Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Haunted Texas Governor’s Mansion

The fourth oldest executive residence in the United States is located in Austin, Texas. Several ghosts, two of them former governors of the state, haunt this mansion.

But the most well known ghost is that of a young man who committed suicide in this National Historic Landmark.

Mansion in 1860s
A Rejected Suitor

This 19-year-old was visiting the mansion when Pendleton Murrah held the office. He was the 3rd and final Confederate governor of this state.

This young man was visiting the governor’s mansion toward the end of the war when he met and fell madly in love with the governor’s niece. He proposed to this girl but she cruelly rejected him.

He returned to the small guest room located in the north wing where he was staying in this mansion and took a gun and shot himself in the head.

This suicide apparently resulted in his ghost being condemned to reside in this room.

Within a short period of time after his death witnesses started to hear wails and moans coming from this small bedroom. The activity became so pronounced that servants in the mansion refused to enter the room to clean up the blood-splattered walls.

As the months passed people noted the room was always ice-cold. Persistent banging sounds were also heard in the room--keeping visitors awake all night.

The next governor, Union appointed Andrew J. Hamilton, sick of hearing the complaints had the room sealed off. But rattling, moaning and gasping breaths continued to be heard.

A doorknob was seen constantly rattling to the point where the housekeeping staff avoided going into this part of the mansion whenever possible.

This strange activity continued into the 20th century--when the room was finally unsealed. The noises are always louder on Sundays--this was the day the young man committed suicide.

Witnesses mention hearing these strange noises even today.

Two Governors

Both Texas governors that haunt the mansion are said to linger because of their controversies while holding this office.

Sam Houston
Sam Houston, a hero from the Mexican-American War had gained Texas’s independence with his attack on San Jacinto.

He served as president of the Lone Star Republic and then when Texas became a part of the states he served as a U.S. Senator until 1860. After the outbreak of the Civil War Houston was elected governor.

But he refused to pledge his allegiance to the Confederate States of America. He had been a verbal opponent of secession. Infuriated the Texas Legislature discharged him of his duties.

Houston died in Huntsville, Texas in 1863.

Pendleton Murrah, related to the young man who committed suicide, like Sam Houston departed from Austin before his term was up.

Pendleton Murrah
In 1850 suffering from Tuberculosis he moved to Texas for the dry climate. He ran for the office of the governor in 1863.

The demands of leading Texas’s efforts during the Civil War took a huge toll on Murrah’s health. When it became apparent that Union Troops were about to occupy Texas, he stepped down and fled with other Confederate leaders to Mexico.

He died in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon Mexico in 1865.

Ghostly Activity

Pendleton Murrah’s apparition has been seen since his death both inside and outside the governor’s mansion.

Sam :Houston's Bed
Sam Houston’s ghost haunts the bedroom in the mansion that he occupied while governor. This bedroom still has the 4-poster mahogany bed, which he used. *

His apparition has been seen on several occasions. When spoken to he just disappears. His shadow has been seen lurking in a corner of this room.

In the mid 1980s Governor Mark White’s wife and daughter felt strongly Houston’s ghost haunts this room.

The governor’s daughter Elizabeth stated that the room across from her parents--Houston’s old bedroom--frightened her so she would not enter it.

First Lady Linda Gale White had several experiences that she attributed to Houston’s ghost. Awake late one night she noticed that the light in Houston’s bedroom above his portrait had been left on.

She entered the room and turned it off. The next morning she discovered the bedroom’s door was wide-open and the light was on again.

On another night she turned this same light off several times but each time it would almost immediately turn back on.

* This mahogany bed was one of the valuable items that were saved when an arsonist set the Texas Governor’s Mansion on fire in 2008.

Mansion after fire then restored.

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