On September 8, 1900 Galveston, Texas was unknowingly headed for a night of horror. The Great Storm of 1900, which would rank as a Category 4 hurricane today, made landfall September 8th with winds topping 140+ mph, bringing a 15+ foot storm surge with it. This would be known as the deadliest hurricane in US history, killing over 6000 people.
What follows this deadly storm are many tragic stories that have been handed down from generation to generation from 110 years ago.
One witness who lived through the storm, shared details of that horrific night with her grandson, Mike Doherty, executive director of the Sealy & Smith Foundation. Doherty recalls the tales told by his grandmother. She was a teenager during the time of the Galveston hurricane in 1900 who fled with her family to a macaroni factory at 27th Street and Avenue Q (across from the present day Menard Park).
“They thought the heavy machinery would stabilize the frame building,” Doherty said in an email interview.
As the water continued to rise, the family climbed into the attic. Then, the entire building began to move.
“Parts of the roof were torn off, but they clung on throughout the night,” Doherty said.
At dawn, they found themselves and their “ark” in a large pile of debris at 33rd Street and Avenue O1/2.
Many others tell their own tales about that night, but there is another story in Galveston that surfaces every once in a while to this day; Galveston: The haunted city.
That’s right, Galveston is one of America’s most haunted cities, appearing at the top of America’s most haunted cities lists for decades. The large amount of history and death that this small island city has endured through the decades has attracted ghost hunters from around the world. In one night over 1/4 of their population was dead. 6,000 people died in that 1900 Hurricane that leveled the once prosperous island.
To this day contractors working in Galveston island unearth shallow remains of storm victims. With so many bodies, so many dead, it was impossible to burry them all. First Galveston officials attempted a burial at sea, but bodies kept washing back up on shore. Eventually they allowed residents to bury the dead wherever and however they saw fit.
Legend has it, that almost every building in Galveston has had reports of hauntings. Reports of ghostly kids playing in the aisles of the local Walmart, a desperate nun slamming doors up and down the hall of the Galvez hotel searching for her lost child. The Pirate Jean Lafitte has been reported haunting Trinity Bay trying to deter treasure hunters from finding his hidden gold. The strand district is probably a great center of most of the hauntings. Many of the buildings are original to the city and date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Galveston is definitely a go-to destination if you’re seeking a haunted city. It currently ranks #2 on the top 10 most haunted cities in America.