Texas – A Hive Of Paranormal Encounters

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
December 15, 2023
Estimated Reading Time
11 min read
Posted in
Supernatural, Ghosts & Hauntings

The second biggest state in the United States behind Alaska, Texas has a long, storied history, and is one of the most intriguing locations in North America. It is also home to many encounters of a paranormal nature, with multiple haunted hotels and other buildings to its name, as well as some quite hair-raising legends.

From strange apparitions that appear out of nowhere only to vanish into thin air, to spirits who appear to reach out from the great beyond and physically poke and sometimes even scratch those who witness them, and even to the spirits of those who perished in the gruesome, bloody battles of the Civil War, the encounters and sightings are as varied as they are captivating.

Whether the location is of importance and there is something about Texas that allows these paranormal happenings to be witnessed more often or not is perhaps open to debate. What isn’t, however, is that Texas is home to some of the most thought-provoking and unsettling paranormal encounters on the planet. And while we don’t have enough space or time to examine all of these, we can explore some of the more bizarre and disturbing.

The Many Ghosts Of The Yorktown Memorial Hospital

There are certainly many mysterious locations in the Lone Star State. [1] Just one of these is the Yorktown Memorial Hospital in Yorktown, whose appearance is most certainly one of a haunted building. When approaching the one-time medical facility its broken windows lead into an unsettling blackness of its interior, with overgrown bushes and vegetation beginning the long process of overtaking stone, granite structure.

The hospital was completed and opened in the 1950s and remained operational for over three decades before it was closed in 1986. It served as a drug rehab center for several years before it was closed for good in 1992. According to the stories that swirled around it following its closure, the building’s walls likely witnessed much suffering during its time, with some claiming that many patients died there (and this number is said to be in the hundreds). It perhaps shouldn’t surprise us, then, that rumors and legends of ghosts and ghouls also swirled around its abandoned walls. And these entities are many.

Yorktown Memorial Hospital

Yorktown Memorial Hospital

There is the spirit of one of the surgeons who was seemingly responsible for the deaths of many patients due to medical neglect, for example. Or there are spirits of one-time resident nuns who are said to push people who venture into the building and have a particular dislike for men with tattoos, whom they are reported to often scratch. Some people have even reported seeing the ghost of an unknown man in the building, a distinct bullet hole in his head. Perhaps one of the most unnerving of all is an apparent black figure with glowing red eyes. It is said that should you quote Bible verses in its presence, it will let out a demonic growl.

The official caretaker of the building when it was last in use was Stephanie Mayfield, and needless to say, she has experienced more spooky goings on than most in the old hospital. She recalled feeling sudden “cold spots” in the rooms, as well as “feelings of oppressive weight” in the atmosphere. She has also experienced being touched and prodded by invisible hands, and of hearing footsteps walking behind her. She would ultimately claim that “a lot of awful things went on” in the building, and that “the vibe’s not good!”

In more recent decades, as much as the spooks from the other side, some of the more unsavory elements of society, with much vandalism and other anti-social-type behavior.

The Unnerving Accounts Of The Baker Hotel

In Mineral Wells resides the Baker Hotel, once the jewel in the crown of the town and now an abandoned structure that is home to many unsettling paranormal encounters. [2] The hotel opened in 1929 and almost immediately enjoyed success over the following decades, even attracting celebrities of the time such as Judy Garland and Clark Gable.

By the early 1970s, however, with the hotel having struggled for several years, it finally shut its doors for good. It has stood empty ever since. It is said, though, that multiple spirits reside within these abandoned walls, with some people even reported to have seen the ghosts of Bonnie and Clyde, who also stayed at the hotel during their crime spree.

The most famous guest, however, is said to be the ghost of the hotel owner’s mistress, who not only once lived in the building, but ended her life there by jumping from a seventh-story window. She is often seen dressed in white and roaming around the seventh floor.

Although official ghost tours take place in the building today, all other access to the former hotel is forbidden.

The short video below examines this most intriguing building.

The Jefferson Hotel

The entire city of Jefferson has stories of ghosts and otherworldly happenings. It would appear, however, that The Jefferson Hotel is undoubtedly the most active of these, and is another building, perhaps due to its age, that contains multiple spirits. [3] The building dates back to 1851 and was originally a warehouse for the cotton industry, which had rapidly made Jefferson one of the most thriving areas of Texas.

Perhaps amazingly, there is no agreed-upon date when the building began operating as a hotel, with most researchers agreeing this date to be somewhere between the 1870s and 1900. Perhaps part of the reason for this lack of records is that in its early years, it operated as a brothel, with its famous “second-floor veranda” where many working girls stood, on show, and available to those who desired their services. By the time the twentieth century was unfolding, however, the hotel quickly became the place to stay in Jefferson.

