Is Miss Molly's Hotel in the Fort Worth Stockyards Haunted?

Could the shadowy figure at the left of the picture be the ghost of a cowboy the innkeeper says she once saw in the same room?
Could the shadowy figure at the left of the picture be the ghost of a cowboy the innkeeper says she once saw in the same room?
Karen Gavis

Down the cobblestone streets of Hell’s Half Acre in Fort Worth’s Stockyards and up a flight of stairs on Exchange Avenue sits a historic hotel known as Miss Molly’s, which some say is haunted.

The former bordello is a hot spot for paranormal investigators because of unexplained encounters, and was once featured on the Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab. After snoozing at the bed and breakfast on a few occasions, I must say I have to agree.

My first visit to the hotel came on the heels of a debate with a psychology professor a few years ago. I had engaged him in a scholarly conversation about the supernatural and was certain my most convincing orb photos would set the scientific community on edge.

“It does make you think,” he said after viewing the photos. Still, he remained unconvinced.

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To try to prove my point and earn a few brownie points, I decided to conduct a bona fide scientific experiment at Miss Molly’s using a camera, video recorder, electromagnetic field detector, compass, flashlight, pen, paper, audio recorder and four extra AA batteries.

When I first got to the hotel, I took out my digital camera only to find that the batteries were dead. Having brought extras, I replaced them. I managed to take six photos before the batteries died again. Once more, I replaced them, then took three additional photos and left to find food.

As I exited the building, a pizza delivery man asked, “Y’all see any ghosts?”

“Not yet,” I replied.

Upon returning, I discovered that my camera batteries were dead once again, so I attempted to take video footage. However, the battery on my video camera was dead as well, and it never held a charge although it had remained plugged in all night.

Fortunately, the compass I placed beside my bed remained still, and my EMF detector held steady at about four bars. That evening, I plugged an audio cassette recorder into a wall outlet and went to sleep. At some point during the night, I opened my eyes just in case an apparition happened to be present. After focusing, what I thought might be a ghost turned out to be bathrobes hanging from a hook on the backside of a door.

The next morning, I listened eagerly to the audio tape recording. It had recorded the sound of a train blowing in the distance. It sounded sort of spooky, but there were train tracks nearby. There were also sounds of late night partiers staggering along the cobblestone streets. Suddenly, my heartbeat began to quicken as I heard footsteps and sounds of the hardwood floor creaking. But then I remembered that, as a hangover prevention, I had gotten up during the night to drink water.

A bit disappointed, I decided to freshen up in one of the hotel’s three bathrooms. While running water to fill the middle bathroom’s antique bathtub, I experienced an inexplicable, strange feeling and began looking around as the bathroom light over the sink started flickering and going back and forth from bright to dim and back again.

Paula, the innkeeper, later told me that a woman had been found stabbed to death in the bathtub long ago.
I also observed that a Bible had been placed in each of the rooms at Miss Molly’s — even the bathrooms. Paula had placed them there for protection, she said. Also, everything — the floors, the doors, the beds – seemed to creak.

Later, after examining the photos I was able to take, I noticed what looks like a shadow figure present in one of the rooms. Perhaps it may be the same cowboy shadow figure that the innkeeper said had once waltzed right past her and disappeared into the same room.

The next time I visited Miss Molly’s was with a group of Tarrant County College journalism students. Tina Gordon was the innkeeper on that occasion. With a cross dangling from her neck, Gordon entertained us with stories of lamps being unplugged and covers getting yanked off. She also told us how groups of students occasionally visit Miss Molly’s to conduct their own paranormal investigations.

One of the TCC students had downloaded a ghost radar app on her smart phone to decipher what any potential ghosts might be trying to communicate. It lay inactive on the bed next to her while she read a short Dracula knockoff story I had written. All of a sudden the app spelled out “sentence.” The student’s eyes widened as she read the very next sentence: “I hope that my presence does not frighten you.”

The last time I spent the night at Miss Molly’s, about a year ago, I can’t say anything strange happened. But that may be due to the fact that I slept rather soundly after pub crawling around the Stockyards.

If you'd like to investigate hauntings at Miss Molly's (109 W. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth) for yourself, book a room for $100 to $175 at missmollyshotel.com.


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