It’s that time of the year again – Halloween. A time of spooks, chills and thrills, with Gonzales not being without its own history of supernatural occurrences leading to ghostly recollections.
Leon Netardus of Gonzales published his own account of local “happenings” a few years back called “Ghosts of Gonzales.”
While the book proved to be a very entertaining and enlightening collection of stories, Leon’s interest in the paranormal didn’t end there. He recently provided another set of stories that he believed the people of Gonzales would enjoy, just in time for Halloween itself.
The Old Jail
The old jail next to the courthouse was built in 1887, and used until 1975. There were two men hanged inside the jail, the last one being in 1921. The replica gallows are still in the jail, and the atmosphere in the jail is rather spooky in many areas. The Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture office is also housed in the building, and visitors as well as people who work there have reported bizarre, otherworldly experiences, such as light switches turning off and on, and hearing strange, echoing, clamoring noises. Leon claims that if one were to visit the old jail, one might sense the presence of spirits still roaming the cells and corridors within.
“We’ve had lots of people, such as ghost hunters, come in with different types of equipment and machinery,” he says. “They have received responses and indications that spirits do in fact inhabit the building.”
The Man in Black
About 12 years ago, the courthouse was renovated into one of the most beautiful buildings in the state. The contractor told a story in which he was working there one day, and around quitting time he was getting ready to lock up. He was in the district courtroom on the second floor when he looked up into the balcony. A man dressed in black stood over him looking down.
“When he told the man they were closed and that he needed to leave, the man didn’t move,” Leon says. “He just stood there. So he went around and up the stairs to the next floor to confront the man, only to find he had vanished! He didn’t pass him on the way down, and there was no other way out of the building.”
The Muenzler House
Pioneer Village has a two-story house called the Muenzler House. When the house was first moved there, the people renovating it described an otherworldly sensation. They claimed to have seen apparitions and heard strange noises. Everyone who worked there said the house was haunted. In recent years, one of the caretakers was working there by himself one day when he looked in the direction of the house and saw a person standing on the front porch. Knowing fully well there weren’t supposed to be any other people working, he remembered the house was supposed to be haunted. “He says he kind of just laughed it off and said, ‘Oh, it’s the Muenzler House, right?’ But when he looked back up, the person had disappeared without a trace,” Leon recalls. Very strange …
The Guadalupe River Woman
They say there’s a woman who travels up and down the Guadalupe River, and she is often seen in several different locations along its banks. She is said to always be walking along the river with her head down, as though she’s looking for something. “Constantly searching, though seemingly never able to find whatever it is she’s looking for,” Leon explains. “Always walking along the river in search of something that’s not there.”
Or is it?
The Leesville Cemetery Ghost
Many people have reported seeing a little girl in the Leesville cemetery, and they always see her from a distance. They also say the same thing – that she wears a blue dress and is playing in the graveyard like a living child would do in a schoolyard. But the second someone starts to walk toward her, she disappears, and no one can find her. “She is referred to by locals as the little girl in blue,” Leon says. “No one knows who she is, where she came from or what she’s doing there.”
The Twin Oaks Mansion Ghost
The two trees in front of the Twin Oaks Mansion are more than 450 years old. As Leon was touring there one day, he asked the caretaker at the time if the home was haunted. “She said she believed it was,” he says. “When I asked her why, she said she was there by herself one day, and the piano suddenly started playing itself!” Scared out of her wits, the lady ran outside. By the time she calmed down and returned to the house, the mysterious performance had ended.
Here are a few tips for lots of safe Halloween fun:
1. Trick-or-treat with an adult and your friends. Never go alone.
2. Only go to houses you know. Never go into a strange house or car.
3. Cross at corners, not between cars.
4. Don’t eat anything until an adult has checked it. Throw away unwrapped candy.
5. Wear light-colored costumes you can move in, and masks that don’t block vision.
6. Always take a flashlight.