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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Downtown Bryan’s Ghost Walk: Who you gonna call?

Graphic by Cameron Johnson
Ghost Tours

On the night of Oct. 22, Downtown Bryan looked like a ghost town. By 8:30 p.m., all the stores were long closed and a peculiar stillness held the rust and exhaust from the train tracks. A few people milled about in front of the library, with the wind softly howling through the clear sidewalk. In other words, it was the perfect setting for the Bryan Ghost Walk.

Amber Tindall, the tour guide for the night, donned a black corset and skirt suited for the occasion.

“In this haunted history tour, we cover the history of how Bryan came to be,” Tindall said. “We cover more of the dark history of Bryan that nobody knows [about] and also cover how to interact with ghosts and investigate with spirits — we use investigation tools on tour for people to interact [with].”

After working for a different ghost tour company in Houston, Tindall understood the ghost tour business. Tindall reassured those on the tour that Downtown Bryan’s “spirits” were more like your friendly Casper ghost than throat-slashing ghouls.  

“Otherwise, I [would] probably have horrible ratings,” Tindall said. “Spirits mostly want to tell their story. They’re trying to get a hold of somebody that will listen to them and get their information to you.” 

Public opinion varies wildly regarding how people view ghosts, ghouls and demons. Some cross themselves upon hearing about the supernatural, while for others, it’s purely cinematic entertainment, especially the cheesy horror flicks. The underlying reason for Tindall’s belief comes from a frightening experience she experienced at just 6-years-old.

“[I] got stuck in an elevator for three hours at the Queen Mary Hotel in California,” Tindall said. “We were stuck in the middle of doors, so there wasn’t much access from anyone. [Everyone in the elevator] started hearing rattling and tapping on things and hearing voices.” 

Years later, Tindall discovered the Queen Mary was one of the most haunted places in the country.

Bryan’s untold violence and misfortunes are explored in depth in the adult version of the tour. Tindall led the group through some of Bryan’s most haunted and disturbing history as she introduced them to the city’s ghouls and ghosts. The prickly tree looked more like fingers rather than branches as the group walked past the desolate Palace Theater, the quiet antique shops and the orderly String and Horn instrument store.

After seemingly being unsuccessful in contacting a young spirit named Wendy, strange occurrences started happening as the devices began picking up words such as “mommy,” “play” and “cry.” According to Tindall, ghosts, including these kindred spirits, often follow tours to later destinations. While closely following the group of people on the guided tour, the more innocent and wide-eyed walkers grew more uncomfortable and frightened.

Pausing at an inconspicuous mom-and-pop shop, Tindall explained how spirits often latch onto dusty past objects in such stores and cause paranormal activity. In other words, one man’s antiquity is another man’s nightmare. 

As Tindall described how lamps sometimes come on out of nowhere, two younger girls gasped in horror saying they had just seen a brass lamp flicker briefly before turning off within seconds. Breaths fogged up the glass as others peered inside the store for any signs of paranormal activity but failed to see anything.  

One of the most unsettling parts of the tour happened in a dark alleyway, a scene suitable for a Batman origin story. Tindall explained how a man, supposedly a Spanish speaker, was a familiar presence in this area. Danny Reyes, a tour participant who spoke Spanish, volunteered to translate as guided folks asked questions about the spirit. This ghostly presence was assumed to be a construction worker based on words like “labor” and “hands.” However, after asking questions about children and potential spouses, the air became heavier, and the EVP recorder started picking up certain frequency irregularities. The words picked up were much harsher and more threatening than the spirit of young Wendy.

Words like “murder,” “threat,” “run” and other ominous utterances came across the device. When the recorder started picking up “666,” the tour guide abruptly moved on to the following location as many had backed away from the circle. One person on tour, Blinn freshman Elizabeth Morris, retreated into the comfort of the lights, saying the situation “felt really off and wrong.”

The final chapter of Bryan’s murderous history left some confused and staunchly skeptical.

Like Tindall, Reyes said his beliefs about paranormal beings result from personal experiences at his previous home. The bizarre events spooked Reyes for over five years and led him to move to a new home several years ago.

“At that house, something was always touching me, and [it] would sit down on the bed and the bed would move like somebody sitting there and it would hold the sheet so I [couldn’t] get up,” Reyes said. “One night, we were sleeping, and a thunderstorm lit up the skies. And a figure was standing over the bed.”  

Reyes later said he discovered the property was over a little cemetery. 

A central theme of the tour is the power of storytelling and exploring some of Bryan’s more obscure shadows, regardless of whether you believe in the paranormal. Tindall said the story of Downtown Bryan is a far more complex and deeper narrative than most people know. Tindall wanted to explore the town’s history through a curious mindset, even if it meant venturing into its darker spots. During these guided tours, she invites others to join her as she explores the hauntings of Bryan. 

“I just knew Downtown Bryan had a story that needed to be told,” Tindall said.

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