A 2019 Travel Channel article that ranked each state according to how haunted it is revealed some surprising data. Texas, associated primarily with its big size, big ranches, and big plates of BBQ, lands near the top of the list at #3 with some equally big paranormal activity, outranking other Southern states like Louisiana and Georgia, but falling just under the top two slots claimed by Nevada and California.
Surprised by these results? Well, take a look at the following haunted places in Texas and see just what makes Lone Star State one of the most haunted places in America.
By the time the 1836 Battle of the Alamo came to an end, hundreds of fighters, both Texans and Mexicans alike, had lost their lives on that stretch of San Antonio soil. One of the most notable to die at the Alamo was famous gun-slinging politician Davy Crockett. A popular destination for history buffs, visitors of the Alamo can buy guided tours of the battlefield, and from time to time, some come away with an experience far more exciting than the one advertised on the website.
According to the site Legends of America, the first instance of paranormal activity at the Alamo happened just a few weeks after the battle ended in 1836. It’s said that six spirits holding torches appeared, protecting against further infiltration, and warned “Do not touch the Alamo, do not touch these walls!” Ever since, visitors report seeing apparitions that appear and disappear, and there are even occasional reports of sightings of actor John Wayne and Davy Crockett himself.
Yorktown Memorial Hospital
Known amongst locals as one of the most haunted locations in all of Texas, the history of Yorktown Memorial Hospital dates back to 1950. According to News Channel 4 San Antonio, the hospital was built by a Catholic group, and operated until the late 80s. Opinions vary as to why the hospital actually shut down. Some sources, like the ones found in the News Channel 4 article, say it was due to an unusually high number of deaths that took place at the hospital. Other sources say it was because another hospital opened up just a few miles away, which put Yorktown out of business. Regardless of why it shut down, it’s been a favorite location for ghost hunters throughout the years, and is undisputed as a hotbed of spirit activity.
Mike Hanson, a former caretaker at the hospital, was quoted by the Temple Daily Telegram as stating, “I know for a fact there is [sic] a lot of ghosts here…I’ve seen just black objects, like the size of a German shepherd. I’ve seen a guy standing in front of the chapel. I’ve seen red eyes twice. There’s a door at the front that goes up to a stairwell that we hear rapping on the glass nightly. You can turn off the lights, stand by the nurse’s station…and you’ll see people walking around.”
The Driskill Hotel
The gorgeous and architecturally impressive Driskill Hotel had its grand opening in Austin way back in 1886, and is praised to this day as one of the finest hotels the city has to offer. It’s also widely known to be actively haunted, but those who spend time at the hotel see that as just part of the fun.
Praised in a Condé Nast Traveler article as one of “America’s favorite haunted hotels,” the article goes on to claim that one of many spirits to haunt the lavish halls and rooms within is the ghost of the hotel’s original owner, Jesse Lincoln Driskill, who died of a stroke in 1890 shortly after the building opened. The ghost of a little girl who died after falling down the hotel’s main stairwell can reportedly be heard laughing and bouncing a ball throughout the property. A couple who stayed at the Driskill in late 2019 also left a spooky review on Tripadvisor: "We were both awakened at different times during the night by someone touching our face and whispering in our ears.”
The Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Centre
The history of the Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Centre is riddled with ghostly occurrences. Located in El Paso, the theater opened in 1930 and ran as a “movie palace” until 1985. In 2006, new ownership renovated the building and re-opened it as a performing arts center, which is what it remains to this day. Throughout its years of operation, so many instances of paranormal activity were experienced by staff that it has since become a favorite for ghost tours and ghost hunters. In 2019, KTSM 9 News ran a story about Doug Pullen, Program Director of the El Paso Community Foundation, who revealed that a former security guard once saw human-like shadows running around within the theater. What’s more, one of his work associates had experiences with a rag doll that seemed to move around the building all on its own.
The oldest building in downtown Houston resides at 813 Congress Street. According to the Houston Chronicle, the building opened as a bakery in 1860 before becoming a store, a hair salon, and then the bar La Carafe in the 1960s, which is what it remains to this day. Known to be extremely haunted, staff have reported seeing bottles fall off the shelves on their own accord and the sound of children playing upstairs when there are no children present. It’s even rumored that the ghost of the bar’s former manager peers in through the windows from time to time.
Formerly known as Old Alton Bridge, Goatman’s Bridge is an iron through-truss bridge in Denton County, Texas. It was built in 1884 to allow horses to cross Hickory Creek. Though the village of Alton no longer exists in the present day, Goatman’s Bridge still stands, and is accessible to curious visitors traveling on foot.
