decades, 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.
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.
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".
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 1980s.
|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, from Nacogdoches.
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
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.
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.
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.
and courtyard at the Alamo circa 1945
Photo Courtesy TxDoT
|* NOTE: The Alamo
is a shrine. It is a registered historical site, and, literally, a
cemetery for hundreds of people, both Mexican and Texan, and no investigations
are allowed on the site. It is, in fact, a violation of the law to
take photographs inside the Alamo church or the "long barracks", which
are the only two original structures still standing. No cameras or
other electronic apparatus, including EMF meters, are allowed to be
used within the confines of the Alamo.
They can be used, outside, on the grounds.
Undoubtedly, a full and proper investigation of the premises and its
immediate surroundings would produce some astonishing results. This,
however, is not possible. The Alamo
is maintained by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and, so far,
no request to conduct an investigation on the site has ever been approved.
But, ask any of the DRT tour guides if the Alamo
is haunted, and their responses will surprise even the most callous
Page 1 - A ghostly encounter
© James L. Choron
See Battle of
the Alamo by Jeff Robenalt
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