If you haven’t learned this from our peddling of delicious foodstuffs, our indulgences in coffee at all hours of the day, or our generally being out and about among the well-lit goings on around our city, we here at MyHoustonLife are pansies. Seriously, when one of the most burning questions we ask ourselves involves two overpriced hot dogs, we can’t help but be placed in a first-world-problems kind of demographic.
I say this so that you can be very aware of exactly how far we had to go in order to present you with these, the creepiest places we could find in our fair city. And while the voices that have followed me home haven’t exactly disappeared just yet, I feel happy in knowing that I’ve introduced you (or warned against) some of of the very places that have taken away my dreams.
#5: The Spaghetti Warehouse
You’ve probably heard this one before.
If you haven’t, consider yourself one lucky Houstonian. Up until this exact very moment, at least, when you’ve read about the dark side of this downtown Houston establishment.
Legend goes that the restaurant is haunted because of all the antiques used to decorate the place and give it the olde-timey look. A more popular and much more credible(?) idea holds that the building used to be a produce warehouse, wherein many of the workers died in the back elevator shaft. Other sources say it was actually one guy who worked in the warehouse as a pharmacist, and one day plummeted to his death in the back elevator shaft. Elevator shafts are bad news, is what we’re saying. Yet a fourth haunting theory holds that the place is haunted not by the dead pharmacist, but the dead pharmacist’s widow, who died exactly one year later from a broken heart. Essentially, all of these can be twisted and combined into one Hell of a recipe for frightenings.
So okay then. Making a restaurant out of a former murderous warehouse maybe isn’t the greatest idea. But it’s not like anyone would be crazy enough to take it a step further and, say, live in a former hospital on top of an old cemetery, right?
#4: Elder Street Artists Lofts (formerly Jefferson Davis Hospital, formerly Houston City Cemetery)
Somewhere, a future Scooby Doo villain has wet himself with excitement.
This building now houses the Elder Street Artists Lofts, a gathering place for the city’s bravest aspiring painters, photographers, and Ghostbusters. This is made possible by renovating what used to be Jefferson Davis Hospital, which used to house the sick and dying people. In a move that makes no sense outside of Hollywood, someone took a look at an old, abandoned, decrepit building filled with the sense of dread and said “I will make this my home, and paint my future masterpiece here.”
Still, that guy can’t possibly muster the same amount of crazy as the guy before him who stood on top of a straight-up cemetery and said “Here. It is HERE where I will bring and heal the sick and wounded.” That would be the guy who long ago decided to just up and ignore the fact that the dead were buried here and decided to build Jefferson Davis Hospital. One could suppose that he figured the best way to fight off the undead rising from their grave would be the ghosts haunting the building on top of them, but that just seems like a case of no matter who wins, we lose.
#3: The Julia Ideson Building of The Houston Public Library
Long before humanity had their iPads and their Googles, knowledge came in a different form. There were no instant searches or Yelp!, no Wikipedia to mistrust, family and friends had to be called over a phone because there was no Facebook, porn came in the form of still images that hid under your mattress, and all the information and references you could get came in something with no battery or screen or keyboard; we called them “books”, and you could find lots and lots of them in a “library”.
As terrifying as being without your 4G network may sound, at least most of these modern libraries have one thing going for them; they do not, for the most part, house the spirits of a former library caretaker and his dog.
That’s not the case with the Houston Public Library’s Julia Ideson Building in downtown Houston.
The story goes that one Julius Frank Cramer and his dog lived and worked for the library up until his death. In life, he loved and cared so much for library that his spirit couldn’t move on after he died, so it remains there to this day. He also dabbled in music, and rumor has it that aside from the sounds of a man (and his dog, don’t forget his freaking ghost dog) walking around while you’re doing your napping, er, “studying”, you can be serenaded by the sounds of phantom violins. Which would make a great high school band name for your haunted high school, such as…
#2 Episcopal High School
As if the fear of cliques, bullies, pimples, and hiding boners behind binders weren’t terrifying enough, Episcopal High School in Bellaire holds a more spectral, Oujia-board-worthy haunt. Yes, the much lauded and super praised high school holds a deep, dark secret in its long history. If we’ve learned anything today, it’s that history is outright lousy with ghosts to haunt us with.
Episcopal High School is said to be haunted by the ghost of a nun. Before the high school was a high school, the building served as a convent, as in the place where nuns are expected to be. The story here is that a nun actually committed suicide by hanging herself on the fourth floor of the building, presumably because she knew that the future of the building held a bunch of crazy hormones and she already couldn’t take it anymore. After the incident, the convent, which was used to educate in all things Catholic, stopped having any classes on the fourth floor because of all the death. Following religion rules, the nun was denied a funeral, thus giving the now-pissed-off spirit plenty of reason to continue roaming the halls of the high school.
And catch kids smoking in the restroom, probably.
#1: This House
I wish I could have taken a better picture, but that would have required me coming here (which I won’t). And I wish I could be more specific about location (but I can’t).
You can chalk the first sentence up to good ol’ fashioned I-don’t-want-to-get-shot rules. It’s not my house, not my property, I can’t really just go around taking pictures of wherever. The reason I can’t be more specific about area, such as address?
Because, according to most avenues you could try to use (like Google Maps, or address books, or public property records, etc.) this house doesn’t exist. That’s right. Go ahead and type in the info you see up there, and try to find a solid address for this place. You can’t. Hell, the Houston Public Works building is right across the street, and they have no records to this place.
So how do I know about this Houston haunt? I lived there.
For a grand total of three days, two nights.
In that time, my family and I got a ghostly buffet of haunting happenings, from steps on the staircase to knocks on the walls to inanimate objects moving around to sheets getting pulled off of the bed while you slept to radios that only ever got stations that featured religious sermons. This house had it all. And on that last day, when everyone was saying “Yo, we OUT” and my grandma was sticking to her guns and demanding we all stay, what finally tipped us out the house?
The door that was directly behind my grandma while she was protesting our moving out suddenly swings open, hitting her in the back.
There was nobody behind the door.
Suddenly, The Spaghetti Warehouse seems like a nice night out.