Eerie, Haunted Places in Texas Hill Country

If you like “wild west” ghosts, here are the places to investigate in Texas Hill Country. It’s the home of many people who love wide-open spaces, rolling hills, and the dry climate. It’s a gorgeous place to visit or to put down roots.

It’s also very haunted.

The following  three sites are from an article, 10 Most Haunted Places in the Texas Hill Country. (The full top-10 list is linked at the foot of this article.)

That article got my attention because it’s a very good list. Some of those same haunted sites appeared in my early book, The Ghosts of Austin, Texas.

I was at the Driskill Hotel (in Austin) is among the top three on the list. I was at that hotel when they were working on the “suicide” room, to reopen it. Its atmosphere was definitely eerie, and the hotel was reluctant to tell me why the room had been sealed up for so many years… with good reason.

The Driskill has many more ghosts than what’s in this article – I talk about them in my book – and that hotel remains one of my favorite haunts to visit when I’m visiting Texas’ spectacular hill country.

If you’ve encountered ghosts in that part of Texas, I hope you’ll share your stories in comments at this article.

3. Dead Man’s Hole, Burnet Co.

Dead Man's Hole
Flickr/ Steve Jurvetson

Discovered in 1821 by a roving entomologist, Dead Man’s Hole is a gaping Texas hell-mouth that drops some 15-stories into the ground. During the Civil War, Union sympathizers, including Judge John R. Scott, were killed by proud Confederates and dumped down the Dead Man’s Hole. Multiple bodies were retrieved during the 1860’s, but the deaths did not stop during the Civil War. Most recently, one ghost hunter reportedly heard the voice of a young girl pleading, “No Daddy, I just want to go to Dairy Queen.” It is believed that Dead Man’s Hole has claimed as many as 35 bodies.

2. Driskill Hotel – Travis Co.

Driskill Hotel Flickr/ Ian Aberle
Flickr/ Ian Aberle

The Driskill Hotel opened its doors in 1886.  It has been the site of paranormal activity ever since the passing of its wealthy owner, Jesse Lincoln Driskill. His spirit is believed to haunt the hotel. Legends also have it that in Room 525, two honeymoon brides committed suicide in the bathtub–exactly 20 years apart to the day. Once blocked off to the public, the room was reopened in the 1990’s. Since then, inexplicable leaks and faulty lighting have continued to disrupt guests in this room. Multiple guests have also spotted the spirit of Samantha Houston, the child daughter of a Texas Senator. Samantha died tragically at the Driskill in 1887. She was chasing a ball down the stairs when she fell down the grand staircase and broke her neck. Her giggles can be heard throughout the hotel to this day.

1. The Devil’s Backbone, Comal & Hays Cos.

Devil Backbone
Flickr/ Pascal Coleman

The Devil’s Backbone is a limestone ridge that stands tall from Wimberly to Blanco. Ranchers have been known to hear galloping horses running along the ridge. Several people have claimed to see the ghosts of Confederate soldiers, a wounded Native American, and even the White Lady running back and forth across country roads. Once, a four year old boy visiting the area was found speaking often to an “imaginary friend”. When asked about the friend, the boy said she was a little girl with a hole in her head. When his parents asked why she had a hole in her head, he said, “Her daddy put the hole in her head to save her.” The parents were later told by local historians that families of settlers from the region often committed suicide, and even killed their families, rather than being captured by Native American raiders.

 

Source

Does Anyone Really Know What Ghosts Are Made Of?

What are ghosts made of, and if only some of them are real… what are the rest of them?

That’s the topic of a June 2018 article at Higgypop, What Are Ghosts Made Of?

It’s an unusually good article, though I heartily disagree with some claims in it.

But, certain parts of the Higgypop article are worth repeating for ghost hunters.

The first is how the Higgypop writer distinguishes intelligent (active, sentient) hauntings from residual energy hauntings:

There’s a belief within the paranormal world that some ghosts are intelligent and capable of interacting with their surroundings, and then there’s residual hauntings which are said to be merely events from the past being replayed.

Residual hauntings are thought to be an imprint of energy that has been left behind by someone who suffered a tragic, traumatic, premature death, usually a murder, suicide or execution.

I agree with most of that, but I don’t believe all residual energy hauntings connect directly with someone’s death. (Update: See Higgypop’s clarification in the comments below.)

