes, watch horrifying movies and try to scare the bejesus out of each other. It’s a time-honored tradition magnified by tales of haunted locales — places with grisly histories, unexplained phenomena and just plain spooky occurrences reported by countless people over the decades.
Texas is home to a handful of these haunted houses, hotels, hospitals and other locations that once saw tragedy and continue to remind visitors of their past via apparitions and other strange sights and sounds. Such tales draw particular interest around Halloween, but these six Texas sites are ready to scare you all year round.
An abandoned hospital left to wither in the elements for three decades is unsettling enough as it is. But this particular hospital was founded by a religious group in the 1950s, and over its 30 years in operation, Yorktown Memorial reportedly had hundreds, or even thousands, of patients die within its walls, some supposedly from malpractice. Today, the building is in disrepair, ravaged by time and the occasional vandal, and it’s said that many of its troubled former patients still roam the halls. Visitors report seeing ghosts in hospital gowns and specters with red eyes, hearing footsteps and feeling cold spots as they navigate the hospital. If you’d like to investigate for yourself, there are tours, both during the day and at night.
This historic downtown Austin hotel is a popular spot for out-of-town visitors as well as locals looking for a good drink. It’s also a popular hangout for ghosts, apparently. Dating back to 1886, the property has its share of ghost stories, but the most common sightings are of a little girl who died on the hotel’s grand staircase — people report hearing a bouncing ball and a girl laughing — and of not one, but two jilted brides, who, in their despair, ended their lives decades apart in room 525. And they never left.
The Plaza Theatre operated from 1930 to 1985, before shutting down and eventually reopening in 2006 as a home for concerts and the performing arts. But during those 21 years while it was shuttered, it seems a few inhabitants got restless. Theater staffers and patrons have reported seeing a floating woman in white, a man in black and a ghostly child roaming the halls. Some have seen a man sitting alone in the balcony smoking, while others report unexplained footsteps and lights turning on and off by themselves.
An 1851 cotton warehouse-turned-hotel, the Jefferson leans into its haunted reputation and encourages guests to record their encounters in a journal. Over the years, multiple guests and employees report seeing children playing in the hotel and moving objects, and a man who turns a corner and disappears. Lights and televisions turn on and off without reason, temperatures quickly fluctuate between hot and cold, and ominous messages are left on steamy mirrors. So, pretty standard ghost stuff. But the most grisly tale involves a young woman who hanged herself in a hotel room in 1912 and has stuck around to haunt the property ever since.
In the late 1800s, Galveston was a booming port city and the center of Texas trade. In 1900, it was hit by a devastating hurricane that killed thousands of people. The Hotel Galvez, as it was first known, opened in 1911, and many believe it’s positioned on the site of a mass grave, in which 90 orphans and 10 nuns are interred. That could explain all the ghostly children who’ve been sighted on the luxury property. There’s also Audra, a 1950s bride-to-be who killed herself upon learning of her fiancé’s demise at sea (turns out, he survived the shipwreck). She’s said to haunt the hotel, appearing in white and giving off a sudden chill, breaking dishes and turning on lights.
The 1836 Battle of the Alamo has been immortalized in Texas history and is often presented as a polished tale of David versus Goliath-level bravery. But a whole bunch of people died during the siege, and many were unceremoniously buried in a mass grave. Hence the many tales of wounded soldiers appearing at night, a lone watchman on the roof and men walking through walls. Security guards report hearing footsteps and seeing apparitions, including Texan and Mexican soldiers, as well as the visage of a young boy who appears in an upstairs window.
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