people from all walks of life have told chilling tales of ghostly
experiences at the Alamo.
Strange smoky spirits that wander its grounds, screams heard from
inside its walls, sounds of explosions, even faint trumpet notes
of "El Deguello," the ancient Spanish call of "no quarter" that
Santa Anna ordered played during the final assault on the fort.
It is important to remember that the Alamo
is essentially a cemetery, a place where 182 Texans defenders died,
and 1,600 Mexican soldiers were either killed or wounded on March
6th, 1836. Their remains were dismembered, burned, dumped in the
San Antonio River, or simply left to the elements. It was one of
the bloodiest battles in American and Texas history.
The first account
of ghosts at the Alamo
came only a few days after its fall. General Antonio Lopez de Santa
Anna left San Antonio
in the hands of General Juan Jose Andrade, who made camp several
miles from the Alamo
because of the carnage and disease born by the bodies left in the
sun. When Santa Anna sent word for Andrade to destroy the Alamo,
the general sent a colonel with a contingent of men to carry out
the orders. The men came rushing back with a frightening story of
six "Diablos" or devils guarding the front of the old mission. The
specters were screaming at the advancing Mexican soldiers and waving
flaming sabers in their hands. When General Andrade went to investigate
the incident in person, he described six men with balls of fire
in their hands, advancing on his terrified troops.
While on the subject of the six "diablos", another prominent haunting
comes instantly to mind. Many people believe that all of the Alamo's
182 defenders died in the battle. This is not, exactly speaking,
correct. Several of those who took part in the battle actually survived
the attack. Among these, reports by General Manuel Fernandez de
Castrillon, General Martin Perfecto de Cos and Colonel (later General)
Juan Jose Andrarde state, was the famous Tennessee frontiersman,
David Crockett. In the 167 years that have passed since the famous
battle, many visitors have reported seeing the specter of a tall,
stately Mexican officer walk slowly through the remaining buildings
of the Alamo and around the grounds, arms clasped behind his back,
slowly shaking his head in sorrow. It is believed that this is the
restless spirit of General Manuel Fernandez de Castrillon, one of
Santa Anna's regimental commanders, who had opposed the final assault
on the grounds that it was bound to be a "bloodbath". When the firing
had stopped, just after sunrise on that fateful Sunday morning,
six men were brought to him, alive, after attempting to surrender.
General Castrillon offered them his protection, and then petitioned
Santa Anna for clemency. Santa Anna, of course, refused, and ordered
the six men executed. When Castrillon refused to carry out the order,
on moral grounds, since he had offered the men his protection, Santa
Anna's staff fell on the men with sabers, hacking them to death,
and in the process, almost killing Castrillon.
Nor were the six who attempted to surrender the only survivors of
the attack. At least two messengers, John W. Smith and James L.
Allen, who left the Alamo shortly before the final assault also
survived, as did the Alamo's only "coward", Louis M. Rose. the only
man who refused to cross Colonel Travis' line in the sand and chose
to escape. Brigadardo Guerrera, a Mexican defender managed to talk
his way out of being executed by claiming to have been a prisoner
of the Texans, and Henry Warnell managed to escape the final assault
and make his way to Port Lavaca, where he died several months later
as the result of wounds that he received in the battle. The Alamo's
youngest active defender also survived. Twelve year old Enrique
Esparza, who had passed ammunition to the Alamo's artillerymen,
managed to flee, in the last few minutes of the final assault to
the room in which the women and children were sheltered. He was
spared because of his age, along with the other children present.
There is also the possibility of two other survivors, whose names
have been lost, who appeared in Nacogdoches,
Texas, two weeks after the battle, who, according to the Arkansas
Gazette, of March 29th, 1836, "said San
Antonio has been retaken by the Mexicans and the garrison put
to the sword. if any others, aside from themselves, escaped the
general massacre, they were unaware of it".
Every March, a few days after the anniversary of the battle, residents
of the area surrounding the Alamo
are wakened in the early morning hours by the sound of horse's hooves
on the pavement. It is believed that it is the spirit of James Allen,
the last courier to leave the Alamo, the evening before the massacre,
trying to return and report to Colonel Travis. This incident, although
glamorized and elaborated on, has been more or less immortalized
by Stephen Spielberg in an episode of the short-lived television
series dealing with the unexplained that he produced in the late
Of all these survivors, only one has produced a recorded haunting.
There have been literally dozens of reports of a lone man, dressed
in the clothing of the time, carrying a long rifle, walking slowly
toward San Antonio,
When passersby stop to investigate the strange site, they are told
only that he is trying to "get back to the Alamo, where he belongs".
It is thought that this is the restless, guilty soul of Louis M.
(Moses) Rose, the "coward of the Alamo", who, regretting his flight,
is now damned for eternity to try and regain his honor by returning
to the battle.
There have also been repeated reports of a man and a small child,
seen on the roof of the Alamo church, in the early morning hours,
just at sunrise. In the confusion of the final assault on the Alamo,
Colonel Juan Andrade and several other Mexican officers stated that
they were "horrified" when they saw a "tall, thin man with a small
child in his arms, leap to the ground from the parapet at the rear
of the Alamo church.
At least fourteen people, almost all women and children are documented
to have survived the siege of the Alamo.
These include Suzanna Dickenson and her 14 month old daughter, Angelina,
who has gone down in history as "the babe of the Alamo", and Colonel
William B. Travis' former slave, Joe, who was, in fact, an equal
defender of the Alamo.
Travis freed Joe, and offered him the same opportunity to escape
as he did to the rest of the garrison, when he drew his famous "line
in the sand". Joe, however, remained in the Alamo,
standing side by side with Travis on the Alamo's walls. He was spared
execution simply because General Santa Anna thought him to still
be a slave, and not a willing combatant.
Many visitors to the Alamo
report seeing two small boys, about ten to twelve years old, tagging
along with the tour groups who visit the grounds of what is, arguably,
the holiest spot in Texas. No one seems to know where they come
from, and no one sees them leave. They simply "disappear", when
the tour group reaches the small sacristy room in the Alamo church.
Many believe these little boys to be the sons of Alamo Artilleryman
Anthony Wolfe, aged nine and twelve, who were killed in the final
assault, mistaken for combatants by the advancing Mexicans, when
they were discovered hiding in the Alamo church.
One of the saddest stories of Alamo
ghosts is that of a little boy who has been seen for many years
wandering the grounds around the old mission.
It is said that each February a small blond boy, with a lonely and
forlorn look, is seen at one of the windows of the chapel areas
of the mission. The window where the child is seen has no ledge
and is far too high for him to climb onto. According to legend,
the young boy is one of the children evacuated from the mission
before its fall in 1836, and returns each February to search for
his father, who was lost in the battle.