Halloween is just around the corner and between stocking up on candy, decorating your front porch and putting the finishing touches on your costume, there's only so much time left in the spooky season to seek out all the haunted hideouts.
If you're still searching for a scare this Halloween, you should have Gonzales, Texas on your list. Just about an hour outside of Austin and San Antonio, Gonzales is home to the old Gonzales County Jail.
According to the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce, the jail house was built in 1887 and designed by architect Eugene T. Heiner to hold 200 prisoners under riot conditions. The jail was in use until 1975. Today, it's known as the Old Jail Museum and according to many, some of its original inhabitants never left.
Much of the haunted history of the Gonzales jail has to do with the gallows, which were built in 1891. The gallows were last used in 1921, when prisoner Albert Howard was put to death. Legend has it that Howard, who had proclaimed his innocence throughout his trial and subsequent sentence, put a curse on the Gonzales courthouse clock. Howard, who had become obsessed with the clock as he sat in his cell for hours on end, swore that if he was hanged, the four faces of the courthouse clock would never tell the same time again. In the years following, the four faces of the courthouse clock rarely operated in synchronicity.
But that's not the only creepy happening associated with the historic jailhouse. Past visitors and the Gonzales County Jail Museum staff have reported strange echoes, lights switching on and off and doors slamming shut.
Today, you can explore the jail's history and alleged paranormal activity yourself. A tour of the Old Jail Museum takes you through an old jailer's bedroom, the cell block that once held hardened criminals, a dungeon and an exact reproduction of the old gallows.
The museum also includes historical artifacts, including those from past prisoner and famous Old West outlaw John Wesley Hardin.
While in Gonzales, be sure to visit the Gonzales museum park, which holds a plethora of Texas history, including the "Come and Take it" cannon at the Gonzales Memorial Museum.
The Gonzales Jail Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. During special Winter hours in January and February, the museum will be open from Thursday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The museum is located at 414 St. Lawrence Street in Gonzales, Texas.