Ghost sightings are nothing unusual in San Antonio. The downtown is filled with “spirited spots” said to be the favorite haunts of the departed.
With all the carnage surrounding the siege of the Alamo in 1836 it should be no surprise that the historic site and the city blocks surrounding it are said to be loaded with paranormal activity. Add to that natural deaths in the years to follow and you have the perfect scenario for specters and spooks near the Riverwalk.
The beautiful Menger Hotel is reported to be among the most haunted of San Antonio’s historic downtown locations. Directly across the street from the Alamo and built on the site of Texas’ first brewery, the Menger Hotel opened for business in 1859. From President Theodore Roosevelt to baseball great Babe Ruth, the Menger continues to provide a nostalgic place of rest for the living . . . and the dead.
My friend Jo Cox spent many years working in San Antonio’s hospitality industry. From the legendary St. Anthony to the Crockett Hotel, and other properties, she says the Menger still ranks at the top when it comes to things that go bump in the night.
There is the story of ghostly hotel chambermaid who was murdered by her husband. Sallie White was so loved by the hotel staff that they paid for her funeral, and out of apparent gratitude she is said to still roam the halls of the Victorian wing of the Menger late at night attempting to continue her assigned housekeeping duties.
The spirit of a woman wearing a blue dress and small, metal spectacles is often seen knitting in the old lobby. It is said that she appears to be an “intelligent” haunting, and actually rude to anyone when spoken to.
Tales of the ghost of King Ranch founder Captain Richard King persist to this day. King spent the last days of his life in his suite at the Menger and his funeral was held in the parlor there. Many employees and guests have said that the spirit of Captain King simply drifts in and out of his former suite without regard for walls and closed doors.
On occasion items have moved on their own or “floated” in mid air, and for years staff and guests have reported hearing voices and laughter when there is no viable explanation. As my friend Jo once told me, the Menger Hotel is the place for a supernatural stay in the Alamo City.
Michael Baxter is the Texas Travelin’ Man
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