Scare yourself silly this year at Discover Houston Tours’ Ghost Walks, which will feature the historic Donnellan Crypt. The 90-minute tour through Houston's Downtown Historic District will guide visitors through urban legends and true tales of deceased Houstonians.
Photo Credit: Mike Kees
Sandra Lord, owner of Discover Houston Tours, shared the eerie story behind Donnellan Crypt’s alleged haunting with us-
“Shortly after Houston’s first bridge was built across Buffalo Bayou at Milam Street in October 1838, the Donnellan family immigrated from Ireland. They settled along the bayou near the intersection of Franklin and Louisiana. When the father Timothy, died in 1849, his wife, Emily, buried him in the family crypt, a large, underground room dug into the side of Buffalo Bayou, fashioned out of red brick and sealed by a small wooden door with an arched header.
“In 1856, Emily remarried and moved across Franklin Avenue. Her son, Henry, and his friend A. C. Richer boarded with the family. Emily’s husband died in January 1867. By this time, the bayou under Milam Street Bridge had become an accident waiting to happen. Ordnance had been dumped there in 1865 to prevent it from being used by the Union army. It was also home to a sunken ship and two abandoned barges. When the bayou water was low, the debris would reappear, tempting young men like Henry and A. C. to explore.
“On February 10, 1867, the pair retrieved a shell from under the bridge on their way home from work. As Henry worked on the detonator cap to defuse the shell, Emily, blissfully unaware of their activities, prepared their meal. Suddenly, the bomb exploded, tearing off Richer’s arms and legs, badly mutilating Henry’s left arm and elbow, wounding his abdomen, lacerating his left leg and tearing off several fingers. What remained was interred in the family vault. Poor Emily died later that year and was buried with them in the crypt.”
Though the tour isn’t specifically a paranormal tour, everyone will receive a copy of Sandra Lord's Short Guide to the Paranormal, and participants are encouraged to bring EMF meters and cameras to see if any spirits are present.