Ghost hunting is a national pastime, and historic Dallas has an abundance of spooks to keep supernatural seekers busy. And although the city is a relatively-young 170 years old, Dallas is jam-packed with the unexplained. With its confluence of settlers, cowboys, farmers, and native Indians, the small Texas town remained sleepy until the 20th century. Today, Dallas has dozens of haunted landmarks to delight and terrify.
The Stoneleigh Hotel
What is it that makes hotels such great homes for ghosts? Dallas’s posh Stoneleigh has, despite an extensive $36 million renovation, not scared off its ghosts, who have been kicking back in the basement spa for years. The Beaux Arts style landmark, in the heart of Dallas’s Uptown District, is adorned with stone, terra cotta and brick, and marked the beginning of modern, luxury high-rise living in Dallas. While plenty of big shots like Frank Lloyd Wright, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, Paul Simon and Oliver Stone have stayed there, its the permanent resident spirits who are the real stars.
The Lizard Lounge
The Lizard Lounge, once known as the Grand Crystal Palace Theatre, located in Dallas’s Deep Ellum district, is today a popular hipster watering hole. Built as a warehouse in 1899, it was later converted to the Grand Crystal Palace Theatre. Local legend has it that workers were killed during the construction of the warehouse. Is the mystery man in a dark suit, cape and hat seen in the audience seating area a ghost from its period as a theater? And what about the stories of light bulbs exploding, and the cold dressing room? Today, bar patrons note feeling the presence of something unexplainable. Bar-fly ghosts?
Preston Road in north Dallas was a pre-Columbian trade route, and the Shawnee Indians used it for decades before colonizers arrived. Later, cattlemen took advantage of the trail to drive their herds to Kansas. Today it’s a high traffic street in the center of Dallas, where drivers have seen ghostly figures on the side of the road after dark, with some spirits dressed in pioneer clothes.
Modern Dallas is haunted in a more tragic way than mere ghosts. On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was killed while riding in an open-top limousine through downtown Dallas. His assassin Lee Harvey Oswald shot from the sixth floor of the adjacent Texas School Book Depository. Constructed in 1901, the red brick building housed a private company that stocked and distributed textbooks until 1970. The City of Dallas acquired the building in 1977, renovated it, leaving the top two floors of the building, including the infamous sixth floor, unoccupied; and in 1989, the Sixth Floor Museum opened. Visitors have seen a shadowy figure roaming the exhibit, sometimes out of the corners of their eyes; and experienced cold spots near Oswald’s perch. Perhaps the assassin has returned..?