Hotel Galvez debuted in 1911 as the town was being rebuilt from the devastating 1900 hurricane that killed thousands. A candy and toy store that once sat on the Galvez site was destroyed. In the basement, near the restroom, our waitress told us, hotel guests and workers have often heard kids playing ball and laughing -- or felt the curious young spirits trailing them.
I gulped. But there was more.
In the 1950s, a hotel guest hanged herself in her room after believing her lover had been lost at sea. Tragically, two days later, he returned.
Then there were the photos on the waitress' phone. A face pressed against a shower curtain. A man in the mirror. A shadowy figure, captured by a 9-year-old.
"Well," I said, "I'm glad we're not staying here."
Back at our hotel, the Tremont House -- another historic relic -- we grabbed waters to take upstairs and told the lobby bartender of our enlightenment that the Hotel Galvez, Tremont's sister hotel, was severely haunted.
"Well, yeah," she said blankly. "The whole town is."
"But not here, right?" I offered.
"Yes," she said. "Here, too."
She explained, to our dread. Unlike the Hotel Galvez, Tremont House isn't known as a haunted destination, but three ghosts allegedly wander the premises regularly, including a former Civil War soldier who supposedly drank himself to death and a little boy named Jimmy, who was killed by a car while playing outside. The tall palm trees that fill the enclosed courtyard sway excessively when the ghosts come and go, she said.