General Andrade sent a group of his men to burn down the Alamo not long after the infamous battle was finished. General Santa Ana wanted to forget all about it. Even more, he wanted the Texans to forget about the rebellion that occurred there.
After the 13 day battle, the Alamo Mission still stood as if in stubbornness. No one was expected to be in it or even around it. It was essentially ruins soon to be destroyed.
When the group of men spotted the mission, orders to burn it down escaped their minds. Someone was standing in front of the Alamo. No, six someones were outside waiting for them.
The men were close enough to the Alamo to be surrounded by what they called diablos––each one wielded a flaming sword. The diablos didn’t harm any of the men, but that was because they didn’t have to. The men left before they could even light a torch to cast at the door of the building.
General Andrade ridiculed his men. They insisted that what they saw was the truth. They wouldn’t dare burn it down while six flame-wielding diablos surrounded them. Those who caught wind of the story speculated the diablos were men who had died during the battle. Another rumor said they were the ghosts of Fanciscan monks guarding their mission.
Whatever they were––whether they were real or not––General Andrade decided to go burn down the Alamo himself.
This time no diablos greeted General Andrade and his men as they approached. He carried himself resolutely, his chest puffed out, as they got closer to the Alamo. He had thoughts of further ridiculing his cowardly men when he returned, perhaps even punishing them for their fabrication.
Then, on the roof, a figure stood up straight. In the twilight it might have been hard to spot him, but the flaming balls in both hands were hard to miss. General Andrade felt his shoulders slacken and his chest hold in a breath he couldn’t expel.
His men fell to the ground, covering their eyes, some even digging the heals of their hands into their sockets. The balls of fire were extremely bright in the ghost’s hands. Despite their brightness, General Andrade couldn’t look away. All he could think to do was order his men to get to their feet, turn around, and march away. The building seemed to stand even taller as they left. General Andrade felt the Alamo loom over him, pushing him away. Perhaps it was a faint heat from the fire in the ghost’s hands that made him quicken his pace.
When 1871 rolled around, the U.S. Army decided to tear down part of the Alamo to better utilize the space. The project was simple enough and wouldn’t take too long.
Just across the plaza from the Alamo was the Menger Hotel. While guests often reported seeing ghosts in the hotel, there were also several sightings of strange people roaming the Alamo. More specifically, guests recounted seeing an army marching around the area. Some men in the army would disappear right into walls while others stood guard throughout the night.
The sightings pushed off the demolition through the 1890s. Local newspapers reported further ghostly sightings and unusual noises occurring in the night, like moaning and echoing footsteps. Those who stayed at the Alamo lost sleep. The guests at the Menger Hotel kept an eye on it from a distance.
It wasn’t just ghosts from the army people saw. Regular men, women, and children were also seen walking around the area. Before the Alamo became a site of a battle, it was a cemetery. Even today when construction is being done in the area human remains are often dug up. Perhaps the ghosts are caused more by disturbed graves than by a grisly battle. Perhaps the two make a perfect recipe for bringing back the dead.
Several accounts tell of a seeing a solemn General Manuel Fernandez de Castrillon walking through the grounds. The general was reluctant to participate in the brutality, and when he offered safety to captured enemy, General Santa Ana killed the captives himself by bludgeoning them to death. While General Castrillon roams, dwelling on the gruesome battle for what seems to be eternity, a boy appears in an upstairs window out of thin air.
During sunrise, a man and son have been seen on the roof. As the sun pulls up from the horizon, people have reported seeing the man grab hold of his son and jump off the roof. It’s believed that during the battle of the Alamo, a father and son leapt from the roof together, perhaps to escape a painful death or to accelerate it while men fought mercilessly below.
Today when people tour the now beautiful historic site, many of them express a deep sense of sadness washing over them when they reach the chapel. For some this sadness manifests into an uncontrollable grief that slips down their faces in tears.
Just as history has begged us not to forget, the battle of the Alamo is among the most remembered in American history. The stories of the ghosts that inhabit the old mission should be remembered as well. Tragedy is not the only thing that resurrects ghosts. Searching, pondering, and longing bring them as well. Not everyone gets to witness it, however. And therefore, the less the ghosts are remembered.