Worst. Halloween. Decorations. Ever. Part II

Welcome back to my second year of “Worst. Halloween. Decorations. Ever.” special!  This year’s cornucopia of crap comes from the people that brought you White Trash and Ghetto Fab America, Wal-Mart, and the stars of discounts for dummies K-Mart, as well as the upper-class with no class Target.   And lastly and leastly, the store that every Family Dollar aspires to be…You wanted the best, well they couldn’t make it…so here’s Big Lots.  Everyone hold their applause. (Insert cricket noises here.)

Maybe it because I’m a purist, and I don’t take my Halloween lightly. Maybe it is because I hold the holiday sacred and appreciate the thought that many put into their decorations and costumes. Maybe it is because I’m an asshole. No, that’s not it…I’m far past that.

Here is my abbreviated list of things that you should be embarrassed to owning.  If you do own any of these items that I am about to rip to shreds, don’t admit to it, just burn them in a small bonfire out on a dirt road somewhere so that they may never tarnish our beloved holiday again.

I want to send a special “Up Yours!” to Target and Wal-mart for having such craptastic software that disables viewers from downloading their pictures. They probably know what I was going to do with them! I highly encourage you to follow their links to see such train wrecks.

But Mommy I Don’t Wanna Grow Up Adult Costume



Yeah, because you are not douchey enough as it is, so here is a costume for you! Why does “Mommy’s” fac e look like she smells a dirty diaper? Here is what I really want to know: How much did they pay this model? Can you imagine the conversation he had with his friends and family after this photo shoot?

Model: So I modeled for a few costumes and they are going to be on Wal-Mart’s website.

Friend: Oh yeah? Which costumes? Batman? Jason? The banana?

Model: Not exactly.

Friend: Well which ones man?

(Model goes to laptop and pulls up the page)

Model: Yeah? Yeah? What do you think.

(Friend gets up with his beer and walks off)

Model: What? I needed the money!

Well, at least it isn’t the pregnant nun costume again. FAIL!


Walking Tongue Clown



Clowns are already bothersome. The last thing that we need is some animatronic “Douchey the Clown” that has a “walking tongue”. I don’t even know what that means, but I’m damn sure not interested in finding out. The description says “massive tongue”. Now I welcome you to make any sexual joke that you want here folks, but may I just remind you that the tongue is still attached to a five foot robotic clown that looks like it has scabies. Oh! Not so turned on anymore, huh? Fail!


Totally Ghoul Animated Dancing Skeleton



Dances to Flashdance’s  terrible dance (s)hit “Flashdance…Oh What A Feeling”. Do I really need to make fun of this turd or can you already see the humor in just how dumb this really is? Who really needs a skeleton in a coffin dressed as Jem and the Holograms, that shakes its hips to late 80’s dance music that sync to LED lights? This item had so much potential until they gave it to the intern and let them finish the project. Can you imagine everyone sitting around the meeting table:

BOSS: Any ideas of what the skeleton can dance to?

1st EMPLOYEE: I think all the kids like that Rob Zombie guy.

2nd EMPLOYEE: You know Alice Cooper has that “Welcome to My Nightmare” song. That scares my wife.

BOSS: Hmm. Yeah. You! The new guy in the back, stand up. Do you have any ideas?

INTERN: Uh…I like Flashdance…Maybe?

BOSS: You’re gonna go far kid!


Zombie Rooster



Just what every urban apartment needs to complete their Halloween decor. Cock-a-doodle crap! A zombie rooster…Let me say that again. “Zombie…Rooster”.  At what point do we stop and say “Enough with the Goth-damn zombies!”  Does anyone else other than me think that this crap is a little too much? Everything is now a zombie. I just saw a zombie yard gnome the other day. But now they make a zombie roo-  fuck this shit. Fail.


Glitter Glass Skull



Glitter? Repeat after me…”Hall-O-Ween”. Name me one horror movie where the kill scene involved glitter. We aren’t following the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy. We’re trying to drown people in blood here, not make them feel a sense of comfort. Fail.


Silk’NPetals Rainbow Floral Leis 50 ct



Target…Just how the fuck did this even make it into the Halloween décor section? You had one job! Fail.

Black Bat Car Costume



VROOOOMMM! Look out folks the crapmobile is rolling into town!

Wow. Words escape me for this one. Christmas is just around the corner and we have to be tormented in traffic by the festive person in front of us that insists on dressing their Hyundai up as Rudolf, but now we have to ruin the image of every horror fan’s favorite nocturnal mammal. Now I understand why all the cars in Maximum Overdrive were pissed; they thought we were going to dress them up like we do all of our yappy lap dogs. Fail.


