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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Cowtown home to lost souls, murderers, eerie ghosts

Photo courtesy Miss Mollys
Photo courtesy Miss Molly’s

By Katie Hudson-Martinez/feature editor

First in a four-part series on haunted places in Tarrant County.

Miss Josie’s room at Miss Molly’s Bed and Breakfast.  Photo courtesy Miss Molly's
Miss Josie’s room at Miss Molly’s Bed and Breakfast. Photo courtesy Miss Molly’s

It is a whisper on the wind, a tingle up the back of a neck or a shadow in the dark, eerie experiences that leave one with a sensation of being seen or watched.

The debate over the existence of ghosts has persisted for thousands of years.

While some people find the notion of disembodied spirits to be preposterous, others have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of the paranormal.

Documentation of these experiences includes not only spooky sensations, but also data from high-tech equipment such as infrared thermal scanners, electric and magnetic field detectors and cameras.

Photographs that have clearly visible orbs, or small hovering balls of light, are considered evidence.

Ghost hunters around the world believe that these orbs indicate the presence of a spirit or ghost. Others argue that it is nothing more than a trick of the camera or the lighting, but photographs taken in countless locations such as haunted homes and cemeteries display this same type of orb, over and over again.

Ghost experts suggest that several factors surrounding a death can prevent one’s spirit from “passing on.” Murder, instant accidental death, suicide and broken hearts are common threads in many haunted tales.

These stories are passed down over generations and every corner of the world has its own legends to share. Texas has many spooky legends embedded in its past.

In Tarrant County alone, hundreds of reported ghost encounters have been documented and investigated, and several area locations are notorious for paranormal activity.

Fort Worth got its beginnings in 1849 when cowboys were herding livestock up the Chisholm Trail.

Hotels, gambling parlors, saloons and brothels were built to cater to the men as they passed through.

As the city began to grow, the area built along the trail began to attract a more undesirable crowd of gamblers, outlaws and prostitutes.

Murders were commonplace, and many of the working women wound up dead and sometimes mutilated—at least one was nailed to an outhouse door.

The area, near modern-day Sundance Square, became known as Hell’s Half Acre.

The notorious acre was host to a myriad of outlaws, including Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (hence the name Sundance Square) and later home to Bonnie & Clyde, whose ghosts are still said to haunt an old Stockyard’s Hotel room where they once stayed.

“ Practically every old building in the stockyards has a ghost story,” Jane Pritchett, who worked in the Stockyards for over a decade, said.

“ There are a lot of haunted places all around that area. There are a couple of different ‘ghost tours’ that do a good business, I wouldn’t do it though—too scary,” she said.

Tour guides will take people on a walking tour of the stockyards after dark. Stops include The Stockyards Hotel, the old General Store and perhaps the most famous, Miss Molly’s Bed and Breakfast.

Miss Molly’s Bed and Breakfast on Exchange Avenue was built in 1910.

The grand home was originally a respectable boarding house called the Palace Rooms, which later served as a bordello under the name of the Gayatte Hotel.

Paranormal activity has been reported in practically every room of the inn, but the cattlemen and cowboy rooms are the most active.

Dawn Street, the property’s live-in owner, said her private room has been visited by the ghost of a young girl believed to be a former tenant.

Many of the sightings, though, are believed to be of the working girls during the bordello period.

These women lived a hard life, sometimes cut short by an act of violence or a botched abortion.

Henry Bailey, former president of a large organization of experienced ghost hunters, visited Miss Molly’s and issued a statement confirming activity going on within the rooms of the inn.

“ Miss Molly’s is considered one of the most haunted properties in Fort Worth and one of the most active paranormal sites in Texas,” he said in his report.

The lengthy list of documented experiences at Miss Molly’s includes full-bodied apparitions, unexplained scents and sounds, items disappearing and reappearing, toilets flushing on their own, lights flickering on and off, cold spots and unlocked doors refusing to open.

The inn welcomes visitors who are curious about the paranormal to stay over. Room rates range from $125 to $200 nightly.

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