GHOSTS OF THE ALAMO
The Ghost Book Author & Military Officer Delves into One of the Most Haunted Places in the American West in this Special Look at the Alamo’s Ghosts!
Best remembered for the epic battle that took place between a small group of Texans and an overwhelming force of Mexican regulars, the Alamo is a most hallowed and sacred place. Here, for the past 160 years, the ghosts of hero's and martyrs alike have been indelibly etched into the very fabric of Texas's most popular tourist attraction.
The Alamo's beginnings were humble. In the early 1500's, all of the land that would later make up the great state of Texas belonged to Spain. For the next 200 years this vast frontier was molded and shaped by famous explorers such as Alvarez De Pineda and Ponce Deleon. As important as these two men were, their accomplishments were overshadowed not by the exploits of another rival adventurer but rather a "belief" system.
With the arrival of the Spaniards came a little thing called "Christianity". During the late 1690's Franciscan Friars were enlisted to help colonize the Texas Territory in the name of the King of Spain. The key to this monumental endeavor was the conversion of the Native Americans living in the region to Christianity. It was believed that this act of benevolence would not only save the Indians souls but it would also ease their eventual assimilation into European culture. Bottom line, the conversion of the native population improved the odds that the King of Spain would make a considerable profit from his colonization of the America's.
Almost from the start, this ill conceived and poorly executed mind washing campaign met with failure. Hampered by repeated Indian attacks and food shortages, the Friars were forced to abandon "God's" plans for the region. Unable to admit defeat, the Franciscan Friars returned in the 1700's and established a series of frontier missions along a line that stretched from the present day town of Guerrero all the way to the Rio Grand. In 1718, a group of Monks constructed a small chapel in a cotton grove in San Antonio DeValero. This new "Mission System" church was named the Alamo.
Life at the mission was harsh for priest and parishioner alike. Disease and starvation were an everyday occurrence. In 1739 a pal of death descended upon the Alamo when a small pox epidemic ravished the mission and the surrounding countryside. For the Friars who found themselves destined for service at the Alamo, it was anything but a slice of heaven. Most of the monks considered the Alamo to be at the "end of the earth". To make matters worse, the "miserable place" fell out of favor with the greedy Spanish lords who found the area in and around the Alamo to be all but devoid of natural gold deposits.
Despite the lack of support from both Church and State, over the next fifty years, the Alamo slowly expanded into a fortress like mission, changing in both size and complexity. A small military garrison was stationed at the "Alamo Mission" and by 1789, a rectangular 8' high stone and adobe wall had been constructed around the church and it's sixteen outer buildings. This barrier served as protection for the 275 men, women and children living there from continued Indian attacks.
In December 1802, a full company of Spanish soldiers was posted at the Alamo in the hopes that the increased military presence would dissuade any ideas the French or the United States may have had for the Texas territories. As it turned out, invasion by foreigners was the least of Spain's worries.
Between 1805 and 1821, a series of unsuccessful uprisings turned New Spain into a hot bed of rebellion. For sixteen tumultuous years, brave Indians, Mestizos and Creoles fought and died for their freedom until Spain relinquished its dominion over Mexico in 1821.
Shortly after its creation, the provisional government of Mexico granted Anglo-Americans permission to establish colonies within the eastern most boundaries of the Texas territory. For the most part both the Anglo-American colonists and their landlords co-existed side by side without incident but conflicting land claims and the Anglos desire to be free often became a thorn in the side of the pro-Mexican legislature in Mexico City. Visionaries such as Sam Huston believed that Texas should be self-governed but one man, General Santa Anna, would never concede to a free Texas.
Born in Vera Cruz in 1795, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna loved two things, power and women. Propelled to national prominence at the Battle of Tampico, Santa Anna was a political hawk who hand an uncanny knack for always coming out smelling like a rose no matter which way the political wind was blowing. Disenfranchised with the liberal legislative wrangling in Mexico City, Santa Anna, who controlled the might of Mexican military with an iron fist, took over the government in April 1834. His first official act was to proclaim himself the rightful Emperor of Mexico.
