8 notorious Houston-area locations plagued by suicides, murders and death

A Google Map view of the Hotel Galvez in Galveston.

HOUSTON – Houston is full of places said to be haunted by real ghosts and tragic stories.

Here are some of the most notorious places in Houston plagued by suicides, murders and death:

Hotel Galvez - 2024 Seawall Blvd

A Google Map view of the Hotel Galvez in Galveston.

Audra, a young 25-year-old bride-to-be in the 1950s, was engaged to a mariner who frequently sailed in and out of the Port of Galveston. Audra stayed in room 501 of the Galvez, but when her fiancé set sail, she would climb up to one of the turrets of the hotel each day and wait for his ship to get back. One day after a storm, she got word that her fiancé's ship had gone down and there were no survivors. She maintained hope and continued to climb to the turret to wait, but eventually despair got the best of her, and she hanged herself. Unfortunately, a few days later her fiancé appeared at the hotel only to learn that he would never wed his beloved Audra.

Killing fields – Calder Oil Field

The fields are 25 acres of land along I-45 that served as the dumping ground for murder victims ranging in age from 12 to 25 years old. Thirty bodies have been found since the 1970s, most of whom were Texans. Four of those bodies were found in the Calder Oil Fields. Recently, two of the Calder Road victims were identified thanks to advances in DNA and genealogical research.

Andrea Yates home - 942 Beachcomber Lane

A Google Map view of the Andrea Yates house.

Andrea Yates and her husband Rusty Yates lived in their Clear Lake home with their five children ages 7 through 6 months. In June 2001, Rusty came home to find all of his kids dead at the hands of his wife. Andrea had drowned all her kids in a bathtub. KPRC 2 reporter Phil Archer was the first reporter to arrive. He said it was an emotional scene.

"Cops were crying. There was a lot of emotion there. They were the guys that had gone in that house and had to recover the bodies," Archer said. "They brought Andrea out and her clothes were still wet, and her hair was still wet from the bathtub. And they brought her out, and she looked like a zombie. There was a sort of wildness in her eyes."

Andrea was committed to a Texas mental hospital, where she remains.

Todville Mansion - 3300 Todville Rd

A Google Map view of the property that was once where the Todville Mansion stood.

The mansion, which has since been divided into multiple lots, belonged to William "Bill" List in the mid- to late-1900s. List was a known sex offender who was sentenced to prison in 1959 for molesting multiple teen boys. List lived in the Seabrook mansion along with boys who would stay there for stints of time.

In 1984, four of the young men staying at the mansion conspired to kill him, and one evening in October of that year, a man named Elbert Ervin Homan aka "Smiley" pulled the trigger. List was hit in the head with a bullet from his own gun and Smiley was later convicted and sentenced to 45 years in prison. One of the lots up for sale was on the verge of being purchased until the person backed out of the deal after learning of the property's grisly past.

Alley Theater Iris Siff - 615 Texas Ave

Iris Siff was the managing director of the Alley Theater in 1982. Siff had been working late one day in January, when a man came into her office and strangled her using a phone cord. Her body was found the following day and the charred remains of her vehicle were found near the theater. The killer was identified as Clifford Phillips, a security guard who had been fired in the days prior to Siff’s killing. He was convicted and sentenced to death later that year. He was put to death in 1993.

Candy Man home - 2020 Lamar Drive

2020 Lamar Drive, Pasadena, Texas

Dean Corll - known as the "Candy Man" because his family owned a candy shop - was a notorious serial killer who, with the help of young boys, would lure victims back to his home where he would abuse and torture them before killing them with a .22 caliber pistol. One of accomplices, 15-year-old Elmer Wayne Henley, was coerced into bringing boys to Corll for $200. Two years later, Henley brought a girl and a boy to the Pasadena home. He got the young teens to drink and get high until they passed out. When the teens woke up, all three were bound and gagged. Henley was able to talk Corll into releasing him. Corll ordered Henley to abuse the girl while he violated the other boy. That is when Henley grabbed Corll's pistol and fired, killing Corll. Henley was convicted of six murders and is serving six 99-year sentences. He was not charged in Corll's killing because it was ruled self-defense. A KPRC 2 reporter caught Henley's confession on microphone.

Joan Hill death - 1561 Kirby Drive

John Hill and Joan Robinson Hill were married in 1957 and formed part of the Houston elite until their deaths in 1969 and 1972, respectively. John Hill was a respected surgeon and Joan was his socialite wife. She died of what was ruled to be meningitis and sepsis and her husband was accused of murdering his wife. He went to trial, which ended in a hung jury. Shortly after, John Hill was gunned down in the doorway of his River Oaks mansion. The case became the subject of the "Blood and Money" book and movie.

Brewery Tap - 717 Franklin St.

The old Houston bar was not the site of a grisly murder. However, in the 1920s, an employee known as William was killed when he was crushed under a stack of beer barrels that fell. William’s ghost is said to remain at the establishment and is even credited with saving an employee’s life.

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.