The Haunting at Menger Hotel: San Antonio’s Haunted Hospitality

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 21 December 2023
  • Time to read: 8 min.


The Menger Hotel seems to be a magnet for ghostly encounters and historical mysteries. Located in San Antonio, Texas, this eerie destination is famous for its chilling tales and spectral legends. For over a century, guests have reported strange sightings, from the ghost of Captain Richard King to the sorrowful spirit of Sallie White, and even the apparition of Teddy Roosevelt. This hotel invites the curious and the courageous to explore its shadowy secrets and haunted history.


Nestled in the heart of San Antonio, the Menger Hotel boasts a rich history that dates back to 1859. Founded by William Menger, a German immigrant and brewery owner, the hotel’s story began with humble origins. Originally consisting of only 50 rooms, the Menger Hotel quickly became a beacon of hospitality and opulence in the burgeoning city.

The Menger Hotel holds a unique place in history as one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in Texas. Its location, just steps away from the Alamo, adds to its allure as a destination intertwined with iconic American landmarks. Over the years, the Menger Hotel has played host to an impressive array of notable guests, including multiple U.S. presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and William Howard Taft. Teddy Roosevelt’s stay at the hotel in 1898 is particularly legendary, as it is said to have been the birthplace of the Rough Riders, his famed volunteer cavalry regiment.

Through the years, the Menger Hotel has evolved and expanded, maintaining its timeless charm while embracing modern amenities. Today, it stands as a living testament to the storied past of San Antonio and the fascinating characters who have graced its halls. Whether you’re drawn to its historical significance, its luxurious accommodations, or the allure of encountering the supernatural, the Menger Hotel offers a captivating experience that intertwines the realms of history and the unexplained.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Haunting of Captain Richard King

At the heart of San Antonio’s historic Menger Hotel, a spine-chilling legend exists. It’s the story of Captain Richard King, a ghostly figure who continues to haunt this famous hotel with a presence unlike any other.

Even in death, Captain King’s strong spirit couldn’t be held back. He chose the Menger Hotel, particularly the King Ranch Suite, as his eternal haunt. Guests staying here often report mysterious happenings: the sensation of being watched, strange whispers in the dark, and even the sound of footsteps when no one is there, all pointing to Captain King’s lingering presence.

Among these eerie experiences, one stands out: the appearance of a dancing red orb. This mysterious light, seen only in or near King’s suite, baffles and fascinates. Could it be a sign, a ghostly message from Captain King, indicating that his spirit is nearer than one might think?

The Ghost of a Chambermaid – Sallie

Beware the third floor of the historic Menger Hotel, for there dwells a haunting spirit that refuses to rest. Meet Sallie White, the eternal maid who still roams the halls over a century after her passing. In death, as in life, she seems to revel in her duties, forever clutching armfuls of towels and sheets.

Guests have borne witness to spine-chilling encounters, where Sallie’s ghost glides through solid doors and walls as though mere mortal barriers hold no sway over her ethereal form. On one hair-raising occasion, a startled guest emerged from a shower, only to find Sallie’s apparition folding sheets right at the edge of the bed. Pure fear gripped the witness, who fled to the front desk to recount the eerie encounter.

Watch out for the ghostly figure of Teddy Roosevelt at the Menger Hotel’s bar, known for stirring up intrigue. Often seen in the back of the bar, his ghostly, almost see-through form is usually still, as if he’s watching something invisible. Staff working late often feel an eerie sensation, as if the former president’s ghost is watching them.

But Teddy’s ghost doesn’t just watch silently. Sometimes, he becomes more active, shouting out to the surprised staff and drawing them into ghostly chats. His apparition is so lifelike, it’s as if he’s trying to recruit them into his famous Rough Riders.

Chilling Encounter With Staff

Inexperienced and alone, A new employee faced a chilling trial—closing the bar on his own. But as the night wore on, an ominous presence loomed behind him. With a sudden whirl, there stood Teddy Roosevelt’s ghost, fixating on the trembling staff member, as he often did with others. Panic engulfed the employee, his heart pounding like a war drum. Desperate to flee, he rushed to the exit, only to discover the cruel truth—he was locked in with the ghostly apparition. Terror consumed him, and he pounded the door with all his might, praying for escape.

Minutes felt like eternity, as Teddy’s ghost watched, unmoving, an enigmatic figure from the past. Finally, the cries for help reached a fellow staff member, and the door was flung open. But the damage was done—the employee’s spirit was shaken to its core.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

Renowned for its storied history and eerie reputation, the Menger Hotel has captured the spotlight in numerous paranormal documentaries and television shows. One such captivating series, “Phantoms of the Past: Unveiling Haunted Hotels,” delved deep into the hotel’s ghostly tales and chilling encounters.

