LOCATION - 856 Gembler Rd, San Antonio, TX 78219
HOURS - By Appointment Only
OWNER - City of San Antonio
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY - Medium. EVP Audio (electronic voice phenomenon), Electrical Interference, Cryptozoology, Moving Objects
The legend of Red Berry Mansion begins with its namesake who is legendary himself. Virgil Edward "Red" Berry grew up in Arkansas, went into the military, and while stationed at Fort Sam Houston worked as an MP. His job was to wrangle up the soldiers who didn't make it back after a night out. This is how he met many of the seedy club owners of the time. He got in with that crowd and eventually opened up his own club in 1934, the elegant Turf Club on Soledad in downtown San Antonio. He was a bootlegger, a gambler, loved horse racing - in fact that's how he made a small fortune, but it all caught up with him after his illegal operation was raided. It didn't help that Red shot a man for coming to his club, and even turned himself in citing self-defense. The case was later dismissed on a technicality. He moved his entire operation to La Vernia to take the heat off, and it was here that he allegedly cheated a man during a game of pitch, his favorite card game...the bet was a piece of land on San Antonio's east side. Red won the land and eventually built the three-story French chateau style mansion on it. The sprawling mansion built on an 84 acre tract of land was huge...12,000 square feet and constructed for a price of only $125,000. Red, by the way, maintained he won the land fair and square and even famously said, "I never cheated anyone in my life, and I never had dealings with a man who couldn't afford it". Red always saw things his way.
The building of the mansion was no easy process, he hired and fired three different architects and burned the plans from each one. It's amazing it was built at all. He brought the bricks in from his home state of Arkansas. See, Red Berry was the type of man who got what he wanted ALWAYS. Berry was indicted for murder two additional times and got off scot-free each time. Probably because the officials who would be prosecuting were patrons of his underground gambling operation he ran out of his basement. He hosted amazing parties and his illegal casino was a who's who of San Antonio. We can only speculate what happened during those parties but find it odd that a three story gorgeous mansion has only three bedrooms? This was most certainly a party house.
Despite an elaborate set of switches and warning signs throughout the house, Red was raided by authorities even at his mansion and shut down. The story goes, it was mostly for show as he was back up in business within 24 hours. This was the straw that broke the camels back for Red. He became so infuriated with the system - even though HE was the one pushing the illegal activity - that he decided to make the system work for him. Red campaigned for state office, and won. He actually shared the very same ticket with John F. Kennedy. He was elected and was a three term Texas State Senator. He was a well-liked politician, but a hated man in San Antonio. Locals didn't like his attitude or anything he stood for. He was dangerous and someone you did not cross. Friends said you didn't double cross Red, or he'd have you taken care of. Red Berry was kind of like San Antonio's own mob boss. He died at the Nix Hospital in November of 1969 after battling cancer.
Since his death the mansion was turned into a lavish wedding venue, with workers and guests alike reporting strange activity. During one wedding guests noted a woman in 1930's garb walking down the stairs to join the party...no one seemed to know her. Later a guest realized the woman exactly resembled the picture of a woman in the bathroom. The longtime caretaker says he constantly feels uneasy. He's seen people looking out at him from the windows, and even swears there's some sort of predatory animal on the property. While Red had exotic animals at his mansion...even wildlife experts have been unable to decipher the bite marks on the dead animals that have turned up. The caretaker believes it's the work of the Chupacabra. In the office above the garage there's a window they can't keep shut despite it being locked and latched. On numerous occasions people would leave locking doors and windows behind them, only to return with the same doors and windows wide open.
1. "Hot Tub Scream"
2. "Miss You"