Almost from the start of his dictatorship, the traitorous activities of the Anglo-American colonies, wore on Santa Anna's already limited patience. The colonies refusal to disband their militias and their repeated demands for self rule only served to ignite Santa Anna's wrath. Realizing that Santa Anna could never be dealt with in a rational manner, Sam Huston and John Austin, the President of the Anglo-Texas colonies, pleaded with their fellow Texans to stand up and fight for their freedom. The seeds of rebellion were sown and it did not take long before they blossomed into open conflict between the freedom loving Texans and the Mexican army.
Both sides thought ill of their counterparts. The Texans saw the Mexican military, as invaders and Santa Anna believed that the Anglo-American colonists were nothing more than ingrates. With no hope for a peaceful settlement in sight, Austin posted a call to arms on September 19, 1835. A series of early decisive Texan military victories at Gonzales, Goliad and San Antonio created a false sense that the Mexicans had lost the will to fight and that the war for Texan independence was all but over. Sam Houston, the commander in chief of the army of Texas, knew Santa Anna better than anyone else, and he knew that more blood was yet to be shed in the name of Texas.
In order to prepare for the fight he knew was going to come, Houston wanted to fortify the Alamo. He ordered Colonel Jim Bowie to take contingent of men to San Antonio to assess the situation there. Upon his arrival at the Alamo, Colonel Bowie conferred with Colonel J.C. Neill the posts commander on whether or not the Mission should be abandoned.
Several factors influenced Bowie's fateful decision to keep the Alamo from the Mexicans at all costs. The first was the condition of the Alamo itself. Even though the site had been ravaged by the elements and was in a sorry state of disrepair, it was as a whole, a very defendable position. The second, and probably the most important factor that helped Bowie to decide to make a stand at the Alamo was his belief in the courage of the men under his command and the righteousness of their cause. In each of the three previous military campaigns, a relatively inferior group of Texans and non-residential volunteers had defeated an overwhelming superior Mexican force.
Prior to Bowie's arrival at the Alamo, Colonel Neill's garrison consisted of a mere 104 men, one cannon, and limited supplies with which to fend off an aggressor. With the addition of Colonel William Barret Travis, David Crocket and twelve frontiersmen from Tennessee, Bowie gambled that 150 or so brave Anglo settlers and volunteers could once more defeat a numerically superior adversary.
In the first few weeks of February 1836, Bowie, Travis and Crocket worked in concert to improve the defenses at the Alamo. During this same time, Travis assumed command of the garrison, replacing Neill who had been called home on personal business.
The stage was now set, and the outcome would forever influence the future of Texas. A small disorganized, inadequately supplied, band of volunteers who had a willingness to fight, prepared to square off with a well equipped, well financed professional army lead by a man who's goal in life was the extermination of all American ideals in the Texas territories.
The Battle of the Alamo
When General Santa Anna and his army of approximately 5400 men and twenty-one cannons arrived in San Antonio on February 23, 1836, he was pleasantly surprised to find that only 150 rebels defended the Alamo. Believing that he could crush the rebellious Texans in quick order, Santa Anna immediately laid siege to the mission.
In short order, the noose was drawn tight around the Alamo and Santa Anna's cannon began the arduous task of pounding the walls of the mission into nothing more than piles of dust and debris. By March 3rd, it was estimated that the Mexicans had lobbed over 200 shells into the Alamo. As vicious as the scene was, Colonel Travis claimed that not a single defender had been killed as a result of the steel rain that continuously pounded the compound each day.
Almost to the very end, Travis and his battered, rag-tag force of freedom fighters believed in their hearts that General Houston and the "Army of the People" would come to their aid. Travis had sent numerous pleas for help to Houston via horse-mounted messenger in the days preceding the battle. This unrealistic belief that help was on its way was bolstered when twenty-five reinforcements made their way to the Alamo through the Mexican lines during the early morning hours of March 1st. Despite the arrival of fresh troops, the meager relief force could do little to turn the tide of the battle. Now approximately 188 brave men were all that stood in the way of one of the finest army's ever assembled in Mexico.