Crashing Witch Betty Bash

 crashing witch


This joke wasn’t funny when I was 8, and it still isn’t funny now that I’m 38. The fact is; it sucks. I really like how the manufacturer thinks all witches are green “little people” with near sighted navigational problems. I also like how the description says “Hanging up is a breeze”. Oh ho ho- ZIINNNGGG! See what they did there! Nyuck Nyuck Nyuck. Do you know what a “floater” is? It is a turd that will just not go down the toilet no matter how many times you flush. This, my friends, is a floater. This made my list last year and you can bet that it damn sure will make my list next year, and the next year after that until they stop making this piece of shit. Fail.


Buried in the Lawn Skeleton



Quick survery: Who has ever seen a corpse on The Walking Dead, or Day of the Dead, or Dawn of the Dead, or What-the-Hell-Ever of the Dead rise out of the ground in the Missionary position? It is as if to say “Hey baby! Wanna see my boner?” or for you nonperverted people, (such as myself) would say “Help, I’ve fallen into the lawn!” I’m hoping to find a cheap store bought plastic skeleton and lay it on top of my neighbor’s in a 69 style position just to piss them off. Then maybe he’ll stop putting this outside where I have to look at it every time I get into my hearse.  I hope the guy that thought this up dies from a horribly disfiguring brain aneurism. Biggest. Fucking. Fail. Ever!


People listen to the words that I say. Don’t be the house in your neighborhood that is known as the “half ass Halloween decorator”. The only thing that is worse than having shitty decorations is having a shit load of shitty decorations thrown all together as if you just did a $100 shopping spree at the dollar store and nothing matches. You’ve seen the type; A hanging 7-ft devil, three bad Styrofoam tombstones, an inflatable friendly ghost riding a tractor, and a string of light up Frankenstein heads along the sidewalk.  Look, just set out a jack-o-lantern and call it a night, huh?

I get it if you have kids, you don’t want to scare them and turn them off to Halloween all together. Maybe then just scale it back to a couple of jack-o-lanterns and a few Casper rip offs. My kids are still very young and they are used to rotting corpses and ghostly faces that appear in the fog in my front yard. Hell, they play in my man cave and there is a reason that the family has named it “The Morgue”. I’m just saying that there is a fine line between child friendly and stupid. Wanna guess which the above decorations fall under?

However you decide to embarrass your family this Halloween, please keep in mind to stay safe. Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls all come out to play and insert rusty razor blades into your candy apples by the flickering of the bonfire lights. Watch out for each other, and as always…

Stay scared!


Renfield Rasputin writes horror, lies, and bullshit that you believe.

Motley Brew. Renfield’s pick for Halloween and horror themed beers.

It shouldn’t take one very long to notice that even alcohol companies are merging into the dark side with horror themed drinks and containers as well as horror themed people are merging into the alcohol (Marilyn Manson’s “Mansinthe”).  Today you can walk into your friendly robbery-free liquor store and see that Tekillya (sorry, couldn’t resist) comes in a Dia de los Muertos glass skull and they also distill blood red vodka that is appropriately named (name withheld until they give me a sponsorship).  Lately, internet rumors be damned, I’ve seen more craft breweries pop up and more horror themes associated with them.


Now as every unlucky reader of my articles knows that I am a whiskey, moonshine, absinthe, rum, beer kinda ghoul, and I have at times been guilty of having too much blood in my alcohol system. So stroll on over to your cooler and pick out your favorite adult beverage and pull up a morgue slab. I’m going to give you a run down on my favorite horror related beers for the Halloween season.


10. Black Metal Imperial Stout, Jester King Brewery, Austin TX – Not for sissies, this beer is chewable! Pitch black beer with a dark brown head, it is by far the darkest brew I have ever come across. It is an overdose of the rarest hops and brewed using Texas Hill country well water that gives it a highly bitter taste and a thick weight to the palate. The aftertaste has a bitter dark chocolate reminisce. 9.3% ABV. So it is not exactly horror, but very, very metal!

arrogant bastard

9. Arrogant Bastard, Stone Brewing Co., Escondido CA – If you thought that the last beer was an acquired taste, try this one! Dark body, with about a 1” thick tan head. It gives a strong caramel aroma, but the hops make your taste buds stand up and surrender. Tread lightly with this one. The label has a angry devil on the front with the warning that states “You’re NOT Worthy”. Yeah, I guess I’m not. 7.2% ABV


8. Strawman, Cider, Angry Orchard. – Yeah, I know cider isn’t beer but hey, I like apples…(no I’m not going to do the Good Will Hunting joke. That’s all. I like apples. Is there a problem?) A fine line between tart and tangy as well as earthy tones. Want a change but yet something that will slide right into the mood of the fall season? You’re welcome. 10% ABV


