The 5 Most Haunted Places in Austin, Texas

5 most haunted places in Austin, TexasAustin, Texas is a wonderfully haunted city.  Its ghosts are more colorful than most, with the kinds of histories you’d expect from a “wild west” city.

From former corrupt sheriffs to colorful madams, and from cursed bricks to the ghost of a US President, Austin may have more ghosts per square foot than any city in America.

In fact, many of Austin’s ghosts linger because they want to, not because they’re stuck in our earthly plane.

These are the five places that I’d visit with just a brief time to investigate Austin’s ghosts.

1. The Driskill Hotel

You have to stay somewhere when you’re in Austin, so why not stay at the city’s most elegant, haunted hotel?

In my book, The Ghosts of Austin, Texas, I devote an entire chapter to the Driskill’s great ghosts.

The lobby has at least two ghosts.  One is a little girl who follows a bouncing ball (that manifests as an orb) on the staircase near the front desk.

Almost directly across the lobby from that staircase, a small room was once the hotel’s vault.  It’s haunted by the cheerful ghost of a Depression-era hotel manager.  When the banks closed during one financial crisis, the Driskill’s manager opened the vault and handed out cash to patrons.  He trusted them to return the money when they could, and every one of them did.  His ghost lingers through hard times and good, occasionally greeting guests in slightly outdated formal wear.

Be sure to visit the Maximilian Room, for some of America’s most haunted mirrors.  (For their tragic history, see pages 18 & 19 in my book about Austin’s ghosts.)

Upstairs, in addition to famous ghosts such as LBJ, you may catch a glimpse of the phantom hotel security guard.  He’s always on the job, striding quickly through the halls. He’s making sure that everyone is safe and sound in this magnificent hotel.

2. Buffalo Billiards

Location: 201 East Sixth Street, Austin, TX

Buffalo Billiards is less than a block away from the Driskill Hotel.  In 1861, as the Missouri Hotel, it was Austin’s first “boarding house” and a popular place for a cowboy to find a date… for an hour or so.

Today, the former brothel is one of Austin’s most popular night spots.  Stop in for a drink and some food, and you’ll see tourists, locals and scantily-clothed ghosts among the crowd.

3. The Spaghetti Warehouse

Location: 117 West Fourth Street, Austin, TX

When you’re ready for a good, filling meal, Austin’s Spaghetti Warehouse is the place to eat… and encounter ghosts.

Ask your waiter about the latest ghost sightings at the Spaghetti Warehouse.  Most of the staff seem to have first-person stories to share.

In addition to quirky poltergeist activity, ask about the ghost who appears as a man – or just legs – around the restaurant’s vault.

After dinner, stroll up the street to the upscale gay men’s bar, Oilcan Harry’s.  There, look for one of Austin’s most colorful ghosts, the late madam Blanche Dumont.  She’ll be among the dancers.

4. Texas Capitol Building

(Start at the Visitors’ Ctr: 112 E 11th Street, Austin, TX)

Day and night, you’ll see ghosts around the Capitol building.  The most famous is probably Governor Edmund Jackson Davis (1827 – 1883) who is seen gazing from a first-floor window.  On foggy and misty days – especially around mid-winter – and around dusk, he’s seen walking on the paved paths around the Capitol building.  He’s tall and has a moustache, but people most often comment on his chilling stare.  In fact, he often pauses when he sees someone, stares at them, and doesn’t move until they’ve passed him.

If you’re at the Capitol, be sure to walk past the Texas Governor’s Mansion.  It has its own dramatic history with multiple hauntings.   I recommend early morning photos at the mansion grounds, as well.

5. Oakwood Cemetery and Oakwood Annex Cemetery

Location: Navasota St., Austin, TX

Oakwood Cemetery and its annex may be Austin’s most beautiful and haunted cemetery.  There, you can visit the graves of many of Austin’s ghosts including Susannah Wilkerson Dickinson and Ben Thompson.

Most of Austin’s cemeteries close at dusk, but you can take photos through the openings in the fences around Oakwood.  If you’ve been in the cemetery during the day, you’ll know exactly where to point your camera to capture eerie, phantom images.

Austin features many more, chilling locations where you can encounter ghosts and other frightening entities.  Some of them – such as the nightly appearance of as many as a million bats, around one downtown Austin bridge – are entertaining.

Others, such as the ghost of Jack the Ripper and his victims, are best avoided unless you have nerves of steel.

Looking for More Ghosts in Austin…?

