Here at Ghost City, we are proud to offer our ghost tours in Texas' most haunted city! For hundreds of years, ghost stories have been told by the locals in San Antonio. If you live there, you know how haunted San Antonio is. It doesn't seem to matter if you're downtown, out at one of the Missions, or in the out-laying areas, you're never far from somewhere haunted.
Our San Antonio Ghost Tours take you to the most haunted locations in the downtown area of San Antonio. You'll hear the stories of San Antonio's haunted history while standing in the very places these haunting events take place. If you want to learn more about the most haunted locations in San Antonio, please browse through the pages below. However, to hear the whole story about San Antonio's most haunted places, take a ghost tour on your next trip to San Antonio. It is a spooky experience that you won't soon forget!
You can't talk about the most haunted places in San Antonio without mentioning the Alamo. Not long after the Battle of the Alamo took place, stories about ghosts and hauntings started to be told by the people of San Antonio. Those ghost stories haven't slowed down since. It certainly seems to be the most haunted place in San Antonio.Read more about the Haunted Alamo
When it comes to fans of Ghost City, we know you're always looking for the best paranormal experiences on your trips. And one thing you're always asking for is, "Where can I stay in your cities that is haunted?" Well, we've put together a list of the most haunted hotels in San Antonio.
Whether you're looking to stay in a Hotel which was built upon the battlefield of the Alamo, or one that used to be one of the most notorious jails in Texas, you'll find a haunted hotel to suit your taste, in San Antonio.Read more about the best haunted hotels in San Antonio
Once the military fortification for the famous Alamo, the Spanish Governor's Palace was never actually home to Texas's governors. It's been a captain's palace, an executioner's arena, as well as an assortment of different types of shops during the early twentieth century.
But what it has been known for in the last century is for being home to many of San Antonio's ghosts. Rumored to be haunted by the spirits of young children, as well as the victim of a heartless murder, the vibrant paranormal activity here clearly demonstrates that not all of its ghosts are able to forget what happened to them in life.Read more about the haunted Spanish Governor's Palace
San Fernando Cathedral is one of San Antonio's most recognizable landmarks, as well as one of its oldest. Tall spires reach for the sky and the architecture is beautiful no matter what time of day you strolled by.
The San Fernando Cathedral is rumored to be one of the most haunted locations in all of San Antonio, where shadow people play amongst the living and the ghosts don't always know that they are dead. Who is haunting this hollowed ground?Read more about the haunted San Fernando Cathedral
If you're local to San Antonio, Texas, you've probably spent a night or two driving out to Shane Road. Putting your car in park, you wait, hoping to feel your car be shoved up and over the tracks. But who is pushing you over?
That particular urban legend has told over and over again, until the truth and the fiction blend into a haunted tale of ghostly children, suicide nuns and the living, who hope beyond anything to come face to face with an apparition. But what is the truth?Read more about the real story behind the Haunted Railroad Tracks
Throughout South Texas, there is nothing more terrifying that the shrill cry of a woman--the weeping is a premonition, for those who hear it are often doomed to a series of grave misfortunes. The worst being death of either yourself or a loved one.
La Llorona has been depicted in various tales, but one thing is for certain: she drowned her children in a fit of anger and is now relegated to searching for them until Judgment Day.>Read more about the urban legend of La Llorona
It's said that some of the most haunted places in the world are theaters and the former Alamo Street Theater (now a hot dog place called Frank) is no different. From the spirit of a young boy who loves to play pranks to the living, to a ghostly former actress who can't sing on-key, this old theater is one of the most haunted places in San Antonio.
According to its former owners, the living are very protective of these energies. At this haunted location, the living come second to the ghosts.Read more about the ghosts of the Alamo Street Theater
All over the world, former "insane asylums" have considered to be some of the most paranormally active locations. For those which are currently abandoned, paranormal investigative groups flock to them to uncover the sometimes tragic events which occurred to them. But for some asylums, like the San Antonio State Hospital, it is not abandoned but still currently in use.
