INTERACTIVE: Explore eerie history of the Spanish Governor's Palace

Do you believe in ghosts? Explore the Spanish Governor's Palace through our interactive map and decide.


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 indentions 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.


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