Haunted Walmart - Galveston, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member jhuoni
N 29° 15.874 W 094° 50.002
15R E 321871 N 3238690
Quick Description: I have heard this story many times, but never gave it a whole lot of thought.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 10/8/2017 2:31:41 PM
Waymark Code: WMWRVF
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
Views: 4

Long Description:
The Texas Historical Marker across Seawall Blvd. reads:

Children orphaned by a yellow fever epidemic in 1867 were cared for temporarily in Galveston's St. Mary's Infirmary by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. In 1874 Galveston Bishop Claude Dubuis bought the 35-acre plantation and home of Farnifala and Laura Green located between this gulf front and Green's Bayou for use as a permanent orphanage. In early 1874 the Sisters of St. Mary's Infirmary founded St. Mary's Orphan Asylum by housing 28 children here at the site of the Greens' former residence. A 2-story facility for orphan girls was built nearby in October 1874.

The girl's dormitory was all that remained of the orphanage after the storm of 1875. A new residence for boys was built by 1879. St. Mary's was caring for orphans from throughout Texas at the time it was granted a Texas charter in 1896.

The catastrophic storm of 1900 completely destroyed the orphanage. Ten nuns and at least 90 children were tragically killed despite the nuns' valiant efforts to save the children by securing them to their own bodies with clothesline. Three orphan boys rescued at sea were the only survivors. St. Mary's Orphan Asylum reopened at 40th and Q streets in Galveston City in 1901 and remained there until closing in 1967.

Orphans Cause Havoc at Walmart - Galveston, TX
October 02, 2017 / Michelle Tebow

It is 3AM and the children are terrorizing the toy section of Walmart! Electronic toys are sounding off, toys are flying off the shelves and some of the toys with wheels are headed for a romp up and down the isles. Where are the parents of these children?

No one knows as they are all orphans and the Sisters of St. Mary’s orphanage, who once watched over them, are long gone to their Heavenly destination.

This Walmart may be the only one in the U.S. which closes at midnight and does not reopen until 6AM. They have no choice. After midnight the registers start to experience mysterious problems and they can't keep them running. As for staff, that’s a completely different problem. They cannot staff or keep staff for the overnight shifts. It seems some of these folks haven’t dealt so well with things mysteriously flying off the shelves!

Though the ten Sisters of St. Mary’s Orphanage are long gone, it seems that, at least, some of the 90 children have stuck around. This Walmart is the former site of this orphanage which was washed away during The Great Storm.

During the day of September 8th, 1900 the Sisters watched the unusually high waves come onto the shores of Galveston. By evening they knew they had a serious problem and moved all the children to the newer and stronger girls dormitory where they tried to calm the children by having everyone sing the hymn “Queen of the Waves.” They were forced to move to the second floor as the waters rose and the first floor was inundated by water. They watched in horror as the boys dormitory was raised high and then consumed by the sea. In a desperate attempt to save the children, they grabbed a clothesline and began tying themselves to child after child in an attempt to save the children. Then the worse came to pass as the Gulf of Mexico lifted the girl's dormitory off of its foundation and the ceiling caved in. Sadly, the rope caught debris and hastened the drowning of nuns and children, alike. All 10 of the nuns and 87 of the 90 children died in the storm. They were buried where they were found after the storm.

But it seems that the children have not forgotten their beloved orphanage and have returned to the site of their former home… Walmart has been kind enough to provide the orphans hours and hours of late night entertainment!