7. Dead Guy Pale Ale, Rogues Ale, Newport OR – Now here is a daily drinker. Deep amber color with a light tan head. It has a nutty aroma that reminds me of a Newcastle Brown Ale. The funny thing about this beer is that it tastes just like it smells with a hint of vanilla to the tastes. As a bonus, if you can find “Double Dead Guy Ale”, that is another must! I don’t understand the skeletal corpse on the label that wears a Pope hat and sits on a keg. Somebody isn’t getting a good seat in church this Sunday! 6.6% ABV


6. Devil’s Backbone, Belgian Style Tripel, Real Ale Brewing Co., Blanco TX – Named after the scenic (and haunted) ridge that runs through Blanco and Wimberly Texas. This is a light amber body with a medium tan head. Made using Czech yeast it has a strong acidic taste but a warm and woody aftertaste. Brewed using water from the Blanco River that is near the brewery the body is light weight and always tastes fresh. It has no preservatives so do not expect to find this beer served anywhere outside of a 500 mile radius from the brewery. 8.1% ABV (This one will sneak up on you!)

Zombie-Dust beer

5. Zombie Dust, Pale Ale, Three Floyd’s Brewing Co., Munster, IN – With the zombie craze in full effect, why not? A little lighter and with more citrus taste but still in the same vein as Dead Guy Ale. Light brown to copper color. Daryl Dixon would be proud. 6.2% ABV

Permanent_Funeral beer

4. Permanent Funeral, Pale Ale, Three Floyd’s Brewing Co., Munster, IN – Again these guys make the list. I can’t help it if they make quality beer! With help in the concoction from the band “Pig Destroyer”, you know this beer is going to be a motherfucker! So take the Zombie dust and lighten the flavor again, turn the color more golden and BAM; you have Permanent Funeral. I haven’t seen this beer in awhile and I think that it was discontinued to make room for the Zombie Dust. Damn shame. 5.2% ABV


3. La Fin Du Monde, Tripel, Unibroue  Chambley, Quebec, Canada – Translated to mean “The end of the world”, this dark gold brew with a thick white head offers less bitterness and more of a citrus spicy kick. With shades of lemon and coriander it is more like Colorado’s Blue Moon. You’ll think it is the end of the world when your glass goes empty! 9.0% ABV


2. Nightmare on 1st St, Pumpkin Ale, No Label Brewing. Katy, TX – You just knew that a pumpkin spice beer was going to make it in here eventually, sorry to make you wait for it. This one ranks up here so high because I have a problem with all other pumpkin spice beers. There is always too much spice and not enough pumpkin. Not in this case. Like a morgue scale, this has perfect balance. This is a very limited season run but it you can find it, stock up like I did. Come to think of it, I may be the reason you can’t find it. 9.27% ABV


1. Blackened Voodoo Lager, Dixie Brewery, New Orleans LA– This beer is as black as my soul, with a rich chestnut colored head and caramel aroma. It delivers a medium weight to the palate and a smoky aftertaste. Based out of the Dixie Brewery in New Orleans this beer was a residential secret for many years until recently it has been marketed to nearby Texas and Louisiana cities. The spooky swamp pictured on the label draws you in because; well swamps actually do look like that down here. 5% ABV


Well there you have it folks; the screwed up things that I will do to my liver to bring you folks the best news information. Please remember to drink carefully and have a designated driver if you are going to partake in any of this dreadful goodness.

And as a victim of a DUI accident, I encourage you to drink responsibly.

Stay scared my pretties!

Renfield Rasputin



Renfield writes horror crap, and gets unusually excited about the yearly release of Count Chocula cereal.


A Lesson In Style…or, Me No Not Like Mistakes (Bloody, gore, bloody, gore, blood)

Hello again all my members of the Renfield’s Grave Robber Union!

It is good to be back in written form again. I haven’t been posting my articles much since I’ve been focusing on my Re-Collection section, finishing other work, and getting ready for Shriekfest Film Festival where my feature screenplay “LaLaurie” is a finalist. (And the crowd goes wild!)

What I think I need to address to the masses (all six of you that are reading this) is the topic of style.  Think of it as a voice or an instrument. You can tell the difference between Sinatra and Cannibal Corpse right?  That is style. Even subtleties will come out when you pay closes enough attention. Take Joe Perry guitar work in Aerosmith and Slash’s guitar work in anything; both artists have a unique sound despite their similar styles. Every writer has to find their style and hone their skills using it. This is not something that is obvious at first, however the more you write will make you style come out over time. If this helps you, great. If it doesn’t, well at minimal you will learn what not to do.

Now, if I have heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times “Well that’s my style”.  Please remember the one basic rule: “Crappy is not a style.”

