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Our haunted hotel neighbor

Photo of the Driskill Hotel

The amazing Driskill Hotel is just a few blocks up the street from the Museum of the Weird
Photo by Nika Vee [cc-by 2.0] via flickr

A few blocks west of the Museum of the Weird lies a beautiful, old hotel called the Driskill. It was built in 1885 by cattle baron Colonel Jesse Driskill and designed to be the finest hotel this side of the Mississippi in its day. The hotel has been fully restored to its original glory and is one of those places where time disappears once you enter. It’s also very haunted.

Celebrities Annie Lennox and Johnette Napolitano both are reported to have had experiences in the hotel. Napolitano was inspired by hers to write the song Ghost of a Texas Ladies Man (see the video).

The ghost of a suicide bride haunts the corridors and is occasionally encountered by guests.

The ghost of a young girl, daughter of a U.S. Senator, who was killed after a fall down a marble staircase, is said to bounce a ball and disturb the doors and fixtures in the upstairs bathroom.

Some have reported a strange disturbance in their room. The bathroom mirrors are fogged as though someone had a shower and mysterious scribbling is found on the pad between the beds. The first occurance was discovered when the couple returned to their room one afternoon. The second was discovered when the people awoke that morning!

Staff in the hotel have told me about touches and pinches they have received working in parts of the building, especially on the top floor. In some cases it seems that the spirits will haze the new people a little by giving them some special attention until they show respect.

Several years ago, a colleague and I had our own encounters. We took a digital camera to the 5th floor to take pictures around the legendary room 525. As we stepped down from the elevators into the old part of the hotel my camera ran out of battery. I had thought they were good, but apparently not. We satisfied ourselves with simply walking around and taking the place in. Later, on the street, I activated the camera again to see if it had enough juice to pull the motorized lens back in so I could put it away. It came up with full charge and worked fine for several hours. It just didn’t want to work on that floor.

My colleague reported strolling around on that hallway and hearing a woman’s voice singing what sounded like an old tune in the vicinity of 525. There was work being done on the rooms and they appeared to be unoccupied at the time. He said it sounded “old” to him, not like modern singing, and that I would know what he meant if I’d heard it.  He was with two other people who heard the same thing and could not determine a source for the singing.

Photo of LBJ and his family watching television

LBJ watches the 1964 election results from his suite at the Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas.

The Driskill is a delightful place. It’s housed many wealthy and powerful people. During the time that the Texas State Capitol was built, the legislature held meetings at the Driskill. LBJ watched his election results there. Many other politicians have made it their center while in Austin.

The next time you are by the Museum, take some time to walk up the street and visit our neighbor. You are guaranteed an experience, though it may not necessarily be a ghostly one. Of course, if you do encounter something otherworldy, please let us know!

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