It might not get the press that cities like New Orleans, Savannah, or Salem gets - but Galveston could easily be one of the most haunted cities in the United States. Sometimes described as a 'cemetery with its own beach', Galveston has been the scene of much death and many tragic events. It is no wonder that Galveston is as haunted as it is.
Here at Ghost City Tours, we put together a list of the Most Haunted Places in Galveston.
If you're coming to Galveston and you're looking for a few haunted places to check out, look below.
We've even included a few haunted hotels for those brave souls who are seeking the spirits of Galveston Island.
If you're really interested in Galveston's most haunted places, we invite you to join us on a Galveston Ghost Tour!
Nightly, we visit the most haunted locations that Galveston has to offer.
Our Ghost Tours are a great way to spend a spooky evening while visiting Galveston
Making the Moody MansionBuilt 1895 for Narcissa Willis, the Moody Mansion was, first, the Willis Mansion. Narcissa had actually wanted the house much sooner.
A Galveston socialite, Narcissa always wanted a sizable, stately home to impress her ever-growing social sphere. Her husband, Richard, controlled the purse strings.
Richard had been a prosperous cotton broker who could afford the mansion. Unlike Narcissa, Richard preferred to keep his assets liquid. Cash was easier to inherit than property, especially whenever you were dividing it amongst ten children.
Regrettably, the Willis children would never receive their inheritance: Richard died in 1892, and Narcissa funneled his fortune into the then-Willis Mansion against her late husband’s wishes.
Narcissa commissioned the home within a year of his death. For this, Narcissa was estranged from her family - her children never even visited the home. She thought that the extravagance of the estate would encourage her children to bury the hatchet.
Avoided, abhorred, and alienated from her offspring, Narcissa remained in the Moody Mansion. Outside of the housekeeper, Narcissa was the estate’s only occupant.
Narcissa’s sad isolation was at least short-lived. Narcissa died in 1899, and her daughter, Beatrice, put the Moody Mansion for sale.
A Wispy Widow?While there have been no specific hauntings, guests have overheard disembodied voices alongside unidentified footsteps. Perhaps Narcissa still considers the Moody Mansion her own?
The most common phenomenon appears within photographs: pictures that are taken at the site often reveal unaccountable guests. These guests are blurred or otherwise indistinct, leading some to believe that they’re apparitions.
Spirit photography is particularly popular at the Moody Mansion. Visitors have even sworn to see faces appear in their pictures. Are these portraits of the paranormal – or something else?
In 1900, a hurricane swept through Galveston, nearly destroying the entire city. The Moody Mansion stood strong,but over 6,000 Texans died. Perhaps some of their spirits wandered to the Moody Mansion...and never left.
Haunted or not, the unearthly appearance of the property is peerlessly matched, foreboding and phantom-like. It’s sure to spook the skeptic and superstitious alike. Plus, your camera may catch what the naked eye couldn’t.
Enter the MoodysLibbie Moody convinced her husband William to enter a bid on the mansion. Theirs was just one of many bids, but after the 1900 hurricane, most of the other bidders withdrew.
El huracán de 1900.The home had been valued at around $100,000, but the Moodys acquired it for just $20,000.
Libbie and William’s tenure at the Moody Mansion was pretty unremarkable. They had a quiet, successful existence. Members of the Moody Family remained in the house until 1986, with the last resident being William and Libbie’s daughter Mary.
The only scandal that involved the Moody family occurred when William left everything to Mary, cutting his other children out of his will. Even that was resolved with quiet dignity.
William Moody died in 1954, and flags across Texas were flown at half mast. The respect he garnered from his fellow Texans was a testament to his upstanding character.
Living LegacyWilliam Moody had his fingers in every pie imaginable: cotton, banking, land, ranching, insurance, publishing, hotels. If anyone had a Midas Touch, it was William.
Libbie was actually worried that her husband was working himself to death. His reply? Check it out:
Do not worry about me, for my capacity for work seems endless, and I really enjoy it. It is just like playing cards, and succeeding is winningThe Moody name lives on in the form of the Moody Foundation, set up by William and Libbie in 1942.
The Moody Foundation funds programs involving social services, children’s needs, community development, and education. Buildings on campus at SMU in Dallas and University of Houston bear the Moody name as a result of the foundation’s contributions.
Their enterprise, and empire, was so esteemed in Galveston that the Moody Mansion became the Moody Museum in 1986. The museum commemorated the achievements of the family while preserving the historic home.