Given the hotel remained operational until recently, many of the staff there over the years have noted the strange things they have seen and encountered in a special book that sits behind the front desk – a book they have titled, The Book of the Dead. And it is largely because of this record keeping that so much is known about the bizarre happenings that have taken place there.

The Jefferson Hotel

The Jefferson Hotel

Just some of those spirits are said to belong to children who lost their lives while working in the building when it was a cotton warehouse. Some people have reported hearing these ghostly kids running around the building as if playing chase, often accompanied by the sounds of playful laughter, while others have even claimed their possessions have been hidden by these mischievous spirits.

One of the most unnerving spirits can be witnessed in Room 19 of the building, said to be a hub of sorts of paranormal activity in the building. According to legend, the spirit belongs to an unnamed prostitute who was brutally stabbed to death in the room and her body dumped in the bathtub. Reports state that the spirit of this slain girl appears in the “mists of hot showers”, with some witnesses even reporting words having been written in the fog on the bathroom’s mirror. Incidentally, on several occasions the name “Judy” has been written, although researchers are divided on whether this is the spirit’s name or the name of a person she knew, perhaps someone she was calling for help in her final moments.

Slightly less frightening, although no less unnerving is the accounts of the Vanishing Man, a spirit of a tall man wearing a long coat and high boots who is seen one minute before vanishing into thin air the next. There are even reports of him appearing in a guest’s room and sitting in one of the chairs, sometimes staying there for several hours.

One of the spirits at Jefferson Hotel appears to haunt a particular bed, which has been moved several times due to renovations. The spirit is known as Libby, and there are two possible women – Elizabeth and Lydia – whom she might be, both of whom ended their own lives in remarkably similar circumstances by hanging themselves from the bed in question after being jilted on the day of their wedding. What makes this even more bizarre, is the two women lived fifty years apart. It is claimed Libby appears wearing her wedding guests to male guests who are staying in bed alone.

The Excelsior Hotel

We will stay in Jefferson for a moment and examine the ghostly goings-on of the Excelsior Hotel, which are every bit as bone-chilling. [4] The hotel itself, at least the original buildings of it, dates back to 1858 when it was built by William Perry, who later added further extensions and wings to it over the coming decades. Kate Wood purchased the hotel following Perry’s death in 1887 and promptly renamed it the Excelsior. At the time, the hotel was regarded as prestigious, and so attracted many high-ranking officials and celebrities of the time.

Needless to say, then, given the history the building has witnessed, many spirits are said to reside there. One particularly unsettling account occurred one evening when one of the hotel employees was at the front reception desk. They noticed a woman whom they had not seen before suddenly walk across the room as if she had appeared out of nowhere. The employee discreetly followed the woman, noticing that she had seemingly gone into one of the staff rooms. When she opened the door, the woman was standing straight in front of her before vanishing into thin air.

The Excelsior Hotel

The Excelsior Hotel

Perhaps the most memorable account, though, occurred in 1974, when Hollywood director, Steven Spielberg was staying there while looking for locations in the region to film his latest movie, The Sugarland Express. Spielberg stayed in Room 215, otherwise known as the Jay Gould Room. However, although it is not clear exactly what the movie director saw or encountered in the room, at around 2 am he packed up his belongings and checked out. Not only that, but he also forced the entire crew to do the same. Some people claim it was this experience that inspired Spielberg to work on The Poltergeist several years later.

There have been other encounters reported in the 1970s in the same room, two of which were documented and reported on by journalists. On one occasion, Frank Tolbert was awakened in the middle of the night at around 3:30 am by the sound of sirens outside. As he was settling back to sleep, however, he noticed that the wardrobe doors were wide open. Certain he had not left them open, he got out of bed, pushed them shut, and then returned to bed. Upon waking in the morning, both of the doors were wide open once more.

On another evening several years later, a report from ABC News was staying in the same room along with his wife. After getting up in the middle of the night in order to use the bathroom, he closed the bathroom door and then returned to bed. However, before he could return to sleep he was more than a little shocked to see the door open of its own accord. Telling himself there must be a rational explanation for it, he got out of bed and closed it once more. When he awoke several hours later and walked to the bathroom door, however, he found that he could not turn the handle. It felt as though someone was holding it shut from the other side. He eventually forced it open and was shocked to see a woman in a black dress standing in the room looking at him. After several moments, she simply disappeared.

Many Legends Around The Lone Star State

In the book Haunted Texas: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Lone Star State, Alan Brown relays several local spooky legends from Texas. [5] Perhaps one of the most intriguing of these is The Lady Of White Rock Lake, which is most likely a mix of folklore and urban legend but is intriguing nonetheless.

