The Gunter Hotel

History LOCATION - 205 East Houston Street, San Antonio, TX

HOURS - Operational Hotel

OWNER - Sheraton Hotel Corporation

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY - Medium, Apparitions, Light Orbs, EVP Audio (electronic voice phenomenon), Strange Noises, Photo Anomalies


In February of 1965 a man by the name of Walter Emerick was checked into room 636. Emerick was a veteran, and had trouble dealing with things after returning home. He got into trouble with the law for forgery. After a couple stints in jail, Emerick returned to San Antonio to stay with his mother and stepfather. He was a drunk and would constantly go on week or month long drinking binges. During these binges he would check into downtown hotels and live it up for a week, drinking, dancing, and picking up prostitutes. Several women reported him being quite the charmer. Unfortunately, one woman never got to give her report on Emerick. Hotel workers claim he was seen with the same woman for a few days, but something must have gone horribly wrong.

After Emerick had been in room 636 for a few days, a maid entered the room despite the Do Not Disturb sign being posted, she believed it was in error. What she found upon entering the room was a horrible scene. The entire room was blood soaked, the bed was full of blood, the carpet, the bathroom had signs of a struggle with swashes of blood strewn about. The maid screamed, but the man was still in the room. He picked up a blood soaked bag, put his fingers to his lips as if to motion to be quiet, and walked past her, down the firescape, and out of the hotel. The maid was so terrified she didn't tell anyone until thirty minutes later, by this time the man was long gone. All that remained in the room was an empty suitcase, an empty jar of olives, some empty wine bottles, a can of sardines, some cigar butts with lipstick on them, womens nylons, and a clean shirt. Some time later, a .22 slug was found in the wall. What wasn't found...was a body.

Police believe the man murdered the woman in cold blood, shot her, then to dispose of the body, cut her up, dissected her body, ran it through a meat grinder that he bought just a day earlier at a downtown store, and flushed it down the toilet/drain. Walter Emerick was the leading suspect since his fingerprints matched, not to mention hotel staff identified him even though he checked in under a false name. Authorities tracked him down to the St. Anthony Hotel in room 536 (he asked for room 636 when he checked in there but it was unavailable), but when they tried rushing the room, he shot himself.

To this day, no one knows what happened in room 636. No body was ever found. The murder remains unsolved although at the time they believed Walter Emerick was the culprit. No one can be 100% sure. Because of the gory events that took place in that room, room 636 has experienced extreme hauntings since the murder. The hotel remodeled the room and renumbered it because of the reputation the room had, but remodeling rarely works to extinguish a haunting. To this day people have seen aparitions walk through walls, TV's and radio's will turn on and off at will, and strange noises and voices can be heard in the halls.

There are also other stories of the ghosts of two 1920's flappers (prostitutes) who don't get along over some turf battle that are seen in white dresses walking through walls. The bar area is also haunted with the ghosts of many soldiers who were there during the battles. The Gunter hotel is one of the oldest hotels in San Antonio.



Are these faces? These pictures presented anomalies that were not found in other pictures...

We stayed overnight in the Gunter Hotel in a room adjacent to what was the old room 636. The original room no longer exists due to the renumbering of rooms, and remodeling. Present were Russell, Bobby, Jojo, and Vanessa. We used Nightshot Video, EMF, Infrared Thermometers, Voice Recorders, and both film and digital photography. We went lights out around 2 AM and initially performed EVP in all areas of the room. We believe we captured audio on the 4th floor near the ice machine but because the noise from the machine is so loud, it is impossible to hear or call it as evidence. There are a lot of strange noises in the old hotel. The hotel itself is absolutely beautiful, and truly historic. We kept waiting for something to fly through the wall, but no luck. We left with a feeling of disappointment as nothing happened other than security stopping our investigation at one point, as they were unaware of our operation. However, once we revieved the video evidence we were stunned at what we found. We have been using the same Sony HandyCam for all of our investigations and have never experienced bright orbs flying across the screen at any location we've been....until the Gunter. Throughout the night, BRIGHT orbs are seen flying across the screen in all different directions, sometimes directly in front of , or on our faces. These orbs appear mainly when we are addressing a ghost, or talking about hoping to find some source of energy or spirit...it's almost like the spirits are playing games with us as we speak about them and they appear. Ghosts like to play games, and we believe they were playing games with us all night.

