Que Fregados’ first contributor writes about her visit to the opening of the Haunted Heritage exhibit on October 8th. I so want to go but I am traveling these next few days. Reader Kelly lets us know:
You don’t have to be in Laredo for very long to start hearing about the weird, otherworldly stuff that goes on downtown. Practically every building & residence in that area has a ghost story attached to
it, & the Webb County Heritage Foundation has not only started collecting them all, they’re putting them on display for everyone to see.
This month, the Webb County Heritage Foundation is offering “Haunted Heritage,” a look at the different ghost stories of Laredo, along with displays & presentations by the Laredo Paranormal Research Society & Morbid Mansion Studio, a special effects company started by a young Laredoan. The exhibit is currently being shown at the Villa Antigua Heritage Museum on Zaragoza Street, near La Posada Hotel & San Agustin Cathedral. Last night was the grand opening of the exhibit, & it was well attended. I was concerned that it would be difficult to find parking downtown, but the Museum has a parking lot in the front, and one on the side (in case you miss the first one when you drive by, as I did). Bonus points for available & FREE parking. Extra bonus points for the grand opening being free of charge on top of that! Oh, & did I mention they fed us goodies on top of all this? Am I still in Laredo?
The first floor of the museum is an exhibit of some of pictures & stories collected by the Foundation for the book, which is on sale for $20. While the stories are familiar to anyone who has lived here for any length of time, they also include pictures of the homes & buildings discussed, so it’s nice to put “the face to the name,” in a manner of speaking. Some of the stories do seem a bit “out there,” but I do know for a fact that stories about one of the buildings, the old TRLA office, are true. That place has a weird vibe, to say the least. The only criticism that I would have about this exhibit (& the book) is that there is very little detail & the stories only brush the surface of what may have happened. Hopefully, this can be an on-going project & further history & details can be added in the future.
I’m not all that interested in special effects, but the Morbid Mansion Studios displays are very well-done & I like the fact that the business was started by a young local kid so he could do what he enjoys & make money at it. More power to you & may Morbid Mansion Studios one day be as well known as ILM! In addition to the models of La Llorona & the Chupacabra, Morbid Mansions also offered its own version of face painting—putting special effects make-up on the kids. This was very popular & many kiddos proudly sported FX make-up on their arms & faces.
Upstairs is the dominion of the Laredo Paranormal Research Society, the people I did come to see. Their displays consist of videos, pictures, & audio recordings of various research projects they have conducted for the past 9 years. If you’re a TAPS geek & tivo all the ghost hunting shows out there, you’ve got to check these guys out. Sure it’s fun watching the Ghost Hunters explore places all over the country & the world, but this research is going on in our own back yard. Most of the photos are of orbs & other anomalies that don’t have easy explanations, but the one that stands out is the picture of a child’s ghost taken in a local home. You really have to see this photo to believe it. The majority of the rest of the photos were taken at a building that LPRS can only identify as “an abandoned building in central Laredo,” but I have no such restriction & can tell you they’re from the old Mercy Hospital.
I stayed for the LPRS presentation & was not disappointed. They showed off the equipment they use, some pictures & video that they’ve taken, and audio recordings they’ve made as well. I will caution you on the audio recordings–they present one as its own exhibit for adults only, but gave us a “PG” sample during the presentation. That “PG” sample scared the bejabbers out of me & I was very happy to learn that it was not made in Laredo, but one the LPRS obtained from another group in New York. Then it was on to a new area of research for the group: UFOs & where you can go see some in Laredo (basically, Loop 20 near the new United High School).
All in all, Haunted Heritage is a good exhibit & one I think the Foundation should repeat every year. If possible, they could add ghost walks, too. I’m a sucker for a ghost walk.
Great write-up! As the owner of probably the only non-haunted house downtown, I love listening to other people’s stories. Maybe one of these days we can collect a few from my neighbors. Reader Enrique recently asked if anyone remembered this story:
Enrique – the old showers in the 50`s a child used to be seen alone showering and crying i used to be taken by my teachers from Holding Institute as a group to swim and saw him there. He said his mother was gone and left him there. My teacher called the police and described the boy and he was told a boy recently had drown there. the showers were open no stalls and the doors were half open and you could see from the outside we shower with our bathing suits on. The boy was about 5 orange bathing suit i will never forget him. Maybe was another. By the way we all left to wait for the police and left the boy sitting waiting for us and of course when we came back the boy was gone.
Enrique – does anyone else remember that story? there were several people with me. The teacher probably is dead. Holding Institute around l961 was out trip but the drowning had happened a year or 2 before.