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Inside Rio Grande City's haunted La Borde hotel

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A home-turned-hotel in Rio Grande City has a history of tragedy.

A well-to-do family built it for themselves, but now, it’s the object of lore and curious fascination.

"It was a family house; it was built in 1898," said Victoria Villarreal Garza, the caretaker of the La Borde Hotel. "I have seen things and I have heard things, too."

Garza says in the grand parlor, the main room where the La Borde family gathered, she has once smelled the unexpected scent of alcohol and tobacco.

"Smoke, like cigarettes, and I felt so bad, so I went out and I came back and it was the same thing,” Garza said. “But it happened two times in the same day, and that was it."

The story goes that the family met tragedy.

"[Mr. La Borde’s daughter] fell in love with one of the soldiers,” said Garza. “The soldier had to leave and promised her that he was going to be back and marry her. For some reason, he never came back. So, she jumped the balcony and killed herself."

Much of the story is word of mouth. The one confirmed fact is what happened to the man of the house. Mr. La Borde died of a gunshot wound. It’s unclear if he killed himself or if somebody else killed him.

Walking through the house, it creaks and makes noises of its own. The air is still.

Garza says she once tested the spirits herself with a Ouija board, and heard scratching on the walls. 

"When I heard the scratching, it was over here on this wall," Garza said.

The public can stay in the hotel, but some people have to check out in the middle of the night.

"We didn't stay there because we were scared," said Garza. "So, he wanted the money back and I said, 'I'm sorry, I cannot give you the money back.'"

Guests who stay in one of these seven rooms have shared unusual stories, including in the Ringgold room.

"The history is that the kids were playing around and both of them fell into the water well and both of them drowned,” Garza said. “So I think that's why some people that stay here, they hear noise here."

The grand home of Rio Grande City, now a hotel with a tragic backstory, is also part of the history of the area.

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