On Saturday we went on Austin’s ghost tour, visiting several haunted locations. Having read three books on haunted tales and locations of this weird city, I already heard most of the stories told on the tour, as only a sliver of all haunted places were discussed by the guide. And instead of covering all haunted locations we visited, I’ll focus on the highlight of the tour and Austin’s most haunted location: The Driskill Hotel.
The history begins when cattle baron Jesse Lincoln Driskill bought an entire city block to have the Driskill Hotel built. Opened in 1886 the hotel was and still is an impressive structure. After Driskill passed, several tragedies followed. The hotel is thought to house 19 or more ghosts, which includes Driskill as one of them. The most haunted floors are the 4th and 5th floors, with rooms 429 and 525 being the most haunted rooms. Room 429 is visited by a little girl who likes to write “hello” or leave her footprints on the mirror as you’re showering. But the spirit that resides there is a young bride who shot herself in the stomach after her husband-to-be called it off the day before. She leaves wet footprints on the tile sometimes and likes to play with your feet while you’re sleeping.
Jesse Driskill is also a very popular ghost. The air is redolent of cigar aroma if he’s around, and he likes turning lights on and off in some guest rooms.
To the right of Driskill’s portrait are stairs leading upstairs. It is where a senator’s daughter took a plunge to her death as she chased a ball down the stairs. This little girl has been seen by young children and “motherly” type women. This ghost child likes to tug on your shirt and has appeared in some guests’ photos.
Another ghost that appears in the lobby area is Mrs. Bridges. She was the hotel’s staff in the earlier days, seen arranging flowers from time to time. If she’s around, you’ll smell a strong flower scent. And if it gets too loud or rowdy, she likes to hush people like a stern librarian. She’s been seen by front desk staffers for this very reason — when they’re too loud late at night.
And lastly in the lobby is the old vault where multiples ghosts are thought to visit. In 1933, President Roosevelt abruptly closed all American banks for about a month. Guests at the Driskill Hotel were stranded without cash, but the hotel manager came to their rescue by opening this safe, handing out money to those who needed it. He simply asked the guests to return the money when the crisis was over and they all did.
There are too many ghost stories to be told about the Driskill Hotel, and the ghost tour won’t even cover half of them. If you’re interested in learning more, check out these three books: True Haunted Tales of the Driskill Hotel, Haunted Austin, Texas, and The Ghosts of Austin. The ghost tour was just okay, but I’m glad I got a chance to step inside the Driskill Hotel. If you’re interested in a ghostly experience, I recommend staying at the hotel. And if you’re brave enough, stay in one of the haunted rooms. Be sure to take lots of pictures and do an EVP session.