Galveston Island has had more haunted history
than any other small town in America. With
a past that stretches back to pre-Colonial
times and a Civil War legacy and the Great
Storm of 1900, it is no wonder that Galveston,
Texas has been called one of the most haunted
city, per capita, in the entire United States.
Galveston is the county seat of Galveston
County located along the Gulf Coast region
in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston–Sugar
Land–Baytown metropolitan area. As
of the 2005 U.S. Census estimate, the city
had a total population of 57,466. Galveston
is accessible by a causeway linking Galveston
Island to the mainland on the north end
of the city, a toll bridge on the western
end of the island, and by ferry boat service
on the east end of the city.
Galveston is known for its historic neighborhoods
and a ten-mile long seawall designed to
protect the city from floods. It is also
home to the infamous Balinese Room, a historic
nightclub and former illegal gambling hall
located on a 600-foot pier extending into
the Gulf of Mexico.
The city houses many tourist attractions.
The attractions include the Galveston Schlitterbahn
waterpark, Moody Gardens, the Lone Star
Flight Museum, a downtown neighborhood of
historic buildings known as "The Strand,"
many historical museums and mansions, and
miles of beach front. The Strand plays host
to a yearly Galveston Mardi Gras Texas style
festival, Galveston Island Jazz & Blues
Festival, Texas Beach Fest, Lone Star Bike
Rally, and a Victorian-themed Christmas
festival called "Dickens on the Strand"
(honoring the works of novelist Charles
Dickens, especially A Christmas Carol) in
Galveston is the second-largest city in
Galveston County in population after League
City; League City surpassed Galveston between
2000 and 2005
Such a small Island and
so, so many Ghosts!
Galveston island was originally inhabited
by members of the Karankawa and Akokisa
tribes. The Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca
was shipwrecked on the island in 1528 and
there began his famous trek to Mexico. In
the late 1600s French explorer Robert Cavelier
La Salle, although he did not reach Galveston
Island, claimed this area for King Louis
and named it St. Louis.
The island was named in honor of Bernardo
de Gálvez y Madrid, Count of Gálvez,
say his very haunted
painting is a must see sight)
in 1785 by Spanish explorer José
de Evia, who charted the Gulf Coast.
The first permanent European settlements
on the island were constructed around 1816
by the pirate Louis-Michel Aury as a base
of operations to support Mexico's rebellion
against Spain. In 1817 Aury returned from
an unsuccessful raid against Spain to find
Galveston occupied by the pirate Jean Lafitte,
who took up residence there after having
been driven from his stronghold in Barataria
Bay off the coast of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Lafitte organized Galveston into a pirate
"kingdom" he called "Campeachy"
(or "Campeche"), anointing himself
the island's "head of government."
Lafitte remained in Galveston until 1821
when he and his raiders were given an ultimatum
by the United States Navy: leave or be destroyed.
Lafitte burned his settlement to the ground
and sailed under cover of night for parts
unknown. There are still rumors that Lafitte's
treasure is buried somewhere between Galveston
Island, Bolivar Peninsula and High Island.
Following its successful revolution from
Spain, Mexico designated Galveston a port
of entry in 1825, erecting a customs house
in 1830. During the Texas Revolution, Galveston
served as the main port for the Texas navy.
Galveston also served briefly as the capital
of the Republic of Texas in 1836.
In 1836, Michel B. Menard, a native of
Canada, along with several associates purchased
4,605 acres (18.64 km²) of land for
$50,000 from the Austin Colony to found
the town that would become the modern city
of Galveston. Menard and his associates
began selling plots on April 20, 1838. In
1839, the City of Galveston adopted a charter
and was incorporated by the Congress of
the Republic of Texas.
Juneteenth, which is the oldest nationally
celebrated commemoration of the ending of
slavery in the United States, owes its origins
to the island city.
JEAN LAFITTE maintained control
of Galveston Island in the years 1818-1821.
Lafitte was one of the most daring and colorful
filibusters of his time. He flew a solid,
blood red flag from his masts and from time
to time flew the Venezuelan yellow, blue
and red tri-color shown above. It is thought
that he displayed, as did Aury, the Venezuelan
colors with permission of the government
whose aim was to disrupt Spanish shipping
in the Gulf and Caribbean. The
Ghost of Jean Lafitte and the Phantom Pirates
of Galveston. Some locals say his
ghosts and the forever lost souls of his
pirate crew still search for their lost
treasure. Their spirits have been often
encountered by locals abd visitors alike.
Storm of 1900
In 1900, the island was struck
by a devastating hurricane, an event that
still holds the record as the United States'
deadliest natural disaster.
On the evening of September 7, 1900, high
winds arose, heralding the arrival of a
hurricane that struck the island in the
early morning of September 8 and lasted
until the next day. Wind speeds reached
up to 135 mph (an estimate, since the anemometer
was blown off the U.S. Weather Bureau building).
The island's infrastructure was devastated,
and an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 people
were killed. And many lost ghosts of this
hurricane still roam the city streets.
The horrific stories of the loss of a Great
American City even today as the memory of
hurricane Katrina and the devastaion linger
in our minds. Many Haunted Galveston Tales
center on the ghosts of this disaster. Cries
at night in the dark halls of many buildings,
and moanfull pleas for help or often experienced
and recorded as EVP's.
The Battle of Galveston
The Battle of Galveston occurred on January
1, 1863, during the American Civil War when
Confederate forces under Major General John
B. Magruder attacked and expelled occupying
Union troops from the city of Galveston,
About dawn on New Year's Day, 1863, the
Confederate Cottonclads entered the west
end of Galveston harbor. Their nearest and
first target was the Union's Harriet Lane.
After a brief encounter and some maneuvering,
the tide of battle foretold an almost certain
Union victory. The Confederate ground forces
had been outgunned and effectively held
in check by the Federal warships. After
only a brief contest at sea, one-half of
the two-vessel Texas fleet was lying on
the bottom of the harbor. Further, the lone
surviving Confederate Cottonclad, the Bayou
City, was outnumbered six-to-one among the
armed vessels in the harbor.
After recovering from its first encounter,
however, the Bayou City circled around and
made a second desperate run on the Lane.
This time, the Confederates hit their target
with remarkable precision. In short order,
the crew of the Bayou City succeeded in
storming and overpowering the crew of the
Twenty-six Confederates had been killed
and 117 wounded. About twice that many Federals
died in the conflict. The Union's showcase
vessel and nearly 400 men were captured.
More importantly for the Texans, however,
was that their victory restored control
of Galveston to the Confederacy, where it
would remain for the balance of the war.
The ghosts of this historic ballte are often
seen and herd in many buildings on the Strand.
The Ghost Tour of Galveston is a very informative
tour to take. Dash Beardsley tends to not
only be captivating but his persona and
tour go hand in hand to create the most
unique experience that Galveston Island
has to offer.
This is a you must experience tour! Simply
one of the best ghost tours in America!
see: Dash Beardsley
Ghost Tours of Galveston, Texas Top Most
see: 20 QUESTIONS
WITH Dash Beardsley
more about the real ghosts of Galveston
Island. For the next public tour time call
our Ghost Line (requiring no reservations)
for information and public tour times 409-949-2027.
Private Ghost Tours and other information
call the office line at 832-892-7419.
Prices: $15 for adults and $10 for children
10 and under.
The Tour Group Meets In Front Of The Railroad
Museum At Strand And 25th Streets
as one of the Top Ten Ghost Tours In America.
Galveston County Daily News, the city's
main newspaper, is the oldest continuously
printed newspaper in Texas since 1842.