During the first 12 days of the siege, Santa Anna shelled the Alamo both day and night in a vein attempt to break the fighting spirit of the Texans. Much to the credit of "Davy" Crocket and his handful of Tennessee riflemen, the Alamo defenders gave as good as they got. Despite the deafening howl of exploding artillery shells, sharpshooters perched high in the battered parapets of the Alamo unmercifully dispatched any Mexican soldier who dared to get within 200 yards of the beleaguered mission. This deadly game of "cat and mouse" continued unabated until the evening of March the 5th. At 10 pm, Santa Anna's cannon, now firing from within 200 yards of the Alamo, suddenly fell silent. A pervasive feeling of dread settled over the exhausted Alamo defenders as the realization that they were truly on their own finally hit home.
The cessation of hostilities was short lived. At 5 am, on Sunday March 6th, the Mexican Army initiated the first of three all out assaults on the Alamo. During the first attack, withering Texan counter fire from every part of the mission halted the Mexican advance. In the course of the bitter fighting, Travis was shot in the head and killed. Before the Alamo defenders could collect themselves, the Mexican's regrouped and rushed the Alamo a second time. This attack was also repulsed with staggering losses. Undaunted, Santa Anna merged his forces into a large screaming mass and charged the ramparts of the Alamo a third and final time.
When the Mexicans finally exploited a breach in the wood and earthen redoubt that had been built between the southwest corner of the chapel and a low one-story building used as a barracks, they swarmed into the open plaza killing the retreating defenders. The indiscriminate hand-to-hand combat was gruesome! Bodies littered the ground.
As the fighting subsided, groups of Mexican soldiers made their way from building to building killing every Texan they found. One of these roving bands happened upon Jim Bowie on his deathbed in the long barracks. Bowie did his best to fight off his attackers but his famed temper and bowie knife was no match for the long reach of the Mexican's bayonets. Bowie died alone, lying on a cot, his body punctured so many times that his blood covered his attackers from head to toe.
It was at this time, according to one Mexican soldier, that "a tall American of rather dark complexion wearing a buckskin coat and a round cap made of fox skin with a long tail hanging down his back" believed to be Davy Crocket, met his heroic demise. In a scene made famous by John Wayne in the 1960's movie the "Alamo", twenty angry Mexican soldiers reportedly cornered Crocket. The famed frontiersman fought like a ferocious bear but in the end, he was slashed in the face by a sword and then he was viciously bayoneted by the assembled mob.
In 90 bloody minutes, the battle for the dominion of the Alamo was over. Various published and unpublished accounts of the battle provided by survivors from both sides, tell of the aftermath of the fighting. Within each of these accounts there is a wealth of conflicting information. Some say 188 Texans were killed and that 30 non-combatants were spared. Others say that between183 and 189 defenders were killed and that only Travis's slave and a handful of women and children were released unharmed.
The Mexican death toll, estimated at 1500 soldiers and many more wounded, was equally questionable. Even though Santa Anna's thirst for revenge was satiated, he was not eager to promote the true cost in Mexican lives that it took to secure the victory.
In the end, the Battle of the Alamo was insignificant in terms of stopping Santa Anna but it galvanized a country that had previously been uninterested in the liberation of Texas. The slaughter of the defenders of the Alamo had a psychological effect on the United States. Droves of volunteers heeded the call to arms and six weeks later, at the Battle of San Jacinto, the cry "Remember the Alamo" was echoed over and over again. Those words must have been ringing in his ears when his Excellency Santa Anna surrendered following his resounding defeat at San Jancinto, thus creating the Republic of Texas.
Myth and Mystery
Countless hours have been spent proving or disproving the legends, lies and half-truths that have in them selves been woven into the Alamo's historical record. The only problem with trying to debunk the Alamo myths is the fact that theoretically, all of the American witnesses were killed, one way or the other, at the conclusion of the battle.