Behind the Design of the Moody Mansion
La Mansión Moody.This Romanesque 31-room mansion was designed by the architect William H. Tyndall. It features stained glass windows, hand-carved woodwork, and rounded arches among brick walls and limestone dressing.
Tyndall designed the estate specifically to Narcissa’s tastes, which may explain its singularity. Tyndall likewise utilized cross-culture features, making the Moody Mansion difficult to categorize or classify.
Anachronistic, extravagant, eclectic – the Moody Mansion is one-of-a-kind. The Moody Mansion was also considered the first in Texas to be built on a steel frame.
The mansion’s interiors were designed by the New York Firm of Pottier, Stymus, and Company, who likewise worked for Thomas Edison, William Rockefeller, and President Ulysses S. Grant.
All 31 rooms reflect popular turn-of-the-century themes, perfect for any aging socialite. Furnished with collectibles from the Moody Estate, they make for a strikingly sophisticated setup.
Damage to the Moody MansionThe Moody Mansion was damaged in 2008 by Hurricane Ike, which flooded the basement while devastating the kitchen, servants’ quarters, and potting room.
Luckily, the City of Galveston was able to save the basement and later convert it to the Galveston’s Children’s Museum. Hurricanes continue to shape or shift the history of the Moody Mansion, yet the Moody Mansion remains.
The Moody Mansion MuseumThe Moody Mansion Museum was opened to the public in 1991, though it set out to recreate the personality of the property from 1911. Special effect lighting was likewise installed to emphasize the exhibits, which depict the daily ongoings of the Moody Family.
Family papers and photographs are on display amidst period interiors, allowing for an interactive, immersive experience.
The Moody Mansion’s archive is also available to scholars for study. At 1,500 feet of linear material, it’s a remarkable collection of turn-of-the-century paraphernalia.
The archive includes – but is not limited to – familial documents, architectural blueprints, postcards, catalogs, and trade cards.
Only twenty of the mansion’s thirty-one rooms are available for tours. Events, as well as art exhibits, are additionally held at the Moody Mansion.
The Moody Mansion likewise acts as a venue for parties, weddings, and meetings. Bolder brides will love this haunted house. Bewitching banquets, spooky soirees… The Moody Mansion will keep your company captivated. (It’s beautiful to boot.)
The Moody Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 13, 1994.
Visiting the Moody MansionYou can find the Moody Mansion at 2618 Broadway Avenue J in Galveston, Texas. Guided tours are available on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 to 5. You’re sure to love this spooky, sprawling estate. Oh, and do let us know if you encounter any paranormal activity.
Is Bishop’s Palace Haunted?Galveston is infamous for ghosts, so it's no surprise that Bishop's Palace is haunted. The Hurricane of 1900 was particularly catastrophic for the island, killing 6,000 to 8,000 people. Yet Bishop Palace withstood the storm, big enough that it even saved the lives of 200 people who ran to it for refuge.
The Bishop’s Palace was a beacon for safety in Galveston then, but today witnesses report inexplicable pushing, scratching, tripping, and punching from unseen or unidentified forces while they stand or pass by the front of the house.
There are no reports of tragedies inside the home, but those who are sensitive to spirits say that Bishop's Palace is saturated in paranormal activity. Are these sinister specters? Or overprotective poltergeist?
The Gresham GhostsWalter and Josephine Gresham lived in the house from 1892 to 1920
The most infamous inhabitants of Bishop Palace are undoubtedly Walter and Josephine Gresham. Of course, their presence is no surprise: Walter and Josephine Gresham commissioned the estate, living within it with their nine children until their deaths.
Walter and Josephine Gresham lived in the house from 1892 to 1920.The Gresham Ghosts allegedly move about the mansion, attentive to the property's improvements and progressions. Keep your eyes peeled, Walter's known to pace the halls. He's particularly active during hurricanes, leading some to believe that his frequency is protective rather than pugnacious. Some even say that he's an anxious apparition, nervously fretting about.
Josephine's most notable haunting involves her former card box: the box remains within the home, though it's said to move about on its own. It contains relics from her travels, making it especially sensitive to supernatural energies. Perhaps that explains why it's never where you left it? Although it's an ultimately innocuous incident, it's still spooky.
Building Bishop’s Palace
Photo of Gresham’s Castle.Designed by architect Nicholas J. Clayton, Bishop's Palace was built for Colonel Walter and Josephine Gresham at a whopping $250,000. The Gresham's themselves tagged the property "Gresham's Castle," no doubt referring to its Châteauesque style and sprawling square feet. With steep roofs and steeper turrets, Bishop's Palace appears from a fever dream.