 

Originally dedicated on November 20, 1909, the historic Gunter Hotel's roots date back to the first year of the Republic of Texas. In 1837, at the corner of what was then El Rincon and El Paseo Streets was the Frontier Hotel. By the turn of the century, these streets had been renamed St. Mary’s Street and Houston Avenue and the intersection had become a vital part of San Antonio's business center.

Jot Gunter, along with a group of investors, decided that a palatial new hotel would meet the demands of the state’s most progressive city and with that, the Gunter Hotel was born. Designed by the same architectural firm that did the Hotel Adolphus in Dallas and the Galvez in Galveston, the magnificent hotel was the largest building in San Antonio at the time. The San Antonio landmark quickly established a reputation for excellence and became a favorite for business and leisure travelers from across the country.

Across the street from the Majestic Theater, the hotel has attracted its share of Hollywood celebrities, including Mae West and cowboy film stars Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, John Wayne and Gene Autry. Other notable guests over the years included Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

In addition to serving the traveling public in fine style, the Gunter Hotel also has a more infamous past. In 1965, an unidentified woman was murdered at the historic hotel and her restless spirit is said haunt the premises.

It all started on February 2, 1965, when a blonde man in his late 20’s checked into room 636. Though he checked in alone, under the alias Albert Knox, he was soon seen over the next several days accompanied by a tall blonde sophisticated looking woman.

All was seemingly fine until an afternoon maid prepared to check the room on February 8th. Believing the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door was an oversight, she turned the lock with her passkey. However, the maid was shocked as she entered the room to find “Mr. Knox” standing beside a blood-soaked bed. Letting out a scream, the man put his index finger to his lips as if indicating that she should be quiet. He then gathered up a blood soaked bundle and ran right past her and out the door - presumably down the fire escape.

Precious time was lost as the frightened maid told another maid, who told a bellhop, who finally told the manager. It was some forty minutes later before the police were finally called. Arriving within ten minutes, two detectives encountered a grisly scene when they entered the room. The entire room was covered in blood, from the carpet, to the bathroom floor, to the walls, and the bed, and the room was filled with the sticky remains of the woman’s lifeblood. Small pieces of flesh were also found in the bathroom, and the police theorized that the woman’s body had been butchered there, with some parts disposed of down the toilet.

Within days, the police tracked down a suspect checked in at the St. Anthony hotel a few blocks away. As they knocked on his door, they heard a shot from inside the room. The suspect, later identified as a man named Walter Emerick, had taken his own life.

Though a thorough search was made by police, the woman’s body was never found. Police theorized that Emerick may have disposed of the body in still-wet cement at one of the many construction projects that were taking place in San Antonio's downtown area at the time.

Since this terrible incident, staff and guests have reported strange occurrences in the vicinity of room 636. The seemingly restless spirit has often appeared with her arms outstretched. Strange sounds of hammering have also been reported coming from an unoccupied Room 636. Others have reported the image of a blonde woman inexplicably appearing in photographs. Housekeeping staff have reported that new employees often quit after the first time they are assigned to clean the room. Where there is one spirit, others sometimes also linger. Other reports indicate that an elderly woman has also been to known to lurk about the hotel.

Several years ago the Gunter Hotel underwent an 8 million dollar renovation when it became part of the Sheraton Hotel Group. Today, the historic hotel provides 322 guest rooms and suites, furnished in the style of the Texas cattlemen's club rooms of old. Fully updated, the hotel also offers all the amenities of a full-scale modern hotel, including the famous Sheraton Gunter Bakery, a restaurant, lounge, meeting facilities and more.

Obviously not wishing to celebrate its more infamous past, you may very well find the staff of the Sheraton unwilling to talk about the grisly murder or the alleged hauntings.

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