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

Discover spirits haunting South Texas through our interactive ghost tours.

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 went on a ghost tour of the hotel.

Click through the bubbles in the interactive map above to explore the many spirits living within that visitors have encountered.

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

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.

It 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.

It's not currently a working hotel, but it is open for ghost tours. They said many visitors have experienced paranormal activity on their tours. The tours are even booked until December.

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

They ask visitors to keep an open mind.

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. The light appeared to flicker on and off on command.

Play the video above to witness the experience.

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.

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."

It's not known how she passed away.

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

The escort

Her name was Pink Rosebud.

"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 said her presence is felt in one room quite often.

The murderer's room

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

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

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 the murder and stayed in the Magnolia Hotel.

"He knew that 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 is 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 map above to explore the many spirits living within that guests and employees have encountered.

Read on to learn more about the haunted history.

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.

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.

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

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. The mom starts saying, 'There's somebody in here with me.' The little girl started crying," J.R. said of one experience.

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.

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 used to hang from it and were 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 on that stand... 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.

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.

The haunted harp

J.R. described seeing paranormal activity surrounding a harp in the building.

"The harp was standing straight up in the air as if it was being played. It dropped right back down," he said.

The little girl

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

"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.

 

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

KENS 5 digital reporter Stacey Welsh 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 map above to explore the many spirits living within that guests and employees have encountered.

Read on to learn more about the haunted history.

Haunted downtown San Antonio

"They say that downtown [San Antonio] is the most haunted area in Texas."

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

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

"We've been doing the ghost tours downtown since 1996. Alamo City Ghost Tours has been in business since 2004," he said.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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