LOCATION - 1 Mile South of Goliad, TX on US Highway 183
HOURS - 9 AM - 4:45 PM Daily Click Here To Visit Their Website
OWNER - National Historic Site
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY - High, Light Flashes, Light Anomalies, Strange Noises, Constant Footsteps, EVP Audio (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), Doors Opening On Their Own, Feeling of Being Watched
LEGEND - Presidio La Bahia played a major part in the Texas revolution, and in the fate of the men who were hold up in the Alamo. In December 1835 ninety-two men gathered behind the doors of Our Lady of Loreto Chapel at the Presidio and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence on the altar. The Presidio became a stronghold for the Texans and became known as Fort Defiance, under the command of Colonel James Walker Fannin. 350 men were stationed here...these men were supposed to be the reinforcements at the Alamo. For many reasons they never made it, and instead continued to fortify the Presidio in preparations for battle. Eventually when they did retreat they were captured at the Battle of Coleto Creek where many of the men were wounded, 41 to be exact - including Fannin. The Mexican army captured the men, and held them captive for days. First all 341 men were held inside the chapel where there were so many most had to stand, until later only the injured remained and the able bodied were held under heavy guard in the Quadrangle.
The men were told they would be freed, but Santa Anna had other plans On March 27, 1836 the Mexican army split the group of 300 able bodied men into three groups of a hundred. Each group was told something different as they were marched to three different points outside the fort walls...where all 300 men were executed. They showed no mercy to the 41 injured men still inside the chapel. They dragged each one out into the Quadrangle and shot them too. The last man to die was their commander, Col. James W. Fannin. Badly injured, he made three requests to his handlers, to not be shot in the face, to return his belongings to his family, and to be given a christian burial. Then the Mexicans shot him in the face, stole his belongings, and burned his body. This became known as "The Goliad Massacre", and led the Texans to ring the battle cry, "Remember Goliad!". The spirits of these tormented souls are said to remain inside the fort, as wailing, crying, and screaming have continually been captured on audio recordings. People hear footsteps, see full body apparitions, hear people speaking in Spanish, feel like they're constantly being watched, and hear guns, cannons, and music being played. Presidio La Bahia has witnessed an incredible amount of sadness and death.
WHAT WE EXPERIENCED - Investigation conducted with Mission City Paranormal ...present were Russell, Bobby, Mike, & Beatrice. We setup several cameras, one inside the quarters, one facing the chapel, one on the Quadrangle bastion looking towards the Quadrangle doors, and one down the sidewalk near the officer's quarters. Noises began even while we were setting up. Scuffling of footsteps were heard on the ramp to the Quadrangle bastion, as well as along the sidewalk near the officer's quarters. The footsteps were so loud the group anticipated meeting face to face with someone or a group of people who jumped the wall. A searched confirmed we were alone. The noises continued throughout the night leading to paranoia, and the sensation of being followed. The quarters are said to be very active, and the night of our investigation was no different. As we entered the quarters to review evidence and escape the constant footsteps, we returned to find the lights on after being turned off, and the bathroom closet door wide open. No one had been in the quarters, and all the other entry doors were locked. Later in the night the noises in the Quadrangle got louder and more frequent. We viewed remotely on monitor waiting for something to happen. Finally a loud rumble was heard both inside and outside the quarters. Running out the door with cameras in hand, yet again we discovered nothing and the paranoia set in again. The Presidio seems to be very heavy in residual hauntings, as footsteps, wailing, crying, etc. are commonly heard. However, we believe we detected an intelligent haunting. From our camera viewing the Quadrangle doors, a strange mist and pin-point light are seen. The light starts out on the very back wall of the fort seen through the door as a fine pin light, then becomes a mist as it moves across the wall to the corner and up near the door where it fades, and then flashes on the Quadrangle door before disappearing. We have been unable to explain this light anomaly.
