Tag Archives: Michael O. Varhola

People Report Various Paranormal Phenomena at Piney Point Lighthouse

Today, Michael O. Varhola, author of Ghosthunting Maryland, reports on his visit to the Piney Point Lighthouse.

Pine Point LighthouseLocated along the banks of the lower Potomac River near its approach to the Chesapeake Bay in St. Mary’s County, Piney Point Lighthouse is a conical stone tower with a detached keeper’s house that became operational in 1836. It has sometimes been called the “Lighthouse of Presidents” because of the several U.S. presidents—including James Monroe, Franklin Pierce, Theodore Roosevelt—who fished and relaxed on or near its grounds during vacations from the White House. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1964 and it and the keeper’s house were subsequently incorporated into a little historic complex that includes an adjacent building containing the Potomac River Maritime Exhibit.

Over the years, people have reported various sorts of paranormal phenomena at the place, and, while somewhat off the beaten track, it has received some attention from ghosthunters (e.g., the D.C. Hauntings paranormal group conducted an investigation at the site but declined to share their results). Workers at the site have reported numerous strange phenomena, including hearing people speak to them when no one else was present.

When I visited the site, I took numerous pictures both inside and outside the lighthouse and walked around the exterior of the tower with my microcassette recorder to see whether I could capture any EVPs. While a subsequent review of my tape did not reveal anything definite, something strange happened while I was recording it: As I walked around the tower, it suddenly struck me that something I couldn’t see was touching and raising up the hair on the back of my hand!

About the author: Michael Varhola is a writer who has authored or coauthored 34 books and games—including the swords-and-sorcery novel Swords of Kos: Necropolis and two fantasy writers guides. He has also published more than 120 games and related publications. He is the founder of the game company Skirmisher Publishing LLC, editor in chief of d-Infinity game magazine, and editor of the America’s Haunted Road Trip series of ghosthunting travel guides. He has edited, published, or written for numerous publications, including The New York Times. He also has an active online presence, notably through Facebook and a variety of other blogs, forums, and sites. He lives in the Texas Hill Country.

Three Haunted Hotels to visit in San Antonio

If you are looking for a haunted vacation, here
are 3 more suggestions for ghostly stays
by Michael O. Varhola

Michael O. Varhola is the author of Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country, the latest addition to the America’s Haunted Roadtrip series.

St Anthony Hotel San AntonioSt. Anthony Hotel Downtown San Antonio
300 E. Travis St., San Antonio, TX 78205
Three ambitious cattlemen, A. H. Jones, B. L. Naylor, and F. M. Swearingen, opened the St. Anthony Hotel in 1909 in anticipation of San Antonio becoming a tourist destination, and it quickly became a popular place for visitors to stay. It is located near San Antonio’s River Walk and the Alamo.

“Not only was it the first luxury hotel in the city, but in the early days it was also the only inn with air-conditioning, a drive-up registration desk, and sophisticated automatic doors and lights,” the official history of the hotel states. “In fact, St. Anthony was so technologically savvy that it was considered among the world’s most modern hotels. By 1915, the hotel charged guests $1.50 per night, and booming revenues allowed the owners to double capacity to 430 guestrooms.”

Many rich and famous Americans were among the visitors to the St. Anthony, its restaurant, and its bar. They have included Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, George Clooney, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Judy Garland, Greer Garson, Rock Hudson, Betty Hutton, General Douglas McArthur, Matthew McConaughey, Demi Moore, Gregory Peck, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Mickey Rooney, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Wayne, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Patrick Swayze, and Bruce Willis.

Paranormal phenomena people have experienced at the St. Anthony Hotel include seeing strange shadowy outlines, feeling unseen presences, seeing doors opening and closing for no apparent reason, and hearing disembodied footsteps following behind them.

Indigo Hotel DT San AntonioHotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown-Alamo Downtown San Antonio
105 N. Alamo St., San Antonio, TX 78205 (On website search for San Antonio locations and select “Hotel Indigo Downtown Alamo”; do not confuse with Hotel Indigo San Antonio–Riverwalk).

This historic hotel is located at what had once been the northwest corner of the Alamo compound, site of the bloodiest fighting when Mexican troops overran the mission and slaughtered its Texian defenders on March 6, 1836. Garrison commander William B. Travis was among those who fell here (the front desk being located at the spot where he was believed to have died), and it was so packed with mangled bodies in the aftermath of the battle that the ground was said to have been saturated with blood.

In the years after the battle, Samuel Maverick, who left the besieged Alamo four days before it fell to serve as a delegate to the convention for Texas independence, built his home at this location. Then, in 1909, Southern Pacific Railroad executive Colonel C. C. Gibbs built the first skyscraper in San Antonio on the site. The Gibbs building still stands today and houses the beautiful Hotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown-Alamo.