But though it has a fine reputation nowadays, patients who were once sent to the former Southwestern Insane Asylum were considered to be on "the March of Death." And it seems that though ghosts roam the halls, no one feels all to comfortable to discuss the phenomena that occurs daily.Read more about the strange events and ghosts of the San Antonio State Hospital
Located in the heart of downtown San Antonio, Texas, the Majestic Theatre was once the second largest theatre in the United States. It was equipped with plaster doves flying through the sky, fake peacocks perched on the towers. and looked just like a fantasy Mediterranean Sea.
But the Majestic Theatre is also home to more than a few ghosts, those who have made themselves comfortable in the grand Majestic. Disembodied footsteps and voices, a female spirit who seems to determined to appear at every performance.Read more about the ghosts of the Majestic Theatre
San Antonio's Midget Mansion has also been called the Gillespie Mansion and the Donore Manor, but despite the different names this urban legend is perhaps one of the most gruesome in all of Texas. Since the tragic night in the 1920s, rumors of hauntings have kept neighbors up night to the sounds of screaming emanating the house. According to local lore, it has been home to Satanists practicing rituals, as well as brave individuals hoping to take on the dark energies within the Mansion.Read more about the Urban Legend of Midget Mansion
The Cadillac Bar & Restaurant is said to be one of the most haunted places to eat in all of San Antonio, Texas. There have been sightings of angry female spirits, as well as unexplainable paranormal phenomena such as objects flying off the shelves or hearing sounds with no distinct source.
So, while The Cadillac Bar might be known for its delicious Mexican food and fresh margaritas, don't be alarmed if you happen to see something skirt past you . . . or if that uncomfortable sensation of being watched kicks up. Her name is Beatrice, and it's known about the restaurant that she isn't the kindest of spirits.Read more about the haunted Cadillac Bar
All over the world, some of the most haunted places are old bridges. Some are thought to be places of ritual and sacrifices; others are said to be the place where living beings go to die. But at almost every old bridge, there are rumors that the Devil himself was involved with its construction.
At the haunted Devil's Bridge in San Antonio, Texas, the legend stands true. Only the very brave trek down to East Ashley Road to see how very lucky they are--but the questions remains, are you just as lucky?Read about the hauntings and legend behind The Devil's Bridge
They say that museums are sometimes the most haunted places in the world--and San Antonio's very own Institute of Texan Cultures is no different. Built for the HemisFair in 1968, this museum offers exhibits about Big Foot as well as Texas' cultural past. Stepping into this museum is definitely a step back in time.
But while you're due to come across some interesting artifacts, many of them also happened to be haunted. A ghostly hearse, bathrooms that bleed blood, and the spirit of a poor soul only account for some of the paranormal phenomena which occurs regularly at the Institute. What puts this museum in the Top Ten Most Haunted Museums in the World?Read more about the ghosts of the Institute of Texan Cultures
Step one foot inside of San Antonio's hauntingly historic Empire Theatre, and you'll discover what all the supernatural fuss is about, this is one place where you are assured to get a thrill, if not from the live performance itself, then perhaps, just maybe, by one of the ghostly fans who still haunt the stunning theatre.Read more about The Ghosts of the Empire Theatre
All things considered, La Villita might just be the most haunted neighborhood in San Antonio, if not Texas. You should be wary when walking around the neighborhood at night, as you never know when you might encounter one of the ghosts of La Villita.Read more about The Ghosts of La Villita
In its many years, the Aztec Theatre's stage has been rumored to be "graced" by spirits and haunted by overworked projection operators whose experiences and struggles were the stuff of blues legends.
One of the spirits that have been sighted at the Aztec Theatre, is a phantom operator located in the projection booth. In the past, the spirit in the booth, would play tricks on whomever was operating the projector. Perhaps, hazing the new guy, or maybe the spirit is trying to scare off any non-union operators.Read more about The Ghosts of the Aztec Theatre
Like the French Quarter in New Orleans, the King Williams District is known for its ghosts. The district's history of hauntings even predates its conception, reaching back to when the area was nothing but farmland. Like the French Quarter that rests alongside the Mississippi River, the King William District also lays along a river (the San Antonio River).
