‘Tis the season for jack-o-lanterns, candy corn, and haunted houses! But, if staged screams and manufactured mayhem just aren’t your thing, why not try out a ghost hunt of your own? Here in Austin, TX, we’ve got some of the liveliest ghosts west of the Mississippi River. All you need is a GPS or a good old-fashioned map (and some serious guts), and you’ll be ready to seek out these spine-tingling paranormal places…
The Driskill Hotel
The Driskill is rather sophisticated and elegant from the outside, but this historic hotel is known for housing one of the most active paranormal sites in Austin. Several spirits are said to haunt its halls: there’s the long-gone little girl ghost who lingers on the stairs, suspicious sounds that are consistently reported being heard from empty rooms, and the active ghosts of *two* different suicidal brides in room 525. Some of the Driskill’s visitors even claim that the lobby’s portrait of a little girl holding flowers can make you feel nauseous if you stare at it for too long. Without a doubt, something — or someone — strange is in the air at the Driskill.
The Governor’s Mansion
Everyone has a good old skeleton in their closet — even the governor! During the time that former Governor Pendleton Murrah held office, he was visited by a young man courting his niece. Madly in love, the young suitor proposed, only to be cruelly rejected by the girl. Devastated, the jilted beau returned to his guest room and committed suicide. Soon after the tragedy, reports of strange sounds came to light. The activity became so frequent that the room was eventually sealed up. Nearly 40 years later, the room was reopened — and the strange noises are still heard to this day.
This apparent ghost isn’t even the “soul” haunter of the mansion. It’s said that Sam Houston, the first governor of Texas, haunts a bedroom that he used to occpy in the mansion. His apparition has been seen on multiple occasions by several different people.
The Littlefield House
One of Austin’s lesser-known (but just as spooky!) haunted places, the Littlefield House looks every bit the part of the stereotypical haunted residence. Its ornate Victorian spires lend a truly creepy aura to the home’s ghost story. The owner of the Littlefield House, Alice Littlefield, suffered from mental illness and apparently never left the house. Ever. People claim to have seen her ghost roaming around the grounds and inside the house, and others have heard her playing the piano during all hours of the night.
Shoal Creek Indian Massacre Site
Despite warnings from his neighbors, a man named Gideon White decided to build his log cabin close to the springs near Shoal Creek in 1839. After a few years of peace, Native Americans attacked and killed White in 1842. His body, along with innumerable others, is buried here. Apparently, this area was a popular spot for burials, as there are many other unmarked graves, as well — presumably victims of cholera and yellow fever. Stroll along the creek’s edge at your own risk, but remember, curfew is at 10 p.m…for a reason.
Oakwood Cemetery and Oakwood Annex Cemetery
No list of scary sites would be complete without a graveyard! Austin’s Oakwood Cemetery may be haunted, but it’s also one of the city’s most beautiful green spaces. Sprawling across forty acres, this lovely (albeit spirit-infested) graveyard includes two historic Jewish sections and over 23,000 burials. Several Oakwood visitors have captured paranormal images on their cameras during their visit, so come prepared to see a spirit or two.