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Paranormal Places

Texas has some fascinating skeletons — perhaps we should say “ghosts” — in its closet. If you like the feeling of the hair rising up on the back of your neck, there’s no spookier time of the year than October to check out mysterious phenomena around the state. Any mission or graveyard carries a palpable spirit of our ancestors, and the presence of pictographs in a cave or the early morning mist over a historic battleground can move visitors to feel something “extra” in the air.

 Chase Fountain / TPWD


Alice Littlefield must have really loved her Victorian-style mansion on the University of Texas campus in Austin — it seems she never left. There are reports of frequent paranormal experiences in or around the house, and in the Littlefield Dorm. Alice reportedly plays the upstairs piano and stares through windows, having a little fun by frightening people with loud screams or footsteps on the staircase.

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 Sonja Sommerfeld / TPWD


At the end of Bowden Road (also known as Demons Road, ahem) near Huntsville is supposedly one of the most haunted public cemeteries in Texas. The church and area were named Martha’s Chapel in 1854 after Martha Palmer, the wife of a church trustee, died and was buried in the area. Mysterious occurrences have been reported both on the road to the cemetery and within the graveyard itself, including visitors feeling they were being followed home by a spirit, hands protruding from gravesites, handprints left on vehicles, threatening creatures and apparitions of children.

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 Earl Nottingham / TPWD


This Felician Sisters ran this hospital before it became a drug rehab facility. The caretaker of the abandoned building says that when the lights are turned off, patients and visitors shuffle around the rooms. Not creepy enough? Add talking dolls in the maternity ward and tapping sounds on a glass barrier that blocks the front staircase. Take a guided walking tour through the hospital. (We’ll wait outside.)

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 Earl Nottingham / TPWD


The Galvez was destroyed by a hurricane in 1900, reopened in 1911, used as both a Coast Guard facility and a hub for gambling, and restored in 1995. Room 501 might be haunted by the spirit of young Audra, who took her own life thinking her fiancé had shipwrecked. Shortly after her death, her fiancé (who had survived) returned to the hotel to discover the tragedy. Legend says her spirit is locked here as she haunts the hotel, breaking cabinets, causing the staff’s room key to 501 to malfunction and inciting paranormal bathroom activity.

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 Chase Fountain / TPWD


The World War II ship, now a museum, is known as the Blue Ghost, so paranormal tendencies might be expected from the start. Visitors rave about a tour guide named Charlie who gives vivid descriptions of life on the ship from Engine Room 2. Well, that’s interesting, as most tours are self-guided. Others report smelling food in the kitchen, seeing lights flash and hearing screams. The Blue Ghost is open for tours every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving. We’re not sure about Charlie’s schedule.

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 Sonja Sommerfeld / TPWD


Mysterious red, white and blue lights dance through the sky some nights in Marfa. The unexplained phenomenon has been reported since the 1800s; doubters claim it’s only the reflection of headlights or campfires in the distance. The annual Marfa Lights Festival celebrates the mystery of this spectral anomaly with a parade and live music around Labor Day.

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