The Gunter Hotel's haunted history has been the subject of numerous paranormal investigations.

The Haunted Gunter Hotel

The Haunted Sheraton Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, is a historic and impressive twelve-story building with modern amenities and timeless elegance. It was recognized on January 9, 2007, and became a US National Register of Historic Places. 

Before this, though, it had a long history as a hotel, and in 1965 it gained notoriety for the mysterious and brutal murder that took place in one of its guest rooms. The energy from that night is still present in the hotel, leaving a paranormal imprint on the property that it did not expect.

Since 1837, the year after the fall of the Alamo, a hotel has been located on the Sheraton Gunter Hotel Land. This hotel went by many names, such as The Settlement Inn or The Frontier Inn, since it was situated in the borderland of San Antonio. It was located at the corner of El Paso and El Rincon Streets. 

The Mexican cavalry attempted to take back the city of San Antonio in 1842 but was unsuccessful due to the Republic of Texas’s strength. The Settlement Inn followed suit and could withstand the Mexican’s attempts to reclaim what they had lost at the Battle of San Jacinto. Eventually, though, the Inn was taken over by new owners.

Known Ghosts of The Gunter Hotel

The Sheraton Gunter Hotel in San Antonio is known to be haunted. Guests staying there have reported feeling a chill and the sensation of being watched. These are common paranormal occurrences that happen in the hotel. Two female ghosts, Ingrid and Peggy, are believed to haunt the hotel. They are thought to be flappers from the 1920s or possibly prostitutes. It has been said that the two ghosts do not get along and are often heard arguing.

Furthermore, furniture has been reported to move when no one is around. Such paranormal activity is often experienced at The Sheraton Gunter Hotel, making it a memorable stay. In 1994, a writer for The Express News spoke to one of the hotel employees who had seen a ghost herself. She described it as a woman in a long white dress who crossed through walls.

Jazz Musician Robert Johnson Haunts Room 414

The Sheraton Gunter Hotel was graced with the presence of the iconic blues musician Robert Johnson. He is remembered by many as one of the most influential African American blues musicians in history, and one of the few existing photos of him is from his first recording session at the hotel in Room 414 on 

November 23, 1936. Johnson’s success is often attributed to a deal he supposedly made with the devil at a crossroads. 

However, in 1938 de died at the age of twenty-seven; Johnson was found dead near Greenwood, Mississippi, with the cause of his death unknown and still up for speculation. One tale claims a jealous husband poisoned him, while another suggests he drank a bottle of whiskey given to him by a woman at a country dance club.

The memory of Johnson is kept alive at the hotel, with Room 414, the bar, being named in his honor. Johnson’s spirit still lingers in the room, and when musician John Mellencamp arrived in 2009 to record an album, he felt drawn to the room in particular. As for the ghost of Robert Johnson, if he is to be found at The Sheraton Gunter, it would undoubtedly be in Room 414.

Haunted Room 636: A Brutal Murder

Newspaper clipping about the murder at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio. The Haunted Gunter Hotel.

In February of 1965, San Antonio was the site of its largest mystery at The Gunter Hotel. Albert Knox, a handsome and charming blond man, had been seen coming and going with a tall woman for two days.

But on February 8, Maria Luisa Guerra, a housekeeper, entered Room 636 and was confronted with Knox standing at the foot of the bed, holding a bloody bundle. He put a finger to his lips and said, “Shhh,” before running off. Forty minutes later, the police arrived in a room full of blood, and Knox had vanished.

Detective Walter “Corky” Dennis stated in an interview about the crime that the bathroom was particularly gruesome, with a red ring around the bathtub as if it had been drained of blood. 

Evidence in the room included lipstick-stained cigar butts, brown paper bags, and San Antonio Trunk and Gift Company luggage. The purchase had been made with a check from John J. McCarthy, the stepfather of Walter Emerick, a man who had gone missing in January and had stolen his parent’s items and checks.