Paranormal activity that people claim to experience at the hotel includes hearing the sounds of gun and cannon fire and the agonized wailing of wounded and dying men; seeing spectral figures moving a cannon along the adjacent streets; hearing strange voices and disembodied footsteps, particularly in the basement; seeing people getting on and off the historic and now out-of-service elevators; and witnessing figures in 19th-century clothing walking down the halls, entering rooms, and then disappearing.

Marriott Plaza San Antonio Downtown San Antonio
555 S. Alamo St., San Antonio, TX 78205

San Antonio LOThis downtown hotel is in close proximity to the Alamo, has a number of historic buildings on its grounds, and—like many old sites with storied pasts—has many ghosts and inexplicable phenomena associated with it. Reported activity ranges from things like lights turning on and off on their own to drawers at the front desk being opened as if by an unseen hand, to a specter who has haunted the hotel for many years and come to be known as the Lady. She is believed to be a widow who lived in one of the historic buildings now incorporated into the hotel and to have hanged herself and her cat in what is now the exercise facility, formerly her parlor. People have reported seeing her throughout the site, especially on the upper levels of the main building, in the employee-only areas in the basement, or standing among the trees in the garden, usually in a long white dress or gown, holding her cat and stroking its head.

For more ghostly tales, check out Michael O. Varhola’s latest book  Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill.

 

Haunted Hotel Stays for you to explore!

3 haunted hotels recommended
by Michael O. Varhola in his book
Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin,
and Texas Hill Country

Sheraton Gunter HotelSheraton Gunter Hotel San Antonio, Downtown San Antonio
Since 1837, travelers and visitors to San Antonio have often found one of the nicest and most convenient hotels in the city to be located at a particular corner about 100 yards from the bank of the river. Over the years, this establishment has had many different names, occupied successively larger and more elaborate buildings, been controlled by the armies of four nations, and collectively contributed to a fascinating and colorful history. One of those colors, however, has been that of blood, and gruesome events have occurred at the hotel, leading to its reputation as a venue for hauntings and paranormal activity. The Sheraton Gunter Hotel retains its role as a unique part of San Antonio’s rich and multifaceted heritage. It also remains, with good reason, one of the most haunted hotels in the Alamo city. To book a stay visit their website.

Faust Hotel New BraunsfeldFaust Hotel, New Braunfels – Comal County
Over the past few decades, the Faust Hotel has increasingly gained a widespread reputation for being haunted and has attracted the attention of various paranormal investigative groups. I have visited the hotel a number of times since 2009 and, among other things, have spent the night there, conducted investigations on or around Halloween twice, and appeared as a guest on the PSI-FI Radio show while there. It has, in fact, become one of my favorite sites in the Greater San Antonio area, not just for the strange things associated with it but also for its colorful history. The Faust is indeed haunted, of that I am sure. Visit it next time you are passing through New Braunfels, have a microbrew beer made on the premises in its taproom, ride up and down the elevator a few times, and, if you can, spend the night and see if you experience anything for yourself. Ready to do your own investigation? Here is the website of the Faust Hotel.

Ye Kendall InnYe Kendall Inn, Boerne – Kendall County
One of the most impressive and welcoming of the many haunted establishments that can be found throughout the Hill Country is, without a doubt, Ye Kendall Inn, the sprawling hotel, restaurant, and event complex that dominates the main square in the town of Boerne. Ye Kendall Inn is well known in the local area for being haunted, and I was well aware of its reputation before visiting it for the first time.

With a colorful history and so many people passing through its doors, dwelling in its rooms, and experiencing the full range of human emotions within its walls, it is perhaps not surprising that Ye Kendall Inn would have a reputation for being haunted and have so much ghostly lore associated with it. That being the case, I was almost surprised that no anomalies turned up in any of my photos or audio recordings and that I did not experience anything that might be interpreted as supernatural in origin.

I was not, however, disappointed, because it is not reasonable to expect spirits to perform on demand or reveal their presence during the short piece of eternity in which a living person is visiting their haunt. And I did very much enjoy the ambience, history, and hospitality of the place during the few hours that I spent exploring its halls, public areas, and guestrooms. I was left looking forward to my next visit and a more detailed investigation of Ye Kendall Inn. To book a stay at Ye Kendall Inn, visit their website, and make sure to report back any ghostly sightings to the author.

In Michael’s book Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country, you can read the complete history and ghost stories for these three hotels. The stories are part of 27 haunted sites thoroughly researched and covered.

