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Black Swan Inn is the second episode of Season 8 of Ghost Adventures. Zak, Nick and Aaron head to San Antonio, TX, to investigate the 150-year-old Black Swan Inn, home to a mysterious, dark presence tormenting both the owner, Jo Ann Rivera, and her guests.

Website for this location:

Preliminary Investigation History and Ghost Interractions

From before 5000 B.C. to around 1000 A.D the area was the site of Native American encampments. Artifacts from this time can still be found here. Archeologists have provided evidence showing that Native Americans once lived in the area where the house currently sits.  There have also been signs of a sweat lodge where Native Americans performed rituals.  An ancient Indian burial ground is thought to be under the house.  There have been stories of  boys fishing in Salado Creek being chased away by what appears to be Indian ghosts.  Some people have said they smell smoke and hear a light drum sound.

On September 18, 1842 General Adrian Woll, Sam Houston and his men massacred more than  60 Mexican soldiers during the bloody Battle of Salado.  Their bodies were left to rot where they fell.  Only one Texan lost his life, Steven Jett, during the battle.  There is one report of someone actually witnessing a skirmish between Mexican and Texan soldiers that resembled some sort of re-enactment. There have been sightings of a ghostly confederate soldier near the gazebo in front of Victoria's Black Swan Inn.  The sound of a military bugle is heard on occasion.  In 1936, the property was designated as a Battle of Salado historic site by the State of Texas during the 1936 Centennial Celebration. The Prescott House was built on the property after the civil war.  

Sebastian L Rippstein (2/4/1824 - 7/14/1896), born in Switzerland, and his wife, Hemrieke "Betsy" Ackermann Rippstien (6/1/1834 - 9/15/1911), born in Germany, settled the land in 1867.  The San Antonio Conservation Society shows that they built a stone house barn and milking barn on the property.  Their children were Gustav Juilan (1851-1920), Henriettta Rippstein Seay (1854-1932), Bertha "Betty" Dorthea Rippstein Schaefer (1858-1920), Ida Rippstein Benfer (1870-1951), and Albert Rippstein (1874-1941).

According to psychics and EVP Audio, Gustov is believed to be one of the three spirits that haunts the dairy barn. His ghost is figure that appears to have a head, arms and what looks like to be wearing a tank top, looks at people through a window on the thermal imaging camera.  He also makes loud noises.  The barn that still stands to this day is the location where Henry ran his prized dairy. Many believe he haunts the barn as well because he loved it so much. There is supposedly another big burly German man who haunts the barn although no one is quite sure who he is but he is likely to be Sebastian Rippstein.  All three of the spirits in the barn are aggressive towards women but do not like men. EVP's have been captured of a deep voice telling people to "GET OUT!". In the front yard and house there seems to be a spirit of a child, a little girl who many believe is Sara Mahler, Henry's daughter. She likes to play and jump on mattresses. Sebastian also haunts inside the house.

German immigrants, Heinrich "Henry" Mahler (9/2/1840 - 4/18/1925) and Marie Biermann Mahler (7/15/1850 - 7/25/1923), bought the property on January 10, 1887.  They built the first house on the property in 1887 (Bexar County Appraisal District shows 1902 and San Antonio Conservation Society shows 1901 for the year built).  Their children were Samuel George Mahler (1/21/1876 - 4/21/1937), Louisa Catherine Mahler Prange (11/1/1879 - 1/10/1918), Sara "Suzie" Mahler Schlegel (2/27/1882 - 3/23/1958), Daniel Henry Mahler (11/11/1884 - 5/27/1950).  They also built a milking barn and named the farm Bluebonnet Dairy.  Henry and Sam were known as the Cotton Kings.  The Mahlers ran the dairy farm here until the mid-1930s. 

