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Guest Register from San Antonio’s Most Haunted Hotel

October 31, 2008

In the spirit of Halloween, we thought we would discuss something in our collection from a historic landmark that some claim is one of the most haunted places in San Antonio – a guest register from the Menger Hotel.

The Menger, located across Crockett Street from the library, is one of Texas’s oldest hotels. Since its 1859 opening, it has developed a long and illustrious history. Notable guests include former presidents such as Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight Eisenhower; military greats like Sam Houston and Robert E. Lee; and literary figures such as Oscar Wilde and O. Henry. Teddy Roosevelt even recruited some of his Rough Riders at the Menger’s bar.

However, the hotel also has a reputation for being one of the most haunted locales in the city. The most famous of the Menger’s ghosts is Sallie White, a former maid who was murdered by her husband in 1876. Some guests and employees have seen Sallie’s ghost on the second floor in the original section of the hotel. She performs her old duties, like cleaning rooms and making beds. People who have seen her say that she wears a long skirt with a white apron and a bandana on her head.

Other famous Menger ghosts are the ladies in blue. One of these apparitions has appeared in a room on the second floor where employees claim to hear strange noises and see lights go on and off by themselves. According to Docia Schultz Williams in her book The History and Mystery of the Menger Hotel, maids prefer to clean this room in pairs. This is because one day, a maid, while cleaning the room, felt that someone else was there with her. When she turned around, she saw a lady in long blue dress. The woman had blonde hair and looked as though she was from the 1930s or 1940s. Other employees have seen the lady strolling on the patio. The other lady in blue has been in seen in the lobby. She is middle-aged and wears a blue dress with red stars. She also wears a beret and shoes similar to those worn by the Women’s Army Corps in World War II. She is usually seen knitting or reading the newspaper.

Many other ghost stories like this exist for the Menger. For more, try these sources:

  • The History and Mystery of the Menger Hotel by Docia Schultz Williams
  • My Most Intriguing Investigations of True Ghost Encounters by Dr. L.E. Patterson

The guest register that the library has spans from February 15, 1874-December 26, 1874. Below are some sample pages. Perhaps some of the Menger’s ghosts have written their names on this register. Happy Halloween!

A page from the register featuring guest signatures, their place of residence, which room they stayed in, and the time that they arrived.

A page from the register featuring guest signatures, their place of residence, which room they stayed in, and the time that they arrived.

This is one of many pages of advertisements in the Menger guest register. These pages are interspersed among those with guest signatures.

This is one of many pages of advertisements in the Menger guest register. These pages are interspersed among those with guest signatures.

Click here for a full citation of the documents and images included in this entry.

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