As time draws nearer to Halloween, more of us begin to long for some spooky fun and prepare for our scariest holiday. But Texas is a huge place, with plenty of real ghost stories attached to places scattered throughout the state, and that means people who wish to have encounters with restless spirits have plenty of opportunities. Recently we looked at a few locations rumored to be the haunts of those who've left the world of the living but who managed to stick around as ghosts. Here are five additional haunted places in Texas that might be of interest to those of us who are interested in ghosts.
5. The Grove — Jefferson
Jefferson is a city located in the northeastern corner of the state, with a long and interesting history. The city was established sometime around 1841 on land originally held by the Caddo Indians, and was one of the most important Texas ports in its early years. Nowadays, Jefferson is a popular tourist destination, and like many older towns is full of historic homes and businesses, some of which are reportedly haunted by the spirits of former residents who stuck around after shuffling off their mortal coils. One old home that's reportedly a popular hangout for ghosts is The Grove, a house built in 1861 that's included in the National Register of Historic Places. The Grove was one site associated with a brutal case of multiple murders following the end of the Civil War, in which a local mob shot and killed a carpetbagger and murdered four freed slaves with whom he'd been traveling. Records show that The Grove was one of the locations where parts of the incident occurred. Recent accounts by a former owner conclude that the home may be the most haunted house in a city with many haunted locations (Jefferson is home to a ghost tour and other paranormal events), and that objects falling from walls, ghostly screams from the upstairs floor and a strange sense that one is always being watched are but a few of the spooky things that have occurred in The Grove. Many sources claim that not only is the home one of the most haunted places in Texas, but it may also be one of the most haunted in America. Since The Grove is a private residence, visitors to Jefferson should be respectful of its owners and avoid trespassing.
4. Ghost Tracks — San Antonio
There is a famous urban legend about a haunted railroad crossing located just south of San Antonio that has been told for generations. According to the basic story, sometime in the 1930s or '40s, a bus loaded with young schoolchildren stalled on the train tracks, and was hit by a train, killing the driver and many of the kids. In the years since that tragedy, any automobile that stops on the tracks and is put in neutral will slowly be "pushed" off of the tracks by the ghosts of the kids killed in the bus accident. Some stories also claim that cars pushed off on certain mornings will have tiny handprints left in the dew on their windows, or that surfaces can be dusted with talcum powder to reveal them. The ever rational killjoys at Snopes claim that this haunting is actually a natural phenomenon caused by an optical illusion and that there's no record of a bus accident tragedy having taken place in San Antonio, but many who've experienced their cars being pushed off the tracks still disagree. In any case, it's an interesting bit of regional ghost lore.
3. White Rock Lake — Dallas
The pretty area surrounding White Rock Lake in Dallas is rumored to be haunted by the spirit of a young woman in her early twenties who wears an old-fashioned white dress. The stories associated with this specter all follow a familiar pattern. People driving along East Lawther Drive at night will spot the woman by the side of the road, and upon stopping to see if she needs help, the Good Samaritans find that her dress is soaked in water. The woman then asks for a ride home, but after a short ride, one of her benefactors will inevitably look in the back seat to discover the woman has disappeared, leaving a puddle of water in the seat as the only sign she was ever there. Early accounts of this ghost story began appearing in the 1940s, and I've heard variations that include the driver continuing on to the address given, only to be greeted by a person who tells the driver the girl was that person's daughter, who drowned several years earlier. The tale is also told in other parts of the state, but seems to be associated particularly with East Lawther Drive along White Rock Lake. Motorists in the area are advised to be on the lookout for a pretty young lady walking along the road in a soaked white dress...
2. Black Hope Cemetery Curse — Crosby
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In the early 1980s, several couples bought newly built homes in the Newport area of Crosby, and reportedly managed to stir up the restless spirits of people who had been buried there. Like something out of the film Poltergeist, the new subdivision was constructed on the site of an old African-American cemetery named Black Hope, which had been forgotten about over many decades. The remains of many of the cemetery's dead were discovered when one family began to excavate their yard so a new pool could be built, and soon afterwards some of the families living in the area's homes began to report experiencing ghostly phenomena. Doors closing by themselves, lights turning on or off, and toilets flushing on their own were but some of the things residents claim to have experienced, and some also heard creepy voices or saw spectral forms — things not easily explained away by natural means. The case inspired a book and a TV movie, and is an interesting local haunting for aspiring ghost hunters to research.
1. The Spaghetti Warehouse — Downtown Houston
This well-loved Italian restaurant in downtown Houston is housed in a building that some consider to be one of the most haunted places in the city, and possibly the nation. Its structure was built early in the 20th century, and was used for many purposes prior to becoming the restaurant. At one point, it was a storage warehouse for pharmaceuticals, and a young pharmacist is said to have met his demise when he fell into an empty elevator shaft. His wife was traumatized by his untimely death, and the story goes that she died from grief and shock the following year. Now the building is rumored to be their eternal postmortem home, and many stories have spread about their ghostly activities. Visitors claim to have been touched from behind by invisible hands, and employees tell tales of discovering furniture moved around or finding dishes and silverware scattered about. Some are afraid to venture upstairs, where paranormal activity is especially frequent. The restaurant has been a beloved Houston landmark for years, offering guests the opportunity to dine on comfort food and to possibly experience a ghostly encounter of their own.