The Gunter Hotel: The Haunting of Room 636

Did you know San Antonio is one of the most haunted cities in America? A San Antonio hotel would not be complete without a ghost story attached to its history. Whether you believe in spirits or not, the story that taints the Gunter’s past is sure to peak your interest.

Rewind the tape back to February 6, 1965.

Gunter Room 636

Gunter Room 636

The Gunter was functioning as usual that February day. A blonde man in his late 30s checked in to the hotel under the name “Albert Knox” and was assigned room 636. Nothing too out of the ordinary, right? So you think…

For the next few days “Mr. Knox” frequently came and went from the hotel accompanied by a striking blonde woman also in her 30s.

However, the image of The Gunter drastically changed the morning of February 8. The maid on duty that afternoon, Maria Luisa Guerra, made her way to room 636 to make one final check before her shift ended. The “Do Not Disturb” sign was hanging on the door, however, Maria assumed the occupants had forgotten to take it off and proceeded to open the door.

We’ve been known to forget to take down the sign a time or two. Can’t really blame Maria.

However, Maria’s assumption had been terribly wrong. To her horror, Maria laid eyes upon a tall Anglo man standing beside a blood-soaked bed.

I bet Maria never opened another door that had a “Do Not Disturb” sign ever again…

For obvious reasons, Maria screamed. According to the San Antonio Express News article on February 10, 1965, the man placed a finger upon his lips signaling her to be quiet, scooped up the bundle of sheets, and exited the room.

Ok, who’s a little creeped out? 

The police arrived soon after to discover empty bottles of wine, olives, cheese, and small bloody footprints! They also found, strands of blonde hair, nylon hose and women’s underclothing.

A shell from a fired .22 caliber bullet rested on the bed. The slug… found lodged in the wall near a bloodied chair.


Photo courtesy of

Trails of blood led back and forth to the bathroom, possibly indicating the murderer had made several trips to the bathroom for unbeknownst reasons. Detectives believe the murderer to have dissected and washed the body of the victim in the bathtub before carrying it out in the sheets Maria had seen him holding.

There are mixed beliefs about whether or not the body had been butchered in the hotel room that day. Some indicate the amount of blood present was conducive with a butchering while others theorize that there wasn’t enough blood. To this day, no one knows the truth.

After days of investigation and retracing the steps of this so-called “Albert Knox”, police stumbled upon evidence revealing “Mr. Knox” to be Walter Emerick, a 37-year-old unemployed accountant.

Oh geez…

The police released a statewide alert for Emerick. Hours later, they were contacted by a security guard at the St. Anthony Hotel, just blocks away from The Gunter. The security guard became suspicious of a tenant named “Robert Ashley” after he refused to allow maids to clean his room.

The police approached room 536, “Ashley’s” assigned room. Bypassing a knock, they asked the security guard to unlock the door so the man would be taken by surprise. However, the guard was quite nervous, according to former Detective Frank Castillion, causing the keys to rattle against the door, alerting the suspect of their presence.

A shot rang out from within the room as Detective Castillion pushed open the door. Unfortunately, the suspect had shot himself in the temple just seconds before the police came in.

Walter Emerick shot himself at the St. Anthony Hotel before police could question him about the murder in Room 636.

Walter Emerick shot himself at the St. Anthony Hotel before police could question him about the murder in Room 636.

Fingerprints of “Ashley’s” matched those found in The Gunter’s room 636. The police also found a white shirt that had been washed in an effort to remove apparent blood stains.

To this day, the body of the blonde woman has never been found and no blonde woman was ever reported missing. The case remains open.

Hotel staff and guests have reported strange noises coming from where 636 once stood, and sightings of a female apparition in the sixth floor hallway.

Former staff member, Jackie Contreras, recalls an incident she had involving her and an apparition. One day back in 1990, she went to go check the room before important clients were to stay there that night.

When she opened the door, she found the room pitch black. Odd seeing how the maids typically drew the curtains back to allow sunlight in. As she fumbled around for the lights, the light from the hallway revealed a woman standing in the room.