Let’s first address the part of style containing the “how” effect, or “how” you write your characters and story lines. With some writers, the “how” comes across as high school English class story. Just read it aloud and you’ll see what I mean. In the last few weeks I have read several works from self published writers who apparently have problems with editing and proofreading. If this is you, then you need to pack your shit up and move on to the next job or hobby. Every job contains a downside, and having another person proofread your work is this one’s. I hate it because my proofreader is Mrs. Rasputin. She is overqualified for this task considering her background, but the reason that I hate it the most is because she doesn’t get my humor, or my references, or my transitions. Come to think of it, I’m not sure what of me she does get, but hey, at least I’m not making stupid errrosrs tjhankss to herr!  Now what was I talking about? Oh, yeah, “how”.

Here is a short list of the crap that I have found in print from a few writers who insist that they are living off of earnings from their writings.  This is what I would consider “how” not to write.

“Either way, he didn’t want to piss her off either.” – Neither would I neither.

“He’d be coming.” – From where? The ghetto?

If you clamp something open, you cannot crank it open in the next sentence using the clamps. Clamps clamp. They don’t crank.

A “post key” doesn’t exist on a laptop screen for you to hit. The truth is, a post key doesn’t exist anywhere! Furthermore, ask Ray Rice what happens when you “hit” things.

If you have to break a conversation between characters so that the narrator can explain to the reader a specific place or item that the characters are talking about, maybe you should rewrite the conversation.

Heads up – shattered glass doesn’t “spray” around a person.  It can perhaps “blast”, “burst”, or “shatter” however. Just some options.

And for the love of Cthulu please don’t write out every action. The readers are not stupid; they can work through motions in their heads.  (They got out of the car. They shut the doors. They walked to the house. )This isn’t IKEA and we don’t need step by step instructions.

Yes all of these came from actual writings.  If you are interested please look up Stephen King’s book “On Writing” via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Santa Claus, or you local mom and pop bookstore in your hometown (support local business folks).  This will clear up a lot of the common mistakes that writers make when they are first starting out. Remember that the thought in your head does not always come out the way you may intend it to on paper.

Now during the spoken words of characters it is okay for the writer to give them an accent or have them make grammatical errors. Maybe the character’s accent is directly related to their regional location. Take Huck Finn by Mark Twain for example. The accents are so thick that it makes the story nearly impossible to read at some points. Just try to be careful as well as respectful when attempting to capture the accent.

Finally, as it pertains to the “how” of writings, let’s talk about staying on topic. I usually will go off topic for the fun of it. However, if you are writing about how your dog plays fetch with sticks, do not talk about your sister, your grandfather’s reflux disease, or how the interior of your brother’s car always smells like cheese. Think about what Stephen King states in his book, On Writing, and remember K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid. Cut out the extra words in each sentence that is not necessary to the meaning or cause of the sentence.

Next, we need to diagram the “what” of style.  The “what” of style is the way that you convey your story, or in other words, picking out the type of genre that you write. In most of our cases, this is horror. Now, you will have to pick the subgenre, ie psychological, extreme, thriller, etc.  Allow me to repost a section from one of my earlier articles where I discussed writing horror.

Please remember that scary and fear mean two different things. Scary is whatever causes fright or alarm.1  Fear is the human emotion that is caused by something that is an impending threat whether it is real or imagined. 2 So what do want to do? Do you want to make something scary or do you want to make something that will cause fear? One will last for a few seconds, while the other will leave the viewer screwed up for some time. Do this wrong and you are left with an audience that didn’t get it and may make you look completely stupid. Let’s dig that grave a little deeper.

Let’s look at your average “scary movie”. To most, it is probably a slasher film that someone brings a date to (so that he can cop a feel when she jumps in his lap) where the music swells when the buxom actress gets antsy from a noise, she checks it out (naked of course) a cat jumps out of nowhere, the actress is relieved as the killer comes from behind and hacks her up. The end.  You go home and trash it on the old interweb.

Let’s look at the movies that cause fear.  Take Jaws or Psycho for example. I didn’t go into the water at the beach after seeing Jaws. What about showers?  Legions of fans did not take showers after Psycho was released. How about Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure?  I will never leave my bike anywhere near the Alamo again after seeing that!

Now at this point I have to point out to be careful of “shock” horror. This type or horror is when there is an overabundance of gore and exploitation just for the hell of it. Basically it goes against the grain of anything that is considered the social line of “acceptable”. These movies, books, or art contain an excessive amount of gang rape, blood baths, killing of animals or babies, imagery of violent mutilations, etc. I’m not supporting or condoning these mediums, because if that is what you are going for, “morgue” power to ya. But what I am saying is…I don’t get it. It is shocking, (again, so is last week’s paycheck) but it is not scary. Here’s why; a little blood goes a long way. Gore, expletives, violence, and sex is a much more effective image when it is done right, and by doing it right I mean sparingly. If you watch a scene that is drawn out where someone is about to cut off another person’s ear, when it eventually does happen, and those few drops of blood dripping from the wound are seen it is much more effective than seeing the victim drowning in blood from a lacerated ear. At some point it becomes more comical than horrific. This is when I start getting hate mail about “It’s not realistic when a chainsaw cuts off an arm and only a little blood comes out.” My answer is simple. HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW? HACKED OFF MANY AN ARM WITH A CHAINSAW IN YOUR DAY? So please consider your usage of such so that it doesn’t turn into a comedy.

