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.
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.
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.
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.
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…