The reason why this is important to note is because most spiritual experts say that ghosts can not cross over water. Thus, it's reasonable to believe that many of the departed souls that passed away throughout the history of the area remain trapped in King William, making it the most haunted district in San Antonio.Read more about The Haunted King William District
Cemeteries are known for being the final resting places to many souls - but no cemetery in San Antonio, Texas, has gives off quite the level of dispair as the Chinese Graveyard? Is this because of the two lovers who parted ways here? Or are the souls here so desperately restless than visitors really should head the sign: Do Not Trespass?Read more about The Haunted Chinese Graveyard
There is one house more beautiful, it's said, more elegant than all the others: The Terrell Castle, which also goes by the name of the Lambermont House. But the Terrell Castle has secrets...ghostly secrets. And for those who come here for a wedding or another event, well, it can't be said that the Castle's resident spirits are the kind to greet you with open arms.Read more about The Terrell Castle
Welcome to the Huebner-Onion Homestead: one of the most haunted houses in San Antonio, Texas, but a place that you visit only at your own risk. Tragedy underlies the history at this haunted location, and the stories which have emerged from previous owners tell us only one thing ... something exists here, at this abandoned property, and it's more than likely that it is not a spirit but something much darker.Read more about The Huebner-Onion Homestead
It's not uncommon to hear that New Orleans is haunted, or that Savannah is teeming with paranormal activity. Heck, Salem, Massachusetts is known for its infamous witch trials during the seventeenth century, and no one can visit Chicago without hearing about the gruesome mobs, whose equally gruesome deaths have spawned countless ghosts stories throughout the Windy City.
But for some strange reason, San Antonio, Texas, never seems to make the cut for being one of America's Most Haunted Cities . . . to non-locals, of course. For locals of this historic city, which sits at the foot of the Texas Hill Country, know that San Antonio is not only one of the most paranormally active in the States but perhaps also in the entire world . . .
It is for this reason–or at least one of the main reasons–why Ghost City Tours has decided to launch ghost tours in San Antonio, starting in the beginning of May 2016. We believe fully that the ghosts of San Antonio have their own story to tell and we hope to do the city's history justice in doing so. (Want to find out a little more about our upcoming ghost tours in San Antonio? Follow this link!)
Otherwise, let us continue on the path of finding out why San Antonio is just so very haunted . . .
In San Antonio, the ghost stories range from the standard to the downright creepy, and most are passed from generation to generation. Kids, for example, are warned not to trek out to the Ghost Tracks on the southeast side of the city, where, in the 1940s, a bus full of kids stalled while trying to cross the train tracks. No doubt the bus driver did everything he could, but there was nothing to be done. An oncoming train sped down the tracks, its pace so furiously fast that there was no chance to evacuate the children, or even the driver, off of the stalled bus. The collision was inevitable. So, too, was the fact that there were no survivors following the crash.
Since that harrowing day, locals and visitors alike have attempted to reconnect with the lost souls who died in the crash, for that crossing at Shane and Villamain is said to be one of the most haunted locations in all of San Antonio. Legend has it that if you position your car over the tracks, and put your car in neutral, the ghosts will push the vehicle the whole way across in an attempt to protect you from any imminent danger. Other visitors choose to sprinkle baby powder on the bumper, in hope that they might discover the little fingerprints of ghostly children. The streets surrounding the tracks are named after the children who died, and people have reported their windows splintering and breaking from the outside-in by an unseen force, as though something or someone wanted to be noticed.
San Antonio's history is peppered with ghostly lore just like the Haunted Tracks of Shane and Villamain. A case of heartbreak and hopelessness, anger and betrayal led to one horrific night when a bankrupt businessman's mental state snapped. He lunged at his wife and two daughters with a knife, slashing their throats and dragging their bodies to the second floor where he stashed them in a closet. He sealed them in with the turn of the lock, and then took his own life moments later with a pistol . . . Except that the mother and daughters had not been dead. Not yet. When authorities showed up days later after reports had surfaced that the family had not been seen, the officers not only found the dead bodies of the women, but also the notes which had been etched in blood, and the scratch marks dug into the walls as though the women had tried to claw themselves out of their very existence.
Called Midget Mansion (because the mother and father's smaller statures), rumors have been told of satanic rituals since having been performed at the house. Before it mysteriously caught on flames and burned to the ground, subsequent owners of the property heard the sounds of scratching and moaning as though the ghosts of the murdered women had never left the property . . .