It took over six years to build, which may account for its intricate ornamentation and flamboyant features. Although the foundation is constructed from carved limestone, the property's facade is supplemented with sandstone and granite. Together, they span three stories high – making for a formidable, albeit foreboding estate.
The facade is likewise embellished with etchings of people, animals, and plants alongside those of mythical creatures. Yet Bishop's Palace is somehow more remarkable on the inside: stained glass windows flank fireplaces, floors and staircases are wrought from rare wood. One fireplace within the estate is even lined in silver.
You can see why Bishop's Palace looks as if it sprang from the pages of a storybook, singular and spectacular. (The palace's proximity to the seaside is another plus.)
Who Was Walter Gresham?
Walter sitting in his library.Born in 1841, Walter Gresham founded the Gulf, Colorado, and Sante Fe Railroad, earning his reputation as a railway magnate. Yet Gresham was likewise a Civil War Veteran, and, later, an attorney and politician. Gresham was one of the highest paid attorneys in the state of Texas, and no stranger to success.
By 1868, he opened a law office and married Josephine Mann. By 1872, he was elected as Galveston County's District Attorney. Gresham was elected to Texas Legislature in 1887, which is the same year that he commissioned Clayton to design the home. Six years later, in 1893, Walter and Josphine formally opened Gresham's Castle.
Even in the 19th century, most politicians like Gresham couldn’t escape some kind of controversy. According to a Fort Worth Star Telegram article from 1911, Gresham was put in custody of the Galveston County Sheriff when he refused to show up for a senate investigating committee about politicians receiving funding from liquor companies to push a anti-prohibition agenda.
However, Gresham’s reputation in Galveston remains squeaky clean. He is known for being instrumental in the construction of Galveston’s Seawall, traveling to Washington D.C. to push for federal funding for the island’s harbor.
Colonel Gresham’s sudden death in Washington cast gloom throughout the city, so closely was he linked to the commercial and business life of the island.
The Daily Galveston NewsGresham died in the United States Capital during 1920, and Gresham's Castle was sold three years later. Gresham was returned to Galveston, however, where he was interred. You can find his gravestone in Lakeview Cemetery – though, again, you'll find his ghost elsewhere.
Who Was Josephine Gresham?
Pillows on the staircase of Gresham's Palace.Like many affluent women of her time, Josephine Gresham loved throwing extravagant parties and playing the role of hostess. She was so thoughtful about her guests' comfort in Gresham’s Castle she laid pillows on the staircase during parties. They were there so guests could stop and take a nap if they grew tired of the festivities.
Her love of greenery transformed the home into a residential jungle with vines crawling, covering walls and staircase banisters. Does her dedication to hospitality keep her spirit tied to Bishop’s Palace today?
Josephine was an artist and painted murals throughout the home, including angels on the ceiling above the dining room. If you look closely, you will see each angel has distinct facial characteristics. They reportedly were painted to represent each of her nine children. You can still see Josephine's impressive work in the Palace today above the dining room table.
Why Call It Bishop's Palace?
Christopher C.E. Byrne.The Galveston-Houston Diocese of the Catholic Church purchased the Gresham House in 1923 for $40,500. "Gresham's Castle" then became Bishop's Palace, renamed for the Most Reverend Christopher C. E. Byrne.
The Bishop lived in the home until he died of a heart attack at age 82. He was so well-respected that 8,000 people attended his funeral.
The Bishop's Palace was turned over to the Newman Club in 1963. Three months later, the diocese opened the estate to the public.
Bishop’s Palace TodayBishop's Palace is now owned by the Galveston Historical Foundation, who acquired the property in 2013. According to Road Trippers, "the mansion is recognized as one of America's finest examples of Victorian exuberance and Gilded-Age extravagance."
The American Institute of Architects even listed Bishop's Palace as one of the 100 most important buildings in America.
Yet with its ghastly ongoings, Bishop's Palace is more than a historical house. Apparitions appear and disappear; specters are seen, then recede. Walter and Josephine Gresham remain the home's haunted hosts – vigilant to visitors, wakeful and watchful.
Visiting Bishop’s PalaceOn the lookout for the Gresham Ghosts? Bishop's Palace offers tours during the full moon. Keep watch for any eerie encounters, of course! Oh, and be sure to let us know if you come across any paranormal activity.
