GOLIAD, Texas -- One of the most historic sites in Texas is also home to stories and legends of hauntings at the Presidio La Bahia, the site of the Goliad Massacre.
Presidio La Bahia is a Spanish style frontier fort, one of the most fought-over pieces of land in Texas history. The Presidio was erected just outside of Goliad, Texas in 1749. The area was first founded as a Spanish settlement. It changed hands several times, but on October 9, 1835, a group of Texas citizens led by Captain George Collinsworth took possession of the fort. The first Declaration of Texas Independence was formally declared at the Presidio on December 20, 1835.
One of the darkest days of Texas history took place on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna ordered the execution of more than 340 men and Colonel James Walker Fannin, Jr. near the fort. The event is known as the Goliad Massacre.
Newton Warzecha is the director of the Presidio La Bahia and has served in that position for 20 years. The Catholic Diocese of Victoria is the caretaker of the fort and relies on donations and fees to maintain the historic site. Visitors are welcome to tour the facility during the day for a small fee. Every year there is also a huge re-enactment at the fort that draws thousands.
Warzecha showed KVUE News the Our Lady of Loreto Chapel, which is one of the oldest buildings at the fort. It is also one of the oldest churches in America and has been in use since the 1700s. The chapel is where the Texas Revolutionary soldiers were held in captivity before they were massacred.
"There were 342 men who died in the Goliad massacre which is almost twice the number of men who died in the Alamo and San Jacinto combined," Warzecha said.
The chapel is also the site where visitors have reported eerie sightings. There are reports of a phantom choir singing in the church as well as faces seen in the chapel windows. There are various unmarked graves on the chapel grounds, and some people have reported seeing a woman crying in black near the graves. Other visitors have seen a friar with a hood walking along the chapel wall and disappearing in the darkness.
Bill Corey, nicknamed the "Ghost Hunter of Goliad," visited the grounds of the Presidio after the sun set to share his stories about the sightings.
"We believe in ghosts. We believe in God. We believe in Jesus. Everything you can't see, we believe in it," said Corey.
KVUE reporter Jade Mingus and photographer Michael Moore stayed overnight at the fort in an area called "The Quarters."
Visitors can rent out the two-bedroom living area where enlisted soldiers, and later priests, used to live. According to the visitors log book, visitors have reported seeing rocking chairs rock on their own, doors rattling in the middle of the night, and odd noises.
While the KVUE crew didn't notice anything out of the ordinary during their stay at "The Quarters," they did notice odd images on their video footage.
The crew walked around the fort at midnight and talked about the legends of ghost stories. One such legend is that a blue-green mist appears in the southeast corner of the Presidio, not too far from an old cemetery.
Every time the crew discussed the blue-green mist, a bluish green light appears on their footage. The crew didn't discover the odd images until reviewing the footage. KVUE engineers looked through the video and said the odd light was not caused by the camera or video.
Watch the full story to see what you think about the eerie images. To learn more about the history of the Presidio La Bahia watch our Web extra story linked to the right of this text.