For more ghosts (and true ghost stories) around Austin, read my book, The Ghosts of Austin, Texas.

Ghosts of Austin, Texas - bookIn its pages, I list over 130 ghosts and haunted places in and near Austin, Texas.

You’ll discover:

  • The Driskill Hotel’s many ghosts.
  • A detailed list of Austin’s most haunted cemeteries and some of their most infamous graves.
  • The eerie connection between Austin and Jack the Ripper.
  • Why the Shoal Creek Curse lingers over Austin and – possibly – surrounding communities.

And – if you live in Austin or you’ll be there for a few days – my book includes haunted sites around Austin, including Columbus, Texas.

(I describe Columbus’ strange history and many ghosts as something like a “theme park for ghost hunters.”)

The editing in this book is typical of when it was published – at the peak of the Ghost Hunters craze – but you won’t find a more complete (and personally researched) book about ghost hunting in Austin.

It’s the original guide to ghost hunting in Austin, and it’s still the best way to find real ghosts when you’re in Texas’ capital city.

Find it at Amazon: The Ghosts of Austin, Texas, by Fiona Broome.

 

57 thoughts on “The 5 Most Haunted Places in Austin, Texas”

  1. I lived in a haunted house across the street from Oakwood Cemetery Annex. The house was old, and may have been the original farmhouse for C R Johns tract. The ghost mostly walked around in the original part of the house. At the kitchen sink, it was a regular thing for pennies to fall from above, into the sink. The strangest thing involved the smallest bedroom, which we used as a storage room. Random small objects that had been boxed up in the bedroom would be found in the middle of the living room floor. Usually that happened if we were gone overnight. I never saw anything in the nine years I lived there. My dog and cat would sometimes act like they were watching someone move across a room. A friend was hit by an ice tray that flew across the kitchen. I don’t think the ghost liked him.

    The house is gone now. There was talk of a condo project on the block but now the land is owned by UT and used for parking on football game days.

    1. Sarah,

      I’m sorry that you’ve been living in New Jersey where frustration is probably spilling over due to the hurricane aftermath. And, from your IP number, it looks like you’ve evacuated to La Vernia, where you might have a chance to explore nearby Austin’s ghosts.

      I can assure you that my reports are neither “fake” nor “crap,” so I hope you’ll take the time to visit these locations in real life, and see for yourself how extraordinary they are. I especially recommend the picture of the little girl, upstairs at the Driskill Hotel in Austin. And, at the very least, if you’re in the city during “bat season,” see them emerge from beneath the bridge in the middle of town. If that doesn’t give you chills, nothing will.

      Sincerely,
      Fiona

  2. Fiona, I am very intrigued now to visit Austin’s haunted areas. I live in Georgetown and I have had many experiences here, especially in my home. I have visit cemeteries all over Texas. My family refers to me as “The Cemetery Walker”, they find it so strange. I get feels or sense things often, catch glimpses out of the corne of my eye. I dont feel special or gifted in anyway but I am certainly open minded for the belief of Ghosts to be on
    our plain.
    I plan on getting your book ASAP. (probably tomorrow :-)..)

  3. I used to live in Austin and I loved it and miss it terribly! I had several interesting experiences and heard strange stories. There’s a quiet road in north Austin, where a railroad crossing has a strange vibe. I looked it up online years ago and actually found something had been documented about a haunting there. When I went back online using the same search terms, I couldn’t find that website mentioning the haunting. I know I didn’t imagine finding the online information. It was my only confirmation of my own impression that something is there, but I’ve never been able to find the page again since. There had been a train derailment there.

    When I told a friend who lived near there about the vibe I felt there anytime I had to be there, she said “ME TOO!” She was a little bit psychic and confirmed to me that there was “something wrong” with that spot.

    I used to help around the house, at a house in the Highland Hills neighborhood, and got the distinct feeling I was being watched when I was alone there. It only happened in one area of the house — the rest was fine. It was very real and I felt extremely uncomfortable in that one section of the house. Then the owners moved out, hiring the place out to sub-letters, who kept me on as a cleaner. With the tenants moved in, the watched feeling stopped. It’s interesting to note that the previous occupants had several antiques in the room that had been the “worst” source for the “watched” sensation. Once the antiques were gone, so was the sensation.

    Another house in the Clarksville area, which I was also a home-help at, also had a similar situation. Years before I had heard that some people had fooled around with “dark arts” (in the words of the hearsay) in a house directly across the street from there, and that there was some connection to this house also, friends or something, so I’m not sure if I was just suggestible. But I always felt a presence there. One day I was moving some papers and lo and behold, there was a business card of a self-proclaimed”ghostbusting” service based in New Orleans. One might assume the occupants had also experienced the discomfort that I did there?

