The Haunted Hotel Galvez
by Darla Siner
The apprehension of state testing can diminish the strongest of spirits. As a third grade teacher, year after year, I find myself completely frazzled by the end of April. A dear friend also suffers from anxiety due to her career choice. As the infamous day of April 15th surpasses, she too is traumatized beyond recognition. We decided a "girl’s weekend" was in order to prevent further anguish and rejuvenate our souls.
Due to time constraints and location, we chose to drive to Galveston Beach. My husband, the "closet" travel agent, found and booked a fabulous hotel spa, on the beach, for our time of recuperation. Away we went to begin what is now fondly referred to as "Our Excellent Adventure!" Time passed quickly with all the conversing and catching up we had to do. Before we knew it, we were pulling into the stunning and historic Hotel Galvez. We parked and impatiently strolled to the entrance, eager to begin our voyage into rest and relaxation. We were pleasantly greeted with the sweet fragrance of gardenias. Commenting on the welcoming aroma, we were unable to locate the source.
By day two, we were in complete vacation mode: reading by the pool, exploring the beach, enjoying delicious food, and investigating fascinating little souvenir shops. Returning to the hotel from the latest excursion, we were detained entrance by a wedding party. We politely waited for them to pass, whittling away the time by chatting with other tourists. Some asked if we were residing at the hotel to which we proudly replied "yes!"
Sharing their reason for the inquisition into the Galvez was a bit unsettling. Apparently, it was known to be the most haunted place on the island! We nervously chuckled at the notion, and at first chance of polite escape, hastily made our way back to the room to investigate the internet for information.
What we found was very intriguing and went something like this:
The lovelorn lady, resident of the hotel, awaited the return of her fiancé from sea. He was employed aboard a ship, as many men in the area were in the early 1900’s. Although she received news the ship had sunk, she continued to watch out her window, day after day, hoping for his safe return. A month of passage destroyed all optimism of his survival. Unable to continue living in torment, she hung herself from one of the turrets of the hotel. She is said to still wander the hotel, and the guests are only aware of her presence by the appealing scent of gardenias.
I immediately phoned my husband and questioned his familiarity with this interesting tidbit. He guffawed and inquired about ghost sightings and things that go bump in the night. He took great delight in adding excitement to our journey.
Upon further research, we found the "lovelorn lady" had inhabited the fifth floor. An inquisition was definitely in order. Seizing our cameras, we hopped aboard the elevator. As the contraption stopped, it revealed the fifth floor to be a disaster area of construction.
Disappointed, we remained on the elevator and rode up to the sixth floor.
The now darkened panel awaited our destination. We again punched five, not to be cheated of our extraordinary experience. We agreed to stay on the elevator, but snapped a picture when the doors opened to reveal the "haunted fifth floor." Cameras at the ready, the great metal doors slowly opened to divulge a floor that was no longer in shambles, but one with carpet, paint, and furniture. Frozen in shock, we looked at each other, then again at the furnished floor. Slowly realizing the metal monstrosity had skipped the haunted floor and taken us safely to our own fourth floor, we began to giggle. Giggles turned to laughter of hysteria, at the comprehension of our own foolishness.
Much too soon, the time for departure arrived. Exiting the hotel with our luggage in hand, we again smelled the heavenly scent of gardenias. The lovelorn lady had enjoyed our silliness and had come to bid us farewell!
"Girl’s Weekend" is now an annual event. We have decided the best places to stay for our excellent adventures will continuously be in haunted hotels. A few of the best known haunted hotels in Texas that made our list are: the Excelsior Hotel in Jefferson, the Jefferson Hotel in Jefferson, the Faust Hotel in New Braunfels, the Historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio, the Crockett Hotel in San Antonio, the Texas White House bed and breakfast in Fort Worth, and the Driskill Hotel in Austin.
Who knows, maybe one day we may actually see a ghostly deity!