Guests from the past may still linger at the Hot Wells spa ruins

'A Haunting in South Texas': Hot Wells Hotel & Spa ruins

SAN ANTONIO – Once a site of beauty and glamour, the Hot Wells Hotel and Spa attracted many guests to San Antonio.

It was even called the "Second Hollywood" in the early 1900s as 70 silent movies were made at the location.

Stars like Charlie Chaplin and Will Rogers would visit to enjoy the hot sulfur water baths that were believed to cure anything.


The Great Depression and a string of fires throughout the years have left this hotel in ruins. Only the bath house and a three-story building are left on the site.

Some say they now believe the site is haunted.

"We've heard people over the years who have walked around the grounds who may be tuned in to the paranormal have felt things or seen things," Hot Well Conservancy Board President Dr. Yvonne Katz said.

Justin Parr, the caretaker of the site for the past several years, said he has had his share of encounters, as well.

"I can tell you that there is some kind of a presence, and it's friendly," Parr said.

One story he tells is that of a woman who can be seen standing in a window -- but all the windows are currently closed shut.

The night's Erica Hernandez and Adrian Garcia visited, San Antonio Paranormal Investigators may have caught that woman's voice in electronic voice phenomenon, or EVP, recordings. 

Psychic Tamera Johnston also picked up the presence of a man she believed was named Nick.

SAPI members believe there are several spirits that haunt the place, and pictures taken at the site show what looks like orbs floating around.

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For the most part, these spirits are said to be welcoming.

"I think the ghosts are excited to see some activity here," Parr said.

The Hot Wells Conservancy says the ruins will soon be a place the public can visit, as it is looking to make it into a community park.

But for now, it is off-limits to the public and no trespassing is allowed. That will all change on Nov. 14 when the park opens with the Hot Wells Harvest Feast event. 

About the Author

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

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