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Visit ghosts at a Galveston hotel

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hotel Galvez in Galveston is rumored to have some habitual haunting from spooky spirits, and there's no time like Halloween to take a first-hand look.

Galveston's ghost stories are well-known, and the Hotel Galvez is prime fodder. The ghost tour begins in an unlikely place -- the ladies' restroom, inside one of the stalls.

"When our guests are in here, they come out and they say, 'I hear some heavy breathing,'" recalled Jackie Hasan with the Hotel Galvez.

These are some of the bizarre and disturbing occurrences reported regularly at the 97-year-old beachfront hotel. The Hotel Galvez architecture and décor have changed little since it was built in 1910. It turns out, some of the early inhabitants are still around as well.

Like the hotel's ghosts, Hasan roams the hallways and rooms with her temperature gauge, seeking evidence of the other-worldly. She says it has been documented in early photographs taken after the storm of 1900, including one she says shows a headless, armless ghost.

But Hasan insists these ghostly visitors are not malicious.

"Our ghosts are very friendly, they really are," she said. "Some ghosts in the city are not very friendly, because they did not become ghosts through friendly means. But our ghosts here are very, very friendly."

Consider room 501 -- it's the very room where a bride-to-be in the 1920s waited for her betrothed. She watched the Gulf of Mexico, becoming so distraught when she heard her lover's ship had sunk, she committed suicide. She hanged herself in one of the hotel's turrets.

Hasan explained, "Because she was in (room 501) and she returns to this room from time to time. She tours the whole hotel."

Despite such a gruesome death, we're told the bride's ghost is a friendly one, choosing to walk around and get to know the neighbors and guests.

The Ghost of Galvez Package offers guests the use of electromagnetic field detectors and infrared thermometers to search for ghosts during tours of the hotel. This special offer includes a copy of Ghosts Along the Texas Coast by Docia Schultz Williams (available at front desk), ghost tours offered Wednesday through Sundays for guests at 5:30 pm by the Concierge, and ghost detectors (during stay only (available at the front desk).

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