14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas

by Steven
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While Texas ghost stories abound, Houston ghosts specifically are an interesting and eclectic bunch, to say the least. The city has a little bit of everything going on, with its own collection of the angry dead beneath an old hospital and a battleship that somehow gained access to a crack in time and space. There’s even a bar with its very own night watchman, a ghostly hero named William!

Sure, other cities in Texas have terrifying tales, like Dallas scary stories. But Houston’s creepy stories are a strange mix of chilling, amusing, and in some cases, heartbreaking. Some of the best tales are gathered right here, ready to prove that nothing beats a good old-fashioned ghost story from Haunted Houston.

Prankster Orphans Haunt The Spaghetti Warehouse

Prankster Orphans Haunt The Sp... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: garrettc/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

Don’t let the quirky name fool you because the Spaghetti Warehouse is widely regarded as one of the most haunted places in America. The building used to be a pharmacy until the pharmacist fell down the elevator shaft and died. His wife died a year later, supposedly from a broken heart. She’s been seen roaming the second floor of the now-restaurant.

She isn’t the only one haunting the building – multiple spirit orbs have been photographed all over the place and things frequently go missing or get rearranged. Also, someone seems to like untying people’s shoelaces. Waitress Patti Chapa says she witnessed her shoelace floating parallel to the floor, stretched out. Some think that it’s the work of dead children, because there’s an old urn cabinet upstairs that used to store the deceased charges of orphanages when they had no money to bury them properly. The disembodied voices of children can often be heard on that floor.

The Old Jefferson Davis Hospital Is Built On Top Of A Cemetary

The Old Jefferson Davis Hospit... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: Patrick Feller/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

The Jefferson Davis Hospital was plopped right on top of a Confederate cemetery. In other words, many of the graves still remain, though the headstones were removed. In fact, the building’s basement was actually built above ground (so all those human remains couldn’t get in the way). The hospital sat vacant for decades and had a date with a wrecking ball, but plans changed and it was decided the old building would be transformed into artist lofts.

The building was always been rumored to be haunted. Everyone believed the dead were angry about its construction and couldn’t rest while it was sitting atop their graves. During its use as a hospital, patients, employees, and visitors all reported seeing ghostly figures roaming the hallways and they often heard disembodied voices. During the years of its vacancy, the Jefferson has attracted a plethora of urban explorers and ghost hunters. Many claimed to have heard screams, eerie howling sounds, and to have even captured spectral anomalies in photographs.

A Haunting Serenade Can Be Heard In The Julia Ideson Building

A Haunting Serenade Can Be Hea... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: Alan Cordova/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Julia Ideson Building is a public library located in downtown Houston that is reportedly haunted by a former caretaker. Back in the early 20th century, Jacob Frank Cramer kept watch over the building. He’d walk up and down the halls with his dog, Petey, and once he got to the top floor, he’d take a break and play his violin.

Cramer lived on the property, in a basement apartment beneath the library, until he died in that very same space in 1936. But according to employees, Cramer still keeps watch because one can hear his footsteps and the sound of his violin.

The University Of Texas Medical Branch’s Ewing Hall

The University Of Texas Medica... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo:  Alice Hughes/Pinterest

According to legend, the property now belonging to the University of Texas was once owned by a man who threatened to haunt his children if they ever sold it. Well, after he died, his daughter went ahead and sold the property, which became Ewing Hall. The thing is, right when Ewing Hall was finished, a face appeared on the fourth floor paneling on the side of the building facing the ocean. It allegedly resembles the former owner.

The panel was sandblasted and repainted, naturally, but the image came back. Even stranger, it moved down a notch to the third floor panel. Once again, they removed the face, only to have it reappear one floor down. The face has settled in on the second floor panel and can still be seen there today.

La Carafe Hosts Seances On The Second Floor

La Carafe Hosts Seances On The is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: M&R Glasgow/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

Built in 1866, La Carafe is one of the oldest bars in Houston. Locals and staff like complain that it is haunted. They’ve reported bottles flying off shelves, stomping footsteps, and glass breaking upstairs when no one is there. Also, several people have recounted hearing a child bouncing a ball around and seen the ghost of a former manager in the window.

While there is some paranormal activity in the bar downstairs, most of the noise and chaos is heard on the second floor. Apparently, they host occasional seances up there, so it should come as no surprise that some unruly undead hang around the bar.

Houston’s Brewery Tap Has Its Own Ghostly Hero

Houston’s Brewery Tap Has Its is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: Kenneth Crawford/YouTube

Located downtown in Houston’s Historic District, the Brewery Tap is home to more than just good beer. Various spirits stick around the pub, the most famous of which is William. William worked at the brewery back when the building was the Houston Ice & Brewing Company. A large stack of beer kegs fell on him, killing him. Now, William hangs around the bar, flushing toilets, messing with the sinks, and even posing for photographs with customers.

One night, William saved the life of a bartender named Cathy from a knife wielding prowler. Cathy was closing down the bar alone when William pulled out a chair and knocked it over in front of her. Cathy jumped back in shock and was suddenly able to see the outline of a man holding a knife lurking just outside the pub’s window. She called the police and they arrested the prowler, but had William not stopped her, she could have been killed.

