Brownsville.. a place of forgotten secrets

Local News

Brownsville, Texas (KVEO)—What a pleasant night to take a walk around Brownsville, a place of forgotten souls.. and where the dead find little rest.. or so we are told!

On Friday night, we tagged along the Shades of Haunted History Walking Tour in Downtown Brownsville.

We met with our tour guide, Dr. Tony Knopp, professor emeritus at UTRGV, and our tour group at 6:30 p.m.

The Shades of Haunted History Walk Tour is a combination of haunted ghost stories and events with dark history and true crime stories.

The tour was one hour, so the scariest thing for us was not having a bottle of water or comfortable shoes!… Kidding!

The tours are a fun way for people to learn a little bit of history and about people that lived in Brownsville.

This is what we learned….

The Colonial Hotel

The Colonial hotel, built in 1915, has had several reports of paranormal activity—particularly in room 101, where several guests said seeing a dead infant in the shower and were guests felt unseen hands grabbing them underneath the sheets and under the bed.

It reminded us a bit of the Shinning…room 237… Rumor has it…visitors went into hysterics after checking into room 101 and finding a crying phantom baby floating on the surface of the water. The colonial hotel is known as one of the 10 most haunted hotels in Texas.

Dr. Knopp says multiple suicides took place in room 101 at the Colonia hotel.

Home of Adolphus Glaevecke

Adolphus Glaevecke, was a well known “politico” in the city of Brownsville. In 1879, it was said Glaevecke’s home had demons in the form of poltergeists.

One day, bricks started falling from the sky, crashing into Glaevecke’s home. It kept going for several days.

Former Cameron County Sheriff Santiago Brito, Francisco Yturria and the mayor visited the home to check on Glaevecke and his servants.

There were stories of witches able to work powerful magic in matters of love.

Cameron County Courthouse

Dr. Knopp decided to stop at the County Courthouse at the beginning of the tour. “Is the Courthouse haunted?”—was the first thought that popped in our heads.

Dr. Knopp wanted to recognize Oscar C. Dancy; a man that served as county judge in Brownsville for 50 years. Well how nice, right?

“Do you think his spirit has not haunted this place till today?” asked Dr. Knopp. All righty then!

Photo: Salvador Castro

Brownsville Cemetery

When city officials restored the courthouse 15 years ago, it was said workers needed to re-do the air conditioning and place the chillers… somewhere.

The workers decided to place the chillers on…guess where? the place we know now as the city’s first cemetery.

When the workers started digging for construction, they found human remains. Surprise!

Pasto De Las Animas

The Campo Santo Viejo Cemetery is now a memorial park. There are no visible graves here, but there are dozens of undisturbed graves and evidence of moved burials.

Photo: Salvador Castro

The area outside Campo Santo Viejo, was known as the Pasto de Las Animas (The field of the Spirits.) Around the year 1880, there were stories of little lights appearing in the field.

It was believed the lights were lost souls. Souls that were buried outside of sacred grounds and were searching for eternal rest.

Some Brownsville residents claim they have heard a ball bouncing outside the courthouse at late hours of the night. Others claim they have seen a man wearing a blue suit, working on something on the ground and then vanishing if you try to approach him.

Others have heard a group of girls laughing at a distance, but found nothing when they approached the area.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is a historic church at 1218 East Jefferson Street. Father Peter Keralum was the architect for the church.

Father Keralum was also known for bringing mass to rural area, by performing the Cavalry of Christ.

The Oblate fathers who ministered to the Rio Grande area in the 19th century were known as the Calvary of Christ because they traveled by horseback.

In one of those times, Father Keralum did not come back from the Calvary. Officials found his remains 10 years later.

Photo: Salvador Castro

Webb Drugstore

This commercial building was originally two adjoining stores built by retired sea captains John Webb and Henry Miller.

The drugstore was the first and for many years, the only drugstore in Brownsville.

Photo: Salvador Castro

The building underwent an extensive restoration and currently houses an art gallery. The artist that lived in the gallery claimed someone would pull his sheets at night and grab him by the ankles. Talk about inspiration for creating art!

Photo: Salvador Castro

To learn more about events hosted by the Brownsville Historical Association, click here.

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