EXPLORING TEXAS’ HAUNTED PLACES
BY ANNETTE BROOKS
Who doesn’t love October, a month with hayrides, pumpkins, and good-natured, spooky fun? This year, buckle up for a Texas road trip (pumpkin-spice lattes in the cup holders) and check out some of Texas’ most spirited places. We’ve pulled together a brief list to kick-start your curiosity and imagination.
EMILY MORGAN HOTEL, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
San Antonio is a perfect fall getaway destination, and the place to stay is the AAA Four Diamond-rated Emily Morgan Hotel. Located steps away from the Riverwalk and the Alamo and one of San Antonio’s most loved luxury hotels, The Emily Morgan is also known for things that go bump in the night. Named the third most haunted hotel by USA Today in 2015, stories from the staff and guests include spirited encounters, cold spots, light orbs, whispers, and disembodied footsteps.
It’s believed these spooky experiences have to do with the building’s history. From 1924 to 1976, the stunning thirteen-story Gothic revival- style building, complete with terra cotta gargoyles, was a medical arts building that included a psychiatric ward and morgue. It’s said that ghosts of those who died in the building haunt it to this day. A few floors are reported to be haunted, but we’ve heard the 7th floor is the place to stay if you want to increase your chances of experiencing something supernatural. Rumor has it the stainless-steel swimming pool is made of melted-down hospital carts, but this is a fabricated myth.
Guests staying at The Emily Morgan Hotel the last week in October and the first week in November can take advantage of their Room with Your Boo package. It features a special Halloween gift, a welcome cocktail, breakfast in bed with “Boo-berry” pancakes, and more. Call (210) 225-5100 for details. Visit EmilyMorganHotel.com for more information.
HOTEL GALVEZ AND SPA, GALVESTON, TEXAS
October is a wonderful time of year to visit Texas’ Gulf Coast, and what better place to spend a few nights than Galveston Island’s iconic Galvez Hotel. The historic AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel has hosted many famous people over the years. Perhaps its most famous guest, now a permanent resident, is Audra’s ghost (“The Lovelorn Lady”).
Audra was the fiancée of a seaman who stayed at the hotel in room 501 to welcome her love home when his ship docked. One fateful day after a storm, she heard his ship had capsized, and all were lost. Despondent, she took her own life in the hotel’s west turret. Making the story even more tragic, supposedly, her financehad survived and arrived a few days later to discover her demise.
Another apparition, Sister Katherine, roams the hotel along with phantom children often heard running and laughing through the halls. After the Hurricane of 1900 ravaged Galveston Island, including St. Mary’s Orphans Asylum, the bodies of ninety children and ten nuns were found along the beach where the 110-year-old Hotel Galvez now stands.
The hotel, which topped TripAdvisor’s list of the most haunted hotels in Texas in 2020, is on great terms with its friendly ghosts. Ghost tours are available throughout most of the year. In October, they usually offer a special ghost tour and dinner package. And of course, you can always book your stay in room 501 — if you dare! Call (409) 515-2154 for details. Visit HotelGalvez.com for more information.
YORKTOWN MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, YORKTOWN, TEXAS
Located on private property about 2.5 hours southwest of Houston, Yorktown Memorial Hospital is considered one of the spookiest — and creepiest — haunted sites in the Lone Star State. If the name sounds familiar, perhaps you saw the Ghost Adventures TV show team investigating it in season four. It’s estimated more than 2,000 patients died in the hospital, now littered with old gurneys, hospital beds, medical equipment, and even a bizarre doll-filled nursery. Nearly everyone who’s been inside has an eerie tale to tell.
The hospital offers daily walking tours, photography/video shoots, and overnight investigations for different fees. You’ll need to book an appointment before you arrive and please book early. October is a busy month. Visit Facebook.com/ yorktownhospital/ to learn more and schedule a tour.
THE DRISKILL, AUSTIN, TEXAS
True to its fun-loving reputation, our State Capitol pulls out the stops around Halloween and throughout the month, making October an ideal time to visit. When there, stay at The Driskill, located in the heart of downtown Austin. Built in 1886, this award-winning, historic hotel has more to offer than a luxury, 5-star experience. It has spirits!
Jesse Driskill, who built the hotel, is often “seen” around the hotel smoking a cigar. One of the rooms is rumored to be haunted by a jilted bride who took her life in the hotel. It’s also reported the friendly spirit of a child who fell to her death down the grand staircase while chasing after a ball is spotted throughout the hotel, and often on the fifth floor by the portrait of a young girl holding flowers. Not to be outdone, Peter Lawless, who lived at the hotel for 31 years, never left. Keep an eye out for a full-bodied apparition of an older gentleman with black hair and in old-fashioned garb with dark pants, a white shirt, and a pocket watch.
When booking your room, be sure to ask about The Ghost City Tours package, which includes a night’s stay, two tickets to a citywide ghost tour, a $25 hotel credit, and a $10 Voodoo Doughnuts gift card. Visit DriskillHotel.com and select the offers button for more information or call (512) 439-1234.