Palestine, TX is a city with a population close to 20,000 that lies in East Texas about 115 miles southeast of Dallas. It was created by the Texas Legislature in 1846 and was named after a city in Illinois by Daniel Parker, an early settler.
Palestine is a city that was created and influenced by transportation with the railroad bringing prosperity to the area. There is plenty here for a weekend visit however you may want to spend a few more days. The Museum for East Texas Culture the, Texas Theatre, Curious, and the Railroad Heritage Center are just a few of the things that offer you a weekend of fun for both solo travelers as well as families. Palestine also has some places that will interest those of you that are into the paranormal.
I recently went to Palestine for a paranormal adventure to the Historic Anderson County Jail. Built in 1931, it is on the same spot as the previous jail that was built in the 1800’s, and it functioned as a jail for approximately 57 years. It ceased to function as a jail in 1988 however and then it served as a juvenile detention center until 1996. It is now owned by private citizens who have tours and holiday events for the public. For paranormal teams, they offer overnight investigations for a reasonable fee.
Across the street is the courthouse and a couple of miles from there is the city cemetery. It is a decent size cemetery with some beautiful old graves there. It is not walking distance from the jail if you have arthritis or any kind of mobility issues. If you are otherwise healthy though, for an after dinner walk, it is good exercise.
The team arrived at the jail at 5 pm to drop gear, set up, and then head out for dinner. SIDENOTE: One of our investigators found a place online by the name of Prontos Gyros & Pizza. The staff there was great, very helpful with making recommendations, and the food was affordable and very good. They have a casual atmosphere and a big menu so I recommend them if you are looking for a place to eat.
The owners of the jail, Jeremy and Sonia, are warm and friendly, and very hospitable. They were easy to reach via Facebook Messenger to set up the investigation and answered all of our questions beforehand as well as onsite. It was obvious to me that they really care about the jail and they community in which they live. I was happy to see that the jail is in much better shape than a lot of the historic places we visit.
We didn’t spend much time on the first floor. The owners live on the first floor and the only thing open to us was the lobby area and bathroom. We were respectful and didn’t want to disrupt the owners which were amazingly quiet. We never heard them at all.
The first floor was one that we did not experience much activity. We did have one rempod go off a couple of times in the lobby area but that was it. It did not seem to be in response to any of our questions and could very well have been a residual energy moving about or something environmental. Those of us who slept on the first floor did not report anything unusual occurring during the night.
The team split up into two groups with some going to the 2nd floor and the rest going to the 3rd floor. There is already a laser grid set up on one of the floors so we didn’t have to set one up ourselves. We had our usual variety of paranormal gear: K2s, rempods, laser grids, audio recorders, parascopes, night vision goggles, ghostbox, and both thermal and SLS cameras.
The team also brought cots and bedding because we were spending the night. We had investigators sleeping on each of the three floors however those sleeping on the 2nd floor reported unusual sounds throughout the night. It was enough to intrigue them but not enough to freak them out.
One investigator had a SLS camera and picked up some really unusual images. It seemed like we may have been getting some false positives near vertical fixtures such as columns however I am no expert so I am not sure. Still, there were enough instances in which the SLS picked up something that made us think we might very well have been in the presence of an entity. It even seemed to interact with a couple of us.
Aside from the SLS camera, we seemed to get a fair amount of responses that were in response to questions from the group. We seemed to hear some knocking and tapping noises, while other times we thought we heard voices although we could not understand what was said.
The streets alongside the jail were fairly busy, busier than we expected into the wee hours of the morning so paranormal teams will need to be diligent in debunking exterior sources of contamination, both visual and auditory.
Former cell of Monty Delk
We learned about a former prisoner that was held here until being transferred to Huntsville and ultimately executed in 2002. His name was Monty Delk and he was convicted of murder. He found his victims by finding people that were advertising items for sale, and then arrange to meet them under the premise of buying their items.
I am not sure how many people he murdered (we were told multiple) but he was quite young when he committed his crime—not even 20 years old at the time of the murder— and it seems he may have been mentally ill. He claimed to be 129 years old and had such poor hygiene that he had to be segregated because of his offensive body odor. He was executed in 2002 at the age of 35.
Our trip to Palestine was worth the time and effort. The jail is a place we want to visit again as a team, which we hope to do in the fall before Jeremy and Sonia have their holiday event (be sure to check out Grinch’s Lair).
My recommendation to paranormal teams is to not take more than 8 people. The smaller the group, the better. For the mainstream, non-paranormal public I recommend checking out the other museums in town and get a real feel of Palestine.
My family and I are heading out on our big trip for 2019 soon (Iceland and Scandinavia) so please check back in the next few months for those updates. 2019 is half done so be sure you squeeze in some fun this summer!