by Rudy Reyna
It was many years ago when I was still a teenager living on Murray street in
San Antonio. It was 1944 and my three older brothers were in the service stationed in Europe. Not too many teenagers had cars back then. Everyone pretty much walked where they needed to go. But I was use to doing a lot of walking. If I ever needed to go into town, I'd simply take the bus. I had been doing odd jobs around town and worked for my father at the tailor shop after school. Finally, I was making a little bit of money and started to save for a car. My motivation? I wanted to start dating and able to take girls to school dances. Borrowing my dad's car was not an option especially since he needed it for work. Then I remembered there was a used car lot on Commerce street not far from the "Malt House."
It was a crisp October night. It was very late and there were hardly any cars on Commerce street. I crossed the street and strolled to the car lot to see what they were selling. There weren't too many lights on the lot. Thankfully, there was a full moon. By the light of the moon, I'd peek inside a car to see the interior. The cars lined up at the front were usually the ones in better condition but also the most expensive.
Then from the distance on the back row I saw it, a shiny beauty. It was parked apart from the rest of the vehicles. "Hmmm, they probably just got this one," I thought to myself. I made a beeline and walked towards the car. The moonlight gave the car an alluring sheen. I admired the car from all angles and even kicked a tire or two. When I saw the price on the card sitting on the base of the windshield, I couldn't believe it. It wasn't expensive! Maybe my dream of owning my own car would come true. I could actually afford this one. I patted the hood as if it was already mine. By now it was around 2:30 in the morning. I knew I'd have to get home and sneak in so as not to wake up my mom or dad. I thought I'd give it one last look.
I peered inside the driver's side of the window. For some strange reason, there seemed to be a dark shadow in the front seat. Was someone inside? I looked closer at the front seat. There was no one. I could see the front seats and the dashboard. It looked like it was in mint condition. I cupped my hands on the window to get a better look. Gradually the outline of a man began to appear right before me. Staring back at me at close range were a pair of eyes! I fell back almost hitting the ground, I was so startled. This was not my reflection. I finally mustered the courage and approached the car once again. I cupped my hands and looked inside. There was nothing inside. I got a real creepy feeling. What had I just seen? The next day, I went to the lot. The car was gone. I later found out that a few years before, a man had been murdered and his body was found in that same car. Had I seen his ghost? That was many years ago when I had that awful experience. But the image of what saw that night stayed with me for many years. I never forgot it.
It was late Autumn and the trees that dotted our old neighborhood
had started to change into their red and gold coats. My children were looking forward to dressing up in their spiderman and princess costumes for Halloween. But it wasn't for another week. As for me, I was busy trying to do repairs around the house. The lights were always going out. I thought it was just electrical wiring and the house was very old. I lived alone with my two small children and I didn't want to frighten them, or maybe I didn't want to scare myself. They were so young and innocent. Thank goodness they were oblivious to the creepy sounds and strange happenings of the house.
My children were very creative when they played. They often made up games to entertain themselves. But recently I noticed they had started to set a third place at the kitchen table. "Who is sitting here?" I'd ask. They would just giggle. When they played they would divide their toys into three equal parts. "Who is coming over?" I'd ask. "No one" they looked at me puzzled. I thought they were just acting like normal kids. I didn't think too much about it. The yellow brick house with its cracked foundation and creepy sounds was home. Besides I didn't want to move again. I had invested all my money into this house and I liked the fact that it was close to my workplace.
One night, it was unusually windy outside. My children had gone to bed and I walked in their room to kiss them goodnight. Karen slept soundly on the top bunk bed and my youngest, Jimmy was already asleep in the bottom bunk bed. I covered them in their blankets anticipating a chilly night. I could already feel the chill in the room. "This house," I whispered and shook my head. "It's always cold in here."
I retired to my room. It wasn't long before I fell into a deep sleep. I dreamed of a huge rock wall. Like an aerial camera zooming out, the pillory in the center of town was revealed. A woman's head stuck out encumbered by the long bolt or wooden bar that also held her arms. The time period looked like Colonial America. Or was I in Salem at the time of the infamous witch trials of 1692? I felt the shame and the discomfort of being held for public viewing. Then I realized, the woman in the pillory was me!