(visit link)

You might be wondering why when you click on the link that says "Seawall Walmart" you are being brought here to the St. Mary's page. That's because the Seawall Walmart is where the former St. Mary's Orphans Asylum used to reside. You can see evidence of this by looking on the seawall side of Seawall Blvd. across from Walmart where there is a historical marker for St. Mary's Orphanage. Walmart employees have been reporting misplaced toys, missing pallets of toy inventory, phantom children's laughter, and cries for parents. I spoke to a former employee who told me a story about how she once heard a child crying and crying for their mother.
So she went to find the child thinking they were lost and needed help finding their mother. She searched the toy department, she called out to the child without an answer, and even had other employees and customers trying to assist in finding the lost child. They never did find the child, never saw a crying child for that matter, and suddenly the crying was said to just stop. It always sounding like the child was just on the next aisle over, and two employees argued back and forth saying, "don't you see her she's on your side" with the other responding "no she's on your side I can hear her" but they were unable to ever find the little girl. It's amazing how time erases ghost stories. About ten years ago this was one of the most haunted known locations on Galveston Island even the local news did a few stories about it. Today very few people even seem to know about this ghost story.

There may have been a reason those two employees struggled so much to find the crying child. Perhaps the crying child was actually nothing more then a ghost or a residual spirit. Other then the crying child Walmart employees report that toys are always out of place and seeming to just fall off the shelves as if knocked off. Read more below if you want to read the full story of the tragic end that met the former St. Mary's Orphanage its 90 children residents and it's 10 sister staff.

Wherever they are in the world on Sept. 8, the members of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word sing an old French hymn, "Queen of the Waves."

Whether in their ministry in rural Kenya, East Africa or one of the hospitals of the Sisters of Charity Health Care System, which they sponsor, the Sisters of Charity sing the same hymn that has been sung on that date every year since 1900.The song provides the sisters and all those who co-minister with them an opportunity to pause and remember all who lost their lives in a devastating hurricane almost a century ago.
Striking Galveston on Sept. 8, 1900, the Great Storm is considered the worst natural disaster in the nation's history. More than 6,000 men, women and children lost their lives. Among the dead were 10 sisters and 90 children from the St. Mary's Orphans Asylum, operated by the Sisters of Charity. The sisters also operated St. Mary's Infirmary in Galveston. It was the first Catholic hospital in the state, established in 1867.

The sisters were called to Galveston by Catholic Bishop Claude M. Dubuis in 1866 to care for the many sick and infirm in what was the major port of entry for Texas. They were also charged with caring for orphaned children, most of whom had lost parents during yellow fever epidemics. At first the Sisters of Charity opened an orphanage within the hospital, but later moved it three miles to the west on beach-front property on the former estate of Captain Farnifalia Green.

The location seemed ideal as it was far from town and the threat of yellow fever. As Galveston entered the new millennium, it was one of the wealthiest cities per capita in the United States and one of the largest in the state. It was a prosperous community with a bustling port. With a population of 36,000, Galveston appeared to be poised for greatness.

And then one weekend in September in 1900, the same proximity to the sea that had made the community grow and prosper as a port city, was to change Galveston Island forever. On Sept. 8, Galveston became the victim of a powerful hurricane of such destructive force that whole blocks of homes were completely swept away and one sixth of population was killed. Beginning early on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 8, 1900, the winds began coming in strongly from the north. Despite the opposing winds, the tides of the southern gulf waters also rose sending large crashing waves upon the beach front.

Sister Elizabeth Ryan, one of 10 sisters at St. Mary's Orphanage, had come into town that morning to collect food. Despite pleas from Mother Gabriel, the assistant superior at St. Mary's Infirmary, for her to stay at the hospital until the storm passed, Sister Elizabeth said she had to return to the orphanage. Sister Elizabeth said that she had the provisions in the wagon and if she did not return the children would have no supper. She didn't know that whether she returned or not there would be no more suppers at the orphanage.

During the afternoon the winds and rain continued to increase. The tides of the gulf rose higher and higher with fierce waves crashing on the beach sending flood waters into the residential areas. St. Mary's Orphanage consisted of two large two-story dormitories just off the beach behind a row of tall sand dunes that were supported by salt cedar trees. The buildings had balconies facing the gulf.

According to one of the boys at the orphanage, the rising tides began eroding the sand dunes "as though they were made of flour." Soon the waters of the gulf reached the dormitories. The Sisters at the orphanage brought all of the children into the girls' dormitory because it was the newer and stronger of the two. In the first floor chapel, they tried to calm the children by having them sing "Queen of the Waves." The waters continued to rise.

