Do you have a ghost?
Years ago, and anywhere else, I might have hemmed and hawed before posing that awkward question as a journalist and braced for a long, uncomfortable silence, if not the telltale click of a line gone dead.
But Galveston, where truth often is stranger than fiction, has never been like other places, none that I know of anyway. Most islanders answer that question in the most enthusiastic affirmative.
Over the years, I’ve learned the real question is: Who doesn’t have a ghost or at least a good ghost story to tell?
And if you don’t have a ghost and you own a tourist attraction, well, you might want to find one — fast. As counterintuitive as it might seem, ghosts don’t scare away visitors. In fact, ghost tourism is a booming industry that grows yearly here and around the world.
Island tourism boosters embrace ghost tourism, largely because it complements history tourism that’s so important here.
Some observers theorize that the island’s tragic past, including the 1900 Storm that killed nearly 6,000 people in Galveston, as well as wars, pirates and crime families, have contributed to the city’s mystery, mystique and reputation for being haunted.
Galvestonians love their history, and they keep it alive, often with eerie and spine-tingling zeal.
That isn’t to say residents of the upper Texas coast scare easily. But the smallest things might make them scream. Read all about that in our Shorelines section, but probably not while enjoying breakfast.
This year, most will agree, has been frightening enough. We hope you find this issue to be a spine-tingling distraction filled with tricks and treats.