To scare someone is easy. Startle effects are abundant, cheap, and easy to achieve. Kind of like my ex-ghoulfriends. To install fear in someone is a true talent. Thought has to be put into each scene and timing has to be just right. The difference between kill scenes from the Universal Monster years and the killers today is when they were done in the Universal years, the monster’s face was revealed and the camera held onto the image for several seconds before they slaughtered their victim so that the frightening imagery sat in. (Think of the scene in Phantom of the Opera where Christine removes Erik’s mask. That glare seemed to last forever.)

1 http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/scary?s=t                             

2 http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fear?s=t&path=/

Remember folks, any 3rd grader can gross out an audience, that doesn’t take talent. Want me to prove it? Fine, pick or blow your nose and wipe the contents in an obvious place on a public wall where it is sure to be seen. Next, step back and watch the action. Within minutes there will be someone who will come along and be completely disgusted at the sight. (Bonus points if you achieve vomiting!) Now ask yourself; how much talent did that take?

Again, if that is you cup of strychnine, fine. But who exactly did you scare? I encourage every writer to push themselves and attempt to achieve something in their writings that will leave the reader with a lasting impression (other than disgusted).  That may involve changing up or even accentuating your style by means of “what” or “how”.  “How” you do that, and in “what” way, is up to you to discover.

Until next time, rest in pieces.

Renfield Rasputin

Shiekfest Finalist

Renfield prefers if you are going to call him names, use the term, “Tombstone Trash”.

State of Union of Horror-Writers.net

images1One thing that horror has taught me is that…evil never dies. I’m sure by now all of you have heard about the things going on around the crypt about Horror-Writers and what will become of us, and what are we going to do now, and blah, blah, blah. For those who haven’t heard, Horror-Writers has undergone several changes in the last week, as it has in the past, and as every group has done before. It is the nature of the beast. Without being cliché, we could sum this up by saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Well, I’m going to clear a few things up, but I need you to help me by understanding something, and by taking the same perspective that I have on the issue, and that is this; there is one thing that is constant…evil. Because as horror has taught us in every sequel…evil never dies.

I’m not feeling my usual “Ren” self who is “everyone’s favorite grave robber” with horror-filled puns today folks. No I am writing you this as straight up Renfield. He’s the serious “I do bad things and don’t care if you don’t like it” one.  That is my warning. After that, don’t say you didn’t know and don’t bitch because you got hurt. 99% of Horror-Writers’ readers already know that and are tough, intellectual people. So if you are not familiar with me, get there quick, because I’m in my serious mood today.

First, I need to tell you that I’m going to make you think here for a minute folks. So if you don’t feel like using your brain and thinking, may I suggest that you either stop now or send in what we call in baseball a “pinch reader” as well as a  “pinch thinker” (which practically most of society is depending on these days). I’ve been sitting on this for two days and letting it stew about how I’m going to address the situation and all the questions. Now I’ve gathered my thoughts and can think clearly about this, I want to give you an analogy that will prove my point.

Remember high school physics class?  If you were like me you didn’t pay attention and was too occupied by imagining what the view was like under the skirt of the cheer leader next to me.  However I do remember a few things. Such as the second law of thermodynamics is “The entropy of an isolated system almost never decreases”. What that means is the energy given off by a system is absorbed by another and then used by that system until released and absorbed again by another. I view horror as a  negative (a good negative if there is such because I’m warped like that), and there can be such a thing as negative energy, or as some will refer to it as “evil”, and that energy can transform, but will never end. It may transform, but it never ends. As I said before…evil never dies.

I’m not going to get religious on you about how we are all evil, that we are born into sin and so forth. I will say that I view myself and all my associations as evil. If this freaks you out, congratulations! I don’t care that you don’t understand that.  I told you, I’m warped like that. I May not be Anton LeVey evil, nor even  Gargamel evil either, but more like “Don’t fuck with me and you won’t  find a rattlesnake let loose in your backyard” evil. It’s more of an anti-hero that you cheer for, evil. I also view HW as evil. Maybe not the Satanic Bible evil, nor R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps evil, but more Necronomicon evil.  And as for this website and all the loved readers…evil. We just love all your wicked ways. These are all as I would call “good evils”.  Oh, now you are getting it! (Sighs) Which leads me to my next thought.