After Mahler’s wife passed away, he followed suit two years later from lovesick grief. Heinrich also haunts the Milking Barn and roams the property, including inside the main house.  His daughter, Sara "Suzie" pulls pranks in a building located behind the Black Swan. Carl Mahler from Germany had a daughter named Sophia Louise Mahler Meyers, a spinster who lived in the house until she was 82, but haunts the house as an 8-year-old girl singing and laughing and known for playing tricks on people. Henry and Sam Mahler were known as the Cotton Kings.  They lived on the property with 200 acres after Marie died. Henry and Marie's son, Dan, and his wife, Mary Mahler, lived on the property with 237 acres.  They sold the house and surrounding land to two sisters and their husbands in 1941. Katherine S. Joline Holbrook (9/17/1883 - 1/27/1950) and Joseph "John" Younger Holbrook (4/6/1879 - 9/3/1960), along with Mary Blanche Joline Woods  (7/8/1887 - 1/17/1976) and Claude B. Woods (10/31/1882 - 1/17/1935) purchased the property.  The sisters called the house White Gables.  They conducted extensive remodeling, adding two wings to enlarge the mansion to accommodate the two families.  The house was then called "White Gables".  After purchasing more land a second house was built in 1901  but it later burnt down. 

Psychics have also identified the elderly Mrs. Woods, Joline's mother, ensconced in a small bedroom in the south wing.  There, the spirit of a young woman if often spotted, seated on the bed. Those lucky enough to catch sight of this female ghost often liken her to a young Mrs. Woods. She spent several years confined here before she had to be placed in a nursing home.  Although her final resting place was actually in one of the downstairs bedrooms. It’s in that room that many experience an overwhelmingly oppressive heaviness and a feeling of sadness.

Attorney Hall Park Street, Jr. (11/10/1909 - 8/4/1965) and Joline Woods Street (12/15/1912 - 12/22/1959).  They inherited the house in 1952 from Joline's mother, Claude Woods.  After the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Holbrook and Mr. Woods, Mrs. Woods lived in the house with her son-in-law, Park, and her daughter, Joline.  During this time a second story was added to the main house.  While Park and Joline owned the property Earle Stanley Gardner visited the house and wrote some of his famed Perry Mason television series scripts here.  Joline died of breast cancer in 1959.  Park, Jr. was later found dead in 1965 hung by a neck tie with his hands tied behind his back...the death was ruled a suicide.  They were survived by their daughter, Joline "Jingles", who was only 19 at the time and their son, Hall Park Street III.  (no vital records found).  

Park Street supposedly committed suicide by hanging himself in the house, though this has been a highly controversial subject.  A psychic consultant with Syfy's television program Sightings  communicated with former resident, Hall Park Street, whom he believed was murdered in a south wing closet, then moved to another location, where the murderer made the death look like a suicide. They believe Street was killed because of a treasure he still guards in the south wing.  Others believe that Heinrich ghost drove Park to commit suicide.  The most unnerving spectral presence at the property is that of a man who has been spotted stalking angrily all over the house. Rumor has it that he is the ghost of Hall Park Street. Is he perhaps looking for his beloved wife Joline, whose spirit is also said to haunt the Inn after tragedy struck her at the tender age of thirty-eight when she died of cancer. Dressed in a luxurious white gown with a beaded jeweled medallion in from of headband with a feather at the back over her dark hair, this is a very beautiful female spirit roams the property aimlessly, especially around the gazebo, but Park and Joline never seem to meet.

George L Mehren (1913- 1992) and Ingeborg Mehren bought the house on 9/7/1973 from Hall Street Park III, Joline S. and her husband, James Patrick Robinson.  She renamed it "Mehren House".  The house was remodeled, including a large kitchen area, to hold larger dinners, conferences and receptions. Ingeborg had a distinguished guest, Franz Wilhem the Prince of Prussia, who stayed at the house during an extended stay in San Antonio.  Ingeborg later planned to use the property for the Mehren House subdivision as a Salado Investment. In 1980 the Mehren's sold the property to E. Werner Schmidt.  Ernst Werner Schmidt sold the property to Sunbelt Self Storage, Inc. in 1987.

