Mineral Wells, Texas is a relatively unremarkable place that one could drive past without even looking twice, but the dusty and rustic town draws visitors far and wide due to its mysterious past.
In the late 1800s, Texas was home to the world of renowned mineral springs, not because of the luxury of the water resorts, but the said ‘healing properties’ of the water.
In 1877, James and Armanda Lynch, along with their children and 50 livestock, set out on a search of a home with drier air to ease the pains of their rheumatism. The family had traveled from Denison, Texas and were subdued on their journey by Commanche attacks and several livestock dying, the last due to a lightning strike.
For $240, the Franco-Texas land company sold eighty acres of land to James, tucked in the Palo Pinto Valley. For three years the family had to acquire water by hiking four miles from ‘Lynch Ranch’ to the Brazos River. Johnny Adams, a well driller, drilled a well for the family for the price of two oxen.
Hesitantly, the family began to drink the water from the well. To their surprise, the rheumatism that was severe enough to push the family to move, appeared to be cured. The Lynch family turned this ‘miracle water’ to a business venture and began to sell it for five cents per quart. 3,000 people from neighboring areas were camping on the ranch by the end of the year.
James discovered demand was much greater than what his well could supply, and asked his clients provide a medical document stating why they needed the water more than the next person in line. In the fall of 1881, the town was so populated that they began being covered by the Ednaville newspaper and post office, and James Lynch was elected mayor.
Plans for a town square and a hotel were laid out, and many mineral wells were drilled to fit the demand of the population boom. The DeBellet, Starr, and Gibson wells became the most notable wells of the town. The DeBellet well was even accompanied by a drinking pavilion for town residents and visitors to consume the mineral water. The Crazy Water well was named after a mentally ill elderly woman who spent all hours at the well begging strangers to “draw her up a pail” who eventually appeared to regain a grip on sanity from the properties of drinking the water.
The famous Crazy Water well extended its name to the Crazy Water Retirement Hotel, The Crazy Water Company, and most notably, The Crazy Water Hotel. The hotel was constructed in 1912 and is still standing today. It was reconstructed in 1927 due to a fire two years prior.
The Crazy Water Hotel became more than a hotel, as doctors would practice and prescribe different strengths of the mineral water out of the hotel. By the early 1900s, the town had a population of about 8,000 residents, with 150,000 regular visitors. The town even drew famous visitors such as Will Rogers and Judy Garland.
With the arrival of the 1970s and the rise of gas prices, the journey to Mineral Wells became less and less accessible, and the town’s growth slowed down. Although with the previous large popularity of the town, there was bound to be a handful of creepy coincidences and accidents, most of which happened at the Baker Hotel. The now main tourist attraction of the town stands about a block away from the Crazy Water Hotel and hosts regular ghost walks.
The creator and guide of the ghost tours, Angela Morgan, regularly tells the participants that the 14 story tall Baker Hotel is the second most haunted location in Texas behind the Alamo.
Not far from the hotels in the residential area, stands a house with upside down crosses engraved on the pillars, and Morgan explains that a doctor allegedly owned the home, and would murder the sick children brought to his door.
After a short walk through the residential area and past the garage, said to contain the car former President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in, Morgan then explains her personal experience with the hotel. She was peering down the elevator shaft taking photos when she was shoved by a mysterious mass, which left her dangling over the steep drop.
Back when the town was booming, a woman was said to have leapt from the bell tower of the hotel and now her ghost roams the halls appearing sometimes in photos. The hotel has countless ghostly stories of murders and mysterious mishaps, and whether how many of those are true or myth remains unknown. But what is certain is the ghostly creep one feels down their spine when walking through the town of Mineral Wells.