According to the legend, at some time in the 1930s, a party of college students was taking place on a riverboat on the lake. One particular girl is said to have gotten into a heated argument with her date and so left the boat and drove away in his car. It is claimed that she lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a turn in the road and ended up in the lake where she drowned. A short time after the accident, motorists would report seeing a young girl dressed in white at the roadside, soaking wet and shivering. They would invariably offer her a lift, and she would climb into the back of the car and ask to be taken to a house on the lakeside. However, when the driver arrives at the destination, they look back and find the girl has disappeared, leaving behind a puddle of water on the seat.

There is also the Fanthorp Inn, where multiple residents over the years have reported strange paranormal incidents while living at the inn. These include waking up in the middle of the night and hearing furniture being moved around downstairs, and sometimes the clattering sound of dishes. What is even stranger about these events is that when the respective tenants went downstairs the following morning expecting to find things moved around, they discovered that there was nothing at all out of place.

The Paranormal Activity At The Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center

There is also the Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Centre, which operated as a theatre for over fifty years from 1930 to 1985. After remaining shut for just over two decades, it reopened following a renovation as a performing arts center in 2006. And while many of the manifestations are similar to others we have examined here they are certainly no less interesting.

People have reported a lady in white who appeared to float from one room to another before disappearing, or a man dressed in black who seems to appear out of nowhere before disappearing once more. There are also reports of a young boy who can be seen bouncing a ball before vanishing into thin air.

However, unlike some of the other places we have examined here, there are perhaps some scientific leads to follow up in terms of this paranormal activity. Many people have reported seeing orb-like objects in the air appearing out of nowhere, as well as electrical devices that suddenly switch on even though they are not plugged in, as if they are somehow taking their power from a sudden external source. Understanding this electrical phenomenon could very well help explain the appearances and manifestations, not only at this location but others around the world.

The short video below examines these strange events at the Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center a little further.

The Many Ghosts Of Hendley Row

Hendley Row is without a doubt one of the most paranormally active locations in Texas and with good region. Many tragic events are connected to the area and it would appear that those involved in these events have spilled over into the realm of the living. For example, during the Civil War, the location was used as a Confederate lookout, and consequently, became a target. There were also several bloody battles around the islands nearby which undoubtedly resulted in many spirits being trapped in the region.

Adding even more tragedy to the area were several outbreaks of yellow fever that resulted in many deaths. Then, in 1900 a huge hurricane hit the area which left thousands dead and over 12,000 people injured. As we might imagine, then, these spirits are as varied as they are intriguing. For example, many people have reported seeing what appears to be a Confederate soldier on the roof of the building, while others have seen what appears to be a factory worker from the days when the building was connected to the cotton mills, appearing bloody as if he has been involved in a tragic accident.

There are further reports of children running and playing before disappearing, as well as a lady dressed all in white who appears and roams the building. There are also reports of various shadowy and undetermined figures over the years.

You can see more on the strange goings on of Hendley Row in the video below.

An Important Part Of The World For Paranormal Study

While it is clear that every town, city, state, and, in turn, country around the world has its own haunting tales and paranormal events, certain locations are perhaps more active than others. The fact that Texas has undergone an eventful history over the past several centuries is the reason there are seemingly so many intriguingly haunted places to explore and so many perplexing legends to examine.

And we might remind ourselves, that although we haven’t mentioned them here, there are also multiple UFO sightings on record in Texas, and these sightings date back not only to the start of the modern UFO era but to the end of the nineteenth century, at least. As well as several significant airship sightings that unfolded in Texas, there is the very curious case of the Aurora alien, an apparent extraterrestrial creature whose vehicle seemingly crashed to the ground in the small town in 1897, unfortunately killing it. The townsfolk buried the creature and even marked its grave with a tombstone (although this marker has since been suspiciously removed at some time in the 1970s). What’s more, the events and the arrangements of the funeral held by the residents of Aurora were even carried in the local newspapers.

As we can see, then, Texas has all manner of paranormal encounters to its name and continues to be a place of focus for those who like to examine the anomalous grey areas of our reality.

The video below looks at some of the mysterious locations in Texas.


1 5 of the Most Haunted Locations in Texas, Texas Highways https://texashighways.com/things-to-do/5-of-the-most-haunted-locations-in-texas/
2 A Once Abandoned Hotel In Texas, Baker Hotel Is One Of The Most Haunted Places In The State, Only In Your State https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/texas/baker-hotel-tx/
3 Jefferson Hotel, Jefferson, Texas, Haunted Rooms https://www.hauntedrooms.com/texas/haunted-places/haunted-hotels/jefferson-hotel-jefferson
4 Separating Facts from Phantoms at Jefferson’s Excelsior House Hotel, Houstonian Mag https://www.houstoniamag.com/travel-and-outdoors/2019/09/separating-facts-from-phantoms-at-jefferson-s-excelsior-house-hotel
5 Haunted Texas: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Lone Star State, Alan Brown, ISBN 9780811 735001

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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