Residual Energy Triggers

In the past, I’ve recommended singing “Happy birthday to you” in dining rooms and kitchens, to see whether anything happens. You could try “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” in front hallways, dining rooms, and immediately outside the front entry to an estate, too.

Neither of those have anything to do with death or even trauma. Both songs have triggered ghostly results at a surprising number of haunted sites.

The Higgypop article also shares an interesting insight related to residual energy hauntings:

The phenomenon is known as “stone tape theory” due to the belief that energy is captured and stored like a video recording in the surrounding bricks, woodwork, stone and possibly even the soil. When the conditions are right, these materials release this energy and you sense or see the event occur in exactly the same position as it did years ago.

But then, I disagree with the next part of that article:

As residual hauntings represent nothing more than a reflection of the past, you can’t communicate with them. The visions seen are not aware of their surroundings. They cannot interact with you and are not aware of your presence.

Can You Affect Residual Energy Hauntings?

What are ghosts made of?For me, “communication” means anything my team or I do, which results in a cause-and-effect reaction at the haunted site.

While residual energy hauntings don’t seem to interact with us as a sentient, “intelligent” ghost would, I believe that changes in the surroundings – an anniversary, a time of day, etc., as well as triggers used by  researchers – can create a cause-and-effect result.

Yes, maybe I’m delving too deeply into semantics.

Mostly, I don’t want new researchers to write off residual energy hauntings as something that are entirely hit-or-miss. Some of them are far more predictable than that. Triggers can work with residual energy hauntings.

Defining Intelligent Hauntings

Most of the next part of the article is good:

When it comes to intelligent hauntings it’s a little different. These types of hauntings are the classic “ghost”, they can reportedly move objects, push or touch people, slam doors and even throw objects across a room. So clearly when they manifest there is some kind of physical force behind them.

However, since some people seem to be able to move matter with their minds (psychokinesis), I balk at the idea that ghosts “clearly” have a physical force behind them.

Despite my ambivalence about some claims in this article, I agree with the conclusion:

Perhaps the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. While some ghost sightings can be written off as hoaxes, the majority of ghost sightings come from people who genuinely believe they have seen something supernatural. So whether ghosts are electromagnetic energy, a reflection of the past, or a trick of the mind, you can’t take the experience away from someone who has witnessed a ghost.

humorous ghost divider

You can read the full higgypop article at:

https://www.higgypop.com/news/what-are-ghosts-made-of/

Also, I’m interested in your thoughts about these topics, especially as they relate to ghost hunting.

Ghost Hunting? Leave Nothing! (And Consider a Checklist)

How did a Canadian ghost hunting team make international headlines? It was a stupid mistake. The kind any of us could make.

And, though what happened to them was extreme, it’s why you should you double-check the site (and your backpacks) when the investigation is over.

It isn’t just about leaving behind expensive ghost hunting equipment.

The list could include food wrappers, muddy footprints, and anything else that wasn’t there when you arrived.

The rule – just like at hiking trails and campsites – should be “leave nothing behind.”

TL:DR summary: Before leaving a haunted investigation site, a ghost hunting team forgot to double-check their equipment. They left an EMF-related device behind.

Then, the police thought it was a bomb or a bomb triggering device. So, the police destroyed it with a water cannon.

A Cautionary Tale

“Paranormal investigators in Windsor, Ontario, say they’re sorry for getting the bomb squad involved after leaving a ghost-hunting device lying “around.

“This week, police were called to Mackenzie Hall, a historic building in west Windsor, after people came across a suspicious black box with a blue light and a red wire sticking out.

“Investigation revealed that a suspicious item was left in a room within the building,” police said in a news release. (As of July 2018, that news release seems to have been removed.)

… “Parker said she only realized what had happened after police called her to ask about the EMF sensor. She said police told her they evacuated the building, then destroyed the device when a bomb disposal robot blasted it with a water cannon.

“Parker said her group of seven ghost hunters is going to start using an equipment checklist on future investigations so as not to repeat the mistake.”

Read the full news article:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/ishmaeldaro/bomb-squad-called-for-emf-sensor-left-by-ghost-hunters

But Wait… There’s More!

Here’s another report. (I can’t imagine how embarrassed the ghost hunting team must be, to see so much negative publicity. They have my sympathy.)

Bomb Squad Scare Highlights Missteps of Modern Ghost Hunting