The Emily Morgan Hotel and Other Real Haunted Hotels in San Antonio
If you've read many of my articles, you'll know that I have an appreciation for architecture, Texas travel, and haunted places. When you combine these interests, you'll understand why I find the topic of haunted hotels in Texas so fascinating. The picture shown here is of the beautiful Emily Morgan Hotel in downtown San Antonio that is positioned across from the Alamo. I have been drawn to this building each time I've been to San Antonio, but my schedule has never allowed me to be able to take the time to explore it. That is certainly one of the items on my "bucket list".
I have owned a copy of the book A Texas Guide to Haunted Restaurants, Taverns and Inns by Robert Wlodarski and Anne Powell Wlodarski for quite a few years. It contains a wealth of information about locations all over Texas. It's where I first learned of The Catfish Plantation, my favorite haunted restaurant found in Waxahachie, Texas.
For this piece, I chose to focus on San Antonio hotels and I have to admit that I have not included all of the haunted places listed for San Antonio. I have chosen to focus on some of the most popular and my personal favorites.
The information about ghost sightings listed below is primarily from this book and my research on the internet. I hope you enjoy it. If you have ever been to any of these hotels and have experiences to share with me, I'd love to hear about it! (Within days of the publication of this article, Mike from Houston posted his real-life experience with the Emily Morgan Hotel. Be sure to read his story in the comments below. It may just make your hair stand on end!)
Emily Morgan Hotel
The Emily Morgan Hotel is located at 705 E. Houston Street in San Antonio, Texas.
The Emily Morgan Hotel was once the Medical Arts Building which was constructed in 1924. It is one of the most recognizable buildings in San Antonio. The tower is 13 stories tall and made of reinforced concrete and glazed terra cotta. The Gothic revival influence of the period is quite noticeable in this building. One of the most interesting features are the terra cotta gargoyles that depict various medical ailments such as toothaches, etc.
The 7th and 12th floors seem to be the most active. The 12th floor was where the operations took place when the building was a medical center. Reports of noises, smells of alcohol, and being touched are common on this floor. On the 7th floor, witnesses claim to have seen human shapes walking around and then walking through walls or doors. One family staying on the 7th floor reported having everything blast on in their room at 2:30 a.m. Then they saw a shape move through the room and through the wall.
The basement had been used as a morgue and crematory. Voices, footsteps, and orbs are often seen in this area.
The front desk has reported receiving calls that could be traced to the phones in an empty elevator. The elevator has been known to keep going between the sixth and seventh floors with no one in it.
In 1984, the building was transformed into a AAA Four Diamond boutique hotel.
You May be Wondering "Who Is Emily Morgan"?
Legend has it that Emily, at the age of 20 detained General Santa Anna in his tent while the Texans won a decisive battle in only 18 minutes in a charge against a Mexican camp.
Emily is widely believed to be the inspiration for the well-known song, "The Yellow Rose of Texas."
The Crockett Hotel
The Crockett Hotel is located at 320 Bonham Street in San Antonio, Texas. It is located on part of the Alamo battlefield. Hundreds of soldiers once stood where the hotel pool and courtyard are now located. The property sold several times over the years, but the hotel was built in 1909 by the International Order of Odd Fellows as a fellowship lodge hall and hotel. A wing was added in 1927. The property has changed ownership several times since then and is currently owned by San Antonio native John Blocker. The hotel has seen several renovations with the last being in 2007.
The ghosts here seem to inhabit the lobby area, the bar, and a few of the guestrooms. The entrance doors seem to open and close on their own. There are faint whispers, cold spots and some unexplained happenings. Some report seeing a man in a dark blue jacket. The air conditioning and electricity seems to have a mind of their own, footsteps are heard in empty rooms and curtains move on their own.
The Royal Swan Bed & Breakfast
The Royal Swan Bed & Breakfast is located at 236 Madison in San Antonio, Texas. It is only 6 blocks from downtown San Antonio and only two blocks from the Riverwalk. It was built in 1892 and originally owned by Dr. Jabez Cain. The home has been beautifully restored and is furnished with antiques, wood-burning fireplaces, crystal chandeliers, claw-footed tubs, and beautiful stained glass windows.
They have five guestrooms:
- Texas Rose Room
- Crystal Room
- Emerald Room
- Veranda Suite
- Garnet Room
The Royal Swan Bed & Breakfast has reported the presence of a female spirit believed to be the wife of Dr. Cain. Guests report lights being turned on in the middle of the night, footsteps in empty rooms, beds being shaken, cold spots and furniture being moved.
