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Take a Historic Ghost Tour on Galveston Island, Place of Deadliest Storm in US History

By: Leah Cast | Monday, August 14, 2017 9:39 AM

The season for thrills and chills is quickly approaching and Galveston Island’s ghostly history makes it one of the top destinations in the country for “haunted” travel. From a 106-year-old “haunted” hotel to Galveston’s storied harbor, cemeteries and Victorian mansions, this October the island will be bustling with visitors seeking to be spooked by numerous ghost stories that stem from the country’s deadliest natural disaster and other tragedies.

Galveston has many sites that are considered haunted, including an 1867 building that served as a morgue after the 1900 Storm – still the deadliest storm in U.S. history having killed an estimated 8,000 Galveston residents. The building now houses Haunted Mayfield Manor, a year-round haunted house attraction in downtown Galveston. The haunted house embraces the spooky history of the building’s past while providing guests with a psychologically thrilling experience.

Also embracing its reported haunting is the island’s 106-year-old Hotel Galvez, which has been featured on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Stories and on the Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab for its paranormal significance. The hotel, which offers special ghost tours during October, is said to be haunted by a “Ghost Bride” who reportedly has been seen in room 501 and in the hotel’s west turret. Legend has it that the bride hung herself in the west turret during the mid-1900s after hearing reports that her fiancé had died at sea. Tragically, her fiancé eventually returned to the hotel looking forward to a marriage that would never be.

The Galveston Historical Foundation, which manages many of the island’s well-preserved historical sites and Victorian mansions, also offers ghost tours throughout October. Many of the island’s historic places have ghost stories attached to them as Galveston has been home to epidemics of disease, war, fires, storms and many merciless pirates, including the infamous Jean Laffite whose lavish and lawless den of thieves was the island’s first European settlement.

“Many, many people have lived and died by these waters, and perhaps some of the dead still reside here,” said Dwayne Jones, executive director of the Galveston Historical Foundation. “We invite our guests to listen to the stories and decide for themselves. But you don't have to believe in ghosts to know that the dead are a presence on this island.”

Galveston is also home to the nationally recognized paranormal expert Dash Beardsley, who offers ghost tours in the island’s cemeteries, downtown district and other parts of the island year round. Visit www.ghosttoursofgalvestonisland.com for information on Dash Beardsley tours.

Ghostly Galveston Attractions 2017

Dash Beardsley’s Ghost Tours of Galveston 
Date: Fridays/Saturdays Year-round
Time: Varies 
Price $20 adults/ $15 children 10 years old and younger (toddlers free)
Location: Varies 

Info: Galveston Paranormal Expert Dash Beardsley offers the island’s most popular haunted tours, including “Original Ghost Tour on The Strand,” “Restless Spirits Tour,” Secret Society Cemetery Tour,” and the “Jack The Ripper Mystery Island Tour.” For details, visit www.ghosttoursofgalvestonisland.com

Fall Sunset Cruise Onboard the Seagull II 
Date: October 13-14, 27-28
Time: 5:15 p.m. 
Price: $20 adults, $17 youth, Free for 5 and under 
Location: Pier 22 (22nd Street and Harborside Drive) 

Info: The narrated exploration of spooky corners and tragic sites in and around Galveston’s storied harbor takes place aboard the 50-foot passenger boat. 

Full Moon Tour of the 1892 Bishop’s Palace 
Date: October 5 and November 4
Time: 8 p.m. 
Price: $30
Location: 1402 Broadway Avenue 

Info: Experience Bishop’s Palace in a whole new light! This special tour lets visitors explore the National Historic Landmark and see how this architectural gem takes on a completely different look in the moonlight. 

Gallery Psychic Reading at the 1892 Bishop’s Palace 
Date: October 28
Time: 9 p.m.
Price: $150 
Location: 1402 Broadway Avenue 

Info: Join tour guide Dakota Lawrence as he leads an intimate gathering of guests through a very special group reading. This gifted clairvoyant medium has been guiding people on matters from lost loved ones and life questions to missing person cases. 

Ghostly Gardens
Date: October 29
Time: 2-4 p.m. 
Price: Free 
Location: Moody Gardens, One Hope Boulevard 

Info: Spooky fun will include free trick-or-treating at various locations throughout the complex, creepy crafts, face-painting and a costume contest for guests in the Garden Lobby with prizes for the best costume. Families with a member in a Halloween costume will receive a discount and pay just $5 per attraction per person to Moody Gardens. 