The first and probably most important question is how did Davy Crocket really die and is the fictionalized account of his death really accurate? Some historians believe that Crocket did not die in the heat of battle as immortalized by the Duke. Instead, it is surmised that Davy and several other survivors located in the ruins of the Alamo were given no quarter and executed on the spot.
In an attempt to answer this question, investigators have turned to the available Mexican records that chronicled the "victors" version of what happened after the battle. Translated documents written by José Enrique de la Pena, an aide to Santa Anna, indicate that Crocket, always the politician, attempted to talk his way out of his dire predicament. Claiming that he was a citizen of the United States, Crocket spun a yarn saying that he had sought refuge in the Alamo rather than have his "Foreigner" status called into question by any Mexican forces that he may have encountered while coincidently exploring the countryside in and around the old mission. Apparently the triumphant Santa Anna was unimpressed with Davy's silver tongue and he ordered Crocket and 6 other survivors be put death. The horrified De la Pena writes that upon Santa Anna's command, several Mexican officers, "fell upon these unfortunate, defenseless men just as a tiger leaps upon his prey."
Even thought this version of Crockets death raises the hackles of Alamo revisionist's everywhere, the fact remains that the surrender of Crocket and his subsequent execution was reported by several highly respected newspapers of the time. It proves just how barbaric and untrustworthy Santa Anna really was.
Either way, Davy Crocket died a heroic death as evidenced by De la Pena's final words about the execution, "though tortured before they were killed, these unfortunates died without complaining and without humiliating themselves before their torturers."
Another reoccurring conundrum is the location of certain documents and personal belonging taken from the dead Alamo defenders following the battle. "To the victors go the spoils", and as soon as the battle was over, Mexican soldiers pillaged the Alamo. Nothing was sacred. Every defenders body was stripped bare and any documents and personal baubles of value were recovered as spoils of war. Once the bodies of the dead had yielded their booty, they were burned unceremoniously on several huge funeral pyres.
Any paperwork, which hinted that it might contain information of intelligence value, was most assuredly seized for Santa Anna's personal perusal. Historians continue to debate what documents, if any, were actually collected by Mexican Officials and if the information exists today. Unfortunately, if the disputed documents do survive, they are secluded somewhere within the bowls of the Mexican National Archives where they will most likely never be made available for public examination.
This one unanswered enigma has fueled the imagination of many would-be treasure hunters. It is rumored that the Alamo defenders placed their valuable and personal effects inside a large bell. Prior to last days of the battle, the bell filled to overflowing with mementos, was buried at a secret location somewhere within the confines of the mission and has never been located.
In February 1894, The San Antonio Express News featured an article of particular interest because it perpetuated the rumor that there was a hidden treasure buried somewhere within the walls of the Alamo. The article went on to tell how Leon Mareschal and his fourteen-year-old daughter visited the Alamo. The pair met with Captain Jacob Coy, the night watch commander. The Mareschal's amused Captain Coy by telling him of how young Mary could communicate with the dead occupants of the Alamo. Having nothing to loose, Captain Coy allowed Leon Mareschal to hypnotize his daughter. While in this altered state of consciousness, Mary confirmed the presence of "spirits in the chapel" and that many of the paranormal activity experienced there was due in part to the fact that the ghosts were attempting to locate their buried treasure. If Mary had not captured Captain Coy's full attention already, she surely had him hooked when she told him that the treasure was 540,000 dollars in gold coins! Without mincing words, the good captain asked Mary where the treasure was hidden. She responded by pointing vaguely toward the dilapidated southwest corner of the crumbling old mission. Only after relinquishing all that the spirits knew about the gold, did the Mareschal's take their leave, vanishing into the night. Unfortunately, the article does not say if Captain Coy ever found the ghosts missing treasure. Officially, none of the sanctioned private or public archeological excavations at the site over the years has been able to put this one nagging question to rest.