Contreras says the woman was looking straight at her with outstretched arms! She described her as being very old and slumped over and as pale as a sheet. Contreras ran out of the room and down to the front desk to ask if anyone had been staying in room at the time. The attendants assured her no one had checked in….

That same year around Christmas, hotel employees were snapping photos together during the annual Christmas party. Once the photos were developed, one of the employees noticed a recurring unexplained human figure in each photo.

The original room 636 has now been divided into two separate rooms in an effort to curtail the unexplained “activity”, however, guests are more than welcome to stay in what remains of 636.

Are you brave enough to spend a night in these haunted rooms?

If so, The Gunter awaits your check-in…

20 thoughts on “The Gunter Hotel: The Haunting of Room 636

  1. Pingback: The Gunter Hotel: The Haunting of Room 636 | Green Eggs and Sam

  2. is the hotel room creepy? i want to spend the night in their, and do you know any haunted actual houses and hotel room near austin and san antonio that are really creepy?

  3. I checked into the Gunter last night. Stayed in room 520 , heard running water thinking it was the toilet. Didn’t get up during the night but when I woke up at 7 am , found the sink faucet ran on during the night.

  4. so does this happen all over the hotel or only near that room? My fiancé and I want to have our wedding there but she is terrified of stuff like that and we really don’t want our honeymoon to be a memory like that.

    • Guests staying in/near the room have sometimes reported strange things, but we haven’t heard of any weird happenings in other areas. Most of our guests have enjoyed paranormal-free stays, and have no doubt yours would be the same. We hope you choose to spend your special day with us. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  5. My wife and I are spending our 33rd wedding anniversary at your hotel the end of this month. We have never stayed there and are really looking forward to it. A visit from a ghost would be just fine. 😉

  6. I am a flight attendant for a major airline. Years ago when I flew domestic my company would put us up in this hotel overnight. The first night I stayed in the Gunter I wasn’t aware of the haunting. I woke up in the middle of the night with the shower running. I just assumed at the time it was old plumbing that had made the water come on. I can not remember the room I was in that night. When I checked out and was on the way to the airport I was told the hotel was haunted. The next time I stayed at the hotel the next month I was TERRIFIED but nothing happened that night. I have heard from several flight attendants about their experiences. Some are very scary!

  7. Stephanie,
    Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your story. A few months ago we had a guest tell us about an experience they had with their water turning on by itself in the middle of the night. Crazy! Would love to hear the other flight attendants’ stories, as well! Thanks for stopping by our blog. Let us know when you’re visiting us again!

  8. Me & my family just came into San Antonio & were wondering why San Antonio has such dark history…Yesturday, we were walking down the street & saw the Gunther hotel & we could just look at it & tell it was creepy..So when we got back to our hotel, we looked it up & was shocked by its scary history & was wanting to know more experiences that people have had in that hotel…Is the whole hotel haunted? Was there more than one death? Is the kitchen haunted? How many ghost do you think haunt the hotel?

    • Certain parts of the hotel are said to be haunted like the 6th floor and the basement. There are several ghosts believed to reside at the hotel, most popular supposedly being the woman who was murdered in room 626. There are a few more females ghosts and a ghost of a little boy said to live at the hotel. Thanks for reading and commenting! We hope you will join us next time you’re in San Antonio.

  9. My parents decided to stay at your hotel when they visited San Antonio. My mom thought the hotel would be fun to stay at since it has been there for a long time. After her trip she was telling me about her stay there and she was talking about her staying on the sixth floor and she said she felt uneasy and she left the bathroom light on at night and she would make my dad stay with her in the bathroom when she took showers. She said she felt a presence there. She also said she visited the basement and felt a presence down there also. Funny thing is that she did not know the history of the murder happening on that floor. I looked up the name and found the story about the hotel telling her that she stayed on the floor the woman was murdered on

    • We’ve had several people mention happenings in a few of the rooms’ bathrooms. Very interesting stuff. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. We hope your parents enjoyed their stay with us!

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