Visit a Famously Haunted Texas Hotel in October

The Magnolia Hotel in 1936
The Magnolia Hotel in 1936
Arthur W. Stewart, Library of Congress

Seguin, Texas, is a surprisingly popular destination for ghost hunters. The 27,000-person town located 35 miles outside of San Antonio has been featured on several ghost-hunting TV shows, thanks to the presence of the Magnolia Hotel, a spooky historic inn that’s reportedly home to at least 13 restless spirits—at least according to its owner.

This Halloween season, you can experience the Magnolia’s hauntings for yourself. The hotel, which sat vacant for two decades and has been under renovation for years, will open its doors to visitors on October 28, according to San Antonio news station KSAT. The public can get a rare glimpse of the building (and maybe some of its spookier residents).

The hotel’s origins stretch back to 1840, when one of Seguin’s founders, Texas Ranger James Campbell, built a two-room log cabin on the property. Campbell was killed shortly after, and the cabin ended up in the hands of various other owners who transformed it first into a stagecoach station, then into a hotel. Throughout the years, owners built new additions to the property, expanding the hotel. By the mid-1800s, it was the town’s largest inn, and it would retain the title well into the 20th century. In the 1930s, it was renovated into apartments, but was abandoned in the 1990s.

Throughout those years, the building was witness to plenty of violence. In the 1850s, its cellar served as a safehouse for women and children during attacks on the town by members of the Comanche tribe. For a while, that basement shelter also served as the town’s first jail.

In 1874, serial killer Wilhelm Faust was staying there for work when he snuck away to murder his wife, who was staying nearby, but killed a family friend’s young daughter instead. He later confessed to several other murders.

Current Magnolia owner Erin Ghedi says that the hotel is now home to at least 13 ghosts—which have been pinpointed “with the assistance of a well-known Texas psychic, and the owner's ability to communicate with the spirits,” according to the hotel website. But Ghedi is still trying to figure out who exactly the ghosts are, according to KSAT.

When the Russel Rush Haunted Tour stopped by the hotel to film, though, she told the crew that she and others have seen the ghost of the young girl killed by Wilhelm Faust roaming around the hotel playing with a ball, and the spirit of a prostitute who used to bring clients to the place in the 1880s. Ghedi also claims that ghosts have thrown heavy radiators and other objects across rooms and that people have felt their eyes being scratched in bathrooms. On the paranormal TV show Strange Town, ghost hunters saw mysterious mist floating through one of the hotel’s historic rooms during the night.

The hotel will be open on October 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. According to the Magnolia’s website, though the hotel doesn’t offer overnight stays just yet, its owners hope to in the future, so keep an eye out.

[h/t KSAT]

10 Classy Coloring Pages You Can Print at Home

Museums and libraries are offering dozens of printable coloring pages for free.
Museums and libraries are offering dozens of printable coloring pages for free.
Lordn./iStock via Getty Images

The coronavirus quarantine hasn't been easy on anyone, but cultural institutions around the world have stepped up and offered virtual visits and activities to help home-bound people maintain sanity. Earlier this year, museums and libraries launched the fourth annual Color Our Collections initiative, offering printable coloring pages and adult coloring books of objects in their archives. Some are intricate and highly detailed; others are simple line drawings that invite creativity—so they're perfect for all ages. Here are a few of our favorite coloring pages that you can print at home right now.

1. Trinity Hall, Cambridge Printable Coloring Pages

Cambridge Trinity Library printable coloring pages
Cambridge Trinity Library // Public Domain

The five-page coloring book from Cambridge University's Trinity Hall library is worth downloading for this resplendent cat alone. You'll also get a challenging 15th-century drawing of Venice, a "many branched Tulip," and other designs.

Download it: PDF

2. Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens Printable Coloring Pages

Six pages of vintage art and design make up the coloring book from the Huntington Library in Southern California, a research institution focused on the humanities. Choose from a Suffragist magazine cover illustration, a traditional quilt pattern, a diagram depicting "the mechanics of arithmetic," and other pictures.

