Downtown Brownsville’s haunted history uncovered in walking tours

Local News

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — It is “spooky season” and there are plenty of ways to celebrate, including telling ghost stories.

Emeritus professor of history, Dr. Tony Knopp, has several stories he has researched about the haunted history of Brownsville and shares those with the community.

Dr. Knopp shares accounts of Brownsville’s haunted history during the Brownsville Historical Association’s Shades of Haunted History walking tours.

He explained that the city’s first non-military cemetery is a highlight of the haunted history.

“When the Cameron County Courthouse was being restored they started digging and they found remains,”  said Dr. Knopp.

He said that area has a spooky past dating back to the 1880s.

“Flames would appear, and it was believed quite commonly that those were lost souls who had not been buried in holy ground,” said Dr. Knopp.

According to Dr. Knopp, the Hotel Colonial is also popular for its ghost sightings.

“The Hotel Colonial is a famous place for having ghosts. There’s a famous room in there that’s supposedly caused a lot of trouble,” he said.

Other locations known for hauntings are a downtown cathedral, old jail, and the old Cameron County Courthouse.

“Janitors, security personnel, they hear noises, they go to check on them and there’s nothing there,” said Dr. Knopp.

This type of activity has led the Brownsville Historical Association to feature Brownsville’s haunted past through downtown walking tours and other events in the month of October.

“We have our Murder Mystery Mayhem tour in the old city cemetery, and we bring characters to life, any sort of scandalous story that took place here in Brownsville, people that lived here or died here,” said the executive director of the Brownsville Historical Society, Tara Putegnat.

She said the Shades of Haunted History walking tours are popular in the community.

“We’ve provided those tours for over a decade. Basically, they lead a group through downtown Brownsville and various locations that have ghost stories or stories where people believe that there is a supernatural presence,” said Putegnat.

Dr. Knopp said there are about 12 different locations to visit during the tours.

“Any place that’s very old is almost certainly and inevitably going to have some stories about it and Brownsville, in the city center, has a lot of places like that,” said Dr. Knopp.

Information on the Brownsville Historical Association and its events can be found on their website.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Community Stories