Stories such as these are told and re-told—for the locals of San Antonio, it's no secret that the nearly three-centuries-old city is rife with paranormal phenomena. Paranormal investigators flock to places like the Menger Hotel or Military Plaza; and at any time of night, people can be seen standing by the illuminated Alamo, wondering—just maybe—if they might spot the specter of Davy Crockett who defended the historic church against the Mexican General Santa Anna in 1836. Some of these locations have become so notorious that they have appeared on TV shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures.
Most commonly, spirits may remain on the earthly plane for a few various reasons. Unfinished business at the time of death tends to be the most common, along with unrequited love or a tragic ending. Sometimes, it's simply that the ghost prefers the land of the living to anything else.
No doubt all have resulted in heightened paranormal activity in San Antonio, but there's also the fact that San Antonio's history is rich. And it is rich with death.
Since San Antonio's official founding in 1718 by Spanish missionaries and soldiers, the land of the region has been a veritable battleground for territory. The new Spanish settlers had been told the land was fertile, which hadn't been the case at all. They arrived at the Mission San Antonio de Valero, and realized that if they were to survive it was necessary that they dig canals, plant food, and protect themselves from anyone they deemed the enemy. But the land was already populated by the Coahuiltecan people, and so the Spanish soldiers made them into reducidos (indentured servant).
The settlers' stamp of "ownership" did nothing to dissuade the onslaught of attacks from the Comanches and Apaches peoples. The respective tribes were warriors who reportedly stole their horses, their goods. It was not the Comanche way to murder the people of the San Antonio villa and destroy them out right—no, it was better to allow them to work the fields and raise the horses, before the Comanches took what they deemed "theirs."
Years of fighting rose up among the different nationalities. The settlers placed the poor on the outskirts of the city, in hope that the tribes would take the belongings of the impoverished . . . or the impoverished themselves.
But the fight for land did not stop there, because soon the Texans wanted their independence from Spain and, later, Mexico. The Battle of the Alamo, where not a single defender survived, was only one such battle fought between the independence-seekers and Mexican rulers.
Blood was spilt on the grounds of San Antonio, and it is said that the souls of the victims—though all are victims in their own right—continue to haunt the city. Security guards in Alamo Plaza have seen the ghosts of what must be hundreds of people. They have seen soldiers, cowboys, Native Americans, and priests. That the grounds directly in front of the Alamo church were once a burial ground in the eighteenth century probably doesn't help matters either. For decency's sake, the road skirts around the paved-over cemetery so as not to disturb the dead.
Depending on whom one might have asked in the eighteenth century, smallpox was both the best and worst thing to ever happen to the burgeoning city of San Antonio at that time.
The symptoms were slow to appear, but then the fever hit and the rest followed quickly after. Muscles began to spasm and tire easily; the pain in your lower back rendered you useless. A few days later, flat red spots appeared your face before showing on your hands and on your neck and on your torso. The worst was yet to come. The red spots soon blistered, filling with clear fluid that was highly contagious. Though the blisters scabbed some ten days later, smallpox remained the biggest killer in San Antonio.
The population dwindled, and the foreignness of the disease affected the local tribes the most. In the 1730s, 655 out of the 857 Coahuiltecans died; by the 1780s, only some-eighty members of the tribe still lived. It was because of the devastating results of the spread of smallpox that tribes like the Comanches and Apaches finally agreed for treaties and truce. The peace was short-lived, but with their ability to raid the frontier had been tremendously injured.
Stories of seeing the ghosts of the diseased have been reported throughout the city of San Antonio. Locations like the Emily Morgan Hotel, which actually functioned as a hospital later on during the nineteenth century and whose basement was once the morgue, are commonly regarded as hotspots for the paranormal. Sightings of apparitions on translucent operating tables at the Emily Morgan have been reported, as well as hearing the disembodied moaning of the sick.
All alert the living that they are not alone.
At one time, San Antonio was considered the Wild West. It was the place of "Manifest Destiny," which brought countless of America's roughest citizens west to the open expanse of Texan land. Outlaws made themselves home in San Antonio's saloons, gaming hells and dance halls, where excessive drinking led to violence and violence almost always led to death. Gunslingers like Bob Augustine terrorized the people of San Antonio, and indubitably still haunt the city's historic streets today.
