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Unexplained Noises in the Former Jail

Haunted Hondo Jail

Workers in the former jail building in Hondo say unexplained noises and unusual sightings are spirits. Medina County Judge Jim Barden isn't joking when he says an other-worldly spirit has made its presence known in the former jail building that now houses his staff.

He recently was spooked into leaving by the sound of unexplained footsteps as he worked alone, after hours.

“I walked all over the building and there wasn't anything there,” Barden, 74, said Wednesday. “I wouldn't have gone home if I hadn't felt something weird and uncomfortable.”

He and co-workers report repeatedly experiencing unexplained phenomena since early 2010 when they moved into the former lockup upon completion of a $1.2 million conversion into offices.

Beside hearing “footsteps” and other noises in a vacant stairwell, reports among the building's six workers include catching glimpses of shadowy figures moving about, hearing voices, even being touched.

The county's human resource director, Stacey Cameron, has developed a more personal relationship with the spirits.

She initially attributed it to tricks of the mind. But then she had the distinct feeling of being touched and poked, forcing her to confront the ghosts directly.

“I just told them not to touch me anymore, and it hasn't,” said Cameron, 38.

Her assistant, Yvonne Garcia, has grown used to unusual events, like hearing a woman's voice when no one else is in the 1,900-square-foot building.

“Lately I've seen shadows, but I don't know if it's just me,” she said.

Although eager for an explanation, Barden has no plans to hire professional ghost hunters to investigate the mystery.

“We don't want to spend taxpayers' money on that,” said Barden, a retired telephone corporate attorney and executive. “I accept the fact that there are spirits, and we have had unexplained phenomena in this building.”

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