[TX] Austin – Gov Mansion Photo Comments

Ghosts are seen and heard at the Texas Governor’s Mansion. That’s not news. However, my deliberately blurred photo of the Mansion reveals some very interesting, possibly paranormal images.

This was not a double-exposure.  It was a picture taken at about 4 a.m. and the lens was left open for several seconds, since it was still night time.  It has not been altered with Photoshop, any other digital program, or by any other means.

Many people sent me helpful comments. For example, several observant readers mentioned the ghostly apparition of the man at the tree.

These are just a few of the very best of the many comments that we’ve received about the photo, listed in the order that they were received. Some of these comments are unique, and others show that several people see similar images in this photo.

(This is a very long page. You may want to print it out, and then compare the comments with the original photos.)


“…take a look in the bottom left corner- I see what looks like a woman’s face in that misty area.” — W. Ceranek


“…the first one I see is in the upper tree trunk (closest to the front) you can see a body without a face. It looks like a male figure standing with feet apart, arm almost down to his side, but the sleeve has a ruffle at the end, but no hand really to be seen. His shoulder is just about to the top balcony. He looks like to be wearing the skin tight pants I (riding pants)? with a long tailed coat on.

“The second one I see is where the tree starts a V shape. It looks like there is an upper body of a man, like he is sitting for a portrait. He looks like he has white hair that comes just below the ears, his facial features look like he has a heavier face, like he may be a bigger man. You can see the white shirt in the V under the jacket (coat) he’s wearing. The collar of the jacket looks like the lapels are larger and then come down to an angle.

“There is a line on the picture (third tree back) that looks like a hair? Or it could be some type of energy form.

“If you look at the top of the balcony, it also looks as if it is on fire.

“It does also look as if there is a skull form with a very long pointed chin.” –DC from NE


“…Some aspects of the photo look like it could be double exposure, yet some parts of it are in focus, plus the orb and orange lights which don’t seem to be affected by that either.” — Kyleigh (NZ)


“…there appears to be a little boy standing on the balcony. Where the second story of the mansion looks to be divided into four parts by the pillars, in the second “part” a little boy in a white shirt is standing before the railing. His head reaches above the railing, and he looks sad. He has short brown or red hair. His legs are hard to see.” — Yuka Oh


“..there is a face of sorts, although a little evil looking he is looking to the left and a little down you can see the left eye and a grin on the face. Also, do I see…the features of a woman? It also looks as if she is turning away and something is in her arms.” –SSX


Ghosts of Austin, Texas - book“…in that picture of the tree with the white house behind it, I see two things I think might be quite odd. … at the bottom of the picture, in that small plant in the left corner, it looks like an arm because you can kinda make out the hand, but it might not be right.

“Up in the balcony of the house, to the farthest right of the balcony, if you look closely, it sorta looks like there is a blue-ish figure up at the top. I’m not sure what he/she is doing, but I thought that was quite odd.” — Rachel


“…the bloke against the tree…he looks kinda weird.” — DR in AU


“…on the top balcony it looks like there’s someone standing there, perhaps a lady in an old dress. I’m not sure, but there is someone or something standing there.” — Paul Williams from Hawaii


“..why does it look like one, if not two, little heads peeking over the balcony like two kids who should be sleeping but aren’t?

“What are the bright green spots in the tree top? (reflection maybe?)

“I love the ‘happy face‘ that is in the V of the tree trunk, I’m sure it’s something on the house itself but it looks funny from this point of view.” — Kath


“I don’t think in the blurred picture that there is a set of cartoon eyes in it. But I do think that if you look at it again above where you thought you’d seen cartoon eyes above it, just a little closer to the green on the trees is a black circular shape I would say that that is the face or head and then as you look down to the left looks like an arm in the white and orange.

“The shape I would say is an arm and it looks to be wearing a white gown of some sort…

“Then there is the same picture below but it isn’t blurred and although it is darker… I would say if you look close into the tree branches where the light shows through it looks like there are quite a bit of faces in it don’t ya think?” — Sonjia from Michigan


“…if you look towards the bottom i see an apparition of a face in the grass.” — Corey Joiner


“…the initials SP [appear] carved into the tree in the forefront and just next to it I can see a face.

