[TX] Austin – 5 most haunted places in Austin, Texas

Ghosts of 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.  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  His ghost lingers through hard times and good, occasionally greeting guests in slightly outdated formal wear.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 page 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 to be sure that everyone is safe and sound in this magnificent hotel.

2. Buffalo Billiards, 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, 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 (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, 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.

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

Ghosts of Austin, TexasIn its pages, I list over 130 ghosts and haunted places in and near Austin, Texas.  You’ll read a full description of the Driskill Hotel’s many ghosts, a list (with details) of Austin’s most haunted cemeteries, the connection between Austin and Jack the Ripper, and the Shoal Creek Curse.

In addition, you’ll discover haunted sites around Austin, including Columbus, Texas.  I describe its strange history and many ghosts as something like a “theme park for ghost hunters.”

55 thoughts on “[TX] Austin – 5 most haunted places in Austin, Texas”

  1. is there anything at the oasis on lake travis?my wife kinda has a gift.we ate there on july,6 2009.she said she saw a figure with blue orbs around it looking at us as we were taking pics leaving at around 10 or 10:30 pm.if you are looking at the front it was in the second story doorlike windows.just curious.please-mail back.thanks

    1. Hi Blair, I haven’t researched at the Oasis myself, but I’ve heard several convincing stories about hauntings at Lake Travis. If your wife saw something like that, I’d take it seriously.

      1. Hey Fiona. Yes, I am watching. I have worked at the Oasis since 1986 and I have never heard of anything like this. But, I will be checking with some of the old staff and the owner.

    2. I have worked at the Oasis since 1986 and I have never heard of anything like this. But, I will be checking with some of the old staff and the owner.

    3. since my childhood up until a few years ago (im 36)i have seen spirits morethan i here the average person.My family of 8 each had plenty of experiances even the non believers. They seem to be every where ..at all places lived except the current location…at a duplex near burnet/braker in austin near dell office buildings and near Culvers resturant is what i beleve is a dark scary as shit!! demonic presance (..sorry about my spelling i went to “wastewood high” ha ha.).11 years later i want to see if other people are affected in the duplex…this is only the 3rd time ive talked about it..it tends to (reignight) the spirits arond me..in a scary way….not all ghost haunting is fun..in fact for me it is very real and not to be played with joking around…well thats my quick note

      1. Hi Kevin,
        interested about your story about Culvers,
        could you perhaps email me, or call my cell at 512-696-5196..ASAP…:)I have a Series called El Otro Lado(The Other Side),SCI-FI genre, and would like to chat about the restraurant. Thanks Francois

  2. I went to a camp near lake travis and one of te cabins were haunted. The sink turned on for no reason, the lights did too and there are stories about it. Cunningham cabin.

  3. I am a teenager looking to have some exciting paranormal eperiences, i am very into it and understand it isnt to toy with but i would really like some other closer locations, i am in Cedar Park

  4. James, if you are serious and really want to do some investigating, go to meetup.com and look for ghost hunting groups. We are listed as Austin Ghost Hunters. We try to do investigations once a month.
    Not all are in Austin but we try to get local stuff when we can.

  5. I own a large house that has just been put on the Austin Historical List. 1601 Pearl St. The home was briefly mentioned in last weeks ‘Austin Chronicle’ To cut to the chase, it’s haunted. I also lived in a haunted house in Washington State for years. You don’t pick them, they pick you. Spirits come and go, but always leave a path back when they choose to return. Only one familiar with living under these circumstances understands what i am saying.

    For the past few months, I have been staying at my winter cabin, deep in the heart of the Montana woods Anyone that house sits my austin property only lasts for a few nights at a time. Gosh…I wonder why?
    JoAnn Koepke

    1. Joann,

      Thanks for your comments! Congratulations on being added to the Austin Historical List; your home is in a great location!

      If you’re looking for a house sitter next winter, let me know. I might be very interested in spending some time there. Austin is a great location, and we’ll be ready to visit Texas again.


    2. Hey Joanne I live an hour away from Austin and am so fascinated with the paranormal. I would love to house sit for you! Just let me knw when. Email me.

    3. Hi ,
      Saw your comments, would like to visit the house, I have a Series Called the Other Side, and my last place in Albiene, was cancelled…
      Please review me on Linkedin.com
      Francois Larosa.
      Appreciate it.

    4. Hey JoAnn!

      I know it has been several years since you shared this but I’m wondering if you still have people housesit?
      I am interested in the kind of paranormal occurrences that take place in that house. Please email me.

