This article was first published in Texas Lifestyle Magazine on Oct. 2, 2020.
“The Ghosts of Houston’s Market Square” is an unconventional ghost story fusing Houston’s illustrious beginning with its present in an homage to the past, and a great read to get you in the Halloween mood!
Whether or not you believe in the supernatural, it is undeniable that energy from the past surrounds Market Square Park. And that’s exactly what Sandra Lord and Debe Branning set out to uncover in their book, “The Ghosts of Houston’s Market Square.” Lord, a writer and avocational historian, immersed herself in Houston’s history.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Branning has been the director of the MVD Ghost Chasers since 1994, she’s appeared on Travel Channel’s “Ghost Stories” and “Ghost Adventures.” It was in 2005 that the two researchers met and subsequently joined forces to retell the story of Houston’s beginnings.
For those unfamiliar with Houston’s Market Square Park, the bustling, congested city of Houston literally evolved from the 62-block, 16-street area of Market Square Park. The first part of the book delves into how Market Square evolved into the fifth largest city in the U.S. It tells of war, murders and conspiracies.
The energy that hangs over Market Square doesn’t come from just the people that make up its past. The “ghosts” are also the former buildings and structures that had occupied Market Square, like the 1876 bell, the 1903 Seth Thomas clock, the four city hall buildings or the old sawpits. But there are also more contemporary spirits including Houstonians and Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, both of whom have memorials inside the Market Square Park.
Reading “The Ghosts of Houston’s Market Square” won’t necessarily frighten you out of your wits like watching the movie “The Conjuring” does. What it will do, however, is stir up feelings of nostalgia mixed with appreciation for past generations who have contributed to making Houston the city it is today.
As Lord and Branning say in their book, “If you don’t feel alone, even when there’s no one else in the park, it’s because you are standing with thousands of ‘ghosts’.” And these ghosts aren’t to be feared but instead revered.
The “The Ghosts of Houston’s Market Square” is available now.
Cover courtesy Aryelle Amador