“When I showed this to a local psychic, they suggested that the owner of the mansion had a family member who may have been murdered in the past, and the orange streak represented… vengeance on its mind at the time of the photo. … the yellow streak may have been sorrow towards or from the mansion.” –Mr. T. M. Cigobia, N.T Australia


“…in the house in the background, the light is on, and very bright for the daytime.” — Mike


“I immediately noticed the face (not the cartoon eyes) this face is centre of pic and transparent, though the right side of his face is more solid in appearance. his head seems to be tilted back slightly with prominent nose, cheek and jaw.

“I’d love to check this place out as I am quite psychic and have been contacted by the dead before but I don’t think I’ll ever find myself in the neighbourhood… pity!” — Kim from Australia


“What strikes me immediately about this picture is the erie cartoon like figure in the very upper right hand corner. There is a definite white outline of a head, upper torso, shoulders and upper arms with blue eyes, nose and mouth.

“I frequently see these types of figures in walls, furniture, etc, especially when deeply concentrating or meditating, but whenever I snap a picture, the figure is never present but 99% of the time an orb is visible right about where the figure should be.

“[My wife and I] decided to try an experiment. We went to a spot where I have had many “paranormal” experiences and I began meditating while my wife waited with her camera in hand. As I began to sense activity, I waited until sure enough the ‘faces’ began to appear to me (most of the time they were not apparent to her) and I told her where to take a picture.

“Sure enough in about 9 out of ten pictures, there was a very pronounced orb right where I said I had seen the face.

“…it seems like too much of a coincidence that they almost always seem to appear in the spot where I predict they will be. Who knows, but now I see this picture on your site with a figure in it just like the figures I see but can’t photograph. Very interesting.

“One theory I am toying with now is that for some reason, they are spirits that want to be noticed, but can’t physically manifest themselves. Instead, they can somehow produce an image that can be seen(or in this case photographed) possibly from their ‘thoughts’, which is why they appear cartoon like.” — Jay in Nebraska


“…the first thing that caught my attention was that white shadow on the top end of the bark just before the first leaves. It reminded me of a hand holding a pen (though in the actual shadow no pen is visible) at a bird’s eye-view.” –Kathleen


“…the first thing that i saw was what looked like fire lines on the trees but then i started to see what looks like the bottom of a chin and then the lips and nose almost in the center of the picture. It appears to me that the face is looking to the left which would be our right…” — Lito


“I can see a large skull in the mist on the left side, right where the big tree is.

“I also notice three other strange things in that picture.

  • One, there is blue “rod” of light on the bottom left side, in the grass. It is not straight though.
  • Two, there is a bright squiggly line just right of the center of the picture, right around the two smaller trees.
  • Also, in the mist near the “skull“, I can also make out what seems to be a bust of a person, but it is difficult to determine whether it’s a man or woman. The figure looks to have short hair. This misty figure appears right where the big tree splits into a V.

“I can also see a small white misty area on the far right, in the shrubbery or whatever that is. Then there is something on the ground that reminds me of a crude skull near the blue light, but closer to the center of the pic.” — SBM, Fredericksburg, VA

[TX] Austin – Texas Governor’s Mansion photo

A ghost picture…? I’m not sure.

At the 2003 New England Ghost Conference — where I was the opening speaker — a few of us were discussing whether some ghosts need an energy source to manifest. The context was EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena, or recordings of ghosts, talking) and whether ambient noise can be helpful.

In March 2006, I started experimenting with extra ‘noise’ in ghost pictures. I took the following photo at dawn with a FujiFilm A345 digital camera. I was at the fence surrounding the Texas’ Governor’s Mansion in Austin, Texas (USA).

My camera was set to Night mode, so the lens stayed open longer. It’s a hand held photo, not using a tripod. The resulting blurring may have allowed spirits to create effects with the light.

(Worth repeating: The blurring is deliberate. I wanted to see what spirits might do with these images, just as they seem to turn some white noise into EVP.)

I took several photos like this one, but this picture stands out. I’m not sure why.

