It may not be built yet, but a group of paranormal investigators say El Paso's downtown ballpark will end up being haunted. That's if the ghosts that supposedly reside in the Insights Museum decide they don't want to move out.
Whether or not there are such things as ghosts, there are some grim facts which could possibly lead to a macabre discovery during the planned construction of the downtown baseball stadium. Matt Hernandez, a paranormal investigator with El Paso Ghost Tours, says the Insights museum is sitting on top of El Paso's first cemetery. "Before the railroads came and connected El Paso to the rest of the wild west, this was going to be El Paso's boot hill," Hernandez said during an interview with ABC-7.
We went to the downtown library and found ourselves digging through documents nearly a century old to confirm this. While we haven't been able to find a map of the burial grounds, newspaper articles from the El Paso Herald (known as the El Paso Herald Post in its later years), say the area around Cleveland Square used to be a cemetery. Our news partners at El Paso Inc. reported in 2008 that the county had to re-inter 8 remains that were discovered during a renovation of the park in 2004. That discovery confirmed that not all the bodies were removed from El Paso's first boot hill. County records also show the area was once a military cemetery, used by Fort Bliss when it used to be located close to the river by Paisano Drive.
Hernandez says the river is to blame for closing the cemetery. On that subject, he said "it would flood the streets of El Paso, and the bodies would become buoyant and literally pop up out of the ground and float around the streets. And obviously they couldn't have that so they moved as many as they could to Concordia Cemetery."
On Oct. 27th, ABC-7 followed El Paso Ghost Tours into the Insights Museum to witness a paranormal investigation. The tour was open to the public, and we are told that proceeds from the tour are going towards the museum. The investigators brought Electromagnetic Field (EMF) readers and Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) detectors to help them find the spirits. They began by firing up the museum's Tesla coil, which is said to give electric energy to the spirits.
The first stop on the tour was an ambulance in the corner of the museum. Investigators say the ghost of a little boy named Paul haunts the vehicle. A flashlight in the ambulance turned on and off by itself, interacting with questions and requests from the investigators. The tour continued to a play area with construction blocks. It was here where an EVP detector was brought out. According to flashing lights on the EMF readers, the tour guides say a ghost named David indicated that he wanted us to leave. The tour then went up to the 2nd floor conference room. Investigators say the ghost of Mr. Dodson, one of the museum's founders, haunts this area.
The guides asked if someone was sitting in his chair and one person quickly got up from the table, claiming he was tapped on the shoulder. When the tour was over, some of the paranormal investigators tell us they witnessed apparitions while the tour was on the 2nd floor.
So what happens to the ghosts when the Insights museum is gone? Hernandez says that some ghosts, such as Paul, will probably move out with other items in the museum. "I do think it probably will be haunted" Hernandez said in reference to the Triple A stadium, "I don't know what spirits will decide to remain. I don't know if they're going to be bothered by all the construction and stuff. Really they're probably going to be surprised that when they're building the foundation of the stadium, they're probably going to be unearthing several sets of remains."
If that turns out to be the case, the City could face a problem on what to do with the remains. The ones discovered in Cleveland Square had to wait nearly four years before they were buried in Concordia Cemetery.
The existence of ghosts is a subject for debate. While there was nothing seen or heard on the tour that could not be reproduced with some technological wizardry, there was no evidence to suggest the events were fake either. Whatever the case, one thing is certain: Wherever the Insights Museum ends up, the area around it has a record of being a burial ground, and the ghost stories will live on.