Houston is by far one of the most diverse cities in the United States. Thus, you can expect some of the ghost stories and creepiness to be equally nuanced. While some of these may be slightly outside of Houston, check out these spooky places inside the loop.
01. Patterson Road Bridge
This is by far one of my favorite creepy places in Houston and I sometimes walk along the road at night to clear my head. It’s not the smartest idea, I admit, because the whole area is extremely dense and dark; rarely can you see a few feet in front of you. I even got my car stuck in the mud once and lost a Ouija board as a result (it may still be sticking out of the mud somewhere).
It is said that if you park and turn off all the lights, you’ll soon hear tapping on the glass. This is supposed to be the sound of deceased soldiers, still restless from a Civil War Battle that occurred in the area. I’ve never heard such ghostly wonders, but I am still hopeful (hence the Ouija board).
It is located between Highway 6 and Eldridge. If you are going to check it out, please remember that the ground can be very, very soft. Even if it looks like your car might have firm footing, Patterson road might just be keen to keep you there. Forever.
02. The Orange Show
If you’re scared of clowns or tetanus, you may find this place creepy. Otherwise maybe you’ll still appreciate the quirkiness of The Orange Show. It’s not actually a show, but rather a collection of recycled junk, all cobbled by Jeff McKissack. The collection forms a strange maze-like amusement park. Having been here, I can attest that there is really no rhythm or reason to its architectural design and you must be careful exploring the abandoned project.
However, there is no doubting that this is certainly a unique experience. Affiliated projects include the beer can house (outfitted with approximately 50,000 beer cans), Smither park, and the annual art car parade.
To learn more about The Orange Show, visit www.orangeshow.org
03. National Museum of Funeral History
As any of my friends can attest, I am a huge sucker for museums. The more obscure the better and the National Museum of Funeral History (NMFH) is sadly, an underrepresented gem located North of Houston, on 1 45.
It’s very sizable with exhibits such as the gallery of the Popes, Presidential and Celebrity funerals, Victorian-era funerals, a fine selection of coffins and caskets, and more. It’s also more informal than one might expect, and the concept of death is treated with extreme reverence; which makes sense since it’s housed right next to a funeral school. It may sound slightly unsettling to know autopsies and the like are being performed right next door, but the whole thing seems surprisingly peaceful.
And hey, if it’s your time to go, at least you know you’ll be in good hands.
To learn more about the National Museum of Funerary History, visit www.nmfh.org
04. Julia Ideson Building, Houston Public Library
If nothing else, there is no denying that the Julia Ideson Building at the Houston Public Library is downright gorgeous. With Spanish Renaissance style architecture that extends to its many courtyards, you wouldn’t think that a ghost haunts the halls, but apparently that’s exactly what is going on.
The building is said to be home to former staff member, Jacob Frank Cramer. Not only did he work as a night watchman, but he would fill those nights by playing his violin, often in what is now the Tudor gallery. He also lived on-site in a basement apartment, which is where he was sadly found dead on a chilly November morning.
It is said that he has never left and can be heard playing his ghostly violin on some of the colder nights. Some also say that, on occasion, he is joined by his dog, Petey. To learn more visit houstonlibrary.org
05. Elder Street Artist Lofts
This unassuming building is a collection of subsidized lofts for Houston's collection of growing artists. However, the Elder Street Artist Lofts once Jefferson Davis Hospital. Interesting enough, this historical landmark had its start in the 1840’s, where it was a municipal cemetery. After thousands were buried at the location, the area was then built into the Jefferson Davis Hospital in 1924. It was a psychiatric hospital, then a contagious disease hospital, and then finally, it was simply used for low-income patients.
By 1985 it was abandoned until it became the lofts in 2013. During those two decades thrill seekers used to sneak in, hoping to find a wayward ghost. Often, reports of dark figures, disembodied crying and shrieking, and all manners of weirdness came through. There aren't many reports of paranormal activity now, so perhaps the ghosts have all quieted down throughout the years. Or, perhaps the creativity of these residents has given them another outlet for their restlessness.
06. La Carafe Located at 813 Congress, La Carafe bar is one of the oldest buildings in Houston. Built in 1847, the location was first used as a stagecoach, then a boarding house (where Sam Houston supposedly stayed a few times), followed by a bordello, and then a pharmacy. By the 50’s, however, it became a bar. Not much has changed since then, though perhaps the moniker of being a wine bar, then a bar, and then back again.