In the realm of literature, the Menger Hotel has left an indelible mark, gracing the pages of books like “Haunted Texas: A Travel Guide” by Scott Williams and “Haunted History of Old San Antonio” by Lauren M. Swartz. These literary works unfurl the spectral stories enveloping the hotel, offering riveting narratives of its haunted past.

Today, the Menger Hotel stands as a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and ghost hunters alike, enticed by its captivating presence in popular culture and media. This historic haven exudes an aura of enigma and the supernatural, inviting all who seek an immersive encounter with its chilling and mysterious ambiance.

How can I visit it?

For those eager to immerse themselves in the rich history and spine-tingling mysteries of the Menger Hotel, the opportunity awaits to book your stay in this legendary establishment. Each room in the hotel offers a unique blend of historical elegance and modern comfort, allowing guests to step back in time while enjoying contemporary amenities. Whether you wish to brave a night in the haunted King Ranch Suite or simply bask in the opulence of this historic icon, booking your stay is just a click away. Check out our link for exclusive deals and packages that promise an unforgettable experience.

Alternatively, you can go to a tour visiting the Menger Hotel. This tour offers a chilling exploration of San Antonio’s darker history, combining historical facts with tales of the supernatural. The journey begins at the iconic Alamo, where you’ll delve into the macabre details of one of America’s most famous battles. From there, you’ll visit the Menger Hotel, an establishment steeped in history and known for its illustrious guests like Ulysses S. Grant, Oscar Wilde, and Teddy Roosevelt. As you explore this venerable hotel, you’ll uncover the eerie stories and spectral remnants tied to its long past.

Your next stop is the Emily Morgan Hotel, a landmark that stands as the city’s first skyscraper and hospital. Here, the narratives weave between the historical events that occurred within its walls and the ghostly legends that emerged from them. As you stroll down Houston Street, your guide will recount the tales of San Antonio’s most notorious killers and devastating natural disasters, adding a layer of grim reality to the tour.

The journey then takes you to the Majestic Theatre, located in the heart of San Antonio’s Theatre District. This venue is not just a hub for the performing arts but also a repository of ghostly stories and paranormal occurrences. Your spine-chilling tour concludes at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel, the site of one of San Antonio’s most brutal crimes. The stories shared here promise to be as haunting as they are intriguing, providing a fitting end to a tour that explores the intersection of history and the supernatural in San Antonio.


As you bid farewell to the Menger Hotel, the echoes of its haunted past linger in your mind. The spirits of long-departed guests and staff continue to weave their ethereal tales within the hotel’s walls, inviting you to ponder the mysteries of the afterlife. Whether you seek thrilling encounters with the supernatural or prefer to admire the hotel’s historic grandeur from a safe distance, the Menger Hotel leaves an indelible mark on all who dare to tread its haunted halls. So, should you ever find yourself wandering back to San Antonio, remember—the enigmatic embrace of the Menger Hotel awaits, ready to captivate your senses once more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is the Menger Hotel located?
A: The Menger Hotel is located in San Antonio, Texas, United States. The address is 204 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205.

Q. Is the Menger Hotel really haunted?
A. Yes, the Menger Hotel has a long history of reported paranormal activity and haunting legends that have intrigued guests and staff over the years.

Q. Who is Captain Richard King, and where can his ghost be seen?
A. Captain Richard King, the cattle baron, is said to haunt the Menger Hotel, particularly in the King Ranch Suite. Guests have reported eerie encounters, feeling unseen eyes watching them and hearing strange whispers in the dark.

Q. What is the significance of the dancing red orb in King’s suite?
A. The dancing red orb is a mysterious phenomenon reported in Captain King’s suite or just outside its threshold. Its origin and meaning remain unknown, leading some to speculate that it may be a signal or a celestial sign from the afterlife.

Q. Who is Sallie White, and why does she haunt the third floor?
A. Sallie White was a chambermaid who still haunts the third floor of the Menger Hotel, even after her passing. Guests have witnessed her ghost performing her duties, gliding through solid doors and walls, and carrying armfuls of towels and sheets.

Q. What is the story behind Teddy Roosevelt’s ghost haunting the hotel’s bar?
A. Teddy Roosevelt’s spectral figure is often seen in the Menger Hotel’s bar, observing silently and occasionally engaging with staff in otherworldly conversations. His presence is linked to the hotel’s history, and he is believed to be a former president.

Q. Has there been any chilling encounters with staff and the hotel’s ghosts?
A. Yes, some staff members have reported chilling encounters with the hotel’s ghosts, including Teddy Roosevelt’s apparition. One incident involved a new employee being locked in with the ghostly figure, leaving them shaken and terrified.

Q. Can guests request to stay in the haunted rooms or encounter the ghosts?
A. While The Menger Hotel respects its haunted history, room assignments are based on guest preferences and availability. Encounters with the ghosts are spontaneous and cannot be guaranteed, but the hotel’s eerie allure continues to fascinate visitors from all walks of life.

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