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Is the Jefferson Hotel Really Haunted?

The Jefferson Hotel
Many reports of ghostly happenings shroud the Jefferson Hotel in mystery. (Photo by Jathan Fink/Townsquare Media)

Before I even visited Jefferson, I heard strange reports about what some call the most haunted town in Texas. Many of the ghost stories I heard, however, originate at one of the town’s oldest structures, the Jefferson Hotel.

Built in 1851, the Jefferson Hotel was originally a cotton warehouse back in the time when steamboats voyaged up the Big Cypress River, traveling all the way from New Orleans.

Walking through the hotel today, it is easy to understand why some folks may claim to see apparitions roaming at night because it appears that the place hasn’t changed much over the years.

It didn’t take much imagination to picture Southern belles sashaying down the antique appointed hallways wearing hoop skirts and fluttering fans to stay cool.

But some folks go a step further and claim that they really have had encounters with the supernatural here. According to TripsResearch.com, seven ghosts occupy the hotel.

Jefferson’s own tourism site, VisitJeffersonTexas.com, reports visitors frequently experience “sudden cold chills, odors with no discernible origin, phantom footsteps or voices and strange apparitions.”

Room 19 is particularly shrouded in lore which can neither be proved nor disproved, because records were destroyed in a fire, according to GhostVillage.com. Legend has it that a young prostitute was murdered there, killed in the bathtub, dying days after the fatal wounds were inflicted.

ForgottenUSA.com reports that maids claim to hear voices coming from within room 19 when it is unoccupied while some occupants get the uneasy feeling that they’re being watched.

In 2004, one woman reported that she and her husband stayed in room 19, only to experience an episode straight out of Stephen King’s The Shining. According to her account, while drawing a bath the mirror began to fog up and “someone” wrote in the steam from the other side of the mirror asking for help!

In 2007, Janna Weiss, a Yahoo! contributor, recounted her own experience with room 19. She states that during a visit in 2005, she couldn’t get any sleep because she kept hearing children running back and forth all night long in the room above her. The next morning she discovered that there were no children in that room.

Even eerier though, is that when Weiss chatted with the other room’s occupants, they said they’d heard the same thing above their room and that they hadn’t gotten much sleep either. When they asked the proprietor if children were staying on the third floor, they were told there wasn’t a third floor!

Stories like these are one of the things that continue to make Jefferson a popular destination for tourists, whether they’re seeking relaxation or a supernatural scare.

But whether you believe in ghosts or not, if you decide to brave a night’s stay at the Jefferson Hotel, you may experience something that scares you out of your wits. Not to worry, perhaps it won’t be a ghost. The most frightening thing of all may be your own imagination.

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