Haunted Menger Hotel Has Seen Lots Of Death

Death and Violence

The Haunted Menger Hotel, located in the center of San Antonio, has witnessed more than its fair share of deaths due to murder and suicide. It is unclear why these restless spirits have yet to leave the hotel, but it is possible that their energy remains on the earthly plane, reliving their last moments for all eternity. In 1890, H.H. Childers entered the barroom, pulled out his gun, and killed Jim Draper, a San Antonio hack driver. He was sentenced to 25 years but was released on bond on appeal. The motive for the murder remains a mystery. In 1903, a mail clerk from Kentucky, only 26 years old, came to San Antonio to get better, but his sickness worsened. On the night of Monday, September 7, he took a knife and committed suicide by cutting his throat. The unfortunate deaths at the Menger Hotel have led to paranormal activity, with guests reporting the ghosts of these people replaying their last moments. The tragedy these people suffered in life appears to haunt them even in death.

The  Menger Hotel was built on part of the Alamo grounds

The  Menger Hotel was built on part of the Alamo grounds, with William and Mary Menger as the proprietors. They hired John M. Fries as the architect, with the hotel opening in 1859. The two-story stone-cut structure had classical details, and the interior was even more breathtaking. William maintained his brewery business by constructing a large cellar beneath the hotel and connecting it to the brewery through a tunnel. Within three months of the hotel’s grand opening, they had to expand it to meet the high demand. This resulted in a ninety-room hotel, the largest in the area.

William Menger Dies 1871

William Menger was the proud proprietor of the Menger Hotel until his untimely demise in 1871. Even after all these years, the hotel continues to stand tall and has become a popular landmark in San Antonio. In recent years, there have been many rumors of the hotel being haunted by the ghost of its former owner.
William Menger passed away in March 1871

The Civil War brought a significant burden to the Mengers as the number of people coming to stay at their hotel decreased significantly. They opened their doors to the sick and wounded and used their building as a makeshift hospital. 

William Menger sadly passed away in March 1871, and the cause of his death remains unknown. Despite losing her husband, Mary Menger continued to run the business, and in one year alone, she welcomed 2000 guests. 

With the advancement of train systems, the Menger Hotel experienced tremendous success, and Mary added modern technology, such as gas lighting, to the facility. 

Her son declined to take over the business, and the property was eventually sold to the original contractor, Major J.H. Kampmann. This included the furnishings for 8,500 dollars. Kampmann added a bar to the hotel, inspired by London’s House of Lords Club, with a cherry-wood bar, ceiling, and French mirrors. 

The Menger Hotel continued to be a popular destination for many years.

The Haunted Menger Hotel, situated on the Alamo Plaza and once known as the Finest Hotel West of the Mississippi, has seen much in its century-and-a-half existence, ranging from Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders recruitment to a devastating fire. 

And not only that but the hotel has also been given the title of Most Haunted Hotel in Texas. All kinds of spirits haunt it.

Some Early Visitors Of The Haunted Menger Hotel

The Menger Hotel is known for its rich history and esteemed guests. Among them is former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, who stayed at the hotel in San Antonio. Roosevelt's legacy lives on at the Menger, with reports of his spirit returning to the hotel after his death.
Teddy Roosevelt Stayed At The Haunted Menger Hotel

Through the years, the Haunted Menger Hotel has stood out as a stunning place to stay in Texas. The hotel, located west of the Mississippi, was regarded as the most luxurious and has hosted many distinguished guests over the last 150 years. 

The notable personalities who have stayed there include renowned actors Sarah Bernhard and Lillie Langtree, political figures like General Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, and esteemed writers William Sydney Porter, Sidney Lanier, and Oscar Wilde. 

Royalty and eleven Presidents have also stayed at this historic hotel for a while. 

The most renowned guest ever would be a character named Bill. He rested at the Menger for more years than some others. In the early 1900s, a carnival exhibitor did the unthinkable: he left the Menger without paying his fee. 

You must wonder how desperate he was to dodge paying since he left his 750-pound alligator behind. Instead of evicting the unlucky gator, management named him Bill and granted him free roam of the atrium. Occasionally, if he was good, they even brought in other alligators so Bill could have some company.

Alligator pits were not only popular, but they were also a common sight in the early days of San Antonio. However, do you know that one such alligator pit has a spooky story behind it? Yes, I am talking about the one at the haunted Menger Hotel!

The Ghost Of Teddy Roosevelt

There is a debate about the number of ghosts haunting the Menger Hotel, with some saying it’s thirty-two while others suggest forty-five. 

Nonetheless, reports of paranormal activity are plentiful and range from beds levitating off the floor to seeing other faces in mirrors. Non-smoking rooms are permeated with cigar smoke, and doors open by themselves. Those who stay here are warned to prepare for the unknown.

One of the most famous hauntings is that of Teddy Roosevelt, who visited the hotel in 1898 with his Rough Riders. Locals referred to the group as Teddy’s Terrors, and the Colonel set up recruitment headquarters in the patio area. 

He returned for a reunion in 1905, and sightings of his ghost in the Menger Bar are common. People feel they are being watched, and Teddy has even been heard trying to recruit staff members. 

On one occasion, a terrified employee had to be let out of the bar after he was locked in with the ghost. To this day, sightings of Teddy Roosevelt’s ghost continue.

