Bandera the "Ghost" Town
By Raymond V. Carter, Jr.BCHC Research Historian
Bandera General Store
As told by Glen McComb
A couple of Saturdays ago, I was having a super great chocolate milk shake at the Bandera General Store and got to talking to Glen McComb, the owner, and we got on the subject of haunted buildings. McComb told me of what he knew of a friendly, but mischievous ghost, called Henry that haunts his establishment.
McComb tells his story: "Years ago this particular location use to be a boot and saddle shop, a leather shop, and this soda fountain counter used to be on the other side (north side of the room) and you can see, it has all the scratch marks from when it was a leather shop and they actually cut the leather on here." "It was run by a husband and a wife, and the way I understand the story is this: They were getting old and the old owner said, when I die I am going to wait here for you and when you die come and get me and we will leave and go on about our business." Well, he died sure enough and he stayed here and when she died she never showed up." "So, he is stuck here, he is stuck here in the store." "And he has been here to my knowledge for at least thirty years." "We know he is here because, as an owner of the store, I make sure that every thing is in its place and I go here every day at closing time to make sure that we are ready to open tomorrow and that everything is properly displayed." "Well, we will come here in the morning and sometimes the stick horses will be on top of the candy, all the post cards will be turn around upside down, and all our fountain things will be redistributed."
"From what I understand, when we bought the store, he was a mischievous ghost, he was not a bad ghost or an angry ghost, he was a just a mischievous little guy that likes to walk around the store late at night."
"We have had books written about it, we have had TV shows that the store has been on, and we've had film makers from Los Angeles come here, actually spend the night with all their machines looking." I asked if he has ever seen him or heard him and his answer was "no."
McComb stated "It is only when I come in the morning." "Now, sometimes things will happen, like this ceiling fan right there, now all of our ceiling fans have three blades on them, and one day out of the blue one of the blades flew across the room." McCombs laughing said "I justify it by saying it was just old, it was old and worn."
A documentary was made of the story, but McComb has not seen it. He states, "that a lot of people who claim to be ghost hunters have come in here do get weird feelings and such."
McComb also said "that his employee who spent the night with the film crew as a safety measure, told him that the film crew was sort of mean to 'Henry the Ghost', by screaming at him, demanding that he show himself, which he never did." "Henry is a friendly ghost!"
I, for one would spend the night in the store, but from my perspective, I would be sympathetic to "Henry the Ghost" and with the Lord's help, ask him to see that he moved on to his love ones and be at peace.
The Old Spanish
As told by the ones who experienced it.
I eat quite frequently at the OST and of course I am always asking about the history of a building or business. Well, one day I made the point of asking about the ghost that is said to haunt the restaurant. I got some very dramatic and descriptive responses from several different sources.
I was told that most of the sightings occur in the early morning or late at night. Visions of black ghostly objects floating by caught in the corner of the eye. Cooks complaining of things being rearranged when they come back in the morning and one time when checking the security video camera footage they witnessed a fry basket flying through the air all by itself that previous night. Others have witnessed things flying off the shelves and chairs scooting across the floor. This I heard from two different witnesses. Sounded, convincing to me.
One morning, as I was told, when they were setting up and getting things ready for a busy day and before anyone else was in the building, the cook saw a shadowy object float through the front door and go along the tables until it floated to the southwest corner of the eating area when it suddenly went through the wall and disappeared. Spooky, a little bit. You have to be there. You have to see it.
The best stories are the ones Shirley told me about her experiences. After closing they check all the burners on the stoves to make sure they are turned off. Well, she examined the burners and they were off. After walking off from them, someone said, look two burners are on! To Shirley's amazement, two of the burners were on full blast that she had just checked and made sure were off. One other instance she experienced happened when she was there all by herself. Just as she was locking the front door to leave and everything being dead quit, she had a awful scare. Anyone who has been there knows about the talking and singing deer mounted on the post. All of a sudden, breaking the dead silence, the deer starts talking and scares the "bejesus" out of her. Someone or something had to turn that machine on she said adamantly.
While talking, our conversation was over heard and some others joined in. Phil Tobin mentioned that they have a ghost out at their old home place. He has seen it and so has his daughter. It is a ghost of a woman in a white night gown that travels from the house to the barn and after a while travels back from the barn to the house. Tobin stated, "Two of the original houses still stand on the property." Makes one wonder who she might be? To my surprise, I am finding out there are a lot of ghostly sightings in Bandera County.
As told by Mary Jane, Debi, Blondie and Eddie
Mary Jane started the stories by explaining that they encountered the spirits that are in here when a customer (who later became a dealer) came up to me and said "do you know that you have spirits in here?" Mary Jane responded by saying, "Well, I kind a felt that way." So, two people came up one night, one (the paranormal) had a divining rod, we had an electric energy sensing meter, a tape recorder and a watch, to record the time of any events. My husband was here at the time, so we all walked the mall and we did encounter some strange things. One of them was when we were downstairs. We weren't sensing anything, so the lady with the divining rod said, "I am going to knock three times, which she did, and if you (speaking to the spirit) are here I want you to knock three times in return." Now, remember we had a tape recorder and a watch. No response was made, we did not hear anything. So, we moved on to another area.
I was watching the lady with the divining rod and she never moved her wrist. If the answer was going to be "yes" by the spirit, the divining rod would move away from each other (outwards) or if the answer was "no" they would cross. We were out in the "Cowboy Corral " and this lady (spirit) identified herself; "that she was in her fifties and was murdered in the 1930's." The paranormal kept asking the spirit questions, one being, "Do you know who did it (murdered you)?" After asking that question, the paranormal's hands started shaking uncontrollably like she was scared and asked "is that person here?" At that instance the divining rods flew apart, giving the indication and answer of "yes!" I had the timer-watch and was writing down the times when these things happened. So, the paranormal asked, "Do you know where it happened?" The paranormal's arms swung to the direction of the mall (the back of the old original building). The paranormal asked, "Is that person here?" The divining rods gave the indication of "yes." So then, we went on and did other parts of the mall. I went back there by myself, because when the divining rods gave the answer of "yes" the hairs on my arms and my neck stood up, I mean immediately.
I went back there later on, and we have a picture, a wooden oblong picture, and I asked the spirit, "Are you here?" And, nothing, nothing, nothing. She asked again, "Are you here?", because I could smell a "strong rose scent." This was about 10 o'clock at night, there was nobody else here and I was the only female back there at the time. Again, the old rose water, the smell was so strong, I then turned and noticed the wooden oblong picture moving "back and forth." That is how and the first time she communicated to me. She communicated with me several times answering my questions.
Well then, after it was all over, we came back into the conference room and we listened to the tape recording. Remember the three knocks, we did not hear a response while there and at the time, remember? Well, on the tape recording, clear as day, the three knocks and it was about the time I wrote, in my notes about the three knocks. And, at the noted time when the divining rods flew open at the end of the recording you could hear a whooshing sound as if the spirit "flew out" or away.
More stories were told to me by Debi, Blondie and Eddie, but they will have to wait for another time, that is if you readers want to hear them. For now, I say listen for those knocks and noises late at night and think twice about what might be causing them. Boo!