The last mystery surrounding the Alamo that we will explore, is what happened to all of the bodies? Historians continuously question the final resting places of the dead from both sides. On orders from Santa Anna, the Texan dead were "stacked like cordwood" on two or three funeral pyres and burned without a Christian burial. It is said that the fires smoldered for days and that the charred remains were disposed of at various undocumented locations on the battlefield.
Apparently the bodies of the Mexican soldiers killed at the Alamo fared no better. It is said that when the local cemetery was filled to capacity with Mexican dead, Santa Anna ordered that the remaining corpses be thrown into the nearby San Antonio River. These remains could have theoretically ended up in the Gulf of Mexico but mostly likely they were swallowed whole by the muddy river and secreted away in dark places waiting still to be discovered.
Over the years, the skeletal remains of the Alamo defenders have been unearthed on an unnervingly regular basis both on and off the grounds of the mission. In 1937 alone, four different burial sites were located in the middle of busy San Antonio, not far from the Alamo.
To date, the exact burial location of almost 1000 persons related to the Alamo throughout its history, remains a mystery. This fact alone could be the single most important reason why strange noises, ghostly apparitions and cold spots seem to be an everyday occurrence within the limestone walls of the Alamo.
The Haunting of the Alamo
Over the years, a large number of skeptics and believers alike have experienced startling unexplained paranormal phenomena at the Alamo. Invariably some of these events can be summarily dismissed as the product of overactive imaginations and some have even been explained by science itself. But like so many other famous haunted battlefields and forts that have experienced their own incidents of death, murder and extreme emotional crisis, the Alamo is probably the best-known psychic "dead zone" in the United States.
Ghostly tales about the Alamo can be traced all the way back to 1836. Several weeks after the Battle of the Alamo, Santa Anna ordered General Andrade to raise the Alamo and in doing so ensure that nothing was left standing. Like any military commander holding the rank of general, Andrade delegated this unwholesome task to a trusted subordinate, Colonel Sanchez.
Upon the arrival of Colonel Sanchez and his men, all that remained of the old mission was the chapel. Resolute to carry out Santa Anna's demands, Colonel Sanchez instructed his troops to begin tearing down the church. As the detail set about preparing to carry out the order, work was abruptly halted when six ghostly monks materialized from the walls of the chapel.
The soldiers watched in stunned silence as these "diablos" slowly advanced waving flaming swords over their heads, while all the time issuing a warning in an inhuman screech, "Do not touch the walls of the Alamo". Heading the ghostly advice, Colonel Sanchez and his men retreated with their tails between their legs.
When General Andrade heard of Colonel Sanchez's cowardice, he returned to the Alamo himself with troops and a little insurance, a cannon. Andrade instructed his gunners to aim the cannon at the front doors of the chapel, but before it could be prepared to fire, the six ghostly monks re-appeared with fiery swords in hand. As the moaning figures approached the flummoxed general and his contingent, they again issued their unnerving warning. The ghosts moaning voices startled Andrade's horse and the general was unseated. When General Andrade had regained both his composure and the reins of his steed, he was disgusted to see his men fleeing for their lives. Considering the situation this was something the general should have done but instead, Andrade remounted his horse and turned to look at the Alamo one last time.
To his horror, the general watched as a wall of flame erupted from the ground in and around the low barracks. The smoke from the unholy fire then congealed into the form of a large, imposing man. In each of the massive figures hands were balls of fire, which he hurled at the general like an avenging angel.
General Andrade retreated from the scene presumably before the fireballs could hit their mark and no one has dared harm the sacred site since. Folks at the time believed that the larger than life spirit was an amalgamation of the spectral energy of all of the dead Alamo defenders that when combined, it created the missions menacing protector.
Official records and later archeological excavation's conducted at the Alamo seem to contradict the engrossing story of General Andrade's encounter with the six phantom monks. Factual evidence suggests that Andrade successfully leveled many of the walls of the fort and dismantled or burned the wooden palisade that had been erected in front of the church and along the south wall of the compound. Apparently General Andrade was not as scared by the fiery giant as the previous story suggests.
