10 Most Haunted Places in the Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country is 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.



Ghosts of Austin, Texas

In addition to my book about Austin’s ghosts, you may enjoy these articles:

But, if you’re ghost hunting in or near Austin, you’ll learn far more from my book. It was the first regional book to describe — with specific details and addresses — ghosts that haunt Austin, Columbus, and nearby communities.

Ghosts of Austin, Texas, by Fiona BroomeThe Ghosts of Austin, Texas, by Fiona Broome.

Discover over 100 haunted locations in and near Austin, Texas. Explore the eerie links between downtown Austin’s ghosts, including the city’s connection with Jack the Ripper, and the creek that keeps on haunting.

Available at Amazon.com and other fine booksellers.

More information

Here’s the photo from the book cover, in more detail:

Haunted monument at Columbus City Cemetery, TX - daytime photo, no flashThis picture was taken around dawn, and the sun had barely cleared the horizon behind me.

  • This is not a flash photo, and it was a normal Texas morning in Columbus City Cemetery.
  • There was no dust, and that’s not an insect, either.
  • As you can see from the photo (or if you visited the cemetery), there are no reflective surfaces to cause a lens flare.

I lightened the picture slightly (but did not alter the contrast or anything else) so you can see the orb and cemetery features more clearly.

That’s an extraordinary anomaly, and it’s one of many from that cemetery.

The following photo was taken the same morning, pointing in the opposite direction. This isn’t a flash photo, either, but it has no orbs. Nevertheless, I think you can see why I like researching at Columbus, Texas. It’s downright eerie.

Columbus City Cemetery, TX

Of course, Columbus is one of many locations in my book, The Ghosts of Austin. The main focus is on Austin, and it offers a wealth of haunted sites.

Oakwood Cemetery is among my favorite public haunts in Texas. It’s a large cemetery near downtown Austin. If you’re ghost hunting in Austin, plan to spend several hours there.

It’s surrounded by a fence you can see through. So, even after dark, you may get some great ghost photos and other evidence. (However, the neighborhood is mostly residential. Please respect their privacy.)


At any cemetery — including Oakwood — I look for grave markers with messages like this one:

Memorial with a message.

“And never suffer me to be separated from thee” is a lovely sentiment. It’s also the kind of inscription that can indicate tragedy or at least deep unhappiness. Both are red flags that can suggest a haunting.

The marker, above, is one of many at Oakwood featuring emotional inscriptions.

Here’s another grave to look for. It’s a very damaged crypt. Any time you see a grave like this, check it for EMF, cold spots, EVP, and photographic anomalies.

Badly damaged brick crypt or above-ground grave, Austin, TX.

In the following photo, you’ll see a similar, damaged grave in that same cemetery. Where’s the body or the coffin? (I hope it was moved to a safe location, or reburied in the ground beneath the open crypt.)

No matter where the body is, when you see an open grave like this, it’s a place to investigate with care.

Open, above-ground grave in Austin, TX

The next photo features an odd family plot at Oakwood Cemetery. I understand the convenience of a low-maintenance grave site. However, this cement-covered plot is so unusual, I look at and wonder, “Are they trying to be sure everyone stays in their coffins?”

Cement-covered family plot, Austin, TX.

In general, always look for unusual graves.

For example, these two shell-covered graves stand out at Oakwood Cemetery.

Shell-covered grave at Oakwood Cemetery, Austin, TX.

In the next photo: Many of the cemetery’s headstones are worth researching. Here’s one to look into, if you’re planning a trip to Oakwood.

When I was there, I noticed odd EMF spikes around this grave. That doesn’t mean it was haunted, but it’s unusual enough to investigate.

Eerie headstone, Austin, TX.

I’m pretty sure it says, “M. Julia, wife of M. R. Reagan, & daughter of M. F. Bailey. Died July 23, 1861. Aged 26 years.”

(Double-check the actual stone to be certain. The photo isn’t clear and I may be misreading it, especially her parent’s surname.)

So, you’d be looking for records of a woman born around 1835, who married Mr. Reagan around 1855 or so, and died in 1861.

I’d start with death records for that date, and also check the 1860 census. It looks like her husband died September 30, 1865, so that’s another lead you can pursue.

With the EMF spikes I saw around that exact grave, I’ll bet there’s a tragic story, and perhaps a ghost.

Book description

Ghosts of Austin, Texas - bookThe Ghosts of Austin, Texas was written by Fiona Broome, the founder of HollowHill.com, one of the Internet’s earliest, largest, and most respected ghost-related websites.

This book shares locations and stories of over 100 ghosts and haunted places in Austin, as well as those within a few hours’ drive of Austin. Photos in the book include haunted sites in Austin, Columbus, and San Antonio, Texas.

Ms. Broome was one of the first to report hauntings related to Jack the Ripper’s early years in Texas. (Since Fiona’s book was published in 2007, many “ghost tours” have included those sites in their routes.)

Fiona also identifies paranormal patterns that link many of Austin’s most famous haunted places. With this information, you may find even more haunted sites in and near Austin. Fiona gives you the tools to make your own discoveries.

Originally from New England, Fiona spent four fascinating years in the great state of Texas, researching ghosts and haunted places from Austin to Galveston.

Fiona specializes in unreported and under-reported haunted places that are open to the public. She approaches ghost hunting from an historical viewpoint, verifying and documenting ghosts’ actual histories whenever possible.

This book doesn’t repeat the same old “ghost stories.” It’s a fascinating study of over 130 ghosts and haunted places in and near Austin, Texas.

Many of them were unknown, prior to Ms. Broome’s 2002 – 2007 research.

The sites include:

  • The Driskill Hotel
  • Shoal Creek… and its curse
  • The Texas Governor’s Mansion
  • Austin’s former “red light” district
  • And over a hundred more, eerie, haunted locations in Austin, San Antonio, and nearby cities and towns.

This book includes true tales of ghostly encounters, street addresses of the haunted sites, helpful tips for ghost hunters, and eerie insights from “the other side.”

“…Spell-binding stories backed up with historical data and loads of photographs… recommended reading.” — Margaret Byl, Paranormal Investigator and writer


The Ghosts of Austin, Texas: Who the Ghosts Are and Where to Find Them, by Fiona Broome

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
  • Published: 15 June 2007
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764326805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764326806
  • Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pound
  • Available from Amazon.com

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.