      Thank you,
      Veronica Cabrera

    5. JoAnn,
      how shocked was i to see your post! i love across the street from you on pearl! i am however not surprised to hear of your gorgeous house being haunted. “judge’s hill” is full of hauntings i’m sure, being the oldest neighborhood in austin. i work nights five blocks down the hill at 1601 Guadalupe in the old Bertram Building which is almost 150 years old and we are the number one haunted restaurant in austin supposedly, and the last stop nightly on the “haunted austin tour” and i have some insane stories as you can imagine. you should check out strange-town.com a paranormal series based in austin on PBS & YouTube ….i was interviewed to tell my “clay pit” stories & they spent the night conjuring. a great group of guys! they also did an episode on our block, the bed & breakfast at the end of pearl “Austin’s inn on pearl street” and captured some very convincing footage! it’s interesting & fun…. and i bet they’d love to hear your haunted house on pearl street stories!! anyways, i just had to say “hello neighbor!” and happy hauntings!!

      — Helton G

  6. Joann,
    I second Fiona’s motion. If you need a house sitter, please let me know. Though I couldn’t stay in it for the whole winter, (we’ll let Fiona do that) as I teach at a high school. I love history and am a published author of YA mysteries and children’s chapter books. While my books are fiction, I put true history in them and base them on historical facts. I would love to study your house. We as a family have an interest in the paranormal and are an investicative team on weekends. We would love to visit your home for the history and the para investigations. Please email be back if you wouldn’t mind us investicating your house one weekend. Thanks.
    Jill Taylor Johse.

  7. Just wanted to say I love your book. So far I have dragged my children to almost all of the cemeteries in the book. Today we are headed out to Devils Backbone!

  8. Hi there! I lived in Austin for around 9 years and miss is greatly. For the past 3 years I’ve been acquiring equipment and conducting paranormal investigations in the mid-west; more specifically, Kansas. I currently reside here. There are some great hot spots here for investigating. Some have yielded some incredible evidence. I am looking to expand my investigation area greatly and was hoping to get some investigations in Austin. I have a team of 4 plus my son. Are the haunted places in Austin fairly cooperative in this area or in allowing investigations to be done? I really like to do my investigations with just my team to preserve the site’s integrity.

    1. Vincent,

      Austin is a great location, and — generally — people were very interested in the results of my investigations. My book, The Ghosts of Austin, Texas, has sold well and I’ve received many happy emails from readers who investigated those locations.

      So, though I’m generally given special privileges as a writer, I think you’ll find most Austin location very cooperative.

      When you’re in Austin, I especially recommend visiting nearby Columbus. As I describe its haunted sites in my book, it’s like a theme park for ghost hunters; there are that many relatively unexplored haunted locations in and around that town.

      However, Austin has hundreds of potentially haunted sites to investigate. Whether you’re there on business or for vacation, you’ll have enough to stay busy, just within walking distance of the Governor’s Mansion.


      1. Hey Fionna, my AP English III course has assigned a documentary project and my group has decided to do ours on hauntings in Austin. We have gotten a lot of really helpful information from your books. We were wondering if you have any ideas or tips for us or even the possibility of doing a Skype interview.
        Sincerely, Hannah

        1. Thanks, Hannah, but — for now — I’m not using Skype. I’ll be happy to reply via email, but most everything I can suggest is either at this site or in my “Ghosts of Austin” book, or both.

  9. Thanks Fiona!

    Excellent to hear everyone is relatively receptive to the experience of paranormal investigations. I’m really not surprised considering the “cool” nature of most Austinites.

    Thanks again. I’ll let you know how the paranormal tour I’m planning for this summer goes.


  10. My husband and I went to a wedding last weekend at the Allen House in downtown Austin, I got a chill when I looked up the staircase to the fourth floor. Later on that evening, the lights in the foyer started flickering and the door behind my husband opened by itself, Any clue?

    1. Hi Angela,

      I’m not sure of the ghosts’ history at the Allen House, but it sounds like a very interesting encounter. The ghosts around Austin are still very active in most locations, and I’m constantly amazed at the number of encounters that involved flickering lights of various kinds.

      I think it’s a city that deserves far more investigations of its ghosts. My book probably only scratched the surface of the many true ghost stories in Austin.


  11. Just wanting to know if there is any history in the area right behind South Park meadows. Im having a difficult time trying to convince myself of this thing I keep seeing and what keeps happening has some sort of logical explanation. Nothing bad or too eary happening and not threatening at all. Just think I have a prankster in my apt. Would really like to hear back, thanks.

  12. Has anyone been to the Texas State Cemetery? My partner and I were the other day and actually caught a voice on recording. We slowed down the audio and our voicez became distorted but this voice became clearer…it is pretty interesting.