The Lady Of The Ashton Villa Is Very Possessive

Ashton Villa is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: Freebase/GNU Free Documentation License

This three-story mansion from the 1860s was the home of James Brown and his oldest daughter, Bettie. Bettie refused to wed a man and remained in the mansion, throwing parties, puffing on cigars, and obsessing over her possessions. Even after her death in 1920, it seems she couldn’t stand the thought of leaving home.

Much of her collection is on display in the mansion’s Gold Room, where her presence is most often felt. Her old chest of drawers reportedly locks and unlocks itself, despite the fact that its key has been missing for decades. Her fan turns itself on and her bed refuses to remain made up. It’s believed that Bettie’s youngest sister, Matilda, also haunts the Ashton Villa, because she was the only accomplished piano player in the house and witnesses have heard and seen the piano playing with no one on the bench.

The Rice Hotel Has A Merry Band Of Dancing Ghosts

The Rice Hotel Has A Merry Ban is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: Patrick Feller/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

What’s now known as the Rice Lofts was once the Rice Hotel, where John F. Kennedy spent his last night before his assassination in November, 1963. The JFK room was allegedly a hotspot for paranormal activity with all its random cold spots, a shaking bed, and frequently rattling doors. Strange lights and orbs have also been seen by guests.

The notoriously haunted ballroom with its ghost dancers has been investigated by psychic Chip Coffey. Now, it seems most of the dancing spirits have moved the party up to the rooftop since the Rice Lofts’ renovations.

Esperson Buildings Are Haunted By Their Maker

Esperson Buildings Are Haunted is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: BFS Man/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

The elaborately distinct “his and hers” structures known as the Esperson Buildings in downtown Houston were constructed by Mellie Esperson. She had her husband’s name, Niel, carved on the first of the two and her name was carved on the other.

After Millie’s passing, the paranormal activity began. She is said to haunt the elevator, causing it to frequently malfunction. Her figure has been sighted in the lobbies and the halls in both of the buildings. People have reported cabinets slamming shut on their own, the feeling of being watched (especially at night), and the sound of heels on the granite floor when no one is around.

There’s A Portal On Battleship Texas

There's A Portal On Battle is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: okchomeseller/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

After having survived two World Wars, the historic Battleship Texas of the US Navy was anchored off the Houston Ship Channel and is now a destination for paranormal encounters. Not only is there a red-headed sailor who haunts Deck Two, but there is also a freaky rip in time and space located in the trophy room.

No, seriously. A caretaker claims she walked in through the trophy room doorway and found herself in a cemetery in France.

The Hotel Galvez Has Become A Playground For The Dead

The Hotel Galvez Has Become A is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: Galveston.com/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Built in 1911, the Hotel Galvez was once known as the “Playground of the Southwest” because it was always full of the wealthy elite. One guest was a bride-to-be named Audra, who was staying in room 501, waiting for her fiance’s ship to come in. However, the ship sunk and upon hearing of his death, Audra hung herself in her room.

Now, she’s known as the “Lovelorn Lady,” and her spirit is often seen wandering the fifth floor, slamming doors, messing with the television, and turning lights off and on in room 501. She is also known to cause interference with the door to room 501, making it difficult for anyone to use the electronic keys. Guests have even claimed to see the imprints of someone sitting on the bed while they’re trying to sleep.

Audra isn’t the only spirit haunting the hotel – staff has reported strange lights, gusts, cold spots, and frequent issues with electronics throughout the hotel. Near the gift shop, lobby, and on the stairs, guests have seen the spirit of a little girl in clothes from the 1900s. The first floor ladies restroom has an aggressively creepy phantom lurking in it, too. One guest claims she entered around 11pm when the lights immediately went out.

There was the sound of heavy breathing and footsteps coming toward her, and a male voice that said, “Get out.” When she ran to tell security, the surveillance footage showed she was the only one to walk into that bathroom at the time.

Ghost Ship Of The Pirate Jean Lafitte Is Often Spotted Just Off The Gulf Coast

Ghost Ship Of The Pirate Jean is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: anguila40/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

The pirate Jean Lafitte helped defend Louisiana in the War of 1812. His travels ran between New Orleans and Galveston. The ghostly image of his ship can still be seen sailing his old route along the Gulf Coast to this day. Oil platform crews, offshore supply vessels, and people in charter boats have witnessed the ghost ship.

Even those who haven’t seen the mysterious boat have heard the sounds of sails flapping in the wind, phantom voices speaking in Barataria, and seen the white foam where a vessel should be.

The Spirit Of Iris Siff Lingers Inside The Alley Theatre

The Spirit Of Iris Siff Linger is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: Matt Northam/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

On January 13, 1982, the Alley Theater’s managing director, Iris Siff, was murdered in her office. Former security guard Clifford Phillips had just been fired a few weeks prior and decided to exact some revenge. Phillips strangled Siff with a telephone cord.

Ultimately, Phillips was sentenced to death by lethal injection, which was carried out on December 15, 1993. It’s believed the spirit of Iris Siff remains at the Alley Theater.

An Unsolved Murder Haunts The Glenwood Cemetery

An Unsolved Murder Haunts The is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 14 Nightmarish Ghost Stories From Houston, Texas
Photo: Thomas Hawk/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

The Glenwood Cemetery is home to an old-fashioned murder mystery. Back in 1977, the cemetery caretaker was suddenly found dead. Sadly, the identity of his killer is a mystery that has yet to be solved.

Thus, his restless spirit wanders the grounds, seeking closure or perhaps even revenge.

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