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Mexico | Ghosts

The Haunted Railroad Hotel
of Piedras Negras

by Luke Warm
Railroad bridge over Rio Grande, Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras
The railroad bridge joining Piedras Negras with Eagle Pass.
TE photo, 5-04
One of the few remaining 19th Century buildings in Piedras Negras can be found a literal "stone’s throw" from the southernmost abutment of the railroad bridge that joins that city with Eagle Pass. Owned by the city of Piedras Negras, the two-story former hotel was thought to have been built in the early 1900s until Eagle Pass Historian Al Kinnsal found an ad for hotel dated 1888. The building’s convenient location - a mere 500 feet from the railroad depot - guarantees that it has seen legions of guests over the years as well as more than a few dignitaries.

The current exterior condition of the building is deplorable - that is to say it's about the same as thousands of small town Texas buildings. Pigeon-infested with broken staircases and fallen chimneys, the once wide veranda now has railings that look like termite-eaten cork with decking of brown Swiss cheese. There is no cornerstone visible nor any emblem or device that would show ownership by the state, railroad or family.
The haunted railroad hotel in Piedras Negras




The haunted railroad hotel in Piedras Negras
TE photo, 5-04

Haunted Railroad Hotel

Our agenda the day of our visit did not include the hotel. But, after photographing the railroad bridge, it was necessary to turn around near the (still-in-use) depot and that's when we spotted the hotel. As we took photos against a blazing sun, a uniformed policeman appeared. But instead of asking our business he walked past us through what is now the hotels front door. “Looking for the ghosts?” he casually asked.

He didn't merely ask "Looking for ghosts?" he asked "Looking for the Ghosts?" - which made it a question that couldn't be ignored. We asked for a few minutes of his time and he stepped back outside, smiling that we had taken the bait. Courtesy and graciousness are abundant in Mexico (especially when both parties are pedestrians) and these virtues are freely dispensed in a country that could teach the world a thing or two about time management.

Having a city employee living in an otherwise vacant building is a practical arragement. He gets free rent, the city gets a live-in guard, the building doesn’t get set ablaze by vandals and the ghosts get someone to torment - or at least irritate.

The officer stated that he hadn't yet seen any headless robed figures, grotesque horned beings or women in long white gowns carrying their heads. The spirits evidentl haven’t felt any need to materialize. They’ve contented themselves to moving things, mumbling at night and occassionally suspending articles a few inches in midair. Perhaps they're behaving themselves since their audience is uniformed.

We didn’t ask, but the man offered the age of the hotel as “over 200 years old.” We raised our eyebrows in appreciation since we didn't know what else to say. When the subject came up on whether it bothered him to live in a haunted place, the officer answered with a remark that we’ve heard before in Mexico when the subject of spirits comes up. “I’m not afraid of the dead," he said, " it’s the living that I fear.”

Perhaps one of the many para-normal investigators in Texas will take the time to check out the hotel. We'll keep our readers informed.
Piedras Negras taxi
Off Duty Piedras NegrasTaxi across from hotel.
TE photo, 5-04
© John Troesser
July 22, 2004 Feature

Related Topics: Ghosts | Rooms With a Past | Texas | Mexico | Bridges | Railroads |




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