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Things That Go Bump: Halloween Ghost Stories from Downtown Arlington

Who doesn’t like a good ghost story around this time of year? In Downtown Arlington, we’ve got not one but three tales that might just give your goose bumps goose bumps, including one that just recently.... surfaced.

Arlington Museum of Art   

While the Arlington Museum of Art’s current exhibition, Creative Courage, presents an eclectic collection of textiles, fabrics and canvases, Museum staff wonder if this Halloween, a recently-discovered apparition will don its own sheet and take a tour of the collection.

Originally built in the 1950’s as a J.C. Penney’s department store, the building which the Arlington Museum of Art has occupied since 1989 has its fair share of quirky closets and nooks, especially in the basement. After many years of sensing that there was something strange in the building, this spring the staff made the decision to seek out paranormal expertise. But who do you call? After diligent research, the answer appeared: the Association for the Study of Unexplained Phenomenon.

The Association’s team waited for dusk to fall, then conducted research throughout the building from 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. While no ectoplasmic slime was found, the team of experts did discover abnormally high electromagnetic field (EMF) readings and a fair amount of not totally explainable conversations and sounds emanating faintly from some of the building's walls.

Wait. Did you hear that?

Cemetery of Lost Infants   

Imagine living in the late 1800s, a time when society shunned all matter of sinners, which at that time included women who were single mothers or soon-to-be.

Reverend James Tony Upchurch believed there was a better way, and in 1894 he opened the Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls. Here, south of Arlington’s fledgling city center, women were taught employable skills to help them rejoin society and provide for their children. Over time, the Institute evolved into a “self-sustaining” village. By 1935 it had morphed into an orphanage.

The only thing that remains of the land Reverend Upchurch developed is a hidden graveyard in what is now Doug Russell Park, located along the southwestern edge of the University of Texas at Arlington, which is itself on the south side of Downtown Arlington. This pretty little City park with its small walking bridge and pathway into campus belies the “lost cemetery of infants” within its boundaries. The gravestones found there were most likely erected by Berachah House residents in memory of children lost during or shortly after childbirth.

Today, according to Tui Snider's research, reports of paranormal activity near the graveyard have included “shadowy figures seen darting between the trees, the sensation of being watched, the sounds of children’s voices, and small toys appearing (and disappearing) on graves.”

For a deeper dive into this historic location, join Donna Darovich for this episode of Arlington Time Capsule, a new series of videos produced by O.K. Carter:

Arlington Music Hall   

If you're up for a little more ghost-hunting, check out this video produced by the City of Arlington in 2014 about the paranormal activity in one of our favorite performance venues in Downtown.

According to Jean Collins, who was at that time the owner of the Arlington Music Hall, ghost-in-residence Fred has always been up to all kinds of shenanigans. Jean not only claims to have caught the sounds of an invisible being moving onstage with her own ears, but she and countless other AMH employees were dead serious when they said lights have come back on after being completely shut off.

Even the Dallas-Area Paranormal Society caught clear EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon) in 2014 that indicated there may be more than one spirit roaming the hall, as a female voice was also recorded with the team. 

Howard Ball of AMH’s next-door neighbor Babe’s Chicken Dinner House confirmed his own experiences with strange occurrences, including Fred himself walking up to Howard and asking for a look around the restaurant. "I used to live here,” Fred said, only to then disappear.

Other Ghostly Sightings Around Arlington

We've only just begun! Discover more of Arlington's favorite haunts from Arlington Convention and Visitor's Bureau blog contributors Nikki Stephens and Rhonda Aghamalian

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