  13. My fiance and I are looking for a haunted place to get married at. we’re probably going to have 80-100 guests. I know the Driskill would work, but we may want something outside (I guess it wouldnt matter where). Does anyone know of some haunted places for a wedding?

  14. I was at the driskill hotel (we go quite often)and i felt the floor shaking on the fifth floor, as well as feeling very dizzy. any clue? please help. Thanks!

    1. I went Again yesterday and had a few encounters. My friend answered the dial phone in the hallway,but no one was there. I read somewhere that on the fifth floor there is a painting of a girl holding flowers, and if you gaze into it, you feel dizzy. My friend didn’t know anything about this,so I told her to look into it, and I asked her how she felt. She replied dizzy. One of the maids asked us if we were looking for ghosts and if so, go to room 29 on the fourth floor. I didn’t see anything, but my friend is going to have her bday slumber party in that room. My mom was taking my picture on the fourth floor when we were looking for orbs, and her phone just died. If you are looking for a paranormal experience, I recommend the driskill hotel downtown. Ask the concierge if she/he has had any paranormal experiences. They will either tell you one of their own, or give you a piece of paper that will tell you who died there and some experiences.

      1. I went again today with my other friend. We had another event happen where we take a picture and it gets messed with. My arm this time was missing out of its socket in the bar lounge in the lobby (ps the driskill burger is DELICIOUS!)and my face was distorted. we also took to pictures on the fifth floor of a painting with the deceased senators daughter. we only took one, but when we looked back later, there were 2 pics; one normal, one completely black with red outlines.

  15. hi i live in North Austin and my house was build in 2001 after 5 years living here i started hearing things and seeing shadows by my restroom hall way its not freaking me out yet but its scaring my sisters and my dog wont stop barking at night i wanna know if anyone knows anything about colony park dr. neighbor hood

    Thank you

  16. Hello, I live in San Jose, Ca and am planning on moving near Austin. We will most likely move to Kyle. I have heard of some stories of haunted places in that town and would like to know where I can find out more information. We are looking into buying a home there. Do you know of any way I can find out which areas are in fact haunted? Although I have had experiences here in California and am intrigued at times, I do not want to buy a house that is inflicted. Thank you.

    1. Hi,

      Austin’s primary patterns of hauntings seem to focus on connections that aren’t geographic. So, I can’t say that one neighborhood is more haunted than another.

      If you wanted a haunted house, I’d recommend anything built by Abner Cook, or using reused bricks that originally came from Shoal Creek. Or, look for a site connected with the “Servant Girl Annihilator,” that I talk about in my book, The Ghosts of Austin, Texas.

      Since you’d like to avoid buying a home that’s haunted, my advice might be the exact opposite, but the best way to avoid a haunted house is to ask the realtor. I’m not sure what current laws are, in Texas, but many states now consider a ghost (or paranormal activity) a “defect” in a home. By law, that must be disclosed to the prospective buyer.

      Austin is a great city, and among my favorites in the U.S. Moving from San Jose, I think you’ll feel right at home, very quickly.


  17. Hi Fiona! Just have to say I check your book out alot!! I hope to meet you someday soon I have so many questions. I am thinking of trying to do some ghost hunting tomorrow it is my bday and live in Dripping Springs so I am not sure what I will do. Wish I knew some folks that shared my passion for info on the spirits that have stayed for whatever reason. Oh well someday.. take care and Thankx for your passion to write for all of us. Toni

    1. Thanks for your comments, Toni. There’s a good chance I’ll be in Austin next autumn. Watch for regional ghost-related events. Cheerfully, Fiona

    2. Toni, I spent my 40th birthday at a haunted hospital this past January. It was by far the best birthday EVER. So I do completely understand your passion. I have been able to “see, hear, feel, sense” things since I was very little. Sudden headaches that will go away if I get away from the area, dizzy feeling, Sudden
      anxety, wanting to cry. I am for sure getting Fiona’s and VERY SOON.

  18. I thought I’d share I haven’t encounterd anything supernatural living here in Austin, TX. My husband on the other hand is an officer for Austin Community College and he says the Rio Grand campus basement is haunted, you can hear noises and that someone was scratched. Maybe someone can investigate this site thanks =^.^=

  19. I’m a member of Austin Junior Forum and some members believe the Caswell House (which we own) to be haunted. I’ve personally never experienced anything like that and have been alone in the house many, many times…but you never know.

  20. 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.


  21. 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 :-)..)

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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?

  26. 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

  27. 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!


  28. 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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