I recently came back from a photography conference in San Antonio where my parents met me. We stayed at the La Quinta close to the convention center where we could pretty much walk everywhere. A friend of my parents had mentioned we should visit a haunted hotel there, so naturally that was on my radar, loving doing the ghost tours and stuff in my favorite Georgia City with soul, Savannah. The second night after the convention we headed straight to the Menger Hotel, "the oldest continuously operated hotel west of the Mississippi" and steps away from the Alamo. It opened less than 25 years after the battle and is full of history and as they say, "People who have stayed here have been from all walks of life, including our non-living guests," (Ernesto Malacara, the Menger's director of public relations and ghost expert, San Antonio Express-News.")
So, after mom had several glasses of wine at the La Quinta bar and a sneaky cup of it to go, we headed to the Menger for a visit. Mom was feeling good and cracking us up, immediately when we walked in I felt a good vibe. The hotel is beautiful! It reminded me a little of the old version of the Monte Vista Hotel in Black Mountain.. with elegant decor and a feeling of welcoming old souls. The beautiful blue walls and hotel carpet were amazing. I'm not great at describing architecture but a great description is on their site.. We were in awe and wish we'd booked a room there. I had read that most sightings happened on the third floor so I headed there first to look around and take some photos. Unfortunately I wasn't blessed with any apparitions in the moment or after viewing the photos, but posting the photos anyway because it was a neat place to shoot. I used existing light with a 35mm lens on my D700.
My parents waiting patiently, mom's to go wine cup on the ground (we trashed it no worries).
A ghost tour forms at the bottom floor
The leader of the ghost tour tries to scare me coming up the stairs like an apparition in my photo
His ghost hunter apprentice, sniffer outer, or protector
On the third floor, many people experience seeing the ghost of Sallie White. She was a maid working at the hotel who was brutally attacked by her husband in 1876 and remained in her room suffering until she died, the hotel paid for her funeral which was $35 at the time. There are several photos and stories online of people experiencing her ghost. On the second floor is the King Ranch Suite, which hosted a man named Captain Richard King, who loved the hotel so much he became ill and chose to book a room where he stayed until his death. They have moved the original door to his room but he is seen by several moving through the walls, unaware of any changes. Here's a link to these and a few more stories: http://darkhaunts.com/TexasGhostStories/TheMenger.html
Before leaving, we felt we had to visit the famous Menger bar where Theodore Roosevelt formed his Rough Riders. Though Mom was probably good on the wine, I decided to purchase her just one more glass, Dad a bud light, and myself a decaf coffee (I'm pregger) and we sat in this lovely wooden piece of history and met some interesting people, as mom is great at never meeting a stranger.
This is mom in the phone booth trying to look scary.
Real bullet holes from back in the day
The next day we decided to visit another haunted hotel by the Alamo, called the Emily Morgan. Before it was a hotel it was a hospital that housed a morgue and psychiatric ward, and has lots of paranormal activity according to guests. It has been rated the 3rd most haunted hotel in the world according to this site: http://www.mysanantonio.com/lifestyle/article/San-Antonio-s-Emily-Morgan-Hotel-is-the-third-6582426.php
We explored a few of the hallways but didn't stick around too long. We went to a few of the floors reported to be the most haunted, and I will say it felt pretty freaky.. kind of stifling. The doors are dark brown and brooding and it has a strange sense about it, I'm sure it's a cool place to stay. I did speak to a worker who captured this image on his cell phone from the hotel lobby at one point. You can see a translucent image of a figure sitting on the blue chair. We met a woman on the elevator down and I asked if she was staying there, hoping she had experienced something paranormal but she had no idea about it even being haunted, oops. Also, my Uber driver mentioned he stayed there once thinking there was a jacuzzi in the room and was disappointed his didn't have one. He mentioned it felt eerie.. so I feel that people loving the haunt would most likely get their scare on here pretty easily.
Here's a photo of a hallway from one of the floors..
A scary looking antique mailing system by the elevator, with bloody looking condensation
On our last night in San Antonio we hadn't had enough of the Menger Hotel, and wanted to go back and try the famous mango ice cream made fresh for 100 years there, so we headed back since they serve it until 10 pm. We stepped into the Colonial Dining room where they play music from the 20's just like that scene in the shining. The architecture in the dining room was also beautiful, and service with a smile but not fake at all, not one bit. Everyone was super cool. One other family was finishing a meal near us and the waiters filed in with a chocolate cake and candle, flicking the lights on and off for a little boy's birthday. At first I thought we were experiencing a haunting but realized someone was in the room controlling the light on purpose.
I was trying so hard to find something in the photos.. thinking maybe the grey behind the little boy was a headless something in 20's clothing. Probably just a stroller or something.
Neat detail on the fireplace
One of the waiters mentioned people have often seen the ghost of what looks to be an Englishman with a bolo and hat, coming out of the fireplace and hovering above the table in the area around it (photo above). Also, people claim to see the ghost of a little girl named Sarah who was brought into the hotel after her accidental death from a horse and carriage. They say she plays in the restaurant and wears the 20's clothing she was brought in wearing.
I was thinking, maybe Sarah plays in here sometimes?
We left for the night and vowed to stay there if we come back sometime for a visit.
The Alamo at night