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The Alamo

The Alamo paranormal

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Location submitted by: sdonley on 01/22/2011
DBA Approved: Y

PANICd#: 1056

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The viceroy of Mexico authorized a mission in 1716, but it was not until 1744 that the first stones of the present Alamo were laid.

300 Alamo Plaza
San Antonio , TX 78299
Phone: 210-225-1391
Open to the public: Yes

Lat: 29.425712
Lon: -98.486595

Database Summary:

Demographic Rank: 6
History: 1
Stories: 2
Claims: 3
Evidence: 0
Resources: 1
Retrievals: 2678
Vistor Rating: 4.0
Votes: 1

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History information is some background and history about the location. This is meant to be a basic summary. Below the history records you will find sources in which you can click on to find out more information. There may be multiple history records per location.

The viceroy of Mexico authorized a mission in 1716, but it was not until 1744 that the first stones of the present Alamo were laid. Priests had the Catholic mission San Antonio de Valero built to use to convert the native Indians. The structure collapsed by 1756, and the building was rebuilt. Construction ceased in 1762, and portions again began collapsing. In 1793 the church was turned over to the town and the religious artifacts moved to the San Fernando church. At that time the roof again fell in, and the building continued to decay.

In 1803 the church became the barracks for the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras soldiers of the Spanish Army from 'lamo de Parras, Coahuila, and the church became known as the Alamo. It may have gotten its name from these troops as they recalled the cottonwood trees back home. 'lamo is the Spanish word for cottonwood. The troops remained there until 1825, when once again it became vacant.

In 1835 General Cos and his Mexican Army troops occupied the church and compound and began preparations to use the area as a military fort. The immigrant settlers and local Tejanos who were rebelling against the authority of the Mexican government defeated the troops of Gen. Cos and took occupancy of the compound.

Lt. Col. James Neill assumed command of the Texian volunteer troops at the fortress and began making preparations to defend it against the Mexican Army under Santa Anna. When Neill left to attend to his sick wife, William Travis assumed command. The building and the compound was the site of the battle of the Alamo in 1836.

After the 1836 battle of the Alamo, the church was a collection of rubble and once again was not used. In 1848, after statehood, city officials leased the building to the United States government, which restored it by putting on a roof and doors in order to use it as a military storage depot. It was not until the 1850s that the now-famous parapet was added above the original church's unfinished facade.

During the 1850s a dispute arose between the Catholic Church and the city of San Antonio over ownership. Although the Catholic bishop won the court case, the Church gave up its interest, and again the city leased the church to the United States government. During the Civil War it continued in use as a commissary and storage depot. A fire occurred in the stables and sheds next to the Alamo in 1875, but the Hook and Ladder Company arrived, along with the Alamo steam engine, and managed to save the main buildings of the compound. A zinc roof was added in 1878 to further improve the facility.

A movement began in 1877 to preserve the Alamo to perpetuate the memory of Texas Independence, but Honor Grenet had purchased all the buildings on the grounds except the church and erected a mercantile store. In 1884 tourists were chipping away at the church, taking mementos. The governor ordered the mayor to lock the Alamo to prevent its destruction by visitors. The building was closed until the city could provide a suitable custodian.

In the early 1900s the De Zavala Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) and Clara Driscoll purchased the church, and restoration started. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas were appointed the official guardians of the Alamo, and under their care it was renovated, restored, and reroofed to the present structure. The Alamo memorializes defenders, who fought for liberty and independence from Mexico against overwhelming odds. It has become a patriotic symbol and metaphor for courage and heroism.

Added by: sdonley on 01/22/2011 DB#:59


Stories are just that. Stories and personal accounts that have been reported about the location.

Ghostly Defenders of the Alamo

It was not long after the battle had ended that the first sightings of specters at the Alamo began to surface.

Mere days had slipped past since the end of the bloodshed when General Santa Ana mandated that the historic church be burned down to the ground. The thought that the Texians might see the mission as a shrine to those who had rebelled against him made Santa Ana furious. So angry, actually, that he ordered his field commander, General Andrade, to bring a group of cavalrymen out to the site and see that the whole place was alit in flames.

Doing as he was told, Andrade agreed and sent his men.

When they arrived at the Alamo, however, they were quick to turn back around and return to the Mexican Army camp.

Andrade demanded to know of why they had not completed the task.

Shaken and white-faced, one of his men stepped back. He regaled Andrade of the six diablos who had stood before the Alamo. Each spirit had held a flaming sword, encircling the group of soldiers as they blocked the entrance to the mission. They'd feared destroying the church and what might happen to them if they did.

