Uncover Houston’s Ghosts: A Tour Through the Most Haunted Houses

  • By: Timothy Rose
  • Date: 7 December 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.


As a famous Texan once said, ‘Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway,’ and in Houston, saddling up might mean confronting the city’s ghostly residents. Embark on a tour through Houston’s most haunted houses, where eerie tales and unexplained phenomena offer a chilling adventure. The historic Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown, with its ghostly sightings and mysterious occurrences, is a must-visit for any ghost hunter. The haunting beauty of the Julia Ideson Building, part of the Houston Public Library, is amplified by stories of its spectral librarian and strange, otherworldly noises. Further adding to the city’s haunted repertoire is the old Jefferson Davis Hospital, infamous for being built on an ancient burial ground, its walls echoing with tales of the past. A journey through Houston’s haunted houses is a spine-tingling exploration of the city’s lesser-known, supernatural side, where history and hauntings intertwine in the most unexpected ways

The city’s haunted locations have fueled a fascination with the supernatural, giving rise to popular haunted house tours that draw crowds eager to experience a brush with the otherworldly. Some of these places are even private residences, adding an extra layer of mystery and intrigue. It’s important to remember that while these tales of hauntings can be captivating, respect for the privacy and property of others is paramount – not all locations are open to the public.

Are these places truly haunted by spirits of the past? We’ll provide the stories, the sightings, and the spine-chilling accounts. Whether or not you believe in the existence of these spectral residents, we leave up to you. After all, sometimes the most haunting experiences are those that lurk in the realm of the unexplained.

Elder Street Artists Lofts (Formerly Jefferson Davis Hospital)

The Jefferson Davis Hospital, opened in Houston, Texas, in 1924, was named to honor Confederate soldiers and stood as the city’s first hospital welcoming poor patients. Operating until 1938, it was replaced by the Texas Medical Center due to outdated equipment. The building served various purposes, such as a rehabilitation clinic and probation office, before being abandoned in 1985. In 2005, efforts were made to restore the building, leading to its recognition as a protected historical site in 2013. Constructed atop a cemetery used until 1895, it currently houses the Elder Street Artists Lofts, offering spaces for artists in exchange for maintenance work.

Jefferson Davis Hospital - Credit Patrick Feller
Jefferson Davis Hospital – Credit Patrick Feller

The Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston, Texas, is notorious for specific paranormal activities. Patients, visitors, and staff have reported seeing creepy figures down the hallways and hearing the sounds of screams and mutterings. Some claim to have sighted soldiers’ apparitions in the rooms and basement. In the former nurse quarters, strange noises have been heard in the attic, and the spirit of a woman has been seen frequently. Even police dogs have been known to refuse to enter the building.

A particularly chilling account involves a group of young ghost hunters being robbed by armed criminals during an investigation, leading to the building being shut down to paranormal enthusiasts until its renovation in 2005. Ghost Hunters beware!

Spaghetti Warehouse in Downtown Houston

Located in Downtown Houston, the Spaghetti Warehouse is famous not only for its reported paranormal activity, but also for its delicious Italian cuisine. The building, which dates back to the early 20th century, has been home to the restaurant since the 1970s and has long held a reputation as one of the most haunted places in Houston.

The most well-known tale is that of a young pharmacist who fell down the elevator shaft, resulting in his untimely death. Ever since, staff and patrons alike have reported seeing his spirit wandering the restaurant, with frequent claims of unexplained phenomena. These include mysteriously moving objects, the feeling of unseen presences, and even the apparition of the pharmacist’s wife, who is said to be forever searching for her lost husband.

But it’s not just the ghosts that attract people to this location. The Spaghetti Warehouse is also loved for its robust menu, offering a variety of mouth-watering Italian dishes. Whether these are just stories or something more is left to the individual, but between its spectral tales and its tasty meals, the Spaghetti Warehouse remains a firm fixture in Houston’s landscape.

The Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo, one of the city’s most popular attractions, is not just known for its wide array of animals and exhibits, but also for its supernatural lore. Established in 1922, the zoo is situated in Hermann Park and was allegedly built over the grave of a Confederate soldier.

Houston Zoo - Credit Reinhard Link
Houston Zoo – Credit Reinhard Link

Ghostly sightings at the zoo have been reported by both employees and visitors over the years. The most common story involves sightings of a Confederate soldier, believed to be the restless spirit whose grave was disturbed by the construction of the zoo. Instances of unexplained noises, eerie feelings of being watched, and other strange happenings add to the zoo’s haunted reputation.

La Carafe Wine Bar

If you’re in the mood for a glass of wine with a side of supernatural intrigue, then La Carafe, one of the reputed haunted houses in Houston, is the place to go. Housed in the Old Market Square Historic District, La Carafe claims the title of the oldest bar in Houston, operating within a building dating back to 1866.

Over the years, the vintage wine bar has gained quite a reputation for being haunted. Staff and customers alike have reported a host of ghostly encounters, from apparitions of figures dressed in old-fashioned clothing to unexplained sounds, particularly when the bar is quiet. Some patrons even claim to have felt an unseen presence brush past them. Despite, or perhaps because of, these ghostly stories, La Carafe continues to be a beloved Houston institution, offering an atmospheric setting for enjoying a drink and pondering the mysteries of the past.

The Julia Ideson Building of the Houston Public Library

The Julia Ideson Building, part of the Houston Public Library system, is not just a treasure trove of books and archival materials—it also holds a place among Houston’s most haunted buildings. The building, a Spanish Renaissance-style structure, was named for Julia Bedford Ideson, the city’s first professional librarian.

Julia Ideson Building - Credit Corey Seeman
Julia Ideson Building – Credit Corey Seeman

The ghostly resident of the Ideson Building is believed to be Jacob Frank Cramer, a former library caretaker, and his dog Petey. Cramer, a World War I veteran, lived in the basement of the library with his dog. According to legend, Cramer’s love for music has carried on into the afterlife, and late-night visitors and staff members have reported hearing ghostly violin music echoing through the halls, among other unexplained occurrences.

Visit Haunted Houses in Houston

From former hospitals and warehouses to public zoos and even a library, the haunted houses of Houston offer a unique perspective on the city’s history. Each location carries its own set of tales, whispered among locals and shared by those who have experienced the unexplained first-hand. Whether these stories are the result of active hauntings or simply a manifestation of historical intrigue, they contribute to Houston’s rich tapestry of urban legends and folklore.

Remember, some of these locations are private residences and not open for public investigation. But are these places truly haunted? That’s a question left to you to answer. As always, when exploring the unknown, respect, curiosity, and an open mind are key.

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