Welcome back to #TravelTuesday, a summer series on Spooky Little Halloween where we put a spooky twist on this popular hashtag and travel to haunted destinations across the globe.
This week author Tui Snider, who writes books on cemetery symbols, historic graveyards and quirky, haunted and downright bizarre destinations, is taking us to paradise…a paranormal paradise, that is! And it’s right here in the great state of Texas.
Mineral Wells, Texas: A Paranormal Paradise!
By Tui Snider, Author
Mineral Wells – it’s a small town full of haunted places. Of all the places I investigated for my book, Paranormal Texas, (a travel guide to haunted places in north Texas) the town of Mineral Wells gave me the most bang for my paranormal buck.
I tell ya, that town is so haunted! I had many eerie and unexplained experiences in Mineral Wells, including recording EVPs and seeing a glowing white orb with my naked eyes. I would love to go back and investigate more.
So without further ado, let me tell you about some haunted hot spots in Mineral Wells, Texas. I’ll also share an eerie experience that happened to me in a graveyard there – in broad daylight!
Ghosts of the Baker Hotel
Often, when researching haunted locations, it takes some digging to find people who are in the know about its haunted hot spots. Not so in Mineral Wells! Ask any local if the Baker Hotel is haunted, and you will get an earful of spooky tales in return.
The most talked about ghosts of the Baker Hotel include the gorgeous red-haired mistress of the hotel manager who leaped to her death and a little boy who was cut in two in a horrific elevator accident. People also report phantom odors at the Baker Hotel, including the smell of chocolate!
Haunted Hill House
The Baker Hotel is no longer open to the public, but there’s a house a couple of blocks away you can rent for paranormal investigations. Haunted Hill House is a historic home that Phil Kirchhoff bought with the plan to renovate and retire. Due to the high level of paranormal activity, however, Kirchhoff abandoned that idea and turned it into a paranormal research center, instead.
Today, he won’t even spend the night there alone!
I should mention, too, that the town’s name is no accident. There truly are mineral wells in Mineral Wells. Some even claim that the mineral water itself is part of the reason the town is so haunted. Who knows?
Why do people expect graveyards to be haunted?
Even though I constantly read and hear about haunted graveyards, a part of me resists the idea. Of all places, why on earth (literally!) would a spirit hang out at a cemetery unless they had spent a lot of time there in their life, as a groundskeeper, or something like that?
Haunted theaters, hotels, ballrooms and houses, on the other hand, make sense to me. Of course, I realize there is no cosmic rule saying that paranormal activity must make sense to little ole me before it can happen. I just wanted to clarify that although I visit historic cemeteries on a regular basis, I rarely go there expecting to see, or in this case hear, ghosts. I usually visit historic graveyards for research purposes.
My Paranormal Experience in Elmwood Cemetery
So on the morning that my friend, Teal Gray, and I visited Elmwood Cemetery in Mineral Wells, I did not have anything spooky in mind. Sure, we’d been up late the night before on a paranormal investigation, but I was there to photograph tombstones and research historic cemetery symbols.
Along the way, Teal pointed to a gravestone and told me to check out its epitaph. The headstone is quite faded and hard to read, but from what I could tell, it describes a man named Richard Dyckerhoff who was born in Germany and died in Mineral Wells, Texas. Mr. Dyckerhoff’s epitaph reads, “The orphans true friend.” Isn’t that intriguing? I’m curious to learn how he earned such an impressive title.
Phantom Voices – in broad daylight!
But here’s the fun part: as I knelt in the grass and steadied my camera to photograph Mr. Dyckerhoff’s headstone, I heard children giggling. The laughter seemed to be coming from about 10 feet away and slightly to my right. It was quite loud!
I “saw” them in my mind’s eye
I immediately stood up and looked over, fully expecting to see little kids. As I rose, a mental picture flashed through my head, too. It was brief but quite detailed: I “saw” three little kids ranging in age from 5 to 7 standing behind a nearby tree with their hands up to their mouths to stifle giggles.
The sound was so convincing that I actually walked forward and peered around the tree, then looked all over the place to see if there were any children in the graveyard.
There were not.
Even so, the sound was so “real” that it took me a minute to accept that there were no living children in the graveyard with us. It was so weird! The experience didn’t make me feel creeped out or scared – just baffled.
I finally returned to take another photo of the headstone and as I did so, I once again heard a brief giggle, but not as long this time. In retrospect, I should have taken a few photos of the area where I heard the sound coming from. Maybe I would have caught something anomalous on film!
We explored Elmwood Cemetery for another half an hour and in that time, I didn’t hear any more giggling or see any other people there besides us. The next time I visit Mineral Wells, Texas I am definitely going to do some paranormal research in Elmwood Cemetery!
Tui Snider is a Texas-based travel author and blogger who specializes in quirky, haunted and downright bizarre destinations. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!” In addition to blogging about her haunted travels at TuiSnider.com , each day she posts a historic graveyard photo on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. In August, her book Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Your Guide to Historic Graveyards will be released. (It’s currently available for preorder at half-price!) She also has several true ghost stories in the recently released anthology, Spirited Tales.
Want weekly Halloween treats in your inbox?
If you just can’t get enough October 31st in your life, join my email list – Treats Not Tricks. Every Friday I’ll send you one Halloween treat to enjoy. It’s the best way to make every day feel like Halloween all year long!