I’m going to say this once. There is definitely one thing that is for certain. There is one common factor that remains as it pertains to this website. Horror-Writers.net will continue and it will continue down its evolutionary path without decreasing. Despite all changes from personnel line ups, formats, and ghoulish kid stuff that we post,  Horror-Writers.net is like evil (a good evil), and…evil never dies!


Keep it witchy,

Renfield Rasputin

Jefferson Davis Hospital, Hollywood Comes To Life (After Death)

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. This is one such case. This is a story, (or maybe not), of a historical landmark here in my hometown of Houston, TX. I have been fascinated with the place since my teenage years. I’ve spent countless hours on the internet researching it, and even more hours crawling through the hallways and stairs exploring it. I’ve even had my own weird experiences there!I’ve taken the time to share the history of this building with you. I hope that you experience the same sweet shivers up your spine that the place still gives me when I see it today. So pull the covers up over your head as I hope you enjoy this ghost story.

To coin a phrase from the band Dangerous Toys “Man I think, really think that I think…I like being scared!”

Stay Scared! – Renfield Rasputin



On your many travels through Texas, try to make a stop somewhere in Houston. A youthful city, barely over 170 years old, it is not nearly as old as the other metropolises in the state; however it has rapidly grown to become the fourth largest city in America. Fueled by the oil boom of the 70’s and 80’s, as well as mission control of NASA, and the largest medical district in the world, it is a modern global city of multiculturalism mixed into a deep southern fried batter with hints of Spanish seasoning influence. After the “War of Northern Aggression” the many bayous were expanded to better allow for water flow between Houston and nearby Galveston, thus giving Houston its nickname “the BayouCity”.

Being that Houston is a younger city, it does not have many of the old and creepy buildings that one might find in most southern cities. Most all buildings in Houston are knocked down when they get old and either a parking lot or a strip mall is built upon them. One such building is not the case however.  Perhaps with the history that haunts the old hospital, it should have been demolished, but the souls that lie buried beneath it would make their presence known one way or the other.

When Houston’s first cemetery, “Founder’s Cemetery” ran out of room for more graves, the area that the hospital now sits on was used. Simply called, “City Cemetery” Freemason’s, orphans, criminals, and Civil War Confederate veterans all made this soil their final resting place. It is estimated that over 5000 corpses have been laid to rest there, some in mass trench graves. Archeological digs conducted by the University of Houston in the area concluded that black earth graves, used at the time to bury black plague victims, were found in the area possibly date back to early 1600 English settlements.

Overtime Houston needed a hospital for the rapidly growing population. With no other land available, the cemetery grounds came to mind.

The idea to build upon the sacred ground was not without problems. The first problem was digging for the foundation where several thousand bodies were buried. Obviously digging up and relocating all of the bodies for the sake of building an indigent hospital was not an option.


Another problem was pacifying the minds of many of Houston’s citizens that lay to rest their loved ones there. Several of the families made protests to city hall while others took actions into their own hands. One such individual was Thomas Super, a proud son of a Confederate soldier. When the construction crew arrived the morning of the ground breaking, Thomas Super was waiting for them in the graveyard with a shotgun. When reasonable talk between the supervisor and Super grew stagnant, Super chased the foreman off the ground while shooting buckshot over the worker’s head.

Eventually, an agreement came to an end with an amicable compromise. The city would get their land for the new hospital, and the families would get the tribute to their fallen family members as the hospital would be named after the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.

The hospital was completed in 1924. It was turned on the top of the hill on Elder St. to face the downtown structures. Tall red brick walls fortified the structure with magnificent Greek revival columns that welcomed the indigent patients of Houston through the front door.  The morgue which was referred to as the “basement” was in reality built above ground as not to disturb the graves.

Since its construction, the building has served as a hospital, a drug rehab, a detention home to juveniles, a psychiatric hospital, and a storage facility for the county hospital district. It was even used in the filming of Robocop 2 as the manufacturing plant for the drug “Quake”.

Many tales of the hospital have been told over the years.  Tales of ghosts, suicides, unseen voices, late night occult rituals, and ghostly lights.  Some tales were created to scare kids away, while all it did was cultivate curiosity and promote trespassing. Eventually unwanted activity lead to armed guards patrolled the grounds during the night and the nearby fire station taking guard to watch over it by day.

Trespassers, or ghost hunters as they like to call themselves, reported shadows zipping down hallways and darting into rooms at all hours of the day. The curious onlookers from the street report mysterious lights that pass by the broken out windows. An official paranormal group based out of southern Texas has reportedly captured disembodied voices on tape both threatening the listener as well as pleading for earthly help. 

