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Calling All Ghosts

According to historian Dash Beardsley of Galveston, who has led ghost-searching treks of the island's Strand National Historic District for nearly three years, "There's a ghost story in nearly every building." His one-and-a-half-hour Ghost Tour of the Strand, one of several spirit-sleuthing treks statewide, offers an on-foot introduction to the island's paranormal world, taking visitors to such sites as Luigi's Ristorante Italiano, said to be haunted by the ghost of a survivor of the 1900 storm. Dash and his crew will take you to many other haunted spots on Galveston Island; adult tickets cost $10. Call 409/949-2027 or 281/339-0204.

Over in San Antonio, Martin Leal's Alamo City Paranormal, a team that has investigated the spirit world for almost six years, leads similar walking tours of that city's haunted sites. "We show you some basic equipment, present the history of some of San Antonio's oldest buildings, and help you develop your ability to see, and sense, the presence of ghosts," says Martin. On the nightly Hauntings History of San Antonio Ghost Hunt through downtown ($10 adults), you'll explore such sites as the Alamo and the Menger Hotel, which Martin calls "the most haunted hotel west of the Mississippi." Call 210/227-3286 or 436-5417. (If you'd rather see the spirits in the comfort of a vehicle, he'll refer you to author Docia Williams' bus tours of the Alamo City.)

Houston, too, is haunted, according to paranormal specialist Sandy Webb, who, with partner Scott Arthur, leads the High Spirits Haunted Tour of Houston every weekend. The three-hour, bus-and-foot tours, which typically visit such sites as an abandoned charity hospital (built in 1924 over a cemetery) and several haunted downtown pubs (La Carafe, anyone?), cost $34.95 for adults, and include use of electromagnetic field meters and a brief primer on paranormal photography. "Nothing is staged," says Sandy. Sandy and Scott also offer an all-day bus tour of haunted spots in Galveston, and if you're interested in a tailored excursion to haunted mansions, churches, or restaurants, they'll happily oblige. Call 713/22-HAUNT.

Austin's Sixth Street and Congress Avenue boast a "lively past," says true believer Jeanine Plumer, whose popular Saturday-night Ghosts, Murder, & Mayhem walking tours offer the chance to see the city in a new–and old–light. New this year: a Haunted Pub Crawl, which makes the rounds of such haunted watering holes as Sixth Street's Casino el Camino. Call 512/695-7297;

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From the March 1998 issue.

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