 

Mission Concepción

Mission ConcepcionMisión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña: With their strange, turbulent, and violent histories, and events that have included abandonment, violence, death, fervent passions, theft of holy relics, and the full range of human emotions, it is not surprising that the San Antonio missions would be haunted.– Michael O. Varhola

The History of Mission Concepción from Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country

Franciscan friars established Misión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña, more commonly referred to simply as Mission Concepción, near the San Antonio River in 1731. Most of the native people in the mission were Pajalats, a local tribe that used to live in the area south of San Antonio, and their chiefs served as governors of the affiliated Indian community.

At least one large battle took place between Spanish settlers and Indians here, resulting in great loss of life, in the 1700s. Then, on October 28, 1835, the first significant battle of the Texas Revolution was fought between Texian insurgents, led by James Bowie and James Fannin, and Mexican soldiers under the command of Colonel Domingo Ugartechea. About 90 of the Texians had encamped near the mission while searching for a suitable and relatively safe place for the remainder of the army to rest when they were attacked by a mixed force of about 275 Mexican infantry, cavalry, and artillery. The Texians took cover in a U-shaped gully and, between their defensive position and superior small arms, drove off the Mexican troops in the ensuing 30-minute battle, winning the Battle of Concepción. One Texian and as many as 76 Mexican troops were slain during the skirmish.

Mission ConcepcionOn October 31, 1984, the San Antonio Express-News ran a story that described activity experienced in the area around Mission Concepción and some of the possible reasons for it. “Some 300 soldiers died in that area during an 18th-century battle near the mission. A Dr. Navarro, who lived there around the turn of the century, is said to have murdered Juana, who was either his live-in maid or his lover. Nobody knows for sure,” this account reads. It goes on to describe how, while saying a rosary, a local resident “saw a plume of smoke waft in from a back room. Forming a column in front of him, it didn’t take on masculine or feminine features . . . but simply stood and watched him. He moved towards the apparition and it disappeared. Going back to his rosary, the column of smoke reappeared.”

Mission Concepción is the best preserved of the Texas missions, remains active as a church with a congregation that attends Sunday mass there to this day, and in 2009–2010 had its interior completely restored.

Mission ConcepcionWith their strange, turbulent, and violent histories, and events that have included abandonment, violence, death, fervent passions, theft of holy relics, and the full range of human emotions, it is not surprising that the San Antonio missions would be haunted. People have reported paranormal phenomena of all sorts at them, including relatively prosaic things like inexplicable cold spots and a feeling of melancholy on the one hand, to full-blown apparitions on the other, and everything from anomalies like EVPs to orbs in between. There are perhaps no better places to get a sense for the history of San Antonio, mundane and paranormal alike.

Haunted Indigo Hotel

 

Sounds of cannon fire heard in haunted historic Indigo Hotel

Haunted Indigo HotelThis historic hotel is located at what had once been the northwest corner of the Alamo compound, site of the bloodiest fighting when Mexican troops overran the mission and slaughtered its Texian defenders on March 6, 1836. Garrison commander William B. Travis was among those who fell here (the front desk being located at the spot where he was believed to have died), and the area was so packed with mangled bodies in the aftermath of the battle that the ground was said to have been saturated with blood.

In the years after the battle, Samuel Maverick, who left the besieged Alamo four days before it fell to serve as a delegate to the convention for Texas independence, built his home at this location. Then, in 1909, Southern Pacific Railroad executive Colonel C. C. Gibbs built the first skyscraper in San Antonio on the site. The Gibbs building still stands today and houses the beautiful Hotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown-Alamo.

Paranormal activity that people have claimed to experience at the hotel includes hearing the sounds of gun and cannon fire and the agonized wailing of wounded and dying men; seeing spectral figures moving a cannon along the adjacent streets; hearing strange voices and disembodied footsteps, particularly in the basement; seeing people getting on and off the historic and now out-of-service elevators; and witnessing figures in 19th-century clothing walking down the halls, entering rooms, and then disappearing.

Ready to check-in?
Hotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown-Alamo
105 N. Alamo St.
San Antonio, TX 78205
Tel: 210-933-2000
Website Hotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown- Alamo

For a journey to some of the most haunted and fascinating places in San Antonio, Austin, and the Texas Hill Country, check out Michael O. Varhola’s book Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country.

The author at Ye Kendall Inn
The author at Ye Kendall Inn

About the author: Michael Varhola has authored or coauthored 34 books and games — including the swords-and-sorcery novel Swords of Kos: Necropolis and two fantasy writers guides. He has also published more than 120 games and related publications. He is the founder of the game company Skirmisher Publishing LLC, editor in chief of d-Infinity game magazine, and editor of the America’s Haunted Road Trip series of ghosthunting travel guides. He has edited, published, or written for numerous publications, including The New York Times. He also has an active online presence, notably through Facebook and a variety of other blogs, forums, and sites. He lives in the Texas Hill Country.

