I have been dreading coming forward for some time now with information that will help the public but at the same time will hurt someone in the process. I do not take my coming forward lightly at all. I have prayed and got counseling over this matter. I have to at look the greater good with this article and I do not want to be complicent. The greater good is that the public is informed and should be careful when dealing with everyone. I am hoping I do not get any backlash by coming forward but am sure it will happen. What you will read below is about scams, con artists, liars and thieves related to the paranormal.
My group was contacted by a tour company called Texas Ghost Tours in Galveston and asked if we would be interested in doing 6 public events at the Stewart Mansion for a portion of the money collected. The proceeds were to go to save the mansion from being torn down. I met Tracy Simpson (who also goes by Tracy Richardson and Tracy Coulter) at the East Texas Paranormal Convention. She represented herself as someone who was with the Galveston Historical Foundation as a volunteer. She represented that she had notarized permission from the owner who lived in Saudi Arabia to be on the property as much as she wanted. I told her we already had made arrangements to help another company do a few public events and she told me we could work around that schedule. I quickly agreed because it was for a good cause.
We immediately began to research the property to try to separate the facts versus the urban legends. In preparation for the public events we also traveled down to the Stewart Mansion on Galveston Island twice. Once was a day trip so we could see the full property, take photographs and collect audio. The second time was to do a full investigation at night. She asked for my help in publicizing the events so I started working on an advertising campaign. Part of my services to Texas Ghost Tours was to put together a teaser video showing photos of the property and our investigation. With her approval I posted invitations for people to go to her website to pay for the events. I sent out a press release to all the media outlets in my area which included television, radio and newspapers.
We had a multiple dangerous episodes while we were on the property. The first time was when we were doing our private investigation. We had a group of people come onto the property and became angry that we were there. As they were leaving they attempted to damage our vehicles and the police were called out. Tracy promised we would be protected by bouncers/body guards for the public events. She claimed she could not find the caretaker and so she was going to cut the lock and take a new key to the Sargent who also had the permission form on file at the police department.
Our group drove down for 3 public events. The first event Tracy showed up to check on us, to collect the money from us and then leave. We had body guards and they had the key to the new lock. It was a terrific event and went with no problems. I had to leave early to drive to Austin for a convention and left my terrific group in control of the event. Someone from our group was asked to drop the bouncers back off at the tour location.
The second event we had to wait for what we thought at the time was the caretakers son to show up to let us in because we had no key. After he unlocked it he left with the key. After we parked the cars inside the gate the police came out because they got a call we were trespassing. Tracy had forgot to call ahead to let them know we would be there doing a public event. We wound up having multiple groups try to come onto the property this night. Our bouncers/body guards kept telling people we were holding a private public event and we would not be done until 1 am. One of the groups came back as we were wrapping things up and a fight broke out between the group trying to enter and our body guards where 5 or 6 shots were fired. The police came out and they chased 4 car loads full of people and made an arrest. We were in Galveston until about 6 am dealing with all the mess.
I met Tracy at IHOP to give her the money. We were told by Tracy that the police would be out there helping us with the next event. The following week we had one of the officers (out of uniform) and his wife out with us. The body guards did not show up. We had no key to get in and made multiple calls to Tracy to get in. We were told the caretaker was at the restaurant so Taylor and Ken decided to walk over to see if we could get the key. Meanwhile a car full of people came who were related to part of her tour group showed up and had a new combination lock. I was told to put both locks on so we wouldn’t have problem getting back onto the property. The police officer and Ken acted as body guards for about 2 hours when one of the body guards showed up. We did have multiple groups of people try to come onto the property but did not have the violence like the few times we did in the past. At the time I did not know that would be our last time on the property. We were already very uncomfortable working with her.
Our group was contacted by someone from the media to do a follow-up article on the Stewart Mansion. I spoke with her about what we were doing and why. The article came out and I contacted Tracy to go look at it. Behind my back she became enraged that Texas Ghost Tours was not mentioned. She sent a scathing email to the newspaper who edited the article to not include information on the Galveston Historic Foundation or the Stewart Mansion. She called me and wanted me to fix it so she would get the recognition that she was the one raising money for the Galveston Historic Foundation. I explained we were also there raising money for them as well by us doing the events, we were doing the events for little money as it was a worthy cause and I reminded her we had not been paid yet. I contacted the newspaper again but at this point they were very uncomfortable with altering the article again.
The following week I called Tracy to make sure the event was still on and was told we had a confirmed 6 paid people. She mentioned bringing a few items with me. As we were all making our way into Galveston which is 1 1/2 hours drive I got a call that she was cancelling the event. She had hundreds of people and needed help with her tour. I called the other 2 cars that were driving to let them know we were going to go help her. We got to the tour site and she did not ask us to do anything. Her setup was a large banner, tent, lights, table with t-shirts, what looked like a pickle jar clearly marked with donations for Galveston Historical Foundation, snacks and drinks for sale. I am not sure why she called us there. Perhaps it was to help with security but I will never know. We walked around with her on one tour and told her we were leaving.
