Saturday, June 28, 2014

Crockett Hotel (Downtown San Antonio)

"One of the oldest hospitality establishments in San Antonio, the historic Crockett Hotel is also one of the most haunted and has a wealth of ghostly lore and paranormal phenomena associated with it. When one considers where it is located, of course, this is not overly surprising. The Crocket Hotel is right across the street from the Alamo, is located on the grounds of the battle that centered on it, and can often be spotted in photos of the famous mission or news stories about it. It is, in fact, believed to be built on the very spot where David Crockett and the last of the Alamo defenders were killed, on what had been the southeast palisade of the fortified mission. Crockett was one of at least 189 Texian revolutionaries who were ultimately overrun and killed by some 1,800 Mexican troops under the command of General Antonio López de Santa Anna at the end of a 13-day battle that ended on March 6, 1836." 

That is opening paragraph to my chapter on the historic and haunted Crockett Hotel for Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country! Legends and more recent tragic events combine to make this an exceptionally interesting site and one anyone interested in the Alamo in particular will not want to miss (and the photo below shows the proximity of the hotel to the walls of the mission compound). 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Comanche Lookout Park (Northeast San Antonio)

"Although one of San Antonio's smaller municipal parks, 96-acre Comanche Lookout Park has the sense of being a microcosm and frequently seems more isolated than it really is despite being surrounded by major roads, shopping plazas, and housing developments. Those who visit it during normal business hours are likely to get an accentuated sense of this and, other than a few headphone-wearing people who jog by wraithlike and without acknowledgement, are likely to have the place pretty much to themselves. That, of course, can be the best way to explore and appreciate this profoundly historical site, to investigate the legends associated with it, and to possibly come into contact with some of the many ghosts who have long been believed to haunt it. And, as strange and haunting as it might feel on its face to the casual visitor or ghosthunter, an investigation of its history will reveal some genuinely strange things about it." 

This is the  first paragraph for the chapter on Comanche Lookout Park that I wrote for Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country! It is a very mysterious and interesting site and, as I learned more and more about it, became the basis for the largest chapter in the book. 



Monday, June 23, 2014

Spanish Governor's Palace (Downtown San Antonio)

"Soon after the Spanish viceroy founded the city of San Antonio in 1718, Martín de Alarcón, governor of Coahuila and Texas, established the Presidio San Antonio de Bexar. This fortress served as the center of Spanish military power in Texas and as defense for the San Antonio de Valero Mission (known later as the Alamo) ... Plans for the house that became known as the Spanish Governor’s Palace originated as early as 1722 and, upon its completion in 1749 the date given on the keystone above the front entrance bearing a carved, double-headed eagle it served as the commandancia, the office and residence for the captain of the presidio. ... In 1772, the importance of the presidio grew when the capital of Spanish Texas moved from the presidio at Los Adaes, east of Nacogdoches, Texas, to the settlement at what is now San Antonio. From this point onward the Spanish governors stayed in the commandancia and it was thereafter referred to as the Spanish Governor’s Palace." 

That excerpt is from the chapter on the Spanish Governor's Palace in San Antonio that I wrote for Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country," the travel guide on haunted sites in the title area that I am working on for Clerisy Press's America's Haunted Road Trip series. Pictured above is Allison Schiess of Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours

Saturday, June 21, 2014

James Kiehl River Bend Park/SA&AP Bridge (Comfort/Kendall County)

"Anyone conducting an investigation in or right around James Kiehl River Bend Park may very well record any of the anomalies typically associated with reputedly haunted places, such as orbs, inexplicable mists, or even EVPs. They are not likely, however, to get much of a sense for whether they are detecting the spiritual presence of Paleo-Indians, Apaches, Comanches, conquistadores, settlers, the shingle-makers who had a camp nearby, or soldiers from the 19th or 21st centuries. There are also at least four small cemeteries dating at least as far back as the 1800s in the vicinity of the park. It is the old railroad bridge a short distance from the recreational area, however, that most ghosthunters will intuitively be drawn to." 

That is one of the paragraphs in my chapter on James Kiehl River Ben Park and the nearby SA&AP Bridge, located just east of the village of Comfort in Kendall County, Texas. This chapter explores the possibility that this might be the famous and elusive "Tro Bridge" that is frequently mentioned in ghostly lore about the San Antonio area. Veteran James Kiehl was part of the 507th Engineering Company and a colleague of soldier Jessica Lynch, famed for her rescue from Iraqi forces by U.S. military special operations troops. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Treue der Union Monument (Comfort/Kendall County)

"One of the strangest, bloodiest, and most heartbreaking episodes in the saga of a violent state took place during the Civil War and has been known since among most people as the Nueces Massacre (a dissenting minority of people who applaud or are indifferent to this tragedy somewhat disingenuously refer to it instead as the Battle of the Nueces). A memorial to this terrible event, known as the Treue der Union or 'Loyalty to the Union' monument, can be found in the historic Hill Country village of Comfort. There is every reason to think it might be haunted by the spirits of those whose deaths it commemorates and whose remains it marks." 

That is the first paragraph of my chapter on the Treue der Union monument that will appear in Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country. It is one of about 30 sites that receives feature treatment in the book, along with about 40 that are more briefly covered in an appendix of Additional Haunted Sites. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Enchanted Rock (Gillespie County, Llano County)

"For as long as anyone can remember, and perhaps even longer, Enchanted Rock has been a special place, from the earliest human inhabitants of the region as much as twelve millennia ago right up to the people who visit it today. Native Americans believed it was a portal to the otherworld and there are countless legends, ghost stories, and paranormal phenomena associated with this wondrous natural site, whose name is not arbitrary or just meant to be colorful." 

Those are the opening words I wrote to the chapter on Enchanted Rock that will be appearing in Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country. It is just one of about 30 sites that will receive feature treatment in the book, along with about 40 that will be more briefly covered in an appendix of Additional Haunted Sites. 

A cave entrance can be found a little ways down the far side of the slope. Initially it is well lit during the day because of gaps between the rocks but then drops off into a darkened chamber that can be entered, allowing visitors to travel 20-30 minutes and emerge further down on the rock. This feature brings to mind stories of a Spanish priest who took refuge from Indians on Enchanted Rock and spent two days wandering a labyrinth below it and encountering the spirits residing there ...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Haunted Oak Valley Vineyards

Even when I am not looking for haunted places I seem to discover them! Last Sunday my wife and I had dinner for the first time at Oak Valley Vineyards (aka "The Vineyards"), a place at the northern edge of San Antonio that we have had our eye one and been planning on going to for about five years. We had a wonderful meal there and, in the course of it, had the opportunity to chat with proprietor Beth Colley. When I told her I was a writer working on a book about haunted places in and around San Antonio and Texas Hill Country, she mentioned that her establishment had caught the eye of a number of local ghosthunting groups and that they had detected various paranormal phenomena at it. As things stand now I will therefore be including an entry for the Vineyards in the "Additional Haunted Sites" of Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country and am looking into whether or not to devote an entire chapter to it.