Bishop's Palace is available for daytime tours seven days a week. A portion of the admission price supports the Bishop's Palace, aiding its restoration and preservation. You'll find this architectural treasure Galveston's East End Historic District at 1402 Broadway.
Before the Broadway Cemetery District
Established in 1839, Galveston’s cemetery complex replaced a more temporary burial fashion. Before the Broadway Cemetery District, settlers would often bury their dead in sand dunes near the Gulf of Mexico. Yet the sand would shift or reshape, uncovering coffins and migrating markers. These burial markers were typically hand-carved or constructed from salvaged materials, making them unsustainable against Galveston’s natural catastrophes.
The sand dunes were a simple way to inter the dead, yet ultimately ineffective. If you wanted your beloved to stay buried, that is.
The Yellow Fever EpidemicThe Galveston City Company soon recognized that these burying methods were unfit for extensive, long-term interments. They were especially unfit for the Yellow Fever Epidemic, which had claimed 250 Galveston lives in 1839 alone. The “Saffron Scourge” had saturated this hard-hit city.
So, to improve burial conditions, the Galveston City Charter was tasked with the creation of a public burial ground. That’s where the Broadway Cemetery District comes in.
Building the Broadway Cemetery DistrictThe Galveston City Company donated four blocks of land for the cause, erecting the Old City Cemetery and adjacent Potter’s Field. These burial grounds were, at the time, outside of city limits. Their location was then particularly appropriate – remote from residential and commercial properties, yet near enough to transport bodies.
Those who were buried in the dunes beforehand were exhumed and reinterred within the new cemeteries. Not everyone made the relocation, of course. Some were too disfigured by the elements. There were newly discovered residents, too – unidentifiable bodies unearthed from unnamed graves.
Two more blocks of land were donated in 1844, allowing for the creation of the Trinity Episcopal Cemetery and the Old Catholic Cemetery. Five additional cemeteries were established throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, together comprising the Broadway Cemetery District.
Yet grade raises occurred throughout the twentieth century with burials occurring above burials. Because of these man made elevations, some graves of the Broadway Cemetery District are three bodies deep.
The Old(est) City Cemetery At 200 years old, Galveston’s Old City Cemetery is the region’s earliest. The burial ground initially allotted additional space for the German Lutheran Church, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Protestant Orphans Burial Ground – making for a distinctive, diversified demographic. It’s no surprise that the Old City Cemetery is also considered the district’s most unnerving graveyard.
“The Demented Mother” For starters, the Old City Cemetery is the final resting place of Elize Roemer Alberti. Alberti murdered her four children in 1894, earning her the moniker, “the demented mother.” It’s suspected that she suffered from severe postpartum depression, which may shed light on why she poisoned her four children. Alberti’s method? Morphine in wine. That’s right, she gave her young children wine (and morphine).
Alberti attempted to justify her action by explaining that she had been “ill for the last eight months.” She’s even quoted saying, “I could not fill my obligations to my babies. They are better off." Whether Alberti was a stone cold killer or was misguided though well-meaning is anyone’s argument. The tragedy of her tale, however, remains irrefutable.
After the murders, Alberti was sent to the San Antonio Asylum. She was ultimately returned to Galveston upon her release, where she committed suicide. Later interred in the same burial plot as her children. Alberti’s death was as grievous as Alberti’s life. She also makes for one of the few instances where a murderer is buried alongside their victim.
Potter’s Field and Oleander Cemetery Established in 1839, Potter’s Field is Galveston’s second oldest cemetery. Otherwise known as a pauper’s grave or common grave, a Potter’s Field was historically where “indigents are buried.” The origins of the moniker come from the New Testament. For example, Judas is interred in a “Potter’s Field,” the “burying place for strangers.”
Galveston’s is no exception, so it’s no surprise that the few gravestones in Potter’s Field are unmarked. Records reveal that nearly 1,000 interments occurred in Potter’s Field, however. A Confederate Potter’s Field was likewise erected within the burial grounds after the Battle of Galveston in 1863, providing formal burial space for veterans. If you were without money or family, you could still rest easy.
In 1939, Potter’s Field was renovated, refurbished, and enlarged. To further the sense of renewal, the City of Galveston renamed Potter’s Field to Oleander Cemetery. Their renovations didn’t rid them of their haunted hosts, however…
Confederate Army Deserter Executed by Firing Squad One of Oleander’s most infamous inhabitants is, no doubt, Nicaragua Smith. Smith was an arsonist and burglar who abandoned the Confederate Army in 1862. Ultimately tried for desertion, he was executed by a firing squad on the 8th of January, 1863.
