Freeman Coliseum

Posted by blogger in River City Ghosts
Freeman_coliseum ghosts

On October 27, 1858, the human species evolved. In a wild tangent of Homo Sapien, a mutant gene attacked the genome of a gestating child and when that spawn sprung forth from his mother’s womb the children of the atom made a triumphant entrance onto the world stage. This X-Men, this Wolverine, would then grow up to become an exuberant personality with a vast range of interests and a well defined “cowboy” persona… the superior man would ooze robust masculinity. In 1901, Wolverine went and became the 26th President of The United States. His secret identity: Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

I’m I going on a tangent? Yes! Is it worth your time and effort? Yes! Why? Because Teddy Roosevelt Rocks!

Colonel Theodore Roosevelt in his Rough Riders in uniform on October 26, 1898.

There’s a logistical game that is played at every philosophical university in the country, and it goes like this…

“If you can be anyone, then always be yourself…. Unless you can be Batman, then, no matter who you are, always be Batman!”

Well, Bruce Wayne ups the ante on that diatribe and says:

“I’m Batman… But if I could be anyone, I’d be Teddy Roosevelt…”

Superman once heard the mantra and approved the logistical leap.

See, Teddy Roosevelt is such a badass that I had to mesh two competing superhero/comic companies in order to illustrate his nature, and I still came out short. He’s Chuck Norris times a hundred. If Death ever stumbled onto Teddy at the prime of his life, the Grim Reaper would have handed the man its lunch money and begged for its mother.

Now, what does any of this have to do with Freeman Coliseum?

Simple, this the place is where that hard-as-nails SOB trained his Rough Riders. Now, more than a hundred years after that elite troop of badasses charged up San Juan, their spirits still haunt the spot. Most likely on account that none want to skip up to heaven and meet up with their old platoon leader.

“Let’s stick around for a bit. Why? Cause Teddy still scares the ever-living daylights out of me. You explain how we allowed something like dying to stop us in our tracks.”

The Rough Riders.

The History of The Freeman Coliseum.

The Freeman is nothing short of a Swiss Army knife, stick everything under the same roof, a venue located in San Antonio, Texas. It has served as the go-to spot for absolutely everything in that area that needs space and square footage to herd in crowds and keep them from meshing into one gelatinous blob on account of skin contact. Concerts, trade shows, motor-sports, circus, gun shows, bull-riding, rodeos, basketball, hockey, boxing, wrestling, John Mayer on an acoustic making gooey eyes at the co-eds, NBA games, stock shows, Comic-Cons and just about everything you can imagine has once called the Freeman Coliseum its home.

“We’ve had rodeos and cow auctions, mostly when San Antonio was a cattle-based economy and even Elvis… The Freeman is stable in San Antonio.”

It was the largest indoor arena in the San Antonio region until HemisFair Arena opened in 1968. And, proving once more that Natural Selection is a thing and not just an imaginary force, when HemisFair went belly up, Freeman brokered a deal with the city of San Antonio and gobbled up that Arena’s infrastructure and added it to its frame; the Colesium was given an extreme makeover thanks to the discarded parts of its dead competitor.

You can trace the site’s dramatic and oftentimes dynamic history way before it opened its door in 1949. On the spot where the Freeman now stands, the US government had one of its most hectic Army Bases. The Freeman blossomed from the soil that once belonged to Fort Sam Houston Army Base. To be more exact, it was an extension of the base.

Since its inception and way before The Freeman was even a twinkle in its developer’s eye, the place was a rock and rolling spot.

  • In 1889 it was the center stage for the San Antonio International Fair and Exposition.
  • During the course of World War I, the barns that made up the expansion, where used as an impromptu POW camp for German Soldiers. The place a sort of concentration and forced labor workshop.
  • In 1918 the Fair Exposition center burned to the grounds.
  • There’s a secret network of tunnels that spiderweb the property underneath.
  • And, just before departing to Cuba and showing those Spaniards what’s what, Teddy Roosevelt trained his fabled Rough Riders on the property. Not only the Rough Riders, but the Bob Marley immortalized troops known as Buffalo Soldiers.

For over a century the Freeman and what stood before it hogged the limelight and was, in fact, San Antonio’s premier venue for all its big-league shindigs… That is until 2003. In 2003, the fancier SBC Center (Now the AT&T Center), opened up its doors next door to the Freeman and relegated that powerhouse to the shadows. To hosting second-tier shows. Over time it lost its glamour and started looking a bit worn out; shabby, messy and with a need for a couple of fresh coats of paint.

The Hauntings At The Freeman.

The Freeman has had thousands of bizarre circumstances and supernatural phenomena on which to hang its coat on. The place is a madhouse of specter and wraiths, and none are rather shy. It’s ghostly residences constantly want to display their fangs. It is a place mired in history and, as the whole POW thing and its military past can attest to, not all that history is happy-go-lucky in nature.

One of the most comprehensive accounts of the Ghostly Bombarded this place seems to fall under nightly, comes from Barry Klinge and his brother Brad – founders of the ghost investigation group Everyday Paranormal and part-time stars of Discovery Channel’s “Ghost Lab”.

Brad and Barry Klinge.

A couple of years back (2011), along with Kathy Passero, the duo published “Chasing Ghosts, Texas Style: On the Road with Everyday Paranormal.”

In this personal book, part biography, they reserved a whole chapter to the Freeman, and more importantly to their investigation of the place. Brad Klinge particularly had skin in the supernatural game because the man used to be a Zamboni driver for Iguana hockey games at the Freeman.

“The Freeman is on East Houston Street… a neighborhood where you would not want to be stranded late at night. Being there alone gave you a creepy feeling. The place was cavernous, hollow, and felt acutely empty when you were there by yourself.”

Here are some of the events the brothers managed to collect during their time at the Freeman. A checklist of sorts of the specters and devils that haunt the space.

  • The brothers conducted audio recording sessions during their coliseum investigation. Barry claims they captured a man’s cackling, clown-like laugh in one area and a woman’s seductive whisper near the spot of the bull-riding accident.
  • The brothers were in the coliseum’s breezeway when Brad thought he saw someone. The brothers went to check it out, snapping photos along the way. One of those photos shows what Barry calls a possible Rough Rider.
  • The brothers were in the coliseum’s breezeway when Brad believed he noticed someone. The brothers went to check it out, taking a series of fast photos along the way. One of those still-images reveals what Barry calls:

    “A perfect image of a 6-foot-4 man standing in the hallway.”

  • Brad swears he once saw his old boss and friend standing high up in the rows of seat, a couple of months after the man had died of a heart attack.
  • Objects – like nuts and bolts – rising over a table, as if an invisible hand had scooped them out, then falling back with a clatter.
  • Disembodied footsteps and voices.
  • Cold spots.
  • During the team’s investigation, using thermal imagery, they managed to capture 5 figures in the room, where there were only 4.
  • A woman screaming in the middle of the night.

“We also caught one of the creepiest EVPs any of us had ever heard… Brad was kidding around, saying things like ‘Ooooo, all these stories about the Freeman Coliseum being haunted. Yeah right. I’m so scared. You know what? I’m not buying it. I think it’s all BS?. It was probably the first time we had ever tried what’s known in the field as ‘provoking’. As if to answer Brad’s snide commentary, the recording revealed a long, deep-throated, crackling laughter – a sort of demonic ‘HAHAHAHAHAHA'”.

The folks who work at the Freeman are more than aware of the strange ambiance and nature of the place. They chalk all the weird and incredibly strange things that happen to them on a daily basis as:

“Sure, weird s&5T happens here pretty often, what are you suppose to do? You have to work so you deal with.”