Walking around the hospital today, it is easy to say that the once elegant decor has given away to time but it is still possible to find beauty in its decay. Ivy grows up the side, breaking brick foundation and pulling the gutter away from the roofline.  Antiquated hospital beds litter the hallways and outer grounds. The drywall has been kicked in and graffiti of gang names and the occasional “wuz here”, and of course the obligatory pentagrams hovering over several burnt down candles on the floor near small animal carcasses.

One will encounter the shelves in the ground level floor that served as the morgue, now only hold empty glass medicine bottles. Patient rooms on the second and third floors house sliced up mattresses, broken chairs, and antiquated medical equipment. The elevator has taken one last ride and shattered at the base of the elevator shaft. Stairways are pitch black with tripping hazards in the form of broken bottles, trash, and torn out pages from patient charts. 


A popular ghost that still calls the abandoned hospital home is a little girl that is often seen crying in the corner of a treatment room. Many people hear her before they see her. It is said that if you follow the sound of her cries, they will lead you to the weeping child. She is usually seen in a room on the second floor in the east wing.  Reports have her dressed in a black dress with a lace white collar. Many reports that she is sitting in a corner on the floor weeping while other have her face out the window of the room while she cries her sorrow song. Of course, the child vanishes before she can be approached. No one can be sure who the child was or why she is spending her lonely eternity in such a melancholy manner.

Many of the disturbing stories that I know I originally read from medical notes that I found in a box in what appeared to once be a supply room. Judging by the blackened walls and the looks of the other boxes and folders that lay scattered, squatters had used the paper materials to keep warm and cook a meal of what looked like a rodent they had captured.

The one entry that I remember specifically details a patient named Mary Catherine and the birth of her baby. Mary Catherine was admitted to JeffDavisHospital on May 13th, 1932. The 23 year old was 37 weeks into labor and experiencing complications with pain and vaginal bleeding. The interesting part of the patient’s medical history was her multiple diagnosis of mental problems. She had seen her share of the insides of several mental wards throughout Texas and Louisiana since the age of seven. There was no father listed on the birth records of Mary Catherine’s child, so a pertinent history could not be obtained.

On that morning, Mary Catherine walked to the hospital alone. It was noted that she wore a blue dress with blood stains on the groin area, appeared pale and aloof to her surroundings. She was immediately taken to the maternity ward where she was prepped for an emergency delivery. Despite the best efforts of the doctors and nurses, Mary Catherine experienced complications and passed away shortly after the birth of the child. This was a common problem at the time so the staff expected this to occur after the substantial amount of blood that she had lost. What they did not expect was the uncanny situation surrounding the child.

Birth defects were a common complication back in the day. However the abnormal findings on this particular child were more than they had expected. The baby boy was of normal birth weight and size, with an instant cry and startle effect. What worried the staff was that the child’s physical abnormalities included feet that resembled hooves, a small digit coming from the tailbone like a tail, a full set of teeth, and finally the most disturbing feature, a pair of small lumps on the frontal forehead that resembled horns as they protruded out of the skin.

The notes continue to say that the child lived for only a short while after Mary Catherine passed, and then he followed her in death. No other notes followed explaining an autopsy of mother or child, who the bodies was released to, or where the bodies were entombed afterwards.  

Another interesting piece of the history that I found was a story on the elevator. When you stroll around the decrepit ruins of the hospital one can find the elevator located in the center of the south hall, just inside the front doors. It serviced the three stories during the entirety of the building’s history, but today the remains of what is left of the cab is resting on the basement floor of the structure. A peculiar story involving the elevator revolves around the time Jeff Davis hospital was used as a psychiatric ward, in which a nurse fell to her death in the shaft from the third floor.

Outside of the obvious tragedy of this, is the mystery that surrounds it.   The further research showed that the nurse was having an affair with a staff physician who was married. Their forbidden lust was discovered after a patient found them making love in an empty patient room. Of course they tried to patch up the incident as a misunderstanding by the deranged mental client, but that only thwarted off gossiping staff members for awhile.

When the rumors became unbound about the scandalous couple, the physician’s wife threatened to leave him and take his money and children with her. The doctor, enraged, returned to the hospital and caused a distraction by cursing at staff, punching a wall, and turning over tables in an operating room. Shortly after that the nurse was found by a patient’s family member lying lifeless at the on top of the elevator cab.


Suspicions quickly arose that the cheating doctor was to blame. The nurse’s diary was found and details of the affair were confirmed, as well as her pregnancy at the time of her death. The journal detailed how she intended to have the baby in Austin and give it up for adoption, and how she pondered suicide if the truth about the affair ever got out. The curious part of the story was how she also feared the physician would kill her if she got pregnant by him.