An Atlas Obscura article reveals that the legend of Goatman’s Bridge and its reputation for paranormal activity can be traced back to 1938, when an African American goat farmer was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. As the legend goes, the Klan hung the man off of the bridge, and when they went down to retrieve his body, it had mysteriously disappeared. Ever since this horrific event took place, people have reported seeing red eyes peering out from under the bridge, as well as an apparition of a man with a goat’s head.
The Sixth Floor Museum
On November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy from a sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, where Oswald worked as a temporary employee. That very location now houses the Sixth Floor Museum, where visitors can look out of the very window Oswald fired from, featuring an exact replica of the boxes he situated to form his “sniper’s perch.”
Visitors of the museum often remark on feeling haunted by their experience there, and even hearing phantom shots. On the street below you can see X’s marked on the ground, which indicate the exact locations of Kennedy’s car at the moment he was shot.
Omni Austin Hotel Downtown
A very popular lodging for tourists and business travelers, the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown not only has a pool on the roof, it’s got its very own ghost. According to the site Austin Ghosts, a man named Jack stayed at the hotel during its early days while on a business trip. It’s said that Jack was a door-to-door salesman, and after a long string of bad business and marital issues, he jumped to his death from his balcony. Since then, guests and staff of the hotel report seeing and hearing Jack’s ghost, and rumor has it that his name remains in the hotel’s computer log.
The Littlefield House
Located on the University of Texas’s main campus, the Littlefield House was built by George Washington Littlefield, a banker and Civil War soldier, in 1893. According to Littlefield’s great-great-grandson, Dr. David Gracy, Littlefield built the house right next to the original land of the campus, and donated a great deal of money to the university with one stipulation: the campus had to stay where it was.
Littlefield died in 1920. When his wife Alice died a few years later in 1935, she left the house to the university, which used it for events and office space. People have long since reported strange sounds there that are attributed to the ghost of Alice herself. The ghost of her husband is thought to haunt the campus as well, and watches over the students via his portrait in a hallway of Littlefield House. Some say the left eye of the portrait follows people wherever they go.
Gary Monteleone, owner of Monteleone’s Ristorante in El Paso, was interviewed by CBS 4 News in 2018. The purpose of the interview was to discuss his restaurant—not because it’s been thriving for over 18 years, or because of changes to the menu, but because it’s supposedly very haunted. Monteleone told CBS that the building dates back over 100 years, and used to be a spiritualist church. Since coming into ownership, he says he’s had frequent paranormal encounters ranging from seeing a charred hand and forearm coming at him through the side of a door, to objects being thrown around the restaurant by some unseen force.
Not knowing where to turn, Monteleone enlisted the help of Diana Calamia, a spiritualist minister and psychic, who investigated the restaurant and told him she believes it to be a portal. Rather than run from the news, Monteleone embraced it. The restaurant hosts “Dining with the Dead,” a “three-hour experience filled with food, stories of the paranormal and a séance” every third Thursday of the month.
The site that now houses Buffalo Billiards in Austin dates back to 1861. Once a boarding house called the Missouri Hotel, it’s now a salt of the earth billiard hall that has a reputation for being haunted. Apparently a prankster ghost named Fred likes to hang out there and shake bar stools while people are sitting on them, and there’s also a more elusive female ghost who lurks upstairs in what used to be the hotel section of the building, where she has a habit of staring at people.
Texas State Capitol
What does it say about the level of a state’s paranormal activity when the state’s capitol building itself is haunted? “The Capitol is haunted day and night," says Fiona Broome, psychic, ghost hunter and author of the book The Ghosts of Austin, Texas in an interview with CBS. "If you've got a nice, misty day there, people see ghosts walking up the path to the Capitol building all the time,” she adds.
In 2018, KXAN covered a popular ghost tour of the Capitol. The tour reveals detailed information about paranormal activity and mysterious deaths that have occurred within the building, from a painter who fell off a three-story scaffold to a woman who vanishes into the walls.
Located in Galveston, the Hendley Market was once part of a stretch of buildings referred to as Hendley Row. The building dates back to the 1850s and is the oldest commercial building in the area, so it’s not at all surprising that a few ghosts from the past remain within. Of the many paranormal encounters reported at the market, the most common involve a ghost known as The Lady in White, who walks up and down the stairs, or sometimes in the street out front, crying, and looking as though she’s searching for something. Other ghosts spotted include a little girl, a little boy, and the disgruntled spirit of a Confederate Soldier.
Sources: Travel Channel, Legends of America: The Alamo, News Channel 4 San Antonio, Temple Daily Telegram, Condé Nast Traveler, Tripadvisor, KTSM 9 News, Legends of America: Goatman's Bridge, Atlas Obscura, Houston Chronicle, KVUE News, CBS News, KXAN, Austin Ghosts, CBS 4 News, Nightly Spirits, Galveston Ghost