The day before the murder, Knox had gone to a Sears department in search of a meat grinder, but after being informed that the size he wanted could not be acquired immediately, he left in a hurry. On February 9, a blond man checked into The St. Anthony Hotel and requested Room 636, but when the police came to apprehend him, he killed himself before they could get in the room.

The woman’s identity and body have never been found in the fifty years since the event, and no missing reports have surfaced. Folklore and reports of paranormal activity still exist, but Room 636 has been split into two separate guest rooms for those brave enough to stay.  About ten years later, the general manager of The Gunter received an envelope with an old room key for room 636 from 1965.

More About The Historic Gunter Hotel

In 1851, the Vance brothers, William, John, and James, bought and demolished the Settlement/Frontier Inn for $500. The street names at the corner of the location had been changed to Houston and St. Mary’s Street, and the trio wanted to be a part of the progress in San Antonio. They replaced the Inn with a two-story building and then rented it out to the US Army, making it their Headquarters for the next decade.

When the Civil War started, the US Army left, and the Confederates came in their place. After the war, the property was returned to the Vance family in 1872. 

They reopened it as the Vance House or Vance Hotel, and thanks to the first railroad tracks being installed in 1877, the hostelry became a successful venture. People could take a carriage from the train depot for only a nickel and stay overnight for $2, more than many earn in a day.

The Mahncke Hotel Once Stood At This Location

In 1886, Ludwig Mahncke and Lesher A. Trexler, two German immigrants, saw a vision for a new property owned by the Vance family. Mahncke knew the traditional allure of running a successful hotel and had prior experience managing The Mission Garden.

Trexler was a well-regarded hotelier who got cattlemen and business people to stay at the Mahncke Hotel. One newspaper mentioned its airy rooms and modern amenities, claiming it has no better in the state. Later, the investors had plans to make an even grander hotel on the Vance property, which they did.

The San Antonio Hotel Company was formed with thirteen men, including Jot Gunter, whose name is now given to the hotel at the corner of Houston and St. Mary’s Streets. The Vance family received $190,000 for their property in 1907, and the investors built a structure to suit the city’s progressive landscape.

The Dream of Jot Gunter

This is the Gunter Hotel, in San Antonio it was the dream of Jot Gunter.

The Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, was an incredible mixture of modern-day amenities and lavishness when completed in 1909. The dream of Jot Gunter would never be fulfilled since he passed away shortly after the deal was signed. His fellow investors decided to dedicate the hotel to his honor.

It had been designed by the St. Louis architectural firm of Mauran, Russel & Garden and was built by the Westlake Construction Company. It was an eight-story tall building with 301 rooms, thus, making it the tallest one in San Antonio. 1917 a ninth floor was constructed, making it the highest again.

1924 the Baker Hotel Company acquired the property, and three stories were added to it in 1926. Herbert Green was the architect of this annex, nicknamed Gunter Roof. Over the twentieth century, the hotel was visited by renowned personalities such as Tom Mix, Mae West, Will Rogers, and President Harry S. Truman.

The most remarkable was John Wayne, who stayed in the Gunter while shooting The Alamo. In 1979, it was bought by Josef Seiterle, and the renovation cost $20 million. Later, it became a part of the Sheraton hotel chain and was renovated again at $8 million.

Currently, guests of the Sheraton Gunter can avail of the fitness center, restaurant, bar, and club lounge. It is conveniently situated near several tourist attractions. 

The hotel’s website claims it is the perfect place for time travelers as it has maintained its grace of the 1900s and has been modernized with all the modern amenities. However, during the 1960s, the hotel gained notoriety due to gruesome events, which still haunt the hotel as ghosts.

The haunted Gunter Hotel has witnessed a multitude of ownership changes and management transitions over the past 200 years, contributing to its rich historical significance. Once serving as a headquarters for both the US Army and the Confederates. 

This iconic hotel is now well-known for its paranormal activity. However, what’s often overlooked is the fact that The Gunter was also the site of one of San Antonio’s most gruesome murders. 

To this day, visitors report experiencing eerie occurrences linked to that fateful night, which are said to be repeatedly playing out in the hotel.