INTERACTIVE: Do you believe in ghosts? Explore South Texas hauntings and decide
Author: Stacey Welsh
Published: 6:51 PM CST January 9, 2017
Updated: 6:51 PM CST January 9, 2017
FEATURES 18 Articles

KENS 5 went on ghost tours of three places in South Texas said to be among the most haunted in the region and documented their stories. Whether you're a believer, or a skeptic, keep an open mind as you take a look inside.

The Magnolia Hotel

The owners of the Magnolia Hotel in Seguin, Erin and Jim Ghedi, said they didn't know what they had stumbled on when they bought the building.

"I would say it's the most haunted building in Texas," Erin said.

KENS 5 digital reporter Stacey Welsh took a tour of the infamous building.

Click through the bubbles in the interactive photo above to explore the many spirits living within that visitors have encountered. Also, click and drag the photo to reveal more of the haunted history.

Read on for some of the most notable stories of hauntings at the Magnolia Hotel.


INTERACTIVE: Do you believe in ghosts? Explore South Texas hauntings and decide

Chapter 1

The restoration

Erin and Jim bought the Magnolia Hotel in March 2013.

"We knew that would be something that would be perfect for us to do for our retirement: Restore an old building," Erin said.

Erin is a retired museum curator and has written books on haunted history, including Seguin and New Braunfels, Texas. Jim is also a preservationist and antique restorer.

She said they had their first experience with spirits in the building after they bought it.

Before that, it had been vacant for about 20 years.

Click the bubbles in our interactive map above to explore the haunted history of the Magnolia Hotel.

The Magnolia Hotel started off as a two-room log cabin when it was built in the 1840s.

"We have some [spirits] that are shadow figures. They like to pick on Jim," she said with a laugh.

It's not currently a working hotel, but it is open for ghost tours. They said many visitors have claimed experiencing paranormal activity.

Jim and Erin said they hope to eventually open the Magnolia for guests to stay overnight.

They ask visitors to "keep an open mind."

Chapter 2

Emma's room

"She was 12 years old when she was mistakenly killed by Wilhelm Faust, who was trying to kill his wife instead, but accidentally killed her," Erin said.

She also said Emma's spirit is believed to travel between New Braunfels and the Magnolia Hotel. "When she does show up, she likes to entertain us by moving her ball. She also likes to move her pinwheel."

Erin demonstrated how she said Emma's spirit "plays with light." It appeared to flicker on and off on command in our raw footage.

Play the video above to witness the experience.

Chapter 3

The weeping woman

"She shows up as she is looking out the window for her sweetheart who was supposed to arrive on the stagecoach but never did," Erin said.

The woman is said to have passed away from a broken heart.

Chapter 4

Itzy's Room

"Itzy" is believed to be another spirit of a child haunting the Magnolia.

"Her mother was a single parent. She couldn't afford a babysitter, so she would lock Itzy up in her room with food and water to be safe."

Explore the interactive ghost tour above by clicking on the bubbles.

It's not known how Itzy passed away.

"We know that she is here," Erin said.

Chapter 5

The escort

Her name was Pink Rosebud, according to the Ghedis.

"We do know her last name was Rosebud. I'm assuming [Pink] was her nickname," Erin said. "The owners of the hotel would reserve this room for her because she was a very frequent visitor."

Erin also believes Pink Rosebud's presence is felt in one room quite often.

Chapter 6

The murderer's room

The murderer said to haunt the Magnolia hotel is Wilhelm Faust. Based on researching their past, Erin said Faust's wife had been widowed and inherited a great deal of money.

"I think that's why he married her," Erin said.

He was a pharmacist in the late 1840s who would travel back and forth from New Braunfels to Seguin for work.

Faust admitted to attempting to kill his wife with an axe in New Braunfels, but he accidentally killed a little girl in the same room: Emma.

He also blinded his wife with his axe in the same attack. She never saw her killer.

Despite the fact that Faust confessed in court, his wife never believed he committed the crime. He was later buried right next to her in their family plot.

Erin said Faust went to Seguin after committing the murder and stayed in the Magnolia Hotel.

"He knew when he woke up the next morning that his life was going to change. That is why he still resides here," Erin said.

The Spanish Governor's Palace

The Spanish Governor's Palace is known as one of the most haunted buildings in downtown San Antonio.

In fact, Alamo City Ghost Tours said it could even be the most haunted spot in the city. KENS 5 digital reporter Stacey Welsh went on a ghost tour of the grounds from guide and owner J.R.

Click through the bubbles in the interactive photo above to explore the many spirits living within the Spanish Governor's Palace's walls that guests and employees have encountered.

Read on to learn more about the historic site.

Chapter 7

The captain's quarters

The city said a common misconception about the Spanish Governor's Palace is that many governors lived in the building with their families. However, only one interim governor lived there in 1816.

"It was built as a captain's quarters. Today, they say this is one of the most haunted buildings in San Antonio," J.R. said.

Explore our interactive map and dive into the haunted history of the Spanish Governor's Palace by clicking through the bubbles above.

The Spanish Governor's Palace was built in the early 18th century and restored in the 1930s. The building is also a National Historic Landmark, and the city said it serves as the last visual remnants of the Presidio San Antonio de Béjar.

Adina De Zavala led efforts to restore the building in the early 1900s and dubbed it the "Spanish Governor's Palace." The city of San Antonio eventually purchased the building in 1929. It is currently a museum.

"[De Zavala] realized it was a historic building. By then, the name had stuck," museum assistant Charlotte Boord said.

Chapter 8

Spirits in the doorway

Both guests and city employees working at the Spanish Governor's Palace have reported paranormal activity when standing in a doorway near the building's entrance.