Rumors circulated that entities protecting the Alamo were those men who died during the battle, while others claimed that vigilant specters must have been the old Franciscan monks guarding their mission.

But General Andrade only scoffed at the tale of warrior ghosts and the terrified expressions on his men's faces. He'd go there himself, then. He enlisted a few men and set off toward the Alamo, Santa Anna's orders to burn the place down ringing loud in his ears.

When he arrived, he directed his troops to the Long House Barracks. Only this time, instead of the sword-wielding ghosts at the front gates, Andrade spotted a tall, male spirit rise up on the roof of the barracks. Clasped in each hand was a ball consumed in fire. The specter held out the flaming weapons and the Mexican soldiers dropped to their knees. The heels of their palms dug into their eyes to block out the sight, but it was no good.

They feared for their lives.

Andrade left the Mission well enough alone, hightailing it out of San Antonio with his troops as fast as they could march.

Neither they nor General Santa Ana ever returned to the Alamo, and the mission would fall into ruin within the next ten years.

Disappearing Spirits

By 1846, Texas had been annexed into the United States and the old Alamo was then converted into a complex for the US Army. But in 1871, the decision came to demolish part of the old church, leaving only the old barracks and the church.

The dismantlement never came.

When the newspapers voiced the deconstruction of the historic Mission San Antonio de Valero, sightings of ghosts wandering the grounds of the church began to be reported - almost all of them coming from the guests staying at the Menger Hotel, just across the plaza. (The Menger Hotel is also rumored to be haunted).

Those staying at the hotel swore that they'd seen the spirits of a long-ago army marching up and down the path in front of the Alamo; some of the apparitions disappeared into the walls of the building, and others stood guard all night as if protecting the site from anything or anyone who might seek to tear it down.

Rather hastily, plans to alter or tear down the Alamo were put to rest, and it became home to a police headquarters and jail instead . . . though the sightings of spirits never ceased.

Between 1894 and 1897, the local newspaper, the San Antonio Express News published a series of articles which highlighted the almost-freakish paranormal phenomenon occurring at the Alamo. The reports described the ghostly guards which marched up along the roof of the police station; the dark figures roaming the corridors at night; and the distinct sounds of moaning that awoke the staff and the prisoners from their slumber.

Soon, the activity was so vibrant, so alive in its frequency, that guards started to refuse being on the patrol shift at night. The policemen were furious. But no one would take those shifts, in fear of running across one of the many ghosts of the Alamo still haunting the grounds, and the prison was forced to move not that long after.

The Dead Who Rise: Other Spirits of the Alamo

Long before the Battle of the Alamo occurred in 1836, the site on which the Alamo and the plaza sit was once a cemetery for the city of San Antonio.

Between the years 1724 and 1793, it is estimated that nearly a thousand people were buried on this land. Then, the battle transpired and the number of dead whose blood ran into this soil increased by the tenfold. It is said that often construction workers doing work in the Alamo Plaza sometimes pull up skulls and bones.

Is it possible that many of these souls still haunt the site that marked their graves?

The Little Boy of the Alamo

One of the most commonly spotted ghosts at the old mission is that of a blond-haired boy. He's seen most often in the upstairs left window, which now is part of the Alamo's gift shop. As the story goes, it is believed that the little boy was evacuated during the Siege of the Alamo. Though he survived, it's thought that perhaps his parents did not and his spirit returns over and over again to the site where he last saw them. During the month of February, his little ghost is seen most frequently.

The Mexican Soldier

Along the outer walls of the Alamo, the ghostly figure of what is believed to be a Mexican soldier has been seen by tourists and locals alike. Meandering the grounds, his hands are always clasped behind his back; his chin tilted down, he shakes his head somberly. Although it can't be proven one way or another, this ghostly soldier is believed to be General Manuel Fernandez de Castrillon, one of Santa Ana's commanders, who refused to lay siege to the Alamo. After the last of the firefight on the eve of the battle came to an end, six men were brought to Castrillon to surrender. The general offered the men his protection, but Santa Ana refused this act of truce and ordered the Texians' executions. Infuriated when Castrillon refused to follow orders, Santa Ana murdered the men himself - hacking them to death with sharp-bladed sabers - and almost killed Castrillon himself.

Father and Son

Various reports have surfaced over the years of seeing the apparitions of a man and child up on the rooftop of the Alamo. The spirits are always seen just after sunrise, but then the image distills, jerks, as the ghostly man wraps his arm around the child and leaps off of the parapet to the ground below. It would seem that these ghostly figures are a case of residual energy, for during the last moments of the Battle of the Alamo, General Andrade and the other Mexican soldiers glanced up and were "horrified" to see a tall, thin man with a small child in his arms, leap to the ground from the parapet at the rear of the Alamo Church." Paranormal Phenomenon

Since the close of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, the number of ghosts and paranormal activity at the old mission has not lessened but increased.

