Did You Know These 5 Haunted Places Are Right Here in Abilene?
Most of us have heard the tale of Fort Phantom Hill near Abilene being haunted by Native American soldiers who were assigned to the post near the Clear Fork of the Brazos. However, did you know many of our historic landmarks are thought to be haunted as well?
The Hotel Wooten was built in 1931 and known for many years as the tallest building between El Paso and Fort Worth. It closed in 1960, reopening three years later as the Abilene Towers Apartments.
Since then, many residents and visitors at the Abilene Towers Apartments have reported paranormal encounters. One such story is of a woman dressed in the fashions of the 1930s who wanders the halls. Others say they've heard voices, whispers, or seen a bellhop standing by the front door late at night.
The Swenson House was built in 1910 by William Gray Swenson and his wife Shirley. Mr. Swenson was an active businessman helping settle Abilene in the early 1900s. He passed away in 1969 shortly before his 90th birthday. Shirley Swenson passed away in 1974.
The Abilene Preservation League took possession of the home in 1986, and it is reputed that the home is haunted. There have been reports of the home still being occupied by Shirley Swenson, wearing a long gray formal dress as she lovingly hosts the holiday parties.
The Paramount Theatre was constructed in 1930 as part of the H.O. Wooten empire, right around the corner from the Hotel Wooten. H.O. named it the Paramount to liken it to the famous motion picture studios.
It is said that three ghosts are living within the theater: one an elderly gentleman smoking a cigar, one an usher who worked at the theater, and one a woman dressed in white.
The Grace Hotel was built by Col. W. L. Beckham in 1909 at North 1st and Cypress streets. Today it is known as the Grace Museum and the birthplace of the Storybook Capital of America.
Many visitors have experienced the phenomenon of doors opening and closing all by themselves, and hearing footsteps and ladies' voices in the halls (believed to be former guests of the Grace Hotel).
The Minter Mansion was built by Will and Mabel Minter in the early 1900s at 340 Beech Street. Will started his Minter's Dry Goods store in downtown Abilene and Mabel was a schoolteacher.
The home remained in the family until the mid-1960s. In 1974 when the building was being remodeled to accommodate an architectural firm, the first reports of paranormal activity came in. A couple of workers working late into the night reported seeing a ghostly woman on the second floor; the two men fled and vowed never to return.
As I mentioned earlier I have experienced a total of two encounters in the aforementioned buildings. The first was at the Paramount near the basement when I swear I saw what looked to be a theater usher.
The other rendezvous I had was at the Wooten where I saw what appeared to be a well-dressed elderly woman walk across the hallway to the stairwell. I firmly believe that the reason we do not hear of these stories is because Abilene would prefer to keep them a secret.
Sources: HauntedPlaces.org & GhostQuest.net
The one place I have had lots of paranormal encounters that is not listed above is the infamous downtown Hilton Hotel, aka The Windsor, where the radio station first began on the 11th-floor penthouse. Want to talk about spooky? Okay, I'm done talking.