During the late 1800's, the ghostly activity at the Alamo was big "news" in San Antonio. In 1894, the City of San Antonio pressed the mission into service as a police headquarters and jail. It was not long before, prisoners housed in the old barracks started to complain about all kinds of ghostly activity there.
Several articles printed in the San Antonio Express News in February 1894, and August 1897, seemed to confirm that paranormal activity was in fact taking place on a regular basis at the Alamo. The articles detailed fanciful tales of a ghostly sentry said to walk from east to west on the roof of the police station. The ghostly manifestations, which included mysterious shadows and moaning sounds were said to be so prominent that the guards and watchmen refused to patrol the building after hours. This caused quite a stir at City Hall. Many of the councilmen felt that making prisoners sleep with ghosts was "cruel and unusual punishment". A short time later, the City of San Antonio abandoned its plans for the Alamo in favor of a jail site that was less haunted.
The paranormal incidents reported in 1894 and 1897 seem to unabashedly replay themselves over and over even today. Several recurring stories tell of a phantom sentry that has been observed walking frantically back and forth across the top of the Alamo. Some witnesses believe the ghostly guard is looking for a means of escape while others are certain that the specter stands watch over the missing treasure of the Alamo.
In addition to the presence of the ghostly sentry, tourists, park rangers and passers-by have reported seeing a myriad of grotesque man shaped forms emanating from the very walls of the Alamo itself after hours. Sometimes this paranormal menagerie is accompanied by disembodied screams and yelling of men trapped in the throws of an invisible conflict.
Members of numerous tours groups, ghost hunters and psychics who have visited the site claim that they have felt invisible eyes watching them as they traveled down the dark corridors of the Alamo.
Ordinary people insist that they have heard voices and whispers that seem to filter through the very walls of the mission as if they were attempting to communicate with the world of the living. Others tell lesser stories about their encounters with vanishing lights, eerie cold spots and a multitude of unexplained noises.
In one instance, a park ranger at the Alamo encountered the ghost of a man dressed in attire from the 1830's. It was a really hot day in late spring when the ranger first viewed the suspicious man on the fort grounds, walking towards the library. As the ranger hurried after the man, he observed that the he was wearing tall boots, a plantation hat and long overcoat. To the ranger's surprise, the puzzling man faded away into obscurity when he neared the chapel. When the ranger investigated further, he could not find any evidence of the strangers passing. Others have alleged to have seen the same apparition numerous times in the courtyard of the Alamo, both during the day and at night.
Generally the most often repeated ghost story about the Alamo defies all logic. It focuses on the spirit of a little boy who is rumored to haunt the parks gift shop. Both visitors and park rangers alike claim to have seen a blonde haired little boy, ranging in age from 10 and 12 years of age, staring out into the courtyard from one of the stores high inaccessible windows. The small boy is only visible from the waist up and has never become a full-bodied apparition. Rangers who have searched the gift shop in hopes of catching the ghostly prankster have come up empty handed. In each instance they have concluded that there is no way that a real person could perch him or herself in the window without something to climb up on or some way to support themselves. The mystery only gets more convoluted when you consider the fact that the gift shop was not built until the 1930's.
Legend says that during the last days of the siege of the Alamo, a small boy was evacuated from the Mission. It is believed that this little child returns to the same spot where he recalls last seeing a loved one alive. The ghostly child may appear to be looking out of the down from the window at curious onlookers when in fact his eyes only search for a comforting glimpse of a father, brother, or another other family member who made the ultimate sacrifice there at some point in the Alamo's tumultuous history.
One of the more interesting ghosts encountered at the Alamo is that of the "Duke" himself. As the director and leading actor in the bigger than life spectacle " The Alamo", John Wayne spent over $1.5 million dollars re-creating an exact replica of the old mission in Brackettville, Texas. In an effort to make the movie as historically accurate as possible, Wayne personally toured the original Alamo site and consulted actual blueprints of the fortress.
