The Butterowe building in Downtown Galveston is home to one of the scariest haunted houses in the United States, The Mayfield Manor. It opened in September 2011 and offers some of the most terrifying jump scares and terror on the market. But real spirits haunt the historic Butterowe building, and their stories are almost stranger than fiction.
The legendary story of Dr. Mayfield, a fictional scientist whose experiments on the mentally ill have left him unstable and dangerous, is played out for eager adrenaline-seeking guests year-round.
Actor Chris Clark, who plays the demented Dr. Mayfield, has seen more than most in the old building. The spirit of Thomas, an adolescent boy who lost his life during the great hurricane of 1900, makes his presence known by actively communicating with Clark as an orb, with electrical malfunctions, and as a disembodied voice.
The Butterowe mansion has stood in Downtown Galveston since 1885. It’s seen the horrors of death firsthand, operating as a morgue after the Galveston Hurricane. Now, the terrors of Mayfield Manor continue to bring the paranormal to the living.
See the Mayfield Manor yourself on a ghost tour with US Ghost Adventures! Read on to learn more.
While the horrors of Dr. Mayfield and The Mayfield Manor are largely fictitious, their origins took root during the Hurricane of 1900.
The Galveston Hurricane, or just “The Storm,” was a monstrous hurricane that rocked the shores of Galveston on September 8th, 1900.
The hurricane tore through the city with an unfathomable force. Estimates of casualties range from 6,000-12,000, with 6,000 people dead in Galveston. 3,600 homes were lost in the wake of the storm, and nearly 30 million dollars in damages were incurred. That is over $700 million in modern monetary terms!
Although the city of Galveston rebounded quickly, water and telegraph services were up and running within a week, its effects on the city were long-lasting. Galveston was raised an astounding 17 feet, and a seawall was constructed over the next 60 years to prevent a further disaster of such magnitude.
While future disasters were prevented, the horrors of hurricanes could not be forgotten. Some of the dead were given burials at sea, only to have their bloated bodies returned to shore. Those who witnessed the horrific ordeal chose to store their dead in safer areas.
The Butterow Building and other large, surviving structures were used as make-shift morgues, housing hundreds of bodies while they waited for their final resting place.
The Butterowe Building and The Mayfield Manor sit in the iconic Strand District of downtown Galveston. This commercial and entertainment district sits at the heart of Galveston and is a favorite for locals and tourists alike. Shopping, dining, and entertainment line the beach.
The Butterowe Building holds the Mayfield Manor inside of it, alongside another attraction called “Pirates!,” while the second floor is home to various apartments. It is a bone-chilling thought living in a building that once held hundreds of corpses.
Tales about rotting flesh stacked upon each other aren’t the only thing raising people’s skin in the Butterow Building. The Mayfield Manor is ranked the third scariest haunted house in the nation by USA Today. Owner Joyce Mclean has been providing family-friendly scares to the people of Galveston since 2011.
The haunted house follows the story of Dr. Mayfield, a scientist who experimented on the mentally ill at the turn of the 20th century. His life’s work is lost after the hurricane, and he slowly loses his mind as his home is piled up with corpses.
While this story is fictional and there was no one named Dr. Mayfield, the premise of the story holds its weight in water. Doors open and close on their own, disembodied voices are heard, and missing items are often found in strange places in the building.
But one spirit in particular, a young boy named Thomas, seems to be the most active.
Actor Chris Clark, who plays the tormented Dr. Mayfield, has seen his fair share of paranormal activity in the building. One evening, while preparing for a night of terror, he saw strange orbs floating in an unused backroom. This prompted a large investigation, and what paranormal experts discovered was shocking.
They connected with this spirit and discovered several spirits haunting the building, including a young boy and an adult man. This comes as no surprise, with the large amount of death that was once present in the Butterow Building.
Clark interacts with the adolescent boy, whom he has endearingly named Thomas, often. He has captured him in photographs and often scolds him when the lights begin to flicker, a phenomenon attributed to Thomas’s playful spirit.
The spirits of the 6,000 dead Galvestonians still walk the streets of the pirate city. In a city this old, it is impossible not to come across a haunted location. The historic buildings, such as the Butterowe, tell their story, providing scares both real and fabricated.
But there is only one thing to do if you want the real truth about haunted Galveston: take a ghost tour! Venture out into the streets of the island city to discover the dark history of Galveston with US Ghost Adventures.