The following weeks were cancelled by her because we were attending a conference in Jefferson Texas and she said she didn’t have anyone for security for the last week. Our group made other arrangements for investigating that weekend. We were glad to be done with all of the trouble. I called Galveston Historic Foundation to see if she had donated the money yet and was told they would get back with me. A few hours later I was told she had made a recent donation which made me feel good. My group figured she was not going to pay us but the work we did was not done in vain. We also enjoyed being on the property when there was no trouble.
Because of the media, articles and teaser video people began to call me asking for information on Texas Ghost Tours. She had also been calling asking people to step in and help her out with the investigations because we bailed leaving her high and dry although she is the one who cancelled on us. Some of what they were telling me was very concerning. We have been able to confirm some things.
She never had permission to go into Stewart Mansion per the owner or caretaker so all the times we were there we were trespassing and could have gone to jail. The owner actually lives in Houston not Saudi Arabia, South America, England nor any of the other places she claimed he lived. The caretaker is in the restaurant next door to the property and had never been missing. She was caught on video cutting the lock off to gain entrance to Stewart Mansion. She claimed the Stewart Mansion was going to be torn on Dec 15 but according to the owner there is no plan to tear it down
She was selling overnight tours to groups for locations that she never had permission to enter. All to raise money fraudulently for Galveston Historical Foundation who never got the money. She told people she worked for or she was on the board or she was the chairperson or volunteer chairperson on the board for the Galveston Historical Foundation and they assured me she was not any of these things. She never donated the money she raised for 5 months nor the the proceeds raised by the public events to the Galveston Historical Foundation. She did however give them the $50 check that the police officer gave me. She was asking for donations for canned goods for shelters that didn’t know her and was asking for toys for tots donations as well.
I was told she accepted $300 and was gifted a night vision camera to get into the Stewart Mansion from one group. I was told another group was paying $1200 to get in and she canceled when the caretaker found out and refused to allow her onto the property
She never paid us but we don’t even care because all of it was illegal. If she sent us the money what would we even do with it? We spent 8 – 12 hours per night working to benefit Tracy only. In addition she hired one of my members to be a tour guide, worked her multiple days (Friday for 4 tours, Saturday for 4 tours and Sunday for 1 tour) and never paid her. My member asked for the scripts to study to take over the tours and was only given a few. She asked for the remaining 2 locations which Tracy never sent her. By the time the next weekend came with no scripts she decided wait until they were sent. Another weekend was approaching and still no scripts were emailed to study. My member had also not been paid for her work so she decided to not go back. She is currently looking for more employees. If you intend to work for her be prepared to work for free. If she ever offers the money to us we will gift it to the Galveston Historic Foundation
I could go on and on but I won’t
I am told she is still trying to sell passes to places. I have no idea if she currently has permission for the places she is going into for money. It is possible her business is 100% legitimate right now. I assure you that she does not have permission for Stewart Mansion however and anyone caught going onto the property will be arrested for trespassing. She had a nice business going there so I have no idea why she would have ruined it for herself with all lies and the fraud
What is the moral of this story? Be careful of who you trust! The sad thing is fraud and scams are rampant all over the paranormal community. At the same time there really are great people who want to help others by in any way they can. You should obtain your own locations. If someone has an event check them out yourself to make sure they are legitimate. Do your research! If everything seems to be good the next step in protecting yourself is to use a credit card to pay. It is a tedious process to be reimbursed for fraud by your credit card company. It is better than getting nothing back because you paid in cash.
Texas Ghost Tours http://www.texas-ghost-tours.com/
Texas Ghost Tours Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Ghost-Tours/357490300994100?ref=ts&fref=ts
Rip Off Report 1 and 2 http://www.ripoffreport.com/texas-ghost-tours/tourist-attractions/galveston-texas-9751d.htm
Rip off report 3 http://www.ripoffreport.com/texas-ghost-tour-tra/liars/internet-internet-6cbd0.htm
Rip off report 4 http://www.ripoffreport.com/tracy-simpson/questionable-activities/internet-internet-50ac8.htm
Teaser video http://www.hauntedchef.com/2012/10/19/stewart-mansion-investigations-2/
News article http://www.hauntedchef.com/2012/10/31/woodlands-online/
KHOU Article http://www.hauntedchef.com/2012/10/31/khou/
Press release http://www.hauntedchef.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/press.jpg
Galveston Historical Foundation
H E A D Q U A R T E R S
1861 Custom House
502 20th Street, Galveston, TX 77550
409-765-7834 fax: 409-765-6831
Stewart Mansion Owners Todd and Laurie Edwards
9025 Ruland Road, Suite B1
Houston, Texas 77055