Sunbelt Self Storage, Inc. sold the property to current owner, Jo Ann Marks Andrews, now Jo Ann Marks Rivera, on 11/18/1991.  She named the house "Victoria's Black Swan Inn", after one of William Shakespeare's favorite pubs.  The house is Jo Ann's private residence and her children, Victoria Ann, Nathaniel Robert Rivera, Madison Renee Rivera, as well as her friend, Phil Martin Ross and grandson, Elijah Everitt Rivera who is Victoria's Son.  Jo Ann's other daughters, Rachel Lauran Maze and Meredith Rose Maze also lived in the house.  Jo Ann's mother, Fay Nell Marks (9/10/1924 - 10/4/2012), spent a lot of time at the house and passed away in her bedroom after an illness.

The home has had several paranormal investigators visit it over the  years.  In December 1996, the television show "Sightings" filmed a segment at Victoria's Black Swan Inn.  The house was also featured in the Travel Channel's TV series "Ghost Adventures" in 2013.  During this time some of Texas' most famous musicians, such as George Strait, Jerry Jeff Walker and Flaco Jimenez have performed and filmed here.  Numerous artisans, film makers, and photographers have also filmed and worked on the property. While setting up for an event in 2015, there were several strange, unexplained occurrences.  One person was bitten and bruised on the inner thigh by an unseen toddler through a long heavy dress.  Another person was pinched by a little girl and boy ghosts. Objects were randomly relocated throughout the woods when no one was around.  Other things occurred that are too bizarre to even mention. It has also hosted writers such as Erle Stanley Gardner and some of Texas' most famous musicians and artisans.   There’s a strong chance that both Park and Mrs. Woods are both haunting Victoria’s Black Swan Inn. Guests have reported seeing apparitions all throughout the property, but especially in one of the upstairs bedrooms. There, the spirit of a young woman if often spotted, seated on the bed. Those lucky enough to catch sight of this female ghost often liken her to a young Mrs. Woods, although her final resting place was actually in one of the downstairs bedrooms. It’s in that room that many experience an overwhelmingly oppressive heaviness. Other paranormal phenomena at the Black Swann Inn include notable dips in temperature, unexplainable noises and lights that are often turned off and on at random. But perhaps the most unnerving spectral presence at the property is that of a man who has been spotted stalking angrily all over the house. Rumour has it that he is the ghost of Hall Park Street. Is he perhaps looking for his beloved wife Jolene, whose spirit is also said to haunt the Inn? Dressed in a white gown, this female spirit roams the property aimlessly, but the two never seem to meet. At Victoria’s Black Swan Inn, it’s no secret that the ghosts are just as active at the property as the living. There is the spirit of a child, who acts out only when living children are around—then, the spectral boy is known to pull pranks and throw tantrums.



  • Residual Noises: Noises, Footsteps

  • Spirit Box Voices: "Madison", "which one?", "8", "Bossier"
  • Equipment Malfunction: The audio software freezes and pauses it sweeps on the right when the spirit box receives a voice. To add on, when the computer freezes, the left computer and spirit box continues its sweeping.
  • EMF Fluctuation: The EMF Detector spikes up to a 1.5 when Joanne tries to make contact with her mother.
  • Physical Contact: A loving presence enters the room where Zak, Nick and Joanne are in after a female voice is heard from the spirit box.
  • Apparition: A mist like anomaly manifests at the top of the X camera then vanishes. It looks as though the mist seems to resemble an axe or sword being thrown or swung in motion.

  • Residual Noises: LOUD Noises
  • Apparition: A figure that appears to have a head, arms and what looks like to be wearing a tank top, looks at Aaron through a window on the thermal imaging camera.

  • References

    Season 8 Episodes
    Pioneer SaloonBlack Swan InnTuolumne General HospitalMissouri State PenitentiaryYost Theater & Ritz HotelHaunted Victorian MansionExorcist HouseAlcatrazMustang RanchThornhaven ManorBattle of Perryville