I haven’t yet identified anything in it, but it’s one of those photos that I look at and think, Something’s in this picture… but what?

governors mansion texas haunted photos

I can see the apparent cartoon-style eyes in the tree. That’s probably from the overlap between the tree and the balcony.

I’m looking for something a little stranger than that.

Here’s the background on some of the ghosts of the Governor’s Mansion:

Disappointed suitor

      – In the mid-19th century, Governor Pendleton Murrah’s nephew shot himself in the guest bedroom where he was staying. After that, the room was sealed for years, when his ghost continued to moan and sigh inside. However, the noises continued and the ghost kept rattling and turning the doorknob, so they reopened the room. It’s upstairs, in the area that’s not open to the public, and it’s on the north side of the mansion. That’s what’s shown in this photo.

Sam Houston

      – This former governor, for whom the city of Houston was named, never finished his term of office. He haunts the bedroom with the bed that he bought for the mansion, and a large copy of his photo.

Pendleton Murrah

      – A loyal supporter of the Confederacy, this governor walked out of the mansion one day and rode to Mexico to avoid being taken prisoner by arriving Union soldiers. He died in Monterrey, Mexico, a couple of months later. He haunts outside and inside the mansion.

Pregnant maid – In addition to the men who haunt the mansion, at least one woman does. She’s a maid who was unmarried and pregnant, and dismissed as soon as her condition became apparent. She waits outside the house, hoping to be invited back.

(You can read more about these ghost stories, and other true ghost tales of Austin, Texas, and vicinity, in my 2006 book, The Ghosts of Austin.)

Below, you can see a normal flash photo of the same scene, taken minutes earlier.

I’ve received many great comments about this photo. I’ll definitely continue our experiments with this photographic technique.

To read highlights of comments we’ve received, see Ghosts in Texas: What people see in the Texas Governor’s Mansion photo

What do you see in this photo?

If you see anything odd in the photo at the top, leave a comment below.

And, if you’d like a printable copy of this unusual photo to examine more closely, here’s a link to a PDF copy of it: Texas Governor’s Mansion Ghost Photo by Fiona Broome

[TX] Austin – Shoal Creek Curse

Abner Cook’s grave in Austin, TX.

Austin, Texas has many ghosts. While researching Austin for my 2007 book, The Ghosts of Austin, Texas, I found patterns to many of the hauntings. Here’s one of them.

The Shoal Creek Curse

O. Henry, the famous author and former resident of Austin, once wrote, “It is a well-known tradition in Austin and vicinity that there is a buried treasure of great value on the banks of Shoal Creek, about a mile west of the city…”

Two treasures were buried at Shoal Creek. One is from 1770 and the other is from 1836. One may have been found; the other wasn’t.

Searching for those treasures resulted in many deaths and hauntings. But, gold isn’t all that’s buried at Shoal Creek, and treasure hunters aren’t its only ghosts.

Gideon White was killed with several others during the 1842 massacre at Shoal Creek. No one is certain how many of the victims were buried at the site. (White’s grave at nearby Oakwood Cemetery is also haunted.)

There are many other unmarked graves at Shoal Creek. Many victims of cholera and yellow fever were hastily buried at the Creek. These include soldiers who camped at the creek during the Civil War, and those who served with General Custer during his Reconstructionist occupation of Austin. Most of those bodies were later removed and reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery, but about 35 graves were never found.

Then, in April 1915, a flash flood took even more lives along the banks of Shoal Creek.

Ghosts of Austin, Texas - book
If you’re interested in true ghost stories and haunted places in and around Austin, read Fiona’s best-selling book.

These are just a few of the tragedies associated with Shoal Creek, making it one of Austin’s most haunted areas. Ghosts are reported at many sites around the creek, including the parking lot at Central Market.

The Shoal Creek tale doesn’t end there. In my book, The Ghosts of Austin, you’ll learn how Abner Cook’s business practices turned Austin into Texas’ most haunted city.

The Ghosts of Austin, Texas describes over 130 ghosts and haunted places in and around Austin. From fun (but true) “ghost stories” to chilling tales of dark, haunted places, this book offers plenty to delight every ghost enthusiast.