Kathleen Maca, author of "Galveston's Broadway Cemeteries,” alleges that Smith “got six bullets in him and a few in the coffin, and he fell into the coffin and they buried him where he laid.” As Broadway Cemeteries’ most notable resident, Smith is sure to spook the skeptics. There are even rumors that Smith frequents his unmarked grave on the anniversary of his death.
New Cahill and Evergreen Cemetery New Cahill Cemetery is often remarked upon for its splendid, sprawling landscape. Yet these cemeteries are more than a pretty picture. Erected in 1900, though later renamed “Evergreen Cemetery,” these two burial grounds were meant to memorialize those who perished in the Great Storm of 1900. It’s suspected to contain 900 burials total, though as many as 12,000 died from the disaster. There’s no doubt that a few lingering souls idle about.
Episcopal Cemetery The Episcopal Cemetery was established in 1844, though enlarged in 1864. Its haunted history is self-evident: Confederate and Union soldiers were often buried in the Episcopal Cemetery after the Battle of Galveston in 1863.
The cemetery’s monuments were upheaved and elevated during a grade raising of 1904-1910, though the graves were left undisturbed. That’s what’s alleged, at least.
Old Catholic Cemetery Like the Episcopal Cemetery, the Old Catholic Cemetery was established in 1844. The two cemeteries were organized alongside one another, catering to families of different faiths. Approximately 900 souls call the Old Catholic Cemetery home.
Old Cahill Cemetery or the Yellow Fever Yard Established in 1867, the Old Cahill Cemetery was initially named after the sexton M. Cahill. It was later renamed the New City Cemetery after The Great Storm of 1900, which had desecrated the City of Galveston. Galveston thought that renaming the burial ground would inspire or galvanize the city, instilling a renewed sense of optimism. So, in 1900, the Old Cahill Cemetery became the New City Cemetery.
Yet it’s sometimes referred to by its sequestered allotment, the “Yellow Fever Yard.” The Yellow Fever Yard had been initiated in response to the yellow fever epidemic that occurred in 1867 – Galveston lost 725 citizens to the epidemic. The burials occurred so quickly, however, that the deceased were often left unidentified. To this day, their graves remain unmarked.
Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery After the six-year-old son of Isadore Dyer died, a small section of Potter’s Field was allotted to Galveston’s Jewish community. They were able to establish their own private burial ground in 1868, however – the Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery. This was at the bequest of Rosanna Osterman, who died in a steamboat explosion the preceding year.
Is the Broadway Cemetery District Haunted? Elize Roemer Alberti and Nicaragua Smith are the district’s most notable haunts, though many more are suspected.
Yet murderers and madmen aren’t the only inhabitants of this urban burial ground: the Broadway Cemetery District likewise inters soldiers and sailors, statesmen and scientists, philanthropists and pioneers. For example, John Allen, Galveston’s first mayor, is interred within the district, as is George Campbell Childress, who authored the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Another notable inhabitant? Noah Noble John. John had survived three shipboard disasters before his untimely death. The Brownsville’s sinking, the Stare State’s burning, the Farmer’s explosion – John was there for all three of them. Does Noah Noble John lurk his landlocked lodging?
The cemeteries grade raising also means that there are those that rest below what we can see. Who lurks beneath the surface?
Visit the Broadway Cemetery District The Broadway Cemetery District occupies six city blocks, and can be located midtown. As one of the few remaining urban cemeteries, it’s an invaluable location. Whether you’re into philanthropists, pirates, or politicians, the Broadway Cemetery District is a must-see. Do let us know if you encounter any paranormal activity.
Yet the museum's most infamous inhabitants are unseen: passengers that never left their terminals, their spirits forever stranded at the station. William Watson is one such poltergeist. Decapitated by the railway train, travelers claim that he practices handstands on the cattle guards of the engines. Another inhabitant committed suicide off the fourth floor, where visitors sometimes spot her at the windowsill. Her legs dangle off the ledge, lax or limply hanging.
Who are these railway apparitions? What binds them to the building?
The Ghost of William WatsonWilliam Watson was a thirty-two-year-old engineer from New York who had arrived at Galveston by steamship. Yet Watson's legend varies. Some say that he was a thrill-seeker who would regularly perform tricks by the train, entertaining travelers. Others say that Watson had been at the wrong place at the wrong time, his death an unanticipated accident.