About the series: America’s Haunted Road Trip is a one-of-a-kind series of haunted travel guides. Each book profiles 30-100 haunted places that are open to the public. From inns and museums to cemeteries and theaters, the author visits each place, interviewing people who live and work there. Books also include travel instructions, maps, and an appendix of 50 more places the reader can visit.

St. Anthony Hotel Downtown San Antonio

Ghostly activity at the luxurious St. Anthony Hotel in Downtown San Antonio

St. Anthony Hotel Downtown San AntonioThree ambitious cattlemen, A. H. Jones, B. L. Naylor, and F. M. Swearingen, opened the St. Anthony Hotel in 1909 in anticipation of San Antonio becoming a tourist destination, and it quickly became a popular place for visitors to stay. It is located near San Antonio’s River Walk and the Alamo.

“Not only was it the first luxury hotel in the city, but in the early days it was also the only inn with air conditioning, a drive-up registration desk, and sophisticated automatic doors and lights,” the official history of the hotel states. “In fact, St. Anthony was so technologically savvy that it was considered among the world’s most modern hotels. By 1915, the hotel charged guests $1.50 per night, and booming revenues allowed the owners to double capacity to 430 guestrooms.”

Many rich and famous Americans were among the visitors to the St. Anthony, its restaurant, and its bar. They have included Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, George Clooney, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Judy Garland, Greer Garson, Rock Hudson, Betty Hutton, General Douglas McArthur, Matthew McConaughey, Demi Moore, Gregory Peck, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Mickey Rooney, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Wayne, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Patrick Swayze, and Bruce Willis.

Paranormal phenomena people have experienced at the St. Anthony Hotel include seeing strange shadowy outlines, feeling unseen presences, seeing doors opening and closing for no apparent reason, and hearing disembodied footsteps following behind them.

Ready for some ghosthunting combined with a luxurious stay?
St. Anthony Hotel Downtown San Antonio
300 E. Travis St.
San Antonio, TX 78205
Tel: 210-227-4392
Website: St. Anthony Hotel

For a journey to some of the most haunted and fascinating places in San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country check out Michael O. Varhola’s book Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country.

The author at Ye Kendall Inn
The author at Ye Kendall Inn

About the author: Michael Varhola is a writer who has authored or coauthored 34 books and games — including the swords-and-sorcery novel Swords of Kos: Necropolis, and two fantasy writers guides. He has also published more than 120 games and related publications. He is the founder of game company Skirmisher Publishing LLC, editor in chief of d-Infinity game magazine, and editor of the America’s Haunted Road Trip series of ghosthunting travel guides. He has edited, published, or written for numerous publications, including The New York Times. He also has an active online presence, notably through Facebook and a variety of other blogs, forums, and sites. He lives in Texas Hill Country.

 

 

Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country

Ghost Hunting San AntonioGhosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country by Michael O. Varhola is the latest addition to the popular haunted travel guides series and will be in a book store near you as of September 15. 

Clerisy Press is excited to celebrate this new addition to America’s Haunted Road Trip series with a GIVEAWAY, but first more about this new hands-on guide.

Local author Michael O. Varhola drew upon his training and experiences as a historian, journalist, and paranormal investigator while compiling this colorful and useful guide to publicly accessible haunted places in San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country. This guide fits every visitor’s needs with coverage of the paranormal, traveling the area, and Texas history.

Settled by Spanish explorers more than three centuries ago, San Antonio has a rich haunted history that includes conquistadores, the local Apache and Comanche Indian tribes, ancient monasteries, lost gold mines, battlefields, and elegant hotels. Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country covers 30 haunted locations in or around the cities of San Antonio and Austin and throughout the region known as Texas Hill Country, collectively one of the most haunted places in the country. Each site includes a combination of history, haunted lore and phenomena, and practical visitation information.

Michael VarholaAbout the author: Michael Varhola is a writer who has authored or coauthored 34 books and games — including the swords-and-sorcery novel Swords of Kos: Necropolis, and two fantasy writers guides. He has also published more than 120 games and related publications. He is the founder of game company Skirmisher Publishing LLC, editor in chief of d-Infinity game magazine, and editor of the America’s Haunted Road Trip series of ghosthunting travel guides. He has edited, published, or written for numerous publications, including The New York Times. He also has an active online presence, notably through Facebook and a variety of other blogs, forums, and sites. He lives in Texas Hill Country.

About the series: America’s Haunted Road Trip is a one-of-a-kind series of haunted travel guides. Each book profiles more than 30 haunted places open to the public. From inns and museums to cemeteries and theaters, the author visits each place interviewing people who live and work there. Also includes travel instructions, maps, and an appendix of 50 more places the reader can visit.

And now, as promised, the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win one copy of Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country
a Rafflecopter giveaway