Taking the children to the second story of the dormitory, the Sisters had Henry Esquior, a worker, collect clothesline rope. Again they had the boys and girls sing "Queen of the Waves." One of the boys later said that the children were very frightened and the Sisters were very brave.

By 6 p.m. the wind was gusting past 100 miles per hour and the waters of the gulf and bay had met, completely flooding the city. Residents climbed to the second stories, attics and even roofs of their homes. Flying debris struck many who dared venture outside their homes.

Around 7:30 p.m. the main tidal surge struck the south shore.

Houses along the beach front were lifted from their foundations and sent like battering rams into other houses. Houses fell upon houses. At St. Mary's Infirmary the flood waters filled the first floor. From the second story balcony, the sisters pulled refugees in as they floated by and brought them into the over-crowded hospital. Almost every window in the facility was broken out sending the wind and rain whipping through the building.

At the orphanage, the children and sisters heard the crash of the boys dormitory as it collapsed and was carried away by the flood waters. The sisters cut the clothesline rope into sections and used it to tie the children to the cinctures which they wore around their waists. Each Sister tied to herself between six to eight children. It was a valiant, yet sacrificial effort to save the children. Some of the older children climbed onto the roof of the orphanage.

Eventually the dormitory building that had been the sanctuary for the children and sisters was lifted from its foundation. The bottom fell out and the roof came crashing down trapping those inside. Only three boys from the orphanage survived: William Murney, Frank Madera and Albert Campbell. Miraculously all three ended up together in a tree in the water. After floating for more than a day, they were eventually able to make their way into town where they told the sisters what had happened at the orphanage.

One of the boys remembered a sister tightly holding two small children in her arms, promising not to let go. The sisters were buried wherever they were found, with the children still attached to them. Two of the sisters were found together across the bay on the Mainland. One of them was tightly holding two small children in her arms. Even in death she had kept her promise not to let go.

The death and destruction in Galveston was unbelievable. More than 6,000 were dead and their bodies were littered throughout the city. It would be months before some would be uncovered. A complete list of the dead was never made.It is estimated that the winds reached 150 mph or maybe even 200. The tidal surge has been estimated at from 15 to 20 feet. Whole blocks of homes had been completely destroyed leaving little more than a brick or two. In all more than 3,600 homes had been destroyed.

A great wall of debris wrapped itself around St. Mary's Infirmary on the eastern end of the city and then zigzagged through the city to the beach. At places the wall was two stories tall. Inside this great wall were destroyed houses, pieces of furniture, pots, pans, cats, dogs and people. Those who were dead and those who were dying. At St. Mary's Infirmary, there was no food or water. While the main hospital building was still standing, the adjacent structures, had been destroyed.

The hospital was packed with those who were injured and those who had no where else to go. Two of the Sisters walked about the area until they found crackers and cookies that had been soaked in the water. They brought them back to the hospital and over a fire they built in the street they dried the food and served it to those in need at the infirmary. Firmly committed to the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, the Sisters repaired St. Mary's Infirmary and, one year later, opened a new orphanage. Today the sisters have extended their ministry to other states and foreign countries.

On Sept. 8, 1994, a Texas Historical Marker was placed at 69th Street and Seawall Boulevard, marking the site of the former orphanage. The descendants of two of the survivors, Will Murny and Frank Madera, returned to participate in the marker dedication. As part of the ceremony, "Queen of the Waves" was again sung at the same time and place as it was during the Great 1900 Storm. And, as it continues to be each Sept. 8 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.

(visit link)
Public access?:
It's a WALMART, of course you can come in!

Visting hours:
Normal business hours. Remember, they aren't open 24/7. Only 6 a.m. to midnight. (And you can bet the employees don't want to stay there any later, if you know what I'm saying.)

Website about the location and/or story: [Web Link]

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