Ghost of the Kings Suite

Richard King, the legendary cattle baron and founder of the famous Kings Ranch, passed away at the Menger Hotel. It's worth mentioning that the Menger Hotel has a reputation for being haunted, with many guests and staff members reporting unexplainable phenomena over the years.
Ghost of the Menger Hotel Captain Richard King.

The Menger Hotel is home to the infamous ghost of Captain Richard King. This enterprising man was born into a poor Irish family in New York City and was sold off as an indentured servant. 

King eventually escaped and made his way to the Mississippi River. After visiting Texas, he bought a large parcel of land there and established the King Ranch, which grew to an immense one million acres. 

He was fond of the Menger Hotel, and the staff gave him a private suite on the second floor. It was here that he died of stomach cancer in 1885. His funeral procession was quite large, and it is said that his ghost has been spotted in the hotel ever since. 

Guests have reported paranormal activity in the King Ranch Suite, such as the feeling of being watched and strange noises. The most abnormal phenomenon is the dancing red orb in the suite or just outside.


I spent the night in the King's Suite

As a seasoned traveler, I have stayed in many luxurious hotels, but one night changed my perspective about hotels, especially the haunted ones. I spent the night in the King’s Suite at the infamous Menger Hotel, which is forever etched in my memory.

When I stepped into the hotel, I was in awe of its grandeur and history. I had heard many stories of the hotel being haunted, but I brushed them off, thinking it was a myth. But as I entered my suite, a strange feeling crept over me, and I couldn’t shake it off.

In the middle of the night, I woke up to a man yelling in Spanish. Being a non-Spanish speaker, I needed help understanding what he was saying, but I realized he was in my room. 

As I looked towards the foot of my bed, I saw a ghostly figure of a man waving his hand in what seemed like anger. I was petrified, frozen in fear.

When I mentioned the incident to the hotel staff the following day, they showed me a picture of the man who had haunted my room. It was Richard King, the man the suite was named after. 

The exact ghostly figure from my room was in the photo, and it gave me goosebumps.

I will never forget the night I spent in the Kings Suite at the haunted Menger Hotel. It was an experience that left me questioning the mysteries of the afterlife and the unseen forces that roam amongst us. 

To this day, I wonder what made Richard King’s ghost so angry that he still roams the halls of the Menger Hotel.

Sallie White: The Ghost of a Chambermaid

Sallie White was a much-loved employee at the Menger Hotel during the late 1800s who immensely enjoyed her job as a chambermaid. Despite her good nature, her domestic life was far from ideal; her common-law husband, Harry Wheeler, was incredibly jealous of her and would often argue with her – sometimes even at the hotel. 

On March 28, 1876, Wheeler’s jealousy took a fatal turn. After a particularly heated disagreement at home, Sallie fled to the police station for protection, but Wheeler was not arrested due to lack of evidence. 

The following morning, Sallie returned home to collect some items before work, only to be confronted by Wheeler, who had a loaded gun. She ran two blocks to the Menger Hotel in desperation, but Wheeler followed her and shot her in the lower abdomen and close to her spine. 

Sallie died two days later in the hotel. Mary Menger and the other staff paid for the funeral costs with a receipt still displayed in the lobby. It is said that Sallie’s ghost haunts the third floor of the original part of the hotel, still carrying towels and sheets in her arms. 

Many of the hotels guests have reported seeing her ghost on the floor, and one even seeing her folding sheets at the edge of the bed. Anyone hoping to witness her presence should book a room on the third floor of the original section.

Other Notable Paranormal Activity

The hotel has also been home to several “unusual noises,” such as a table knocking loudly, footsteps, and other unexplained sounds. Other notable ghost stories from the Menger Hotel included the following story:

During a party in one of the rooms, guests reported hearing a loud knock on the door. When they answered, no one was there. The following day, the door was found on the ground, with a significant dent on the bottom.

There are stories of a girl who fell to her death on the third floor while her date watched. This girl is named Lily and is often reported to appear on the third floor, near the window where she fell.

The Texas Lady is known for appearing in the hallways of the hotel. She is said to wear a wedding dress with a bouquet of pink roses. She is often depicted as an older woman in a white dress with a red bouquet of roses.

Before The Menger Became Famous

The Menger Hotel has a long and fascinating history of hauntings and other paranormal activities. Many of these incidents occurred before the hotel became famous, but with so many stories about the hotel, it became a well-known spot for hauntings.


Today, the Menger Hotel is renowned for its ghostly activity and is one of the most popular places for ghost hunters to visit in San Antonio. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers were stationed at the hotel. 


Several of these soldiers reported seeing an apparition of a woman dressed in white. 

The soldiers were so close to this apparition that they could smell her perfume and touch her hair. The woman was described as being between the ages of 30 and 40 years old. 


Some reports stated that she had grey eyes and red lips, while others described her as having blue eyes and fair skin. 

Some visitors to the hotel have described hearing the voices of the soldiers stationed there during the Civil War. 


Others have heard footsteps in the hallway that they believe are the soldiers walking around the hotel. Some have also experienced other unexplainable events. One guest reported seeing an apparition in a bedroom that appeared to be an older woman. When the guest approached her, she felt like someone had pushed her back. Other guests have reported hearing footsteps and seeing images in the mirrors of the Haunted Menger Hotel.