While filming the movie, Wayne became obsessed with the sequence of events that led to the fall of the Alamo. This preoccupation with historical accuracy drove the Duke to spend a fortune bringing the Alamo to life for the silver screen. The Alamo set was so detailed that it became a tourist attraction in its own right.
Shortly after his death, the "Duke's" ghost was observed at the real Alamo, walking the grounds. He has also been observed visiting and talking with the spirits of the forts patriotic dead. The story was so telling, that a psychic was enlisted to confirm the rumors that John Wayne's spirit visited the Alamo on a regular basis.
The psychic substantiated the fact the Duke's ghost stops over at the Alamo about once a month but could not shed any light on where he manifests himself the rest of the time. Many believe that the Duke put so much energy and enthusiasm into the making of his movie that it seems only natural that he left a little bit of himself there when he himself passed into the afterlife.
We could not in good faith delve into the various hauntings that are known to take place at the Alamo without discussing the most prominent ghost to make his presence known at the mission throughout the years. At various times during the year, park rangers have observed a transparent figure dressed in buckskin clothing and sporting a flintlock rifle, standing guard near the chapel. This is believed to be the spirit of none other than Davy Crocket himself. Other people, who have seen the phantom vigilantly standing at attention at various locations around the Alamo, describe the phantom soldier as wearing a coonskin cap, buckskin shirt and moccasins. In several instancing the figment has been observed by several different people, from different angles at the same time. These observations in themselves prove that the ghost, most generally associated with Davy Crocket, is not just an optical illusion.
Could Davy Crocket's heroic death at the Alamo be forever immortalized in a haunted vignette? One of the grizzliest phantom images to play itself out at the old mission occurs in the Long Barracks. It has all the characteristics of a "Residual" type haunting but it is also very similar to the "fictional" way Davy Crocket was said to have perished.
One night, a ranger entered the barracks and observed a hideous scene. There, leaning against a wall was a man, wearing buckskin clothing typically worn by frontiersmen during the 1800's. To the ranger's trained eye, it appeared that man's torso had been riddled with bullet holes! Before the ranger could react, the spirits of several Mexican soldiers stepped from the darkness and encircled the stranger with their bayonets at the ready. Like a coiled spring, the ghostly soldiers pounced, thrusting their long blades through the incorporeal body of the anguished buckskin-clad specter. In an instant the encounter plaid itself out and the ethereal apparitions just faded away, leaving one emotionally drained ranger in their wake.
If the horror of war and other bloody encounters can leave psychic scars on a landmark, as some noted parapsychologists suggest, then the Alamo definitely qualifies as one of the most interesting paranormal case studies in the United States.
Here, over a thirteen day period in 1836, 188 brave Texan volunteers gave their lives in the defense of an "Ideal" not just a piece of ground. These were men who died in the crescendo of their lives at the hands of a ruthless enemy.
But even before one of the most defining events in the history of Texas took place, the landscape in and around the Alamo had been scared by the psychic energy left behind by the thousands of Indians, settlers and clergymen who had succumbed to the harsh realities of frontier life at the mission. These tragic circumstances coupled with the grizzly outcome of the battle itself, create ideal conditions for paranormal activity to manifest itself at the Alamo almost on a whim.
Common, everyday people, dating as far back as 1836, have experienced the supernatural first hand at the Alamo. Without a doubt, some of these phenomena can be attributed to over active imaginations or the observer or in some cases the culmination of one's own fears. But what is to be made of the other encounters, the ones that cannot be explained away by technology and that cannot be attributed to the refraction of light, illusion or just plain fantasy?
For the countless ghost hunters, tourists and park rangers who have found themselves exhilarated and enraptured by a brush with the denizens of the Alamo, there is no question that the old mission is haunted. These select individuals know they have crossed paths with someone or something from beyond the pale and for them, the cry "Remember the Alamo" has new meaning!
300 Alamo Plaza
P.O. Box 2599
San Antonio, TX 78299
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© Copyright 2005 by David Goodwin. All Rights Reserved.