Is This Taylor Hotel Haunted?

Taylor’s Talbot Commons: Paranormal Investigation

Haunted First Presbyterian Taylor

When the folks at Talbot Commons welcomed us to do a paranormal investigation inside their buildings, we were thrilled and grateful. What better way to spend a Tuesday night than roaming the dark rooms and hallways of an old church and fellowship hall? But is it haunted? 

A Brief History of Talbot Commons

The Talbot Commons Pocket Hotel was originally the First Presbyterian Church in Taylor, Texas. Built in 1912, the church has a modest but beautiful sanctuary adorned with 20th-century stained glass, the original pipe organ, and a raised basement. 

Originally organized the year Taylor was founded, 1876, the Presbyterian congregation, led by the Rev. John McMurray, built a simple wood-frame structure at this site for worship in 1878. A school operated across the street. The church acquired its first full-time pastor in 1889 and built a home on-site for Rev. James P. Lyle and his family. But, a fire in 1900 destroyed the parsonage.  

In 1910, the First Presbyterian merged with the Cumberland Presbyterian and built the current structure in 1912. The Church is a Classical Revival with tall arched windows and a lovely open sanctuary. The basement was used for classrooms, storage, and offices. The congregation continued to grow, and in 1955, the ministry built the Fellowship Hall for Sunday school classes, choir practice, and Bible study. 

Fast-forward to 2021. Taylor Native and Renowned Architect Doug Moss bought the property with a vision to redesign and repurpose the space. Together with a group of investors, they have created a chic pocket hotel experience for Taylor visitors and locals. Opened in the spring of 2024, Talbot Commons resurrected the Fellowship Hall, creating an intimate 11-room hotel, each with individually curated interior design elements. 

Their vision didn’t stop with the unique Fellowship Hall Guest Rooms. The onsite coffee shop kiosk will open in 2024 and be operated by Haciendo Coffee Roasters. The Church’s Sanctuary is still empty and intact, with the hopes of becoming a restaurant. An early 20th-century boarding house on 6th and Main will also be transformed into additional guest rooms and the creation of a mixed-use complex (retail and long-term rental units) at the north end of the block. 

Does all of this repurposing and redesigning wake up old lingering energies? Most paranormal experts and enthusiasts would say “Yes!” But assumptions don’t make ghosts. So, with the blessings of hotel management, we went in for an investigation. 

Taylor, Texas

“Everybody knows everybody” can be a blessing and a curse. But, as I sat having a latte with a City employee, a chat began with the ladies at the table next to us, and within seconds, a brand new opportunity presented itself.  Taylor Texas

Ali and Julianne work for Talbot Commons, and in the middle of our friendly chat, I half-jokingly asked, “Is it haunted?” I was thrilled to see them pause and look at one another. (That’s the first clue that something unexplainable or eerie has happened.)

I pitched the idea of letting me come in one night and investigate the Sanctuary, the Basement, and the Hotel Rooms. I wasn’t expecting it to come to fruition, as many folks understandably get a bit uneasy with the idea of connecting a haunting with their business. But I was pleasantly surprised when they were onboard and campaigned my wishes to the Hotel’s owner. The date was sorted, and the paranormal investigation was soon to commence. 

 

Investigating Talbot Commons  

Is this place haunted?

The Pre-Investigation

Before the investigation, I walked through Talbot Commons, including the rooms, the Sanctuary, and the Basement. It was late afternoon, and the stained glass windows illuminated the beautiful Church’s Sanctuary. There are still pews set up with hymnals, and the stage for the pulpit and church choir is intact. 

The Basement has the typical eerie basement feel, with boxes of old photographs and antique architectural pieces scattered throughout the rooms that were once offices and classrooms. A large vintage street light shoved in a back corner caught my attention. I shined my phone light on it to see that it was a memorial for a man who passed decades ago. Church Pews Stained Glass

We left the Church, and I was offered the opportunity to pop into a few of the rooms in the old Fellowship Hall. The rooms are Western chic with custom wallpaper inspired by the commissioned work of Texas artist B. Shawn Cox. But all the pretty fixtures and modern amenities couldn’t distract from the experiences some have had: A shadow figure was seen outside of one of the windows, a disembodied voice was heard singing what sounded like opera, and some feelings of uneasiness. 

The last room I went into was a large corner space. Nothing seemed eerie or unusual, just a lovely room until I approached the bedroom. I walked around the corner and stood between the door to the patio and the bedroom when suddenly it felt like pins and needles working their way up my body starting at my feet. Next came a chill and goosebumps. I looked at my arms and could see the hair standing on end. But that wasn’t the unsettling part. 

As I stood facing the corner enclave next to the bed, aware of my body’s unusual reaction to something, I was flooded with emotions. It was overwhelming. My breath shortened, and tears began streaming down my face uncontrollably. Within seconds, I was weeping. I turned to the gals and apologized, “I don’t know what’s happening, I have to get out of here.” 

As soon as I walked outside, I felt different. I had no explanation for what that was, and still don’t, so I went to my car and grabbed a thermometer and an EMF detector. As I entered the room again, armed with gear I only sort of believed in, I approached the corner. I held the devices up and all was normal. I felt a little nuts, and I’m sure I looked even nuttier, but that experience confirmed the possibilities of paranormal activity at Talbot Commons. 

