The haunted house business is filled with ghost stories. Tales of the supernatural are as easy to come by as spider webs, fake blood, skulls, squeaky doors and blood curdling screams. But the 13th Floor Haunted House in San Antonio admits they've been keeping a secret about their property: It's really haunted.
"We own locations around the whole country but this is the only one that we'll acknowledge that the building is haunted," said Greg Saylers.
Saylers is the the general manager for the 13th Floor. He says this is not a publicity stunt to drum up business.
"We've had multiple paranormal investigators come through the building and they said the same thing," he said. "There's definitely a presence in the building."
According to Saylers, the spirit isn't mean or one that tries harm. Trece, as she is now called, is a little girl that roams in the basement of the 13th Floor. She has been seen wearing a white dress and has long curly hair pulled to the back. In Spanish, Trece is the number 13.
13th Floor employee Niko Barrett recalls seeing Trece on a slow night during the haunted house's Halloween season. In fact, he thought his co-workers were playing a joke on him when he saw the silhouette of a little girl standing in the fog generated from their terror layered performance to scare customers.
"I think to myself 'naw Nikoyou're going crazy,'" says Barrett. "'You're fine. No big deal.'"
Saylers says some of his horror house actors say the ghost girl pops up as they incite fear in customers. The customers, however, receive Trece as a part of the show.
"I have customers who will come out and say the best actor in the whole play is the little girl who jumped out at me," he says. "She like participates with the actors in
Not all employees have been able to handle co-starring with Trece. Saylers says he had six actors quit in one season because the ghostly encounters were too much.scaring customers sometimes."
""These are actors who scare people for a living that were so scared that they quit their job and left," he said.
Other employees remain even as unsettling things spook them on the job. Employee Isa Rubio hasn't seen Trece but the spirit has made herself known.
"It's creepy. It's like a little girl laughing loud," she says. "It's very clear too."
Joden Lumbreras says he's heard the same playful laughter. Even more spine tingling for him was turning around to see the ghost girl standing in his work area. He, too, thought it was a co-worker prank until one of his peers walked into the room.
"The actor from the other scene comes in..it (she) disappears," says Lumbreras."I'm like was that a human or a ghost?"
Saylers says they've even had a reality show crew that used their production facility that ran into Trece. The crew wrapped shooting, took a tour of the haunted house's basement and thanked him for the little actress in the white dress.
So much had been spoken of the apparition, of pictures flying off walls, the frolicsome laughter of a ghost child and the little girl who likes to engage actors as well as customers that KENS 5 took its own tour.
We walked in the dark hot basement of the 13th floor in search of Trece. In fact, employees took us to several spots where the ghost girl reportedly materializes. After walking from room-to-room calling out "Trece" something interesting happened.
In a dark corridor in the bowels of the haunted house, two pieces of crime tape hanging from the ceiling started to move. The spaghetti of other moss like materials stood still. The room became slightly cool. It's a 110 year-old building built in 1905. Surely, this place gets a draft. Again, nothing but the tape moved.
Suddenly, a can hanging from the ceiling started to spin back and forth. It was the only object hanging from the ceiling moving. We checked the ceiling to see if this was a haunted house gimmick. We found no one. The subtle movement of the can continued. We moved closer. It was hanging from fish line on a hook in the ceiling. There was no explanation for what we saw.
We left with no physical sighting of Trece. Her existence is based on employee and customer accounts. Surveillance video from the 13th Floor has not captured her energy.
A public record search of San Antonio Police records show no murders, fatalities or death investigations involving a child at 1203 E. Commerce, the 13th Floor. So, the ghost girl Trece remains a spirit that haunts our fact checklist.