With such a rich history, it would stand to reason that some sightings may occur. Patrons have seen apparitions on the second floor, with one claiming a ghost spoke to him with blood pouring from his mouth, and a general feeling of unease.
That's just the second floor though. Many patrons say that, on the lower level you have nothing to fear and the sweet sounds of Etta James and the like drown any wailing above.
07. The Wilde Collection
This isn’t the only curiosity shop in Houston, but it is by far the best. Located at 1446 Yale, The Wilde Collection is an oddity shop where the ghosts of Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allan Poe would love to hang out. Its Victorian style displays and ominous music playing in the background offers you an eerie atmosphere as you shop.
This is one of my personal favorites and I’ve been coming here since 2015. Each room of the small store boasts a different theme. There’s the main gallery that has little odds and ends, from demonic figures to fragrances and sprays, then a small outdoor nook that houses a lot of bone and stone figures, a small room with Día De Los Muertos stuff, old dolls, and both wet and dry specimens, a large room full of taxidermized animals, and then a “bedroom” which also has miscellaneous odds and ends.
You can definitely tell that the owners also put their heart and soul in their work. There are minor attractions located throughout – real peacocks and birds are hosted by the shop, the bedroom has a voodoo statue that suggests you leave your woes behind, and a collection of rotating figures to take a picture with. There’s been Krampus, an Evil Easter bunny, and even Carrie (shown above).
To learn more, check out wildecollection.com
08 The Abandoned Magic Island
Fair warning, I am not encouraging anyone to go spelunking into this abandoned building, but a lot of people do (and you can find the videos online). In any case, located down 59, the Magic Island was an Egyptian themed restaurant and magic show that opened in the 1980s. It was a pretty cool place and used to be a private club when it first opened. In fact, the restaurant’s special guests would place a card into the mouth of a golden cobra on display in the lobby so that the adjacent sliding doors would open. That, of course, was just a precursor for the rest of the elaborate entertainment that awaited.
Unfortunately, a fire broke out when Ike hit in 2008 and the place has been abandoned since then. As mentioned, it’s one of the go-to spots for urban hiking, but that can be very dangerous. There’re other thrill seekers, homeless folks needing shelter, and drug addicts that all haunt Anubis’ home. In addition, you have to be careful not to get tetanus and die.
While not as creepy or downright haunting as the others, on the least there is no doubt that this forgotten place can especially be unsettling. There are recent talks about it being restored to its former glory, with a new Egyptian style design – so it might be worth driving by just see it before it gets complete revamped.
09. Glenwood Cemetery
One of the most serene on the list, Glenwood Cemetery was privately owned and operated in the 1870s and is located at 2525 Washington Ave. Its 19th century design is still a large part of what makes Glendwood special. It has large marble statues overlooking the final resting places of many of Houston former elites. Some of the notable figures that now call the place home are William P. Hobby (which Hobby airport is named after), Joseph S. Cillinan (Founder of Texaco), Howard R. Hughes, and more.
The place is also home to several murder victims such as John Goosey, as well as Leona Toon. Interestingly enough, she was a former caretaker whose murder is not only still unsolved, but it is said that she walks the lawn at night, still trying to seek justice.
10. Memorial Park
There is a LOT to see and do in memorial park; the nearby Houston Nature Center and Arboretum has a lot to offer including trails, golf courses, and so on. What many may not know is that the park was also the former site of Camp Logan in the early 1900’s. During World War I, it was meant to train soldiers before they shipped out. Before that, the land was said to be used for many different small burial sites; some family, and some because of transgressions between indigenous people and settlers.
Going off trail, many have found World War I memorabilia, arrowheads, and all manners of strange artifacts. I have even found a strange train (see above) while traversing in the woods in the middle of the night (a habit I’m still trying to break from).
Stranger still, there have been many reports of joggers and picnic goers alike seeing shadow people when they get too off trail. This is said to happen around dusk and even is reported in the tamest section, the Seymour Lieberman Trail. Although I have never seen anything spooky, I have sometimes felt the feeling of being watched. I always chalk it up to the local wildlife.
Of course, that may be what I’m telling myself.