The Investigation: The Raised Basement and Sanctuary

I recruited my friend Jennifer, who owns Alchemy on 2nd Street in Taylor, a store specializing in apparel, accessories, and home decor imported from around the world. Jennifer has investigated other locations around the country and was eager to jump back into the world of hauntings. 

We began in the Basement, taking time in each room with our voice recorders, K2s, and a few other pieces of equipment. Initially, it felt quiet and not terribly interesting, but the longer we stayed down there, the more the atmosphere changed. Upon playback of our recorders, the sounds outside caused quite a bit of noise pollution, so many of the sounds and distant voices the recorders picked up, we’re going to assume, came from outside. Talbot Basement

However, about thirty minutes into being in the basement, a male’s voice came through on my voice recorder. There is a large mobile safe in the Basement and as Jennifer touched it, trying to sort out what exactly it was, I said, “It’s a safe, that’s why it’s locked.” Then a man’s voice says “What is it?” 

We made our way up the stairs and into the very hot and humid Sanctuary. The sun was setting, so the lighting gently flowed through the stained glass windows. We sat in pews, and as I started a new folder on my recorder, Jennifer’s recorder became stuck on “Stand-By.” I asked her what was wrong with it when there was a loud bang above us. The only thing above the Cathedral Ceiling is a roof. 

Sorting through all of my recordings, it’s less than three minutes after the “Stand-By” issue that we began catching EVPs. We captured a cough, loud disembodied footsteps, and a high-pitched sound that came through in unison with my EMF spiking from 0.00 to 4.8.  But perhaps the most intriguing of all the EVPs was the woman’s whisper, “What’s that?” was recorded as I sat on the stage where all the past preachers delivered their Sunday Sermons. 

We begin to wrap up in the Sanctuary and I announce that we are leaving and ask for a response. A few moments later, I say “goodbye” and we receive a loud bang on the wall. Good timing on the old building? Or an acknowledgment of our departure? 

We took the stairs back down to the Raised Basement, and I kept recording. With the sun completely set, the Basement was dark. We walked around a corner and noticed a passthrough with an old door leaning against the frame. I didn’t pay any attention to that area when we were there an hour earlier, but it stood out to me now. Jennifer continued walking around, but I stopped at the doorway, and the activity started almost immediately. 

The same woman from the Sanctuary whispered, “It’s mine.” Over the next ten minutes in the same area, the activity continued. Jennifer heard something creaking behind and after she mentioned it to me, I heard a whistle. (The recorder picked up the whistle, as well.)  I looked at my EMF meter and saw it shoot from 0.00 to 2.8. As I play the audio back, I hear myself telling Jennifer, “This thing is shooting up and then dropping to zero. I’m not moving it, and it’s doing it again. This doesn’t make any sense.” 

Talbot Commons Coffee Courtyard

Investigating the Rooms

Summertime Ghost Hunts in Texas are a challenge. If you’re lucky enough to be in a building with A/C, your body tells you to turn it on. But, the background noise of an air conditioner can be a challenge on playbacks of recordings. We had to keep the A/C background noise in mind while listening to all the audio and be discerning about the EVPs we heard. 

Talbot Commons Room

Jennifer and I split up for a few of the rooms. She didn’t get anything in the room that she investigated solo, but I did. After about five minutes in the living/bedroom area of the hotel room, I walked into the bathroom. I asked if there was anything with me and my voice recorder picked up a man’s voice, “I’m in the wardrobe.” There aren’t any wardrobes in any of the rooms, so I can’t say for certain that it was an intelligent response. But the voice is clear. 

As we made our way to a few more rooms, we decided to continue together, and the activity continued with us. Questions were responded to using a K2 meter, and after Jennifer asked, “Are you still here?” She received an assured “Mmmhmm.” We also captured heavy breaths on voice recorders, and a woman was heard whispering, unfortunately, what she says isn’t audible. But one of the best EVPs we caught that night was “goddamn.” Got a love getting something like that on the grounds of church.  Talbot Commons Sanctuary

Is Talbot Commons Haunted?

I can only speak from my own experience after spending hours roaming the rooms and Church with a few pieces of paranormal investigative equipment, and from my night at Talbot Commons,  there are definitely a few things that are coming and going. 

Who the voices and footsteps belong to is still a mystery. What made the knocks and bangs? No idea. Nothing felt or appeared nefarious or malicious, but it seemed they wanted to be acknowledged. It makes me wonder how long they’ve been trying to get attention, which is heartbreaking. 

Whoever they are, I hope they feel heard. And maybe we’ll get the chance to visit them again soon. 

Thank you to Ali and Julianne for arranging our opportunity to investigate Talbot Commons and supporting us in our late-night Ghost Hunting endeavor. 

*If you plan on visiting Taylor, Texas, we hope you’ll book your stay at Talbot Commons. Then, join us on our Taylor’s Spirits After Dark Ghost Tour to hear all about Taylor’s History and Hauntings around Historic Downtown Taylor.