Ghosts of Fort Worth’s past live on in the legends and lore surrounding some of the city’s buildings. Paranormal activity has prompted some to flee, while others have sought and found peaceful coexistence.
Miss Molly’s Hotel
A cowboy, a madam, a prostitute and her child are all said to be permanent guests at Miss Molly’s Hotel. A former boarding house that later became a bordello, this bed-and-breakfast is a longtime institution in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
Guests’ stories about supernatural encounters fill several books kept on a coffee table in the foyer. Tina Gordon, who manages Miss Molly's, said all of the hotel’s seven rooms are haunted. In one room the spirits have been known to rub a guest’s feet or yank off the covers, she said.
“Every now and then, they’ll hold you down,” Gordon said.
Gordon, who tends to wear necklaces adorned with crosses, also said the lamps in the hotel are frequently unplugged.
She said a previous innkeeper once saw a cowboy apparition walk down the hallway and disappear into room seven, known as the Railroader’s Room.
Ty Phillips, a paranormal investigator who has visited Miss Molly’s, said he once saw the doorknob click, turn and open into an empty room.
Gordon said a medium told her that the hotel’s ghostly inhabitants include Miss Josie, the madam who ran the bordello, Amelia, a former prostitute, and Amelia's young daughter. She said the medium also informed her that all three died of smallpox.
Gordon said she believes the spirits enjoy residing at Miss Molly’s.
”We have kindred spirits. Nobody’s stuck,” she said. “Everybody’s here because they want to be here.”
Owner Brian Perkins, 81, has spent more than 30 years at Barber’s Bookstore, but he said he is certain that the previous occupants of the space had not cleared out.
“We did have manifestations of a supernatural something or another,” he said. ”It was a very thrilling time.”
Often, Perkins said he would be working on Sunday mornings and hear the pages of books turning on the building’s unoccupied third floor.
“You know the turning of the pages of a book makes a distinctive sound,” he said. “I felt that was a friendly sound.”
Other times, he said he heard footsteps on the stairs.
“I once heard booming up seven or eight steps, but there are 23 steps there,” he said. “Stomping, with heavy boots, you could hear it going up.”
Perkins said the most frightening thing he experienced was the day he heard boxes moving around on the third floor as a dark shadow loomed.
“There was something substantial enough to cast a shadow up there,” he said. “And I left the building.”
Since 2008, Casablanca Coffee has rented part of Barber’s Bookstore.
Owner Driss Siyas said things are now quiet, but he did recall one spooky occasion.
“I left the light off, I’m really sure,” he said. “I came back and the light was on.”
Other than that, Driss said, he has not seen or heard anything unusual.
Perkins, who visits often, said he agreed.
“I think our ghost has finally decided to go,” he said.
Log Cabin Village
The Sleepy Hollow-like Log Cabin Village just off of University Drive also has tales to tell.
Legend has it that Foster Cabin, an 1850s log plantation house built by slaves, is haunted. Information about the site handed out by Log Cabin Village employees includes newspaper accounts and website posts documenting the ghost stories. Occasionally, guests inquire about the legends at the museum, which invites visitors “to escape the present and experience the past.”
Still, the official word is that the ghosts are gone.
“In the past, Log Cabin Village was reported to be haunted,” Museum Director Kelli Pickard said. However, Pickard said it has been several years since any strange occurrences were reported.
“Obviously, the Village prefers to be seen as a living history museum and not a haunted house,” one handout reads, “but the truth is that hauntings and ghost stories are popular and hard to ignore.”
The Ridglea Theater is currently closed for renovations, but that does not mean it is unoccupied.
A photograph of a construction worker taking during remodeling shows the man surrounded by balls of light, which ghost hunters commonly refer to as "orbs."
Several security guards have reported seeing and hearing a child apparition in the theater and the bar manager refuses to enter the building alone, Ridglea Manager Richard Van Zandt said. Van Zandt added that the reports of paranormal activity were made prior to the renovations.
“Most of the hotspots have disappeared,” he said. “Since the renovation, I don’t know – maybe they’ve all left.”
While the theater is under restoration, Gas Pipe, a smoke and party shop, remains open for business at one end of the building.
Assistant Manager Will Davis, who said he has worked in the building for three years, described a stairway that goes nowhere, creepy feelings and strange noises in the night.
“There’s obviously some stuff going on in there," he said. “If it’s going on anywhere, it’s going on in there.”
But Gas Pipe employees are not really scared, Davis said.
“We just sell a bunch of water pipes and stuff,” he said. “Ghosts aren’t going to mess with us.”
Check out a map of all the haunted locations here.