MORE - Presidio La Bahia has been a working mission since 1749, and is very reminiscent of the Spanish Missions here in San Antonio - except undoubtedly, this was a military fortress. It existed in two previous locations before the Spanish moved it to the current spot near the San Antonio river. It is one of the only examples of a Spanish Colonial Mission/Presidio complex. The city, then called La Bahia was served by another mission less than a half-mile away, called Mission Espiritu Santo. The Presidio was a military for for all intensive purposes and "Our Lady of Loreto Chapel" was erected to serve the religious needs of the soldiers stationed there. Modern day Goliad sprung up around the fort in the late 18th century. The fort was overtaken twice by two different groups who planned to settle Texas and claim it as their own, both times, the Spanish were able to defeat them and gain back control. One of those group's leaders, Augustus McGee is buried near the Independence Flagpole. His grave is one of two marked graves on the grounds, the other is that of Annie Taylor...we have yet to ascertain who she was. There is also said to be seven crosses on the Quadrangle wall marking the burial spots of seven priests who served at Presidio...we searched extensively and found nothing.
In 1835 during the pre-dawn hours of October 10, the Texians attacked the presidio. The Texians quickly hacked through a door on the north wall of the fortress and ran to the interior courtyard. Hearing the commotion, the Mexican soldiers had lined the walls to defend the fort. The Mexican soldiers opened fire, hitting Samuel McCulloch, a freed slave, in the shoulder - the first injured man in the Texas revolution. Texians returned fire for approximately 30 min. During a pause in the fighting, a Texian spokesperson yelled out that the Texians would "massacre everyone of you, unless you come out immediately and surrender." The Mexican garrison immediately surrendered. If only they knew the same fate they spoke of would befall them not even a year later.
At some point Colonel James W. Fannin became the commander at Goliad and renamed the Presidio, Fort Defiance. During the seige on the Alamo, William Travis made several requests to Fannin for reinforcements, but for whatever reason Fannin delayed and when he finally did decide to march his men to San Antonio, the trip was met with several blunders. On the morning of February 26, he set out with 320 men, 4 cannon, and several supply wagons for the 90 mile march from Goliad to the Alamo. The Goliad garrison had no horses to move the wagons and artillery and were forced to rely on oxen. Barely 200 yards into their journey, one of the wagons broke down, and the expedition stopped for repairs. The group then took six hours to cross the waist-deep water of the San Antonio River. By the time they reached the other side it was dark, and the men camped along the river. The cold front reached Goliad that evening, and the poorly-dressed soldiers were "quickly chilled and miserable" in the driving rain. On awakening, Fannin realized that all of the Texian oxen had wandered off, and that his men had neglected to pack food for the journey. It took most of the day for the men to round up the oxen; after two days of travel, Fannin's men had not even ventured 1 mile from their fort. They turned back around and obviously never made it to the Alamo. Fannin then began fortifying the Presidio in preparations for battle with the approaching Mexican army despite orders from General Sam Houston to retreat to Victoria. He waited several days before finally abandoning the fort. On the way to Victoria Fannin and his men met the Mexican army on the banks of Coleto Creek and a battle ensued. While according to reports Fannin and the Goliad garrison fought bravely, the eventually ran out of water and Fannin surrendered. The Mexican General, Jose Urrea requested clemency for all prisoners, and kept all 341 men hold up in Our Lady of Loreto Chapel. Finally after being held for nearly a week, on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836 the Mexican army split the men into three groups of a hundred, and marched them out to three different points outside the fort walls, and executed them. The remaining men in the Chapel were badly injured from battle, but the Mexicans showed no mercy and dragged each and every man out of the Chapel and shot them. Col. Fannin was the last man to die. He made three requests, please don't shoot me in the face, please send my belongings back to my family, and please give me a proper burial. Then they shot him in the face, stole his belongings, and burned his body.
As another Texas regiment marched through Goliad after the Battle of San Jacinto, they moved bodies to one central burial mound, which sits to this day under the Fannin Monument just a few hundred yards from Presidio La Bahia. The location of the mass grave was lost for some time, and not until a dog dug up a few bones was its location discovered again. You can experience Presidio La Bahia as well, visit their official website and book your stay in the quarters! You won't regret it!