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Haunted Places in Austin

by
Oct 14th, 2020

The spooky season is upon us, folks, which means it’s time to dig out your favorite Halloween decorations and start streaming “Hocus Pocus” all day long. 

The Halloween season brings out the spooky side in all of us. We like to scare ourselves with thriller films and play pranks on our friends, or maybe we like to decorate our homes and workplaces with haunting décor. However you choose to celebrate the freaky festivities of this haunting season, there’s always one thing that we all seem to enjoy: ghost stories.

We’ve all heard of famous haunted places like Salem, Massachusetts, The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast and the Stanley Hotel, which, as it happens, was the inspiration behind Stephen King’s novel and film “The Shining.”  But did you know that Austin has its own cache of spooky spots and haunted houses?

Austin’s haunting tales of ghosts and spooks surround a handful of its old inns, cemeteries and taverns. There are stories of strange noises, moving objects, apparitions and more all over the city of Austin, and we're here to tell you about some of them!

If you live in our Austin apartments, then you may even recognize some of these haunted places! Luckily for you, though, we made sure that our apartments are spook-free! For now, at least (muah-ha-ha!). 

Haunted places in Austin

Oakwood Cemetery

Cemeteries are creepy in general, but this Central East Austin haunt (get it?) has had some visitors leaving with chills down their spines. Some hope to see the ghost of General Sam Houston roaming the premises, especially since many attest to have seen orbs floating around his grave at night. 

If you’re interested in visiting the cemetery, it’s just a mile away from our Eastside apartments, which is definitely close enough for you to sprint back home after seeing some spooky sights!

The Texas Governor’s Mansion

This stately building in the heart of downtown Austin has it all: a gorgeous exterior, a beautiful historically preserved interior, manicured gardens and, of course, a handful of ghosts.

The Texas Governor’s mansion has been home to many people over the years, including Governors Sam Houston and Pendleton Murrah. Some say that they’ve witnessed the ghost of Sam Houston lingering in his old bedroom, and that the apparition of the former Murrah has been spotted roaming the grounds and mansion he once occupied himself. 

One room in the mansion was, according to local legend, the scene of a tragic suicide following a rejected marriage proposal. Visitors have reportedly heard gasping and moaning from said room, and Governor Andrew J. Hamilton went so far as to seal the door shut. However, the haunting cries and ghostly apparitions have continued on to this very day. 

Next time you’re by the Texas State Capitol Building, pop over to the Governor’s Mansion across the street and see for yourself!

The Inn at Pearl Street

This North Side historical inn is home to a few friendly spirits who, according to the owner, are more than welcome to stay.

This 1896 inn is one of Austin's oldest homes and has had its charm and lavish antiquity beautifully preserved as an inn since the early 1990s. The owner, Jill Beckford, has frequently reported seeing objects falling down suspiciously and cold spots popping up almost daily. Plus, both she and guests have reported seeing a woman dressed in white feeding her twins in a rocking chair. The woman appears tranquil and happy, so occupants of the inn are charmed rather than frightened by her presence. 

Austin State Hospital

You may have driven past the Austin State Hospital in Hyde Park before, or you’ve at least heard of it. It’s a grand, old building dating back to the early 1860s, making it the third-oldest public building in all of Texas! It’s a marvel to look at, but not many know that it was first built to be an asylum. The first asylum west of the Mississippi, in fact. 

The Texas State Lunatic Asylum operated with great success in its early years, growing quickly and slowly adding more patients and wards. The name was changed to Austin State Hospital in 1925, and today the facility operates in a much more modern and sophisticated way. There aren’t too many scary stories associated with the hospital, though, other than the mysterious cemetery once located on its grounds. The cemetery was moved to a different plot of land in the early 1900s, but many say that not everyone was moved along with it. The remains of patients unclaimed by family or friends after death sit quietly under the ground, their exact number unknown.  

The Driskill

Ranked as one of Austin’s most haunted places, The Driskill in Austin’s Warehouse District features a whole cast of ghosts and spirits

First, there’s the hotel’s namesake, Civil War Colonel Jesse Driskill. He’s said to roam the halls, smoking his cigar and checking on the state of the establishment. 

Second, there’s the story of two women who died in their bathtub. It doesn’t sound too strange, until you learn that they were both on their honeymoon, they both died on the same day 20 years apart, and, here’s the kicker, they both stayed in room 525. The story is a little fuzzy, but it makes for a good tale. 

Finally, there are reports of the sound of a young girl laughing and bouncing a ball up and down the grand staircase. She died in 1887 after falling down the stairs while, you guessed it, playing with her ball.

Aside from the stories, the Driskill is a fabulously old hotel that’s been an Austin staple since the late 19th century. Go check it out! It’s just a few minutes from our Downtown Austin apartments.

Next time you’re looking to tell a scary story or a tall tale, think about these local haunts that have their own spooky histories. Maybe you’ve seen these places before, and maybe you’ve even been inside them, but you’ll never think of these haunted places in Austin the same way again. 

Have fun!

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Featured photo courtesy Unsplash/Dil

Author of Article

Colleen Ford is a South African who now lives in Spokane, Washington. She loves to travel, camp (in warm weather) and bake.

View All Posts by Colleen Ford
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