Download it: PDF

3. Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Printable Coloring Pages

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site printable coloring pages
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site // Public Domain

This coloring book comes from the Buffalo, New York, mansion where TR was sworn in as president following the assassination of William McKinley in 1901. Four pages, including a newspaper illustration of the inauguration ceremony, will delight die-hard Tedheads.

Download it: PDF

4. Biodiversity Heritage Library Printable Coloring Pages

The Biodiversity Heritage Library's coloring book features illustrations by female natural history artists on subjects ranging from shells to snakes to mushrooms. Each of the 10 pages offers a mini version of the real illustration, so you can choose to render a facsimile or go crazy with your colors.

Download it: PDF

5. Center for the History of Medicine Printable Coloring Pages

Harvard Center for the History of Medicine printable coloring pages
Center for the History of Medicine // Public Domain

Harvard University's Center for the History of Medicine produced a 10-page book of printable coloring pages featuring 19th-century anatomical illustrations and diagrams for obsolete medical treatments. Just what the doctor ordered!

Download it: PDF

6. Brunel University London Printable Coloring Pages

Named for the visionary 19th-century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, this university's coloring book offers four pages around the theme of the industrial revolution. An 1848 train locomotive dubbed "Little England" and a 1734 diagram of the solar system are highlights.

Download it: PDF

7. The Harley-Davidson Archives Printable Coloring Pages

Harley-Davidson Archives printable coloring pages
Harley-Davidson Archives // Public Domain

This surprisingly elegant three-page coloring book includes drawings of vintage motorcycles, such as a 1920 ad for Harley-Davidson's opposed twin Sport Model, the "Womans Out-Door Companion."

Download it: PDF

8. University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology Printable Coloring Pages

The creators of this coloring book have one goal: "to spread the love of spiders." Its 13 pages of original drawings will introduce you to Floridian fauna like the spiny-backed orb weaver, magnolia jumper, and ogre-faced spider.

Download it: PDF

9. Boston Athenaeum Printable Coloring Pages

Boston Athenaeum printable coloring pages
Boston Athenaeum // Public Domain

This three-page coloring book from the Boston Athenaeum, one of the country's oldest independent libraries, puts quality over quantity. Artists can choose between 16th-century sea monsters, a lovely botanical print, and a charming farmhouse scene.

Download it: PDF

10. The Royal Horticultural Society Libraries Printable Coloring Pages

Thirteen pages of historical gardening images await you in the Royal Horticultural Society's coloring book. A determined Victorian man in top hat and tails pushing a lawn mower, a family of cabbages, a guide to apples, and numerous plant drawings will keep colorers busy for hours.

Download it: PDF

The Smithsonian Needs Your Help Transcribing Sally Ride’s Notebooks

Sally Ride in 1984.
Sally Ride in 1984.
Coffeeandcrumbs, NASA, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

On June 18, 1983, Sally K. Ride made history when she became the first American woman to travel into space. Now, the Smithsonian Institution is making the history of her incredible decades-long career more accessible to everyone—and they need your help to do it.

The National Air and Space Museum Archives is home to the Sally K. Ride Papers, a collection of 38,640 physical pages (over 23 cubic feet) of material spanning Ride’s professional life as an astronaut, physicist, and educator from the 1970s to 2010s. Those resources have been scanned and used to create an online finding aid—not unlike a table of contents—so researchers can easily navigate through the wealth of information.

To simplify the searching process within that online finding aid, the Smithsonian Institution is asking for volunteers to transcribe documents in the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center, a digital hub launched in 2013, where anybody can sign up to type and review historical sources. Three projects from the Sally K. Ride Papers are currently available to transcribe, which include her notes for shuttle training between 1979 and 1981, notes about the Remote Manipulator System Arm (there's one on the International Space Station today), and notes from NASA commissions on which she served. One, for example, was the Rogers Commission, which investigated the causes of the fatal Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986.

You can find out more about the documents in the projects here, and if you’re interested in joining the forces of “volunpeers,” as the Smithsonian likes to call its transcribers, you can create a new user account here. (All you’ll need is a username and email address.)

Check out more citizen science projects you can participate in at home here.

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