Hunting the haunted

Before you jump the gun and call me a freak, here are some statistics for you:

A recent poll (Harris poll) found that 42 percent of Americans say they believe in ghosts. And 52 percent of respondents indicated that they believed in ghosts too in another poll.

So I’m no different than you. It’s just that I always wanted to see ‘them’. The hunt is still on.

I know you are curious to check the photos of the ghosts and probably scrolled through the images in this post already, and well, with disappointments, may be! So here’s the thing, this isn’t about real ghosts. But visiting places where the grim tales of the past freezes the soul. There are several spooky images all over the web, captured almost everyday. Some are fake but some are real. Queen Mary ( Retired war ship) in California is one of the notorious places for ghosts. You should not expect a ghost to say ‘hello’ to you on your next Christmas visit to the ship. They are not so social when thousands of people are around.

I have traveled enough for that, did all those rituals to call the spirits ( good spirits, safety first) and will continue doing that. Did I ever see a ghost or spirit ? Let that be a secret.

I will list down some of the places that I have traveled and I continue to update this post as I visit more.

Terlingua Ghost Town

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Terlingua is one of the most famous Ghost Towns in the world. This tiny town, on the edge of Big Bend National park and extremely close to Mexico border, is about 560 miles drive from Dallas,TX. It’s the site of an abandoned cinnabar mine, which was once mined there to make mercury. By the 1940’s the mines had dried up and today’s ruins are what is left of the homes of  miners. The ruins attract some tourism and locals are dependent on them for business. If you happen to be there, do not expect a Starbucks or Walmart. But what you can expect is friendly people eager to tell you stories of the past while serving you delicious food.

The Journey

I started my trip at 2 AM so that I reach early to spend the entire day. I generally do not like stopping at the gas stations for food or drinks, especially early mornings. Indian style masala chai (Tea)  keeps me awake better. Morning tea at the highway rest areas reminds me of roadside tea stalls in India.

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It was mostly on i20 so nothing special about it. I took US 67 and then finally US 118. US 67 was mostly empty and I was happily beating Google maps timing . Then suddenly, saw few cars stopped ahead.

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A major accident brought this single lane traffic to a halt. After waiting for more than 20 mins, I decided to make a U turn for a detour.

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Can you guess what are these for ?

US 118 is not unfamiliar to me as early this year I visited Big Bend National Park. Although deserted but the sharp bends and good road surface was absolutely a joy to drive.20170729_173732

 

Around the town

Terlingua Trading Company is still run by the descendants of the old owner. It’s a buried treasure, a funky gift shop and a cool place to hang out. Locals often come here and relax sitting on the front porch. I met a local couple -they are living in the town since 1965 and still enjoys every moment of it. Amazing !

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Needless to say, I bought several things from this store. Yes, they accept credit cards.

Starlight Theatre is the most happening place in Terlingua. When its evening, everyone is at the Starlight Theatre. It’s more of a restaurant than a theater

Few more places :

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Replica of a sailing ship

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Terlingua Cemetery

The remoteness has its own beauty. After this turn, there are no numbers on the road.

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The Night Stay

Of course I did not look for a Marriott or even a Motel 6. I wanted to stay a night in this deserted town so that Ghosts and spirits get comfortable with me. But I decided to take a step further and traveled a little more towards another isolated place, well a completely isolated place where there is no paved road, let alone human civilizations.

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Oh no, that’s not a museum. That was my ‘hotel’ for that night.

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Finding the truck and driving till there was bit challenging especially at night. But it was well worth it. I booked it through AirnBnb and that was one of greatest choices I have ever made.

Inside the truck was super comfy with cool air from the fan, plush bed and great view. Am I kidding ? Of course, I am. Staying comfortable was never the intention anyways.

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The truck had the basic kit like a fully charged 12V battery, inverter, candles etc. I carried insect repellent, powerful torch, pillows, blanket and some other things which were needed for this survival drive.

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Candle light dinner in the middle of no where was a life time experience. The nearest paved road was 12 miles away and the town was some 25 miles from this deserted place. It was scary at night with complete darkness. Strange noises, sudden winds and what not. But I enjoyed the isolation with so-called crowded civilization. No cell phone tower, no modern amenities puts you back to the basics. I will cherish this memory forever.

This was a fantastic place for star-gazing. I could see stars 100 times more than anywhere else.

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I know what you are thinking. No, I did not see any ghosts here, may be they were around me but I was not lucky enough. Hence my hunt continues..

 

Mineral Wells, Texas

Mineral Wells is a small city not far from Dallas ( 80 miles). The city has seen its better days. The old buildings and the giant Baker Hotel silently speaks of its flourishing past.

The streets were mostly empty although there were shops and buildings on every corner of the city. I can imagine how spooky the evening walk could be.

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Opened in 1929, the 14 -story Baker Hotel, was the symbol of pride of Mineral Wells. The hotel had amenities like any other greatest hotels in the metropolitan areas. This huge skyscraper was the first hotel built outside of a major city.

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The Baker Hotel

The luxurious hotel went through some of the worst times and finally shuts the door in 1972. The owner of the hotel, Mr Baker, died inside the hotel. Mr. Baker’s mistress committed suicide, either by harming herself or by jumping to her death. Since then, locals and visitors often see weird things. This hotel is featured in almost all the haunted databases and travel channels for its past glory and its scary present.

I heard that a woman, who was a maid in the hotel, found glasses in the room with red lipstick stains. They say, people often hear the distinct sound of a woman in high heals walking across the main lobby. Honestly, walking inside the hotel was a spine-chilling experience for me.

I needed a break. There’s a coffee shop just in front of the hotel. It’s an all in one shop- gifts, music, ground coffee and video cassettes ( yes you heard that right, video cassettes).

The owners were super cool. I see them on TV and YouTube videos often. Being just in front of the hotel, they have been the best and worst times of the Baker Hotel.

The coffee was so refreshing that I can drive there just for the coffee.

 

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You make me Hot- the coffee shop in front of the Baker hotel

And the good news- the Baker Hotel is going through a restoration project. The city is inviting local and foreign investors to revive its glory. You can track the progress here. I will surely be there on the day it re-opens. I hope Mr Bekar’s soul will finally find some peace.

 

Jefferson

Will be back soon. If not, they got me !

 

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