Do you believe in ghosts? I do. This time of year, tales of hauntings appear to thrill or frighten us. Here is a replay of a guest post from last year about ghosts in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
|Fort Worth Stockyards on Exchange Street off Main Street|
Cowtown Winery Haunted Stockyards Tour
By Bea Smith
The Stockyards actually have a branch of the Trinity River flowing under Exchange, the main street. Many people believe that water holds spiritual activity and heightens paranormal activity.
The Stockyards Hotel was built in 1910 and was a crown jewel of a hotel, attracting rich oil tycoons. Bonnie and Clyde reportedly stayed in room 305, which overlooked Merrick Fine Western Wear, then a jewelry store, and the bank nearby. Two stories are told about their stay. One is that they rented the room to stake out the two businesses, but they liked Fort Worth so much they decided not to rob it. The other is that they told the owners of the bank and the jewelry store that they weren’t there to rob them or cause any trouble; Bonnie and Clyde were just hiding out from the law until things cooled down a bit.
The Stockyards Hotel has a full-bodied apparition named Jesse. He’s a cowboy who couldn’t have afforded to stay in the Stockyards at the time. People speculate that he just wanted to stay there in the afterlife. Visitors hear his spurs jingling as he walks through the hall or see him but he never interacts with anyone.
People feel the presence of a former employee, Jake. He was a messenger from the 1900’s and he loved his job of 30 -40 years. Visitors feel hot and cold spots and some of his physical duties are still taken care of: if guests leave their room unlocked, it will be locked when they return. For the last 30 years, the phone rings after hours. No one is there and the call cannot be traced, put on hold, or transferred.
Love Shack, owned by Tim Love. Ten years ago or so, an Australian couple was vacationing in the Stockyards and staying in the hotel. They had been having a wonderful time and seemed to be very happy. One early morning the man woke up his fiancée, very energized and agitated, and said he had something to show her. She followed him across the street to the closed restaurant, where he climbed to the second floor and threw himself off the balcony headfirst, dying instantly. She later said she felt some evil force had inhabited her lover.
Exchange Building: Rodeo Arena: Had a rodeo since 1908. Hotbed of paranormal activity. There is a phantom black horse that runs around the arena.
Apparitions are of a deceased cowboys in old-time clothing. The rodeo was very dangerous and many lost their lives during the performance. EVP’s (electronic voice phenomenon; conversation not heard by the human ear) record hearing a voice saying, “Cow, cow, cow.” And “Pig, pig, pig.”
People have also recorded seeing the spirit of Quanah Parker, who was the first Native American to ride in a rodeo.
Exchange Building: A man’s small child followed him to work in the
early 1900’s. He wasn’t sure what to do with her, so he let her wander around.
She went to play in the vault and an employee inadvertently locked her in. She
wasn’t discovered in the airtight building until the next morning, where she
had suffocated. Employees say they get
an eerie feeling upstairs. They see a little girl running around playing and
trying to get their attention. She looks out windows at dawn. One early
morning, there were hand prints on the inside of the
door. The paranormal team from the stockyards found two prints.
|Exchange Rodeo Arena|
The body of a prostitute was found inside years ago when prostitution was a licensed profession. She was probably murdered offsite and then dumped there. Her rose-scented perfume, for which she was known, can still be smelled on tours.
Armour Swift Corporate Building: 1900’s-1970’s. Arson destroyed the
building and, with all the residual animal fat, it took 1 month to put out
completely. The Spaghetti Warehouse was there after the building was rebuilt,
but they couldn’t keep staff. Silverware would fly, things would be moved,
strange noises, and creepy feelings.
It’s a power company now.
|Former Spaghetti Warehouse, now offices.|
Riscky’s Steakhouse: A Brothel was above--a high class brothel; more expensive. The last member of the Riscky family is very embarrassed about the brothel and won’t let people go up there. She threw everything away—but one red rocker, owned by the Madam, mysteriously reappeared in the building. The bells that signaled the men that their time was up are still there and working. The windows where the women would stand to attract customers have been boarded up because people kept seeing apparitions of working women standing and posing in them.
Saunders Park: When it was Hell’s Half Acre, people would take care of disputes by shooting at each other. Dead or dying were dumped into the river by the park. Sometimes the water was red with blood. Divers report that there are too many human bones to count remaining on the bottom of that part of the river.
Miss Molly’s B and B: Molly is actually the name of the
lead cow in the simulated cattle drive and the mascot of FW. The actual Madam was Miss Josie. It was a speakeasy until the 1930’s, then became a low end
The girls were actually 11-15 years old. Most of the girls were orphans or runaways. Miss Josie was abusive. She didn’t take any guff from the male customers and was known to throw them out on the street. She was very obese and ill-tempered. The girls had huge quotas and, if they didn’t meet them or they talked back, Josie would lock them in the closet without food, water, or facilities as long as she felt they needed. Girls were very competitive and would poison each other’s food and lotion, resulting in some violent illnesses and deaths.
Miss Josie had a daughter, father unknown, who she abused terribly. When the little girl was 8 years old, she disappeared. Everyone thought Josie had killed her but it was never investigated. One time a little girl on the ghost tour had her hair pulled and said that “Mary was messing with her.” No one had told the little girl that Josie’s daughter was named Mary. The owner keeps toys for Mary that no one else is allowed to play with, and the playthings move around.
Josie’s room and the Cowboy’s room are the most haunted. Men have their shoulders rubbed or their heads patted, but women report feeling very unwelcome and watched.
Longhorn Saloon: Three
cowboys stopped to drink, boys between 15 and 17. They got drunk and got back
on what they thought were their horses. The men whose horses they stole
confronted them and the boys were hanged in the saloon. Now women in the Ladies bathroom report
having their legs tugged and feeling like they are being watched.
|The real Miss Molly leading the herd|
Cowtown Winery: The paranormal team that works the Stockyards swept the building and found just as much activity as Miss Molly’s. It used to be a Chinese Laundromat with the family living above. People feel the presence of a young boy. A medium said he was killed by an abusive parent, who kept him in a cupboard behind the bar. There is an old-fashioned sock monkey doll no one admits to having brought in. It will disappear for days, then reappear in odd places.
Another presence is also felt. Wine is spilled during the night, crackers are spilled, and cases topple over. The motion detector is never tripped. People hear glass break and rush in, but nothing is broken.
|Cowtown Winery, start and end of ghost the tour|
While the guide was talking about the little boy, the street light in the alley was flickering. When she got to the story of the other presence, it went out with a “Pop!” Everyone jumped, watched, and then laughed at themselves. As the tour dispersed and the guide went back in, one of the remaining tourists said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if the light came back on?”
And it did.