A ghostly guard is still spotted on the south side of the roof, especially on nights when it is rainy or cold.

Visitors of the Alamo, which became a museum in 1905, have expressed feeling very melancholy when wandering through the main chapel area of the mission complex. Some have even felt so depressed that tears leap to their eyes and they are powerless to control their erratic emotions.

Others have reported hearing disembodied voices-whispers, as though the spirits are still experiencing the worry of the impending battle, and phantom footsteps.

It seems that even for those who choose to visit the Mission San Antonio de Valero, the ghosts which still haunt the old church grounds have one, singular purpose for remaining: to make sure that all who visit forever remember the Alamo.

Added by: sdonley on 09/15/2017 DB#:1302

Ghost at the Alamo
by Michele S.

When I was a child, my parents took me to San Antonio to visit an aunt. While there, they decided to do all the local historic sites. I remember that it was a very hot day in July, and I am sure you have heard about the oppressive heat here in Texas. (It's worse than you think!) My parents decided that the first place we should visit was the Alamo. We drove in to downtown San Antonio, parked our car, and as we walked toward the Alamo, I didn't want to go in. They almost had to drag me into the door. Even though I did not at that young age understand the historical significance of the place to us Texans at that time, all I knew was I was terrified of this place. I didn't want to stay. After a long agonizing hour, we finally went to the area of the Alamo called the long barracks. Now this is one of the places where the fighting was its most intense during the siege of the Alamo. We walked inside and I remember being chilled to the bone. We began to walk through the long barracks listening to the stories of Jim Bowie, Susanna Dickinson and Davy Crockett. We came to the area that they think was where Bowie breathed his last breath. In the display was a replica of a Mexican Army uniform, tables and other things from the era of the battle. Now what was puzzling me the most was that sitting huddled in the corner of one of the display areas was a figure of a Hispanic man, but the guide was ignoring him. I was curious about why after all the talk of Texans was this Mexican man in this display. I asked my mom who the man in the corner was, but she didn't answer me. She and my father were enthralled by watching a film about the Alamo battle. I looked again at the figure. This man-figure looked about probably 30 years old, wore a very large white sombrero, light tan pants (or were they just dirty?) and a long-sleeved white shirt. Around his neck, he wore a red bandanna of some sort. Now what fascinated me the most was this figure appeared to be sweating profusely. It was scaring me how real it looked. At about this point in time, I begin to slide on around the back of my mother, and I peeked around her for one more quick peek. The figure lifted his head and looked at me! The expression on his face was sheer terror. That did it. I hid behind my mother and refused to open my eyes until we left that building! My mother thought that the film depicting the battle was too much for me. I never told her I didn't watch any of the film. I never told her what bothered me so badly. Years have passed and I finally took my own children on a trip to the Alamo. As we toured the long barracks, I became curious what had happened to the realistic looking figure because it wasn't there in the display any longer. I casually mentioned to a tour guide about how profoundly that figure had affected me as a child; it was one of the things that drove home to me the reality of the battle. The tour guide went on to explain that they had never had any such thing in any of the displays. I became weak in the knees and I could not understand how there could not have been such a figure on display. I had seen it with my own eyes. I have found out now that there have been many sightings and strange things happen at the Alamo. Many people claimed to have seen Jim Bowie or Davy Crockett. Not me, I saw something different. I saw something that I cannot explain. Was it some poor soul killed inside the Alamo, or someone who lay dying outside of the Alamo, miles from home, and somehow got trapped within those walls? I'll probably never know. I pray for him to find peace.

Added by: sdonley on 01/22/2011 DB#:1019

Paranormal Claims

Here are the paranormal claims for this location. These have been found through Internet research, reports from members, or reports from personal interviews. To add a claim, please contact, and we will review and add your information.

Claim # Added Added By Claim
1167 01/22/2011 sdonley Tourists staying in a nearby hotel have reported seing grotesque apparitions coming from the wall of the old Alamo.
1168 01/22/2011 sdonley There are reports of a ghost on top of the Alamo, walking back and forth trying to find an escape.
1169 01/22/2011 sdonley There are reports of screaming and yelling coming from the Alamo after hours.

Paranormal Evidence

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Wikipedia Entry
Added: 09/15/2017 By: sdonley
Wikipedia entry for this location.

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