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Galveston, Texas - home to the deadliest storm in U.S. history - welcomes thrill seekers this spooky season.
The season for thrills and chills is here and Galveston Island’s ghostly history makes it one of the top destinations in the country for “haunted” travel. From an over a century old “haunted” hotel to Galveston’s storied harbor, cemeteries and Victorian mansions, this October the island will be bustling with visitors seeking to be spooked by numerous ghost stories that stem from the country’s deadliest natural disaster and other tragedies.
I once doubted the haunted nature of Galveston. Surely, ghosts don’t roam island streets and hotel hallways. All that changed one recent afternoon during lunch at what is now the Grand Galvez. While among some writers and some hotel staff, I noticed the knife on my bread plate vibrating out of control. I checked for shaking legs under the table. Nope. I checked overhead to see if the fan could cause this movement. Nope. And, our conversation at the time centered around the haunted stories that abound at this site. So, now I’m a believer.
Whether you’re a doubter, believer or someone on the fence, it’s the season for thrills and chills in Galveston. The island’s ghostly history makes it one of the top destinations in the country for “haunted” travel. Chief among them is the island’s 110-year-old Grand Galvez, which has been featured on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Stories and on the Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab for its paranormal significance.
The hotel, which offers special ghost tours during October, is said to be haunted by a “Ghost Bride” who reportedly has been seen in room 501 and in the hotel’s west turret. Legend has it that the bride hanged herself in the west turret during the mid-1900s after hearing reports that her fiancé had died at sea. Tragically, her fiancé eventually returned to the hotel looking forward to a marriage that would never be.
Galveston has many other sites that are considered haunted, including an 1867 building that served as a morgue after the 1900 Storm – still the deadliest storm in U.S. history having killed an estimated 8,000 Galveston residents. The building now houses Haunted Mayfield Manor – a year-round haunted house attraction in downtown Galveston. The haunted house embraces the spooky history of the building’s past while providing guests with a psychologically thrilling experience.
The Galveston Historical Foundation, which manages many of the island’s well-preserved historical sites and Victorian mansions, also offers ghost tours throughout October. Many of the island’s historic places have ghost stories attached to them as Galveston has been home to epidemics of disease, war, fires, storms and many merciless pirates, including the infamous Jean Laffite whose lavish and lawless den of thieves was the island’s first European settlement. This year, visitors can enjoy Haunted Harbor Tours in Galveston Bay and Galveston Ghost Stories in the city’s oldest home, the 1838 Menard House.
Many, many people have lived and died by these waters, and perhaps some of the dead still reside here. We invite our guests to listen to the stories and decide for themselves. But you don't have to believe in ghosts to know that the dead are a presence on this island.Dwayne Jones, executive director of the Galveston Historical Foundation
Discover the darker side of Galveston on a ghost tour. Pass by mansions and historical sights where spooky and mysterious things are said to have happened, and hear about the island's secrets, paranormal events, and haunted history on these year-round ghost tours:
Historic cemeteries are a big draw for visitors seeking the supernatural. Indeed, Galveston has been described as a cemetery with its own beach. Several companies offer tours of the oldest burial places on the island. And there are several tour operators offering haunted tours throughout the island.
Where the Texas Coast begins.
by J.R. Shaw
by Visit Galveston
by Visit Galveston
by J.R. Shaw