Confessions of a Houston Ghost Tour Guide
History Truly Haunts the Bayou CityBY Laura Quinton // 04.17.17
Dean's Downtown is another historic bar in Houston.
Spaghetti Warehouse does not look so different today.
The Spaghetti Warehouse building in Houston dates back to the 1900s.
The infamous orbs photos at Houston's historic Spaghetti Warehouse.
A vintage clock at Spaghetti Warehouse.
Spaghetti Warehouse is a big part of Houston's haunted tour.
Hotel Icon is also included in the Houston haunted tour.
Hotel Icon's lobby still has touches of Houston's past.
Hotel Icon occupies a building with plenty of history.
Hotel Icon channels history in its postcards.
Union National Bank Vault
La Carafe is another old-time Houston spot.
The Houston Avenue Trolley used to be an important part of the city.
Market Square historic district is trying to keep Houston history alive.
very modern Houston creation, but it's in the center of a hidden historic downtown.
The City Hall Clock at Market Square invokes images of old-time Houston.
Growing up in Houston I never realized how much history the city contained until I became an unusual tour guide. I found an ad seeking a Nightly Spirits tour guide while browsing through Craigslist one night. Unaware and intrigued that downtown Houston held haunted pub tours, I sent off my application. To my surprise the script was in my inbox the following week.
Before then, Spaghetti Warehouse was nothing more than a restaurant I would visit when craving 15-layer lasagna. It was surprising to discover all of the building’s history. Spaghetti Warehouse, one of the most haunted places in Houston, takes pride in its unique decor. The restaurant hosts various remnants of many buildings past, including a European castle, churches and even train stations.
This is the kind of thing a Houston ghost tour guide needs to know. New Orleans Ghost Tours are a tourist staple of course. Houston’s own ghost scene is much more underground — and more adult. You have to be at least 21 to go on a Nightly Spirits Tour (these are pub crawls/ghost tour combos) — and the two-and-a-half hour tours are only available Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. (The Houston tours cost $25 per person).
How scary and authentic are the tours? I never even considered that spirits were tied to objects until I saw the orbs in photos taken on a Houston Avenue trolley car displayed upstairs at Spaghetti Warehouse. Of course, the tour is also very dive bar centric.
Some downtown Houston bars continue to carefully maintain their original structures. Dean’s Downtown, located on Main Street, is one of my favorite bars to visit during the haunted tour. Dean’s preserves its history with several items from previous tenants, including an original sign, and Texas’ first electric elevator. It’s wistful to walk the halls of buildings filled with tales of tragedy and the spirits that remain.
Tourists are not the only Nightly Spirits participants, however. Curious locals often join the tour to explore part of the city’s hidden historic district. Houstonians are never shy about sharing their own ghost sightings either. Whether it’s ghost stories from apartment complexes or sightings at the internationally known Medical Center. Tour goers frequently say they’re feeling eerie in certain spots of the bars.
One gentleman in particular mentioned he decided to go on the tour to explore if he was sensitive to paranormal activity (he decided he was).
Since I’ve started doing haunted pub tours, I heard of paranormal experiences from the staff of the buildings we visit and have been shown various treasured apparitions pictures. Urged to do more research of my own, it became my mission to find photo archives of Houston streets during the 1900s. It turns out Houston’s history is even more fascinating than its ghosts.
I’ve rediscover Houston’s past and embraced what the city has evolved into today. Now I find myself continuously wondering the history behind every building I enter, The haunted part? I don’t worry about that so much.