The evening began innocently enough. After arriving in Galveston, Texas, my travel companion and I were sipping gin gimlets at dusk inside the Hotel Galvez, a turn-of-the-century beauty built on the Gulf of Mexico's edge. The grand hall -- the pinnacle of the island city's glamorous old architecture -- buzzed with imbibers clinking glasses, chattering among tall limestone columns, arched windows and intricate tiled floors.
A stop in Galveston seemed the perfect finale to our weeks-long road trip across Texas.
But our weekend took a surprising turn when I left the table in search of a restroom.
I descended a stairwell, entered a dimly lit corridor and was met by one of the eeriest feelings of my life. I felt followed -- then surrounded.
Sure someone was on my heels, I whirled around, fists clenched, only to stare into thin air.
The feeling chased me until I returned to the grand hall, hurriedly. That's when I remembered "Ghosts of Galveston," a book I had eyed in a boutique earlier in the day.
"Are there really ghosts in this town?" I asked our waitress.
She lifted an eyebrow.
"Oh, yes," she replied. "Everywhere."
What followed, over icy libations, was a tidal wave of spookiness: She told tales of glasses spontaneously broken, toilet paper rolls spinning uncontrollably and faces in the corners of empty rooms.