History

The Gruesome Legend of San Antonio’s Haunted Mansion

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The Gillespie Mansion in Texas was legendary for its stories of hauntings. Over time, folklore gave the structure the name of the “midget mansion.”  It’s important to note that this is only the local folklore that rose up about the house, not documented fact. Having said that, the local legend of this house is an intriguing tale. According to legend, a wealthy family moved to San Antonio in the 1920s. The husband is said to have been a little person who made a considerable fortune starring in Hollywood films. He moved to San Antonio together with his wife (also a little person) and their two daughters (not little in stature). The folklore alleges that the husband took offense to living in homes which were constructed for people of average height, and so he spent an enormous amount of his money custom-building a tiny mansion. Sadly, the result of his efforts was nothing short of a gruesome legend which continues to be told today. It’s important to note that this is only the local folklore that rose up about the house, not documented fact. Having said that, the local legend of this house is an intriguing tale.

The home came complete with small doorknobs which were placed lower than normal, low walls for shorter inhabitants, and even smaller toilets. He also had tiny houses constructed about the property, meant for servants’ quarters. Although each one of these outbuildings was said to have small features, Gillespie hired housekeepers and servants of average size. According to the legend, it wasn’t long before word got out with respect to how abusive the family supposedly was toward their staff, allegedly treating them poorly in addition to making them stay in tiny quarters not designed for their size. Despite the fact that there are two theories on how the story played out for the family, the end result for each is still the same—a number of mangled bodies.

The Gruesome Legend of San Antonio’s Haunted Mansion

Photo: Facebook/Creepy Abandoned Places Via William Tyson Day Sr.

One version of the legend is that a servant finally had enough and lit the house on fire. Following that, it goes on to claim he attacked the family using an axe, taking their bodies to a closet, before committing suicide. When the fire department got the blaze put out, they discovered the bodies and took their best attempt at determining what took place. A second version of this urban legend is that the husband, himself, went crazy and attacked his own family, slicing their throats, and taking them to an upstairs closet. After murdering his whole family, he turned a gun on himself, taking his own life. According to this theory, authorities had discovered the family members weren’t dead when the father put them in the closet, having found notes written in blood on the walls and scratch marks indicating their attempts to escape.

The Gruesome Legend of San Antonio’s Haunted Mansion

Photo: Pixabay

Regardless of the way the tale unraveled, today the spooky reputation of the so-called midget mansion remains intact. In fact, it continues to grow around Lone Star State campfires every summer, as new generations learn what’s believed to be the tragic end to the residents. Locals have fanned the flames with eerie details of their own supporting the wickedness of the legend. Creepy noises, sounds of screams, and figures once spied moving throughout the house are just some of the tales being told about the property. It did become the perfect place for rebel teenagers to try and camp out, hoping (or perhaps dreading) that something scary would happen. Police had regularly been called to the property for a number of reasons.

Much like the legend itself, there are differing versions of where the mansion was located. One version maintains that the home is was demolished to make room for the Promontory Pointe Apartments, located at 4114 Medical Drive. However, others are adamant its location was actually 8139 Donore Place. Despite the variance in stories and even the variance of locations, the legend of this haunted mansion is one of the more gruesome ones to come out of San Antonio.