    I had an odd audio experience in my apartment off 34th St. which is now demolished. I was in my living room and heard the sound of something violently smashing into my kitchen sink. I knew I had left my Brita water jug near the edge of the sink, and I figured one of my two cats had pushed it over the edge. I ran to the kitchen thinking “Damn!! My water jug!!” The sound had been colossal and I was already angry that my recently-bought jug was already broken thanks to my cat. I could see one of the two cats sitting in the living room near me and he heard the crashing sound too, and had looked toward the kitchen at the same time as I had.

    When I got in there — the jug was still on the counter-top. Nothing was smashed. Everything in the kitchen was undisturbed. The sound did not come from another room, or from outside — it was definitely right there in my kitchen which was an open place one right off the living area, so, really close to where I was sitting, and impossible to mistake a sound coming from.

    The apartment is long gone, and the spot where it was is now a parking lot for the post office that was built there in the late 90s.

  4. I am the Lead Investigator for DEAD Creek Paranormal, on here is a link tou our FB page, We have some very compelling EVP’s, and Photographs collected from Oakwood Cemetery here in Austin, and “THE DEAD HOUSE” that lays just beyond the outside of the property. We started our group and were inspired by this website. Thank you all.

  5. Fiona, this morning I only just received shipment of your book The Ghosts of Austin — and sure enough, you have a segment about Waters Park Road!!

    That is the road and railroad crossing where I always felt uneasy! I had no idea your book contained a mention of this place; it was from my own experiences alone that I suspected this spot is haunted, and then tried to find information about it. Prior to ever first passing through there on my way to a new work situation, I had never heard anything about the spot and I didn’t know why I was so uncomfortable there. This was back around 2006 before you book was even published!

    Seeing that apparently this is a known spot confirms for me that my independent impressions all those years ago had something to them.

    Waters Bend Park around the pink granite rocks has something going on. I also found that whole little road, from Mopac onward past the trestle bridge before you get to the granite, very uneasy to drive through, even in broad daylight. Hoping this helps any ghosthunters out there; check out this place.

    I’m about to start your book from the beginning, and thought I no longer live in Austin I will be on a nostalgia trip remembering all the spots I’m about to read about.

  6. My daughter lives in Austin her initial experience was at St Edwards university she witness a little girl name Danielle a few times in different dorms. Now living at The crossing apartments on Manchaca St, she is hearing thing and heard a little girls giggle? Anyone know anything about these areas?

  7. Hey do you know anything about university of Texas because I had a few in counters when I worked there i always see this guy in a suit he goes in the restroom and never come out and it happens every single time but the weird thing is when I go in the restroom he is never there so please tell me right away

  8. I lived w my ex in a home that was fairly new in rob Roy. Everyone hated staying upstairs. In one guest room very cold. Friend tool shower the glass shattered. My ex who does not believe any paranormal stuff was so positive he saw my daughter come home and walked past him he said goodnight. Since it was a new home I wonder if it was the antique furnishings I would pick up? Also I was outside and I swear my phone took a pic all by itself and I looked and it was a coupe in wedding attire no idea who they are. Can spirits follow a person?

    1. Hi, Katy!

      Antique furnishings can retain ghostly energy, but few ghosts are likely to attach themselves to furniture or decorations.

      Also, spirits hardly ever follow anyone home. It’s not impossible, but you’re more likely to win the lottery three times in a row than be followed home by a ghost.

      Between the Colorado River and Hwy 360, I’d bet most of what’s going on is due to infrasound. Infrasound can cause very clear, vivid hallucinations, including forms (like when your ex- thought he saw your daughter), so I’d rule that out before getting too alarmed.

      The photo of the wedding couple is a little baffling and you’d need to show the photo to skeptical friends to see if they can find an explanation. If you can’t, share it with any of the Austin newspapers right before Halloween. They’ll love the story, and readers may come up with a good, normal (not paranormal) answer.

      I hope that helps!

      Cheerfully,
      Fiona

  9. has anyone ever encountered ghost at the texas union on gualupe next the tower.i used to work there and i had many encounters there.i worked the night shift there and ran across many things happening in there .seems like the 3rd floor was the worst for sightings but they were on every floor in there.i never see anyone post on the texas union and i no from my own experences there it is very haunted there.

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