Those that buy into Watson's myth as a daredevil claim that he was practicing handstands on the train's "cowcatcher." It was a reckless act that he had performed before, yet this time there was an unexpected ending. Watson slipped, sliding too quickly to scream for help. He was unable to save himself and was immediately decapitated. Spectators were shellshocked, stopped still as Watson flailed against the train-track. They discovered his head a quarter-mile from the site of the accident, still bound by his derby hat. It was September 1, 1900 – just a few days before the “Great Galveston Storm.” His decapitated body was “mangled beyond recognition.”
Employees of Galveston Railroad Museum blame Watson for strange, unidentified noises. They even allege that he misplaces objects. (A common prank of poltergeists.) Is Watson a headless specter, still searching for his scalp? Or is he a mischievous apparition – entertaining travelers with his tricks?
The Woman at the WindowsillMore recently, a woman committed suicide off of the fourth-floor windowsill. The woman met her untimely end in the early 1980s, propelling herself out of the bathroom of an office. The office had been reserved for psychiatric patients, yet little else is known of her life. There are few accounts of the tragedy.
Visitors witness her specter roaming the restroom, or running nervously throughout the halls. Some visitors are surprised to her sitting on the windowsill, her legs dangling loosely off the ledge.
The History of the Galveston Railroad Museum The history of the Galveston Railroad Museum is much less grisly than the ghost lore. The south half of the structure was established in 1913 as the Santa Fe depot and railyard. An eleven-story tower and eight-story north wing were added in 1931, impressively expanding the site. These additions incorporated aspects of art deco architecture by which it’s known for today.
Mary Moody Northern and the Moody Foundation The Santa Fe Railroad closed in 1946, though its last train didn’t stop until three years later. In the 1960s, the Moody Family acquired the railroad. The precarious property was saved. For the next two decades, the Moody Family renovated and restored the establishment. By 1983, the Galveston Railroad Museum opened to the public.
Damage after Hurricane Ike The museum again faced an uncertain future in 2008. Hurricane Ike had badly damaged the structure, leading some to suspect that the attraction would be closed. Luckily, the Center for Transportation and Commerce successfully campaigned $100,000 for its recovery. Alongside $3 million from FEMA, the Galveston Railroad Museum was saved once more.
The Galveston Railroad Museum Today the Galveston Railroad Museum is owned and operated by the Center for Transportation and Commerce. It hosts one of the largest restored railroad collections in the Southwest.
The museum’s primary attraction is the “Ghosts of Travelers Past.” These life-size, plaster models imitate passengers waiting for arrivals and departures. They clutch timetables or telephones, dining menus, or memorabilia. They’re fashioned in thirties attire, supplying a historically immersive experience. Perhaps William Watson keeps company with these casts?
The caboose is another attraction, allowing visitors to travel by train throughout the establishment. It travels one mile up Harborside Drive before returning to the Galveston Railroad Museum. It’s a standing ride, so be sure to hang tight.
Visiting the Galveston Railroad Museum You can find the Galveston Railroad Museum at 25th and Strand in Galveston, Texas. Hours vary, so be sure to check if the Galveston Railroad Museum is open. Parking is free with museum admission. Let us know if you encounter any paranormal activity.
Often called the "the most haunted place in America," the Ashton Villa isn't for the faint of heart. With eclectic architecture and a two-story, iron-wrought veranda, this antebellum building is known for standing out. But if you think that the exterior of this Italianate estate is extraordinary, wait until you visit the inside. Inhabited by the poltergeists Bettie and Tilly Brown, the Ashton Villa is alive with paranormal activity. Bettie was a free-thinking, risk-taking, cigar-smoking hot-shot. Tilly was a Victorian divorcee who survived a brutal marriage. No "angels of the house," these women were rough and tough Texans. So, why do they stay at Ashton Villa? Quick Facts Ashton Villa was commissioned in 1861 by James Brown, the fifth richest man in Texas. Ashton Villa was used as a makeshift hospital during the Civil War. There are rumors that Tilly Brown murdered her husband. Ashton Villa doesn't offer tours, though it's available for private functions. Is Ashton Villa Haunted? Ashton Villa is no stranger to lingering souls. It even hosts sister specters, Bettie and Tilly Brown. Their father, James Brown, commissioned the mansion in 1861 to showcase their excessive wealth. Shocking the citizens of Galveston was just another bonus for James, the fifth richest man in Texas. Yet this hardware tycoon died in 1895, leaving the Ashton Villa to his eldest daughter, Bettie Brown.