The Haunts of San Antonio
If San Antonio is the most historic city in Texas, then you know it must have its share of ghosts! Founded as a far-flung mission by Spain in the 1700s, San Antonio served as a regional nexus for culture, religion, trade, colonization, and politics. When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, San Antonio began to suffer from neglect. But as Anglo settlers arrived, the city grew in importance to the new Texans. Even though the Mexican Army later mercilessly reclaimed the San Antonio mission-turned-garrison Alamo, sparing only a few defenders, Texas would win its own independence a few weeks later at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. Today, San Antonio works hard to preserve its storied historic sites, where hundreds of years of ghosts continue to haunt its landmarks.
If only by virtue of being next door to the hallowed Alamo, the Menger Hotel might be the most haunted building in Texas. German immigrant William Menger and his wife Mary merged his brewery with her boarding house to form the Menger Hotel in 1859. Due to their posh designs, and San Antonio being on the road to virtually anywhere in Texas, their hotel was a hit. Teddy Roosevelt famously stayed their multiple times, and employees swear they’ve seen the famous cowboy president at the hotel bar.
Castle tower built by Edward H. Coppock located on top of Comanche Lookout Hill. via Haunted History of Old San Antonio By Lauren M. Swartz and James A. Swartz
Comanche Lookout Hill
Before Europeans colonized the area, the Apache and Commanche roamed the desolate central Texas landscape. San Antonio sits just south the Texas Hill Country, where the highest, local geographical point is Commanche Lookout Hill. Recognizing the commanding view of the entire area, the Commanche used the hill to their advantage in bloody raids on colonists. Centuries later, Army colonel Edward Coppock saw the obvious benefits of the site, and began construction of a castle tower, which only added to the spookiness of the hill (he is said to wander his unfinished project). Both Native and European spirits have been observed on the park’s trails today, and spooky screams and unexplained cries remind visitors of the site’s legacy.
Image from pg.54
Black Swan Inn
What is it with haunted hotels? Why are ghosts so inclined to check in, even after they “check out?” Victoria’s Black Swan Inn conjures spirits from even before the romantic plantation mansion was built. In one of Mexico’s final attempts to recapture Texas, the doomed army suffered over 60 casualties at the Battle of Salado Creek. Nearly 40 years later, a prominent family erected a house nearby. In the 1950s, a socialite couple hosted celebrities there, but the husband committed suicide following his young wife’s death. Today, staff members report seeing the glamorous couple wandering the grounds separately.
The Old Bexar County Jail
In 1879, booming San Antonio opened its new jail. Growing as fast as the city itself, the jail included gallows inside its walls, in lieu of typically outside. Although host to countless hangings, the final one stands apart from the others. In 1923, when Clemente Apolinar was hanged for a grisly murder he committed on Salado Creek, he was unintentionally decapitated. The jail was closed in 1962, and is now a Holiday Inn Express, but hotel guests complain about unnaturally cold rooms and whispered voices. Could some former hanged convicts be mingling with hotel guests?