Spooky Scenes and Stories from the Stacks: Halloween Edition


Haunted House on West Avenue, Austin, Texas, n.d. William Deming Hornaday photograph collection, 1975/070-197. TSLAC. View in the TDA.

With Halloween on the horizon, we searched the collections with the filter set to “spooky” to see what mysterious and frightening historical items emerged from the stacks. Our Texas Digital Archive features a couple of haunted houses that appear creepy enough for the title, even if supporting evidence and/or a dramatic backstory are left to the imagination.

Murrell Place, Haunted House, near Paris, Texas, n.d. Fannie Ratchford photograph collection, 1970/101-1083. TSLAC. View in the TDA.

Ask anyone about haunted spots in Austin and the historic Driskill Hotel on the corner of Sixth and Brazos will be mentioned in short order. The legendary hotel still attracts tourists and locals alike. Tales of chairs rocking on their own, the smell of cigar smoke attributed to the original owner Jesse Driskill, and ghostly visions of women who took their own lives are some of the experiences that have become part of the lore.

The Driskill Hotel, 1894. Art Work of Austin, Chicago : W.H. Parish Pub. Co., 1894. View catalog record.

Another Austin site where, over the years, residents and visitors have reported interactions with the supernatural is the Governor’s Mansion. Located across the street from the Texas State Capitol, the Greek Revival style structure is home to the state’s executive and his or her families. Stories have included eerie incidences with lights and sounds and a wandering apparition bearing a resemblance to Governor Pendleton Murrah.

Governor’s Mansion, front view, about 1919. Places Collection,1/103-80, Prints and Photographs. TSLAC. View in the TDA.

The State Archives houses papers related to the Texas Governor’s Mansion, including the Jean Houston Daniel Texas Governor’s Mansion Collection, which is comprised of the materials the authors of the book, The Texas Governor’s Mansion: A History of the House and its Occupants compiled in the course of their research. Jean Houston Daniel, the wife of former Texas Governor Price Daniel, was the great-great-granddaughter of Sam Houston and worked on the book with her husband and the writer Dorothy Blodgett.


Search our library catalog for books with ghost stories from Texas:

Haunted Texas : famous phantoms, sinister sites, and lingering legends

Ghost stories of old Texas

Black cats, hoot owls, and water witches : beliefs, superstitions, and sayings from Texas

Ghost lore : a collection of ghost, phantom and legendary mysteries, chiefly of Texas and of old Mexico

Legends & lore of the Texas Capitol

Chills in the night : tales that will haunt you

El Rinche : the ghost ranger of the Rio Grande

Texas ghost stories : fifty favorites for the telling

Ghost lore : a collection of ghost, phantom and legendary mysteries, chiefly of Texas and of old Mexico

More spooky Texas tales


For more information about the collections held at the Texas State Library and Archives contact ref@tsl.texas.gov or 512-463-5455.

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