Part of Waxahachie’s undeniable charm is the fact that it is that it is home to several ghosts and haunted houses.
Some Internet travel sites even go so far as to say that Waxahachie is the most haunted town in Texas. But that is something that you have to decide for yourself.
The Catfish Plantation is probably the most well known haunted site in Waxahachie. Customers flock to this quaint restaurant hoping to catch sight of a ghost.
After buying and renovating the old house in 1984, owners Tom and Melissa Baker opened for business. Shortly after opening, the ghosts started making their appearances. At this time, the Bakers decided to get professional paranormal experts to come investigate. After having two different experts come, it was clear that there were three ghosts residing in the house, Elizabeth, Caroline and Will. Both Caroline and Will died of natural causes while Elizabeth was murdered on her wedding day.
These ghosts aren’t scary or spooky. Instead, their occurrences can better be described as strange, says owner Melissa Baker. One strange experience she had occurred on a busy Saturday morning.
“I was walking past the coffee machine, when the coffee pot suddenly lifted up and started floating across the room. It floated about 3 feet before landing gently on the floor,” she said.
While incidents happen all over the house, the most common place is in the bathroom. Baker thinks that this is because Elizabeth was murdered in the bathroom. Baker feels that occurrences like this are definitely good for business.
“First time customers come out of curiosity, but they always come back because of our charm,” she said.
Restaurant staff asks that you report any experiences so that they can record and share the stories with other customers. While they do get several reports a month, most experiences go unnoticed.
“Full apparitions are rare,” says Baker. “More often it is something small - something on the table moves, they feel a touch on the shoulder or a suddenly cold spot. While people are eating or talking, they just don’t recognize it as a ghostly experience.”
However, when full apparitions do occur, they are always very consistent, and customers can give great detail.
“People can always tell me exactly what the ghost is wearing or how the hair is done,” Baker said.
Another famously haunted business in Waxahachie is the Rogers Hotel.
First built by Emory Rogers as a log cabin at a small town crossroads, this building has turned into a grand establishment.
This hotel is said to have had more than 300 ghosts in the building. The most known spirits are a cowboy, a little girl who drowned in the hotel pool and Emory Roger’s son. These ghosts roam the hotel appearing in several different spots. The little girl walks the lobby, while Roger’s son haunts the elevator and the cowboy makes appearances in room 409, which is said to be the room with the most ghostly activity.
Aliwah Hatley is considered somewhat of an expert on the history of these ghosts and says she has had many experiences while working in the hotel.
“One night I was working the 11-7 shift,” said Hatley. “I heard footsteps in the lobby for 15 minutes straight, but there was no one there. I haven’t worked that shift since then”
Other times, ghosts have fun opening and closing locked doors.
“Sometimes I lock a door, then go back an hour later and it’s open, but I have the only key,” Hatley said.
Hotel staff has invited several paranormal experts and psychics come to investigate the ghost activity. All experts say the same thing - that the hotel is an open portal to another world.
“It’s definitely a scary thought,” said Hatley.
Not only does the Rogers make room for ghosts, they have also had several celebrities stay. Bonnie and Clyde, Frank Sinatra and several other famous people have stopped at the hotel.
But the staff doesn’t mind their ghostly visitors too much. Being able to market themselves as a haunted hotel brings them extra business.
“People are excited when they can say that they stayed in a haunted hotel,” Hatley said. “They like to be able to tell their friends that they were in the same place as a ghost.”
Like the Catfish Plantation, Rogers Hotel asks that visitors write down any sightings. These reports are kept in a book in the lobby along with newspaper and magazine clippings. For more facts on the hotel, ask about informational tours led through the hotel.
While most ghosts are friendly and don’t cause problems, not every ghost is so nice.
The Catfish Plantation and Rogers Hotel are lucky to have more amiable ghosts.
However, Bob Lynn of Waxahachie was not so lucky.
Lynn lived in Lancaster for about year. In the bathroom of the house, there was a window, about 6 feet by 6 feet, says Lynn. Since it was in the bathroom, the window was frosted, so you couldn’t see through it. But, one day the frosting started chipping off.
“The condensation caused the frosting to come completely off, and on the window was the face of Rasputen. It was the horrible, ugly face of the devil,” Lynn said. “I was a little skeptical then, trying to be reasonable, saying that there is no such thing as ghosts.”
At that time, Lynn decided to have the window removed.
“As soon as the glass was out of the house, all the dogs in the neighborhood started howling,” said Lynn. “But, even then, I was trying not to think about the possibility of ghosts. Then I heard about how on the way back to the company, the trailer carrying the glass was hit by a truck. The glass was shattered into a million pieces all over the highway.”
The face, the dogs howling, the wreck were all too many coincidences for Lynn.
“I didn’t believe in ghosts before I moved into that house, but I sure did when I left it,” he said.
Some ghosts have definite stories and histories, but for others, a little less information is known. These ghost stories are told more in the form of legends.
One story says that the ghost of a confederate soldier walks down Becky Lane in Waxahachie at night. Becky Lane is supposedly the site of the last Union hanging after the Civil War.
Another story says that you can see a little boy along the “Goat Man Trail” in Italy. Supposedly, a little boy accidentally let some animals out of their pens. He got scared and tried to run away from the goat that was chasing him. On the way back to his house, a train hit him. Now, you might see him wandering around at night.
If you are skeptic about ghosts and don’t believe they’re real, just visit one of these places. You just might change your mind.