The Alamo is the big-ticket item. If you’re a tourist and it’s your first time in San Antonio, then visiting the Alamo is a must. Not doing so is akin to going to Paris and then forgetting to give the Eiffel tower a glance. Also, as a ghost enthusiast, there’s nothing more appealing than the sort of specters and wraiths tied up to this old Spanish garrison. The place is bubbling with the restless dead and brimming with ghostly history.
History Of The Alamo.
The Alamo Mission in San Antonio, what we normally call The Alamo, was originally called the Misión San Antonio de Valero. It was one of the first missions the Imperialistic might of Spain founded in Texas. The place was build as an educational center for local American Indians and was tasked with keeping the indigenous people in check and promoting their conversion to Christianity. For almost 60 years, the mission employed all manner of tactics for that purpose and utilized some rather cruel methods not only for conversion but for the domestication of the native populace.
In 1793, the mission was secularized and then abandoned. The mission was no longer a concern of Spain and keeping the outpost, which was more than 400 miles away from the nearest town, was starting to harass the colonial coffers. The Natives were left to run amok and only a few priests stayed with their charges. During these ten years, until it became a fortress for the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras military unit, the abandoned and forsaken natives experienced all manner of hardships. Roaming bands of brigands, outlaws from the neighboring United States, marauding Indians from other hostile territories, and the unset of famine and diseases. By the time the military unit finally arrived at the mission and armed its battlements, changing the name to Alamo, almost all the native population had perished.
During the Texas Revolution, Mexican General Martín Perfecto de Cos gave up the fort to the Texian Army in December 1835, right after the Siege of Béxar. For several months, the place became the staging ground for a small number of Texian soldiers and their immediate family. Then, the event that cemented this place into the patriotic makeup of the USA took place… The Battle Of The Alamo.
Remember The Alamo.
In 1835, after a rather bloody war, General Martin Perfecto de Cos surrendered to the plucky Texian and ended the Texas Revolution. Texas, many believed was finally free and Mexico had retreated.
For the early part of that year, most Texas laid down their arms and many were certain that they were entering an epoch of peace. Organized garrisons and troops went back home and most forts were left in disarray. The Alamo was one of those forts.
“The government was in turmoil and at the end could only provide a dwindling 100 soldiers for its defense. They needed to allocate manpower on infrastructure and were partly certain that the war had ended.”
Then, on February 23, The Mexican Army decided to once more cross the Rio Grande and retake San Antonio. This time they were being commanded by the legendary President/General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. For the next 13 days, the Mexicans plowed the Alamo in one of the most famous representations of siege tactics seen since the Roman encirclement of Masada.
On March 6, the Mexicans managed to overrun the ramparts and storm the inside of the building. The Texians after a 13-day onslaught were at the end of their rope. They valiantly fought on but to no avail. Under the violent assault, all were slaughtered. Few managed to survive and those that successfully escaped either died several months later or faced debilitating health problems for the rest of their lives.
When the battle concluded, Santa Anna piled the Texian bodies on top of each other and set them of fire.
“The Mexicans were incensed. Yes, they had won but it cost them a staggering 600 soldiers – one-third of their forces…. against a harried and debilitated garrison of 189. They took their anger out on the fortress, the POWs and the corpses. What they did, nowadays, would be labeled as a War Crime and Santa Anna tried as a criminal in La Hague. The Goliad Massacre, on March 27, when Santa Nara executed over 324 Texan prisoners is a prime example of the sort of devil he was. Santa Anna was enigmatic, controversial, but above all pragmatic on his views on war… POWs were a liability and a cost for a moving army.”
The site became a massive burial ground and one of the most iconic displays of American courage.
The Hauntings Of The Alamo.
The first tale of the hauntings that plague the area comes from before the famous siege. Even by the early 19th century, the fort had a rather spooky vibe. The ramparts and the chapel were particularly supernaturally active, with soldiers and priests constantly complaining about noxious smells and noises coming from around the original mission’s walls.
The hauntings were ratcheted up to 100 right after the fall of the Alamo. One of the most arresting tales dates back to 1836. Santa Anna was being chased all over Texas and his sources were depleted and his army was all but vanquished. He sent out a communication to General Sam Houston after the Battle of San Jacinto with his intention to surrender. Still, one thing bothered Santa Anna, The Alamo. The massacre had not been uncovered and he was more than certain that if the truth ever hit Houston and his men then his chances of clemency would be tossed out. Santa Anna gathered his most faithful men and send them out in the middle of the night. Their mission? Level what remained of the fort, bury all the evidence of what happened, hide their crimes and savagery.
The soldiers went out knowing that their only salvation was to implement a cover-up and sweep under the rug the violence and cruelty they had unleashed on The Alamo.
Days after, the squad came back. Each and everyone raving like a loon and babbling incoherence. Santa Anna finally managed to get one of them to spill the beans…
“There were ghosts… eyes blazing red… demons… guarding the place with swords and muskets of fire… Like it was a shrine… we are all going to Hell for what we did.”
The Mexican’s tried twice to burn down what remained of the Alamo, and twice they were repelled by spirits. Entities standing above them with flaming balls in outstretched hands… in a booming voice yelling:
“Do not touch the Alamo! Do not touch these walls!”
The Alamo Monument, called the Cenotaph, depicts one of these protecting spirits.
Since that moment the Alamo has become a hotbed of supernatural activity. The infestation was so rampant that the San Antonio Express News was constantly putting out updates on the ghostly presences besieging the spot. Shadows and moaning sound plaguing the staff and prisoners of the fort during 1894-1897. Sentries that paced along the roofs witnessing dozens of apparitions and marching up and down the fort.
“It became such a problem the guards and watchmen refused to patrol the building after hours… the prisoners complained to such a degree that politicians had no choice but to transport them to another location.”
Locals nowadays continue to experience the upswell of the supernatural activity of the area. Guests in nearby hotels describe grotesque monsters and creatures coming out from the walls of the old fort. Federal Marshalls have quit their jobs after encountering wandering spirits or demonic entities near the lawn that covers the old cemetery.
“There are all manners of ghosts and creatures around the Alamo. Hell, we even have several sightings of John Wayne. Wayne became obsessed after his 1960 movie ‘The Alamo’ with the history of the region. After he died, tourists started seeing his ghosts. Some say he is often seen talking to other spirits.”