The physician did not escape the controversy either. The police searched for him later that day and located him in his office, dead from an overdose of morphine. The needle was still hanging out of arm at the time they had found him.

We still do not completely understand the details surrounding nurse’s mysterious death.  Her body was found laying on her back which suggested that she was pushed to her death, but even today some historians still believe that it was a suicide.

Of course no good tragedy is without its alleged haunting. People have claimed that they see a young woman with dark hair and pale skin wearing vintage nursing clothes staring into the elevator shaft. Others say that while they have stared down the deep shaft they can feel a tug on their clothes.  When they turn around a woman matching the same description is standing behind them. Is the nurse trying to save another person from undergoing the same misfortune as her?

The physician is believed to also roam the halls the he once knew. A very angry doctor has been seen in the windows and walking the halls. He is described as middle age, dark hair, wearing striking dress clothes of the time under a white lab coat. He is known to be a more dark spirit which likes to attack visitors.

After scavenging through websites on a long afternoon, I encountered a few that spoke of documented investigations that had encounters with the physician. Apparently the hospital had been professional investigated several times by different teams. All of which returned reporting much of the same activity. Psychic mediums were brought in to attempt to make contact with the entity. Communications failed in every instance. What did happen to most all groups were flashlights going out with new batteries installed, cameras failing to capture images (one report of a lens shattering on its own), and of course the obligatory spikes on the EMF detectors. More menacing events included cold spots, pungent odors that send people gasping for air, men being pushed into walls, and woman reporting hands in intimate areas on their body. One attempt to communicate ended with a psychic being scratched through his shirt. Further examination showed a bleeding pinhole over a vein in his arm that looked very much like that of a needle stick.

On more of a real-life horror story, there have been multiple police reports documenting attacks and even one murder inside the abandoned building. The story goes that a handful of thrill seekers entered the building one night hoping to see a ghost, scare each other, and drink a few beers. The last two goals they achieved, but the only phantom they did encounter wasn’t exactly dead, but rather a living monster.

The five University of Houston students entered the hospital around 1 A.M. on a summer night in 1998, according to the survivor. Of the three girls and two males, one girl was able to escape that night and tell police investigators what happened. Long story short, the group reported hearing footsteps following them through the hospital and became frightened. When the first female disappeared, the group decided to search for her rather than leave and call the police for fear of getting in trouble for trespassing. Another group member disappeared, this time a male, and then another female. The survivor and the remaining male stumbled upon the bodies of their friends only to find their throats slit and their eyes had been stabbed out.

When the couple tried to leave the premises, they encountered a person dressed in solid black wearing a clown mask and holding a survival knife with a dark substance staining the blade. The couple ran but not before the attacker assaulted the man with the knife and killed him. The attacker was never found, however three weeks later a homeless man’s body was found floating in Buffalo Bayou close by what was thought to be his makeshift camp on the shore. In his tent police found a knife similar to a Marine’s ka-bar, a clown mask, and discharge paperwork from a local psychiatric hospital.

No teams have reported staying overnight in the hospital. Several have mentioned the possibility but all have declined due to lack of safety and security in and around the building. Other than the obvious safety hazards inside the building, the neighborhood that it presides in today is riddled full of crime.

Jefferson Davis Hospital was revamped and entered the new millennium with a facelift and a new role in Houston Housing. A private company bought the property and invested several millions in restorations to establish Elder Street Artist Lofts. The new facility gave a home to starving artists with low rate rent. But new paint cannot hide the wickedness that had seeped deep into the walls of the former hospital over the years. Soon after moving in, residents reported the same haunting voices, shadows, and apparitions as before. In 2011 the Elder Street Artist Lofts closed their doors due to a combination of funding problems and lack of residents (which one could only assume why).

At the time of this writing, a fire occurred on the third floor in the east wing of the historical landmark. That at one time was the location of the children’s psychiatric wing. Arson was naturally assumed, as many candles and occult literature were found at the scene.

Despite the difficulty to stay the night or explore, it doesn’t stop visitors from pulling up at curbside and snapping a few pictures. Some braver souls sneak past the fence and stick their heads in the door. Others are happy enough posing for pictures by the remnants of the few tombstones that still remain in front of the hospital. Whatever your level of thrill seeking may be, whenever you are passing through Houston, stop at Jeff Davis Hospital and get a look for yourself at a structure that inspires actual Hollywood haunted house movies.

Just do one thing; when you stand on the property and look in, remember that you are standing on sacred ground. The history of loved ones are buried at your feet, staring back at you through broken windows, and circling around you as you gaze into their final resting place with goose bumps on your arms and chills running up your spine. Respect the area, and remember the old epitaph that was carved into many of the early Texas settler’s headstones; for they “Were once as you are now, and you will soon be as they now are”.