Austin Profiles : The Austin Ghost Tours
Austin is steeped in history, from the days of the Republic of Texas, through the establishment of Austin as the Capitol of the State of Texas. Downtown Austin is full of old, historic buildings, many of which are said to be haunted by a multitude of ghosts. Austin Ghost Tours has meticulously researched the history behind each legend, and has created walking tours based on the colorful and sometimes frightening stories of Austin’s past.
Originally created as an offshoot of Austin Promenade Tours, a historic walking tour with a less ghoulish focus, Austin Ghost Tours has been giving people goosebumps for well over a decade. Their popularity increases every year, as does their offerings. They have recently begin offering online tours to those who can’t join the walking tours but the spine-tingling feeling of walking with the spirits is best experienced in person.
One of Austin’s most “incredibly haunted” spots is the historic Driskill Hotel. Located on the corner of Sixth and Brazos, it has been the crown jewel of downtown Austin since it opened on December 20, 1886. Some say that the spirit of Colonel Driskill remains in the building he was so proud of, evidenced by mysterious puffs of cigar smoke. Staff have reported sensing a child bouncing the ball down the grand staircase leading from the mezzanine down to the lobby and giggling perhaps the ghost of the four-year-old daughter of a US Senator who was playing unattended with a ball when she slipped and fell to her death on the marble floor at the bottom of the stairs. These and many other ghostly legends are part of the Driskill’s vibrant history.
The Driskill figures greatly into two of the tours offered the Ghosts of the Capitol Tour, which includes the Driskill, as well as the Capitol itself, and the Governor’s Mansion. The Ghosts of the Warehouse District Tour features some of the oldest buildings in the city, including the site of series of gruesome murders in 1885. These two tours are 90 minutes each, and both end at the magnificent Driskill.
One of the most popular tours is the Sixth Street Pub Crawl. Sixth Street, although a vibrant and extremely modern entertainment district, is full of ancient building with their fair share of ghosts, murder and mayhem. Enjoy Austin’s historic taverns while learning about its haunted past on this unique tour. The Sixth Street Tour has proven to be all the rage for bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Other tours include one dedicated to the chilling story of the “Servant Girl Annihilator,” a brutal serial killer who predated Jack the Ripper, and terrorized female servants in 1884. Halloween is a perfect night for ghost stories, and Austin Ghost Tours celebrates with one of their best tours a jam-packed combination tour that includes the best of each. Tickets go early for this one, so book in advance.
Austin Ghost Tours conducts their spooky events rain or shine, and since they are walking tours, participants should dress accordingly, including wearing appropriate shoes.