The next thing I remembered was a little girl with reddish brown hair dressed in a long dark dress with a top white collar at the end of a long hallway. She wore a little white cap tied under her neck. I tried walking to her. Her face looked sad and abandoned. I recognized her immediately as my daughter. But she wasn't my daughter Karen from this lifetime. I just knew she was mine. She extended her arms to me. The harder I tried to reach her, the longer the hall got. I was desperately running down this long never ending hallway. She was standing at the end with open arms. I couldn't reach her.
Then from out of nowhere, a sinister low menacing evil voice whispered in my ear, "She's mine." My heart started to pound hard. Paralyzed with fear I couldn't move. I knew instantly that this was demonic.
By now, I knew I was in my room and conscious. But I couldn't open my eyes and I was completely immobile. It laughed in my ear. Then the voice started to say obscenities. I started to pray the "Our Father." I said it over and over and louder and louder until the voice started to fade. But before it left, it threatened me again.
"She's mine.........They're mine."
Oh my God, my children! I woke myself up reciting the Lord's Prayer aloud. Trickles of sweat lined my forehead and hair. I sat up and raced to my children's room. They looked like little angels asleep. They were so still. I stared at my daughter. I stared at my son. Thank God they were breathing. I have never felt so threatened in all my life. I realized my chldren were at risk with this thing that seemed to be living in my house. Who had my children been playing with?
June 16th, 2011
We were set for a lazy day at Galveston beach. My husband and I plopped down on some lounge chairs under a huge umbrella and planted our bare feet in the sand. It wasn't long before a man wearing a t-shirt with the words BEACH BUM written on it came to charge for the rental. He overheard us talking about the GHOST TOURS OF GALVESTON ISLAND.
"Did you go on the ghost tour? he asked. "I've never been. How was it?" We explained to him that we had gone on the tour the night before and had experienced some strange things. "I just hope my camera captured something," I said. I praised our tour guide "Grace" who was entertaining and took us to the sight of some real ghost stories. He was curious and I elaborated, "the tour starts at the Moody Railroad Station and includes various historic buildings on THE STRAND. The ghost tour culminates at the Tremont Hotel." The young man suddenly turned ashen.
"Did you say the Tremont hotel? I use to work there. We had a lot of paranormal activity at the hotel. I can tell you from personal experience, it's definitely haunted! In the lobby there are three pictures hanging on the wall. Everyday we had to straighten them. You would set them right side up, go about your business and in minutes they would go back to being tilted. I mean if it was one picture, you could logically dismiss it. But all three? Not a day would pass by that you wouldn't have to straighten them up and then they would go back to being tilted on their right side. It was creepy."
He asked us if we remembered seeing the enormous palm tree in the middle of the lobby. " Yes, it's huge and impressive.......almost touches the ceiling." Then he described several occasions in which certain guests got unexpectedly brushed by a falling palm leaf. " It happened several times. No one is ever hurt. But a palm leaf falling from a high altitude would always startle the chosen guest. Management would do their best to appease them. I tell you, it was as if a ghost was taunting us at the hotel!"
Then I relayed our experience the night of the ghost tour. Grace, our tour guide had just told a ghost tale about "the salesman" from the late 1800's who is said to haunt the Tremont as well as the building next door where he is believed to have been murdered. She explained that the elevator on the righthand side seemed to have a mind of its own. Many guests have reported ghostly activity. She did not press the elevator button but instead waited until it opened of its own accord. As soon as the elevator doors opened and remained opened for several seconds, everyone quickly started flashing their cameras in hopes of capturing something paranormal. I was at the back and just as I made my way toward the front, the elevator started to close.
"Oh no" I said aloud in disappointment. I knew I had gotten there too late to take a photograph. Just then, the elevator with its doors halfway closed, unexpectedly stopped and reopened.
No one had pressed the elevator button, at least no one we could see. Everyone at the tour gasped. I flashed my camera. I had one picture left. Later when I developed my film, to my surprise a strange tormented face appeared in the lower right hand corner of the elevator. This was not a reflection and the elevator was empty when I took the photograph!