Ghost Tours at the 1859 Ashton Villa 
Date: October 26-27, and 31
Time: 8:15 p.m. 
Price: $30
Location: 2328 Broadway 

Info: Join your guide for an unprecedented tour of the home as you hear about the early days of Galveston’s formation and exceptional life, and possible after-life, of the home’s Miss Bettie Brown. 

Halloween Movie Nights at the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
Date: October 7, 14, 21 and 28 
Time: Varies
Price: Varies 
Location: Pleasure Pier (25th Street and Seawall Boulevard)

Info: On Saturday nights in October, join in for some spooky fun with the showing of Halloween-themed films at Stage 25.  On October 28 bring the kids out for a ghostly good time with trick or treating, movies and family-friendly activities.

Haunted Mayfield Manor 
Date: Year round 
Time: Varies 
Price: $10 
Location: 2313 Harborside Drive

Info: Haunted Mayfield Manor is housed inside the Strand District's Butterowe Building, which was once the site of a temporary morgue following the great hurricane of 1900. Join Dr. Mayfield in his home as he reveals the secrets that dwell inside. 

Haunted Zombie Tour Aboard the USS Cavalla Submarine
Date: October 28-29
Time: 6:30-9:30 p.m. 
Price: $6 per vehicle; $5 age 5 and older (children under 12 must be accompanied by adult) 
Location: 100 Seawolf Park Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77551

Info: Head to Seawolf Park this October for a haunted tour of the zombie-infested USS Cavalla submarine. Guests will have to brave through the apocalyptic smoke and flashing emergency dive lights as zombies roam the haunted submarine. Call (409) 770-3196 or visit www.americanunderseawarfarecenter.com.

Hotel Galvez Audio Ghost Tours 
Date: Year-round 
Time: N/A
Price: Free
Location: Hotel Galvez, 2024 Seawall Boulevard 

Info: Hotel Galvez offers a free audio tour app for smart phones. Guests and the public can enjoy 25-minute history tours and 20-minute ghost tours year-round.

Hotel Galvez Ghost Tour and Dinner 
Date: Tuesdays-Fridays throughout October 
Time: 6 p.m. 
Price: $45 per person plus tax and gratuity (includes three-course dinner)
Location: Hotel Galvez, 2024 Seawall Boulevard 

Info: In celebration of “ghost season,” Hotel Galvez & Spa hosts weekly ghost tour-dinners during the month of October. The ghost tour-dinner is available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays as well as Fridays (overnight package only). During the tour, staff guides participants through the ghostly past of the hotel, which is then followed by dinner in the Galvez Bar & Grill. The one-hour public ghost tour is only available as part of the dinner package. Friday night tour dinner packages are available exclusively as part of an overnight ghost package. Advance reservations are required. 

Lantern Light Tours of the 1892 Bishop’s Palace 
Date: October 27-28 
Time: Varies 
Price: $30
Location: 1402 Broadway Avenue 
Info: With lantern in hand, explore the nooks and crannies of Galveston’s beloved Bishop’s Palace. Learn about the history of the Gresham family and the house itself with a rare guided tour of the 1892 masterpiece. 

Menard House Trick or Treating 
Date: October 31
Time: 5-7 p.m. 
Price: Free 
Location: 1605 33rd Street 

Info: Galveston’s oldest residence opens its doors for one night of ghostly fun. Bring your kids by for treats (and a few surprises) to the 1838 Michele B. Menard house, located at 1605 33rd
Street. Free for all, be sure to bring your ghost hunting equipment! 

Movie Nite on The Strand: The Addams Family 
Date: Oct. 7
Time: Dusk
Price: Free 
Location: Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand 

Info: Free outdoor showing of the film “The Addams Family” in which con artists plan to swindle an odd family using an accomplice who claims to be their long lost uncle. 

About Galveston Island

Galveston Island is a historic beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico just 50 miles from Houston. The island is best known as a vacation destination, offering 32 miles of beaches, a variety of family attractions, Texas’ premier cruise port and one of the largest and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country, including several National Historic Landmarks. Galveston Island is home to popular amusements such as, Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, as well as a variety of museums and recreational activities from surfing to birding. For more information on Galveston Island visit www.galveston.com or call 1-888-GAL-ISLE.

Article written by Leah Cast

Leah oversees and directs all public relations efforts for the Galveston Island CVB. She is a seasoned PR professional and former print journalist that was named Houston’s “Young PR Professional of the Year” in 2013.