Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hauntings: Galveston

 Galveston (Texas)

In 1900, a hurricane swept in off the Gulf of Mexico and pounded the Texas coast with winds up to 135 mph -- a "Category 4" storm in modern terminology.  Galveston suffered a 15-foot surge of water, which easily swamped the 8.7-foot-high island.  Together, the wind and the water destroyed almost everything in their path and created the worst natural disaster in America's history.  Between 6,000 and 12,000 people died.

The storm surge knocked buildings off their foundations and the surf pounded them to pieces.  Over 3,600 homes were destroyed and debris covered the ocean for miles.  The few buildings that survived were the solidly built mansions and houses along the high class Strand District, like the Hotel Galvez, Tremont House, Bishop’s Palace, and Ashton Villa. 


The most haunted places in Galveston:

The Galvez Hotel was a showpiece when it was built in 1911 and played host to U.S. presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson.  In Room 505, a guest committed suicide after hearing that her fianc√© had died in a shipwreck.  She’s been seen so many times, the staff calls her the "Lovelorn Lady." People have seen other apparitions and glowing orbs, too.

The original Tremont House was torn down, but a hotel of the same name was built in 1980 and replicates the original’s Victorian style.  Three apparitions haunt the Tremont House. A Civil War soldier haunts the first floor lobby, dining room, and lounge areas.  He’s usually seen marching as if guarding the hotel.  The “Lucky Man” is a Victorian era apparition who haunts the fourth floor.  He was a gambler on his way to his room with his winnings when he was viciously murdered.  It's said he hunts for his killer to this day.  The third apparition, “Jimmy,” haunts the back alley and the bar.  Guests and staff have seen glasses and bottles move when Jimmy is around.

The Bishop’s Palace (or the Haunted Castle of Galveston) is a stone mansion completed in 1893 at a cost of $250,000 -- an exorbitant sum at the time.  The owner, Walter Gresham had stained glass windows put in, along with many fireplaces, one of which is lined in silver.  Whenever Galveston is threatened by a hurricane, Walter Gresham’s ghost appears to warn the inhabitants of his house.
 

In 1859, Ashton Villa was the first brick house built in Texas.  Brick was expensive, but thought to be stronger than wood and would weather hurricanes better—and it did.  The ghost of Miss Bettie, a former resident of Ashton Villa who died in 1920, has been seen standing on the second floor landing of the grand staircase.




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31 comments:

e.a.s. demers said...

Wow, that's a lot of haunted places for so small an island... I LOVE the idea of living by the ocean, but, I'm terrified of those yearly hurricane threats. I can't imagine having to rebuild over and over the way some folks seem to.

Andrew Leon said...

Despite growing up in Texas and travelling all over the state, Galveston is one of the places I never went to. Not because it's haunted. I've never heard of that before.

Sophie Duncan said...

The Tremont House replacement hotel is a really interesting case, like the Roman soliders seen marching through York cellars, they cannot be haunting the cellars of the buildings younger than them, but the location that was there before the newer building was put up.
Being a big ghost fan, I love your theme :)
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

Sean McLachlan said...

I'd heard of the Galveston disaster but I didn't know it was so massive.
I love the word count meter you have for Anubis Syndrome. It's much nicer than the simple NaNo meters I use on my blog. But hey, if it motivates me that's all that really matters! Nice way to inspire interest in the reader, though.

Heather Holden said...

Wow, so many eerie hauntings!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If I saw Walter Gresham’s ghost, I'd head farther inland for sure!

Rhonda Albom said...

What an interesting collection of ghost sitings and stories.

Al Diaz said...

That was not so lucky man if he ended up murdered. And what a nice thing of Walter to do, but I am sure it is still scary to see him.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

You would think those ghosts would want to get out of town after going through such a disaster.

Julie Flanders said...

Ooh I love the Tremont House stories.
I remember reading about that hurricane. That kind of destruction is just incomprehensible.

Robin said...

With so much death it is not surprising that there are lots of ghosts hanging around.

I like the story of the ghost that warns of bad weather. That is the kind of ghost I want!

Stephen Hayes said...

I'm still not sure I believe in ghosts but they do make for interesting stories.

Lara Lacombe said...

I've stayed at the Galvez Hotel, but never met any ghosts...

cleemckenzie said...

So here's a plan: we organize a "ghost writing" conference, use one of your haunted locations as the venue, and let our imaginations go berserk.

Colin Smith said...

Do you suppose the ghost of the "Lucky Man"'s killer haunts the same building? There's an interesting idea for a story: a ghost who hunts his killer, even after his killer dies... :)

messymimi said...

Hurricanes can be awful to live through. It doesn't surprise me that some ghost tales remain from that time.

Crystal Collier said...

Ooh! Chills. I think any ghost related to a suicide is one that gets me, big time. JUST MOVE ON ALREADY. My goodness, you were so anxious to get to the other side...

Kate Larkindale said...

So much haunting in one small place. I think I'd be waling around with a permanent shiver running up my spine.

Steven said...

With so many lives lost tragically, there's no wonder the place is haunted!

Beth Harar said...

I LOVE a good haunting. Really enjoyed reading this. Stopping by from the A-Z Challenge.

Stephen Tremp said...

I loved haunted houses as a kid. As an adult, I know not to go in just because they are so old and I'm afraid I'll fall through the old floor or the roof will cave in. Haunted houses are usually old creaky houses.

Alyssa said...

Wow that's so sad about the number of casualties caused by the hurricane! And the glasses and bottles moving around by themselves is so creepy!!

Kim Graff said...

So many creepy places in one town. I really should have grown up in a place like this (though most certainly not in Texas, I wouldn't have faired well in Texas).

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

Lexa, What a great A to Z topic. I love the history you provide! Thanks for stopping by my post at The Write Soil!

Jocelyn Rish said...

Having been through Hurricane Hugo in Charleston, I can't even imagine what a hurricane of that magnitude was like, especially before modern warning systems. I like the ghost that warns people of threatening hurricanes - helpful ghosts are the best.

Ava Quinn said...

Such great spine chilling finds, Lexa! I'm loving it!

Lynda Dietz said...

How nice of Walter's ghost to show up and tell everyone a storm's a-comin'. I think I'd run faster from him than the storm, though.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Great theme for A to Z, Lexa! Thanks for stopping by my place. (Now following!)

Elizabeth Twist: Writer, Plague Enthusiast

Zoe Byrd said...

I am loving your a to z postings! Galveston... I heard of the big disaster but wow lots of hauntings!

send2arlene said...

Great post! I am always interested in hauntings etc. My post for today is on The Hotel Galvez. I love Galveston and all it's history. I grew up in the area (about 45 minutes away) and have visited Galveston many times. I have stayed at both The Galvez and Tremont and luckily for me, have not seen or heard any ghosts. I will have to say that during my first stay at The Galvez I had trouble going to sleep and I was only on the 3rd floor! My son would not even consider going up to the 5th floor. Thanks for sharing!

Millie Burns said...

I had never heard of Galveston's disaster...I love that the one owner of the house comes back to warn folks of impending storms.

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