As the sun goes down, an eerie feeling falls across the dimly lit streets of Downtown Harlingen. The buildings of the past have a different feel to them. One can almost feel the rush and excitement of the Roaring Twenties in Harlingen.
“Some of these buildings have a different feel to them, almost like they’re living,” Downtown Harlingen manager Edward Meza said.
“We hear things here in our building and one has to wonder, ‘Is there something more or someone else here with us?’”
The hunt for haunts
On Oct. 18 and 19, Downtown Harlingen Ghost Tour participants can attempt to summon the spirits that are said to haunt particular buildings down Jackson Avenue as well as other parts of the downtown district.
The RGV Paranormal Investigations team leads the tours, instructing participants on what to look out for and how to use their ghost-detecting equipment. After that, participants are then free to roam with staff on hand to help guide and give brief histories about the buildings throughout the evening. Participants lead themselves on the tour and may “feel” their way towards buildings or areas where they sense supernatural activity. Tour guides will suggest the haunting spots for participants to explore.
On the list is the Downtown Harlingen office, a commercial building built in 1915. Many believe it to be the oldest existing brick building in Harlingen. The Grimsell Seed Store exterior is also on the haunted list. The store is part of what once was the Arcadia Theater, one of the largest of five theaters operating in Harlingen that burned down in the 1970s.
Shannon Ramirez’s family owns a building in Downtown Harlingen which she also believes to house residents from regions beyond.
“We’ve owned our building for about 22 years or so, it used to be The Palm Hotel and then Day’s Pharmacy,” Ramirez, whose family used to live in the former hotel, said. The family also now owns and runs Frank’s Collection & Antiques on Jackson Avenue and 2nd Street.
“It was a lot of things over the years, it was even a doctor’s office. But is it haunted? I think so,” Ramirez said. “I’ve heard heavy footsteps, like military boots stomping around, or my name being called out. It’s definitely spooky.”
Ghost Tour details
The Downtown Harlingen Ghost Tours begin at 7 p.m. nightly. Registration, which is $20 and limited, begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Downtown Harlingen office, 209 West Jackson.
“If anything, people will learn about the rich history that Harlingen has to offer,” Meza said about the tours. “Haunted or not, there definitely are a lot of stories to be told about Harlingen, especially Downtown.”