Story by: Monica Solis with THREADS – The Stories That Bind Us
“And don’t let it frighten you, when you feel the tingling or your hair stand up, or the cold”, says Erin O’Wallace. “They’re just trying to communicate. If you can get over that fear, you’ll get to experience someone that still exists.”
Meet Erin O’Wallace. She is a retired genealogical columnist, co-owner of Magnolia hotel in Seguin and author of recently released “Haunted New Braunfels.” The book mostly chronicles historical ghost stories of New Braunfels. However, through her research for the book, O’Wallace discovered the hotel in Seguin along with some modern spirit encounters.
O’Wallace, a bright and quick-witted woman, has one of those infectious laughs. She will engage in endless conversation, so long as you’re willing to listen and share her sense of wonder. She’s not what you’d expect of a ghost hunter, ghost buster.
“Spirits, ghosts, paranormal, whatever you want to call it – it’s just an extension of history; think of it that way.”
– Erin O’Wallace
Think of O’Wallace as the eyes and ears for the local paranormal; these are some of her stories from the field.
’“Whenever we go somewhere and do an investigation, we always say ‘go touch Jim,’ if you’re here, go talk to Jim, because we want him to believe,” O’Wallace says.
O’Wallace is referring to her husband Jim and the paranormal investigation team, Central Texas Paranormal Society (CTPS). She works with them sometimes, just for fun. Sensing something different about the Magnolia Hotel, O’Wallace decided to renovate and reopen it, as it had been closed for about 200 years.
“You could almost feel the building begging to be saved.”
– Erin O’Wallace
O’Wallace, an avid historian, says Magnolia was a happy place in its busy years. It was a hotel and a stage coach stop so guests were often travelers or families reuniting. O’Wallace and her husband believe the hotel is filled with the long-forgotten spirits of children who like to hang out there and play.
“We constantly hear the little girl’s voice, and as soon as we walk in, it’s a super dragged out ‘helloooooo,’ and it’s almost everytime we come in,” O’Wallace says. “And so as a joke, Jim and I go ‘hellooooo,’ we say it back. We find children’s toys. We found a Davy Crockett figurine and marbles, we find marbles all the time. We found a little girl’s babydoll dress. So to me if was a very fun and active place.”
“I was restoring this one wall, and I pulled down the sheetrock and when I pulled down the sheetrock, behind it was a hidden door,” O’Wallace says. “I took a picture, and then another, and when I went to take the third, there was a bright light that flashed in front of me…You can see the actual face and you can see the two fingers doing the little, silly thing. In my opinion, it’s the children – another way of saying they are there. And they were being silly, and I’m ok with it.”
She now describes Magnolia hotel as haunted but with a very positive energy.
“I feel like since we saved it, that they’re very grateful and so I think that’s why it’s so happy, you know. We don’t catch anything bad there. It’s always happy…”
– Erin O’Wallace
O’Wallace trails off for a second.
“Except for when we had the house blessing, that was bad,” O’Wallace says.
O’Wallace wanted to take every precaution when renovating Magnolia. She decided to call on two of her friends – a police chaplain and an Episcopalian Father.
“And I thought, combining two religions to bless a house would be so cool,” O’Wallace says. “When it was all said and done, there was a lot of banging and clashing from inside and glass encircled the chaplain’s car….But nothing since, that was weird.”
O’Wallace considers herself to be a woman of faith – she sported a thin, gold, cross necklace during the interview – but she doesn’t believe her work interferes with it. Through her historical and paranormal research, she’s rediscovering the stories her grandmother once told her as a child about their German ancestry in New Braunfels.
O’Wallace will continue to communicate with these spirits, she says, so long as they’re open to sharing their story.
“If you hear a bang, if you hear a hello, then they want to communicate. So you know, why not give them that opportunity? Maybe they’re just lonely or maybe they have a story to tell. Who knows, we might be there someday and I hope somebody opens up their ears and listens to me. But I’ll be at the hotel, that’s where I’m going!”
– Erin O’Wallace
All proceeds for “Haunted New Braunfels” go to the restoration of Magnolia hotel.
At the Stephen F. Austin hotel in Austin on Thursday, Senator Judith Zaffirini celebrated her award by talking about her accomplishments and thoughts on mental health. Her interest in mental health was initially sparked at age 5 when she was in the first grade. One of her classmates had contracted polio, and she decided to help by selling peanuts to raise money for the March of Dimes. As she began to be more involved in mental health, she realized the importance […]
Earl Lee on July 27, 2014
What is the cost of tour, and how do i get tickets.
ktsw899 on July 30, 2014
Thing is, the Hotel is currently a private residence. Although, you can contact the owner to ask for a tour. More information on the hotel on http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Haunted-Magnolia-Hotel-Seguin-Texas/169732753178285?sk=info.
gabbygirl on May 11, 2016
What a GREAT article! Thank you!