The Veranda Suite is the suite you want if you're into good haunting fun. This suite has reports of people feeling that someone was there, particularly in the bed. There are also reports of a woman who rocks in the rocker on the veranda. Sometimes, the rocker just rocks on its own. The ceiling fan will begin to turn even though the switch is off and then abruptly stop. Pictures fall from the wall without breaking. Closet doors open and close on their own. The room temperature has been known to drop 30 degrees without the assistance of air conditioning.
Cleaning staff reports having faucets and radios that turn on and off on their own and seeing a woman sitting in a room where guests have already checked out.
The Camberley Gunter Hotel
The Camberley Gunter Hotel is located at 205 East Houston Street in San Antonio, Texas. In 1909, at the time the Gunter Hotel was completed, it was the largest building in San Antonio. The hotel actually had its beginnings in 1837 as the Frontier Inn. It became the site of the US Military Headquarters in 1851. It served as the Confederate Headquarters from 1861–1865. In 1872 he became the Vance House, in 1886, the Mahncke Hotel and finally the Gunter Hotel in 1909.
The 9th floor was added in 1917 and the 10th-12th floors were added in 1926. The hotel was restored in the early 80s and is operated by the Sheraton chain.
Room 636 (now changed) became legendary as the location of one of San Antonio's greatest unsolved mysteries that took place in 1965. This mystery also involved Room 536 of the St. Anthony Hotel. Hotel staff found Room 636 of the Gunter Hotel covered in blood but the body of the tall blonde woman staying there was ever found. The only suspect was Albert Knox who was staying at the St. Anthony Hotel in Room 536. He was found in his room dead from an apparent suicide. There was no motive, no confession, no missing person report, no information to go on.
Photographs taken in the ballroom area show ghostly guests amongst the living. Voices are heard coming from empty rooms and hallways. Parties can be heard in unoccupied rooms. A man named Buck who resided at the hotel for a number of years and died there is sometimes seen picking up the newspaper and wandering around. A lady in blue and a lady in white have been seen floating through walls.
The Menger Hotel
The Menger Hotel is located at 204 Alamo Plaza in San Antonio, Texas. The original two-story, 50 room hotel was built of limestone in 1859. Over the years many additions and changes have taken place with restoration being completed in 1992.
The oldest parts of the hotel report gusts of cold air, unexplained voices, knocking sounds, cigar smoke appears in a non-smoking bar, lights turn on and off, doors open and close, and sightings of ghostly figures.
A former security guard reports seeing a man in western attire and a black hat who walked through walls and the elevator would stop on the 3rd floor no matter what button he pushed. A hotel manager at the Menger insists that Teddy Roosevelt's spirit visits there. Maintenance men report doors that open after being locked, hearing musical noises and marching footsteps coming from unoccupied parts of the hotel. Housekeeping has reported seeing a blonde woman dressed in blue 30s or 40s attire sitting in one of the rooms.
The ghost of Sallie White, a chambermaid who worked at the hotel in 1876 and was shot there by her jealous husband is sometimes seen walking around the hotel wearing a floor-length skirt, a bandana around her neck, and a long strand of beads.
The famous ghost guest is Captain Richard King. He is the founder of the famous King Ranch south of San Antonio. Furnishings in the King Suite are the same from when he stayed there. He died at the hotel and his funeral was even held in the front parlor at the hotel.
Guests have reported seeing shot glasses levitate and relocate themselves, ghosts entering or leaving the elevators, televisions that turn off and on by themselves,
The St. Anthony: A Wydham Historic Hotel
The St. Anthony-A Wyndham Historic Hotel is located at 300 East Travis Street in San Antonio, Texas. It was built in 1909 by two prominent cattlemen, B.L. Naylor and A.H. Jones. During the 20s until 1941, the hotel's rooftop nightclub was the host to the nation's top big bands. The concerts held there were broadcast live nationally each week.
The hotel has changed hands a number of times over the years and is now under the Wyndham group and has been the choice of many celebrities such as Eleanor Roosevelt, President Eisenhower, General Douglas McArthur. Prince Ranier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Prince Albert of Monaco, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Lucille Ball, Fred Astaire, Lyndon Johnson, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Rock Hudson, Arnold Schwartzenegger and Maria Shriver, Patrick Swayze, George Clooney, Demi Moore, Bruce Willis and Matthew McConaughey.
The roof area is considered a hotbed of paranormal activity. Guests report hearing loud parties and children laughing coming from the roof only to find it completely vacant. The fourth floor, the men's locker area in the basement, and the kitchen corridor all report unexplained activity. Room 536, where Mr. Knox committed suicide (see the story in the Gunter Hotel segment) also reports a ghostly figure.
I can now proudly say that I have stayed at the Emily Morgan Hotel. Please continue reading the stories here and then click over and read about my personal experience at the Emily Morgan found here.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 KRC