In fact, men like Bob Augustine were so feared that even after committing murder all he had to do was inform the jury and judge that if they deemed him guilty, Augustine would return and kill each and everyone of them. He was promptly acquitted and released from prison, though not before a gathering mob came and brought him right back. The next night when they saw him trying to escape, the mob of angry citizens allegedly captured him and dragged him to a chinaberry tree where they strung him up and hanged him without further delay.
Justice was swift and speedy—that is, if you were ever caught.
Today, visitors to the Military Plaza where Bob Augustine was gruesomely hanged still swear that they hear the Rebel yell that he hollered after his capture. This Plaza, perhaps more than any other, has had numerous of ghostly sightings surface. Is it because of outlaws like Bob Augustine who turned to violence as often as they turned to drink or women or alcohol? It seems that no matter where one turns in the historic San Antonio district, ghosts have been sighted.
Rhett Rushing, a folklorist at University of Texas San Antonio's Institute of Texan Cultures, told the online newspaper, mySA, a few years ago that "San Antonio [is not only] predisposed to ghost stories because of its cultural history, but the large mix of cultures over hundreds of years makes this a ghost lover's paradise."
Like New Orleans, San Antonio's roots were heavily Catholic, where the concept of death and heaven always loomed overhead. But much like New Orleans and its connection with Voodoo, San Antonio had Santería or Regla de Ocha. Influenced by Roman Catholicism, Santería had passed through the Caribbean into southern Texas by slaves from Yoruba, Africa. Similarly to Voodoo, those who practiced Santería used drumming and dance to communicate with their ancestors and the deities of the Regla de Ocha. And that open communication between the living and the dead? Most commonly that is where ghosts reside.
But in Texas, the heavy influence of the Latin culture has also spawned stories of La Llorona, or the phantom banshee. Though the story dates back to 1550, the Texan culture inherited the legend through right of passage. It is said that a widow fell in love with an incredibly wealthy man. However, he had no interest in her two children and refused to marry the widow because of them. She was so desperate—desperate for his love and a possible marriage—that the widow took matters into her own hands. In the dead of night, she grabbed her children and brought them down to the river. There, she drowned them both.
Anticipating a reunion with her lover, the widow turned her back on her children floating down the river, and hastened to the wealthy man's house. "We can be together now!" she exclaimed in delight, just before she explained what she had done. The man was horrified. He told her that she was mad, insane, and that he would have nothing to do with her.
It was only then that the widow realized that she had drowned her children for nothing. She scrambled back to the river, but her children were nowhere in sight. As the legend goes, God struck down on her then for her actions. He damned her to walk the earth forever, always to be looking for her murdered children . . .
The story of La Llorona has been repeated many-a-time; within San Antonio, the urban legend of the ghost of the Donkey Lady takes inspiration from La Llorona (in one story they even fight). People have claimed to see her ghost walk at night along the river, with her dark as night hair swishing against her back, and her white dress a sharp contrast to the black of the sky. Instead of a human head, however, there is one of a horse. Most commonly, her spirit is seen kneeling on the ground, her arms submerged in the water as she searches for her children.
For centuries, San Antonio has been a crossroads of cultures and of people. It has been a battleground for warring nationalities, and the morality of the lawless gunslingers and the vigilant citizens hoping to enact order.
The head of the San Antonio Paranormal Investigations, Guillermo Fuentes, has been referenced as saying that one of the reasons why San Antonio is so haunted is because the ghosts feel as though they have some form of ownership over the land. Additionally, Fuentes has said that San Antonio is just perfectly placed for being ghost friendly. There has to be a reason, he has said, that almost every part of San Antonio has claims to ghost stories . . . it is not just relegated to one section of town. His reasoning is the city's closeness to water, which might act like a spark or energy-source for paranormal phenomena.
Whether it is the water-source or not that creates the hub of ghostly activity, Ghost City Tours' General Manager, Gretchen, who grew up in San Antonio, has repeatedly said that one thing that makes San Antonio different is that the entire city has hauntings.
From ghostly legends passed down through the generations, to the more concrete sightings at locations like the Emily Morgan Hotel or the Alamo, it's safe to say that while San Antonio might not always be considered one of America's Most Haunted Cities . . . it really should be.
Happy Haunting, y'all.