"There was a mom and a little girl standing in the doorway once. The mom started saying, 'There's somebody in here with me.' The little girl started crying," J.R. said of one unexplained experience in that spot.

Chapter 9

Ghost photos

In the same doorway, and even through windows outside the building, visitors have captured ghostly figures in photos.

Museum staff provided KENS 5 with a photo taken by a visitor. It appears to show the figure of a man in a robe through a front window.

Explore the interactive map above to see the photo.

Chapter 10

The tree of sorrow

J.R. said a tree in the courtyard of the Spanish Governor's Palace has a particularly eerie history.

He said people were hanged and beaten beneath the "tree of sorrow."

"If you committed a crime against a woman or a child, they'd bring you up here, they'd stand you up... and put a noose around your neck," J.R. said.

He also said the knots on the tree are known to represent the faces of people who had died there.

Chapter 11

The gray lady

Those who have seen spirits in the Spanish Governor's Palace describe seeing the figure of a woman.

"She's dressed in this style that the old Spanish women used to dress, with the plumes and fancy gowns," J.R. said.

J.R. said a Chinese school teacher is also said to have hung herself in a staircase at the governor's palace, and her spirit is known as "the gray lady."

Chapter 12

The haunted harp

J.R. described seeing paranormal activity in a harp near the front of the building.

"While on a tour, I witnessed the harp standing straight up in the air as if it was being played. It dropped right back down," he said.

Chapter 13

The little girl

A bedroom in the Spanish Governor's Palace is also said to be haunted by the spirit of a little girl.

Click the bubble in our interactive map above to find out where visitors in the Spanish Governor's Palace sense the most paranormal activity.

"When she comes out and plays, you see indentations on her bed and a dust ruffle jumps up and down on the bed," J.R. said.

Legend has it that the girl died in the well in the courtyard. However, a study did not yield the same conclusion.

Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio also conducted an archeological survey of the building in the 1970s and found the remains of an infant. However, researchers could not determine the gender or any other certain details.

Experts said the UTSA survey disputes the claim of a little girl haunting the Spanish Governor's Palace, but the story has stuck over the years. You can read the full survey report below.

Pat O'Brien's

According to local lore, Pat O'Brien's in downtown San Antonio is home to more "spirits" than those at the bar.

KENS 5 got a tour of the bar, restaurant and banquet rooms from Alamo City Ghost Tours and a Pat O'Brien's manager.

Click through the bubbles in the interactive photo above to explore the many spirits living within that guests and employees claim to have encountered.

Read on to learn more about the ghosts said to be haunting the popular nightlife destination.

Chapter 14

Haunted downtown San Antonio

J.R. owns Alamo City Ghost Tours and serves as a tour guide for downtown San Antonio visitors.

He's pictured above sipping a famous Pat O'Brien's Hurricane.

"I've been doing ghost tours downtown [in some capacity] since 1996. Alamo City Ghost Tours has officially been in business since 2004," he said.

Click on the bubble in the interactive graphic at the top of the story to hear the eerie piano music.

J.R. said he had his first experience with paranormal activity when he sensed an "other-worldly presence" at his grandmother's house in Miami when he was 8 years old. After that, he said he started getting into ghost hunting.

"From reading different historical stories, it got me interested. I stumbled across a few ghost stories and I started doing more research here. There's a lot of different spirits from people who seem to be haunting the downtown area," he said.

The building that currently houses Pat O'Brien's on South Alamo Street used to be a pharmacy. J.R. said stories of hauntings there started surfacing around 2001.

"Some spirits I think are left behind. Some I believe return by choice," he said.

Chapter 15

The boy in the window

Employees and guests of Pat O'Brien's have reported sightings of the spirit of a little boy upstairs, especially in upstairs windows.

Alamo City Ghost Tours and bar manager Jak Vicars said they have seen what appear to be children's hand prints in upstairs windows. They can't explain this phenomenon.

"I think they're from the little boy that haunts the building that they call Timmy," J.R. said.

Vicars said he has seen glass bottles fall to the floor from one of the upstairs bars, also with no explanation. He said this has happened in the same room where hand prints appear in the windows.

Guests have also previously pointed out seeing a little boy sitting alone on an upstairs windowsill, according to Vicars.

"When it was used as a pharmacy, a family did live [there]. It could be from that time. He could have died in that building," J.R. said.

Chapter 16

Piano music

Some claim they've heard the piano in the downstairs bar playing on its own.

J.R. demonstrated the sound.

"It's not like a melody. It's sporadic keys," he said.

Chapter 17

The man in boots

"Nobody ever sees anybody. It's just a feeling of being looked at and being watched," J.R. said of the supposed spirit of a man walking the Grand Promenade banquet hall.

To hear the history behind the haunted tunnel at Pat O'Brien's, go to the top of the story and click through the bubbles in the interactive map.

Employees setting up for events in the hall have reported strange activity when it's quiet.

"It's like a large man in heavy boots is walking around, and there's nobody here. It's not just step, step. It's like somebody is walking after them. All of a sudden it just stops and disappears. That's happened quite a bit," Vicars said.

J.R. and Vicars said the unknown spirit seems to be wearing boots and has a "heavy presence."
However, it's not clear where this spirit comes from.

"I think when you give a spirit a name, that's just because you want to name it. I don't believe that you truly know who that energy is," J.R. said.

Chapter 18

The tunnel

The passageway leading from the Pat O'Brien's entrance on South Alamo Street into the restaurant is also said to be haunted.

"There's been a lot of different murders right where we're standing. Right here in this opening, people have died. [Some] froze to death right here," J.R. said.

He said before the location became Pat O'Brien's, the area used to be an alleyway.

"Right up until the time that they started turning it into Pat O'Brien's, they enclosed it. Before that you could walk right there from the street," he said.