Haunted Austin Ghost Tour by HEARSE

One thing everyone should do is subscribe to newsletters of happenings in your city or town, it’s the best way to find out about super cool stuff. DO512 has a really great newsletter, filled with events, new restaurants, best patios and all sorts of neat things I would never have known about all around Austin – and that’s how I learned about this amazing ghost tour.

I’m a ghost tour fanatic. Since I was young it’s something I’ve experienced with family members on vacations and something that I’ve continued on with John as we have our adventures together. I’ve done many different types of ghost tours all over but I’ve never had my own PRIVATE HEARSE until I came across Haunted ATX in a newsletter! I’ve also never really had a ghost tour in Austin before either so I was excited for the whole experience! We started the night off first with sushi happy hour at Uchi which is definitely one of our favorite things to do.

After filling up with sashimi we had a spooky beverage at the Halloween themed bar Gibson Street, where Sarah the Hearse driver picked us up. The amazing thing about the private tour is that they pick you up and drop you off anywhere in Austin (within a 15-20 minute radius) AND you can bring your own booze and snacks! She scooped us up and off to the notorious Driskill Hotel we went! We heard all about Jesse and the child who plummeted to their death down a flight of stairs, and even had access to parts of the hotel that were blocked off to guests. Our guide was amazingly animated and thorough so I knew we were going to have a great experience. Also, many years ago I stayed in the bridal suite with my sisters before a Longhorn game and we had a haunted night (there’s even a ghost bride here).

Afterwards we visited the Clay Pit, an Indian restaurant in a historic old general store (called the Bertram building) from the 1800’s. Apparently there were underground tunnels from the general store to the capitol building where folks used to hide gold. The tunnels also kept gentlemen discreet as they visited brothels. Apparently in the late 1800’s the family lived above the store upstairs and some children fell ill with typhoid fever and one died. There is reported paranormal activity here and also the basement where supposedly a prostitute was strangled to death. I captured a weird figure in my mirror shot, above, and generally felt that this was absolutely haunted.

We made a pit stop at the Tavern on Lamar, where I used to frequent and have their delicious wings back in the day. I had no idea it was one of the most haunted spots in town! By a ghost named Emily nonetheless who plays pranks on people upstairs. Maybe she left me alone because we share the same name? Reminds me that I need to go back to the Tavern to have some of those tasty wings….

Of course we had to stop at the Littlefield house on UT campus, which was always talked about as being the scariest place at UT. Funny enough, there was another ghost tour there as well discussing a famous murder that happened while I was at UT all those years ago- so they asked me to share my memories! I felt so old but also it was neat to provide context for the piano teacher Danielle Martin, who was murdered in 2003 by her TA who believed she had a microchip in her brain. He used a meat clever to “get it out” – which resulted in her unfortunate death.

We discussed many other strange events along the way throughout our hearse ride, from other murderers like Colton Pitonyak to ghosts that taunted our tour guide Sarah, to our favorite bars in town. It was one of the most thorough ghost adventures I’ve been on and I 10/10 recommend to even the most skeptical people out there. It’s a little discouraging to do ghost tours where you live because you think you’ve heard them all, but this super interesting twist of an experience was well worth it. Plus we got some coupons to use at the Clay Pit and we want to go back and see if we can see anything else in the mirrors upstairs! (and also want some delish curry)

If you ever find yourself wondering if you should book a private hearse ghost tour, the answer is yes – yes you should. Haunted ATX also provides tours by van that fits upwards of 11-13 people, and hearse tours fit max of 6. Go out there and explore the ghosts, people!

Have a safe Halloween! Stay tuned for our costumes…

Edinburgh, Scotland 2019

Edinburgh, Scotland was the second portion of our European birthday trip from February 2019 (we traveled in Iceland prior to arriving in the UK). John and I have our birthdays 4 days apart in early February, and over the years we’ve created a tradition to explore someplace new together. We had a tiny layover in London after departing Reykjavik but it was a smooth travel experience and we made it to our AirBnb in Old Town Edinburgh by 5pm, just in time to have celebratory shots with our neighbors before hitting up a pub for dinner and drinks! (Seriously this never would have happened in Iceland, as mentioned, folks are a bit more to themselves. First thing we heard after opening our door was “Hey are you visiting? Want to come take a shot?” – talk about contrast!)

We stayed a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Edinburgh Castle and had the most beautiful views from our AirBnb. The next morning we made our way over to the castle for a tour and high tea service. It is one of the touristy-historic things I had on my list and worth it! We got our tickets online a few days before, but it wasn’t busy at all when we were there.

After the castle tour, as we walked down the street, we passed a man with an owl named Genevieve and she took a liking to John. We didn’t even ask to hold her, she just flew over to him as we passed by (I’m sure it’s a scheme but I sorta have this idea that birds flock to John because he’s some sort of secret Disney prince, like what happened when we were in British Columbia).

The Scott Monument was my FAVORITE building.

Victoria Street is the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter! It is adorable and full of cute boutiques. We got everyone in the family plaid scarves for a real deal. I scored local watercolor art prints of the castle. And John got a cute old-timey Scottish cap.

Remember how I mentioned that you had to plan everything in Iceland? Well, Scotland was the opposite and in the evening we had time to explore something random in the moment, so we ended up going to see this local Sherlock Holmes improv troupe at the Monkey Barrel! It was fun to see their interpretation, complete with a PIANIST who also made up the melody as the story evolved? Hands down some of the most fun we’ve ever had. This was our favorite day on our whole week’s long trip. A little bit of structure but time to adapt to our surroundings and also spontaneously see something new. AND LAUGH! It was a creative show and only $5!

We also explored the area around Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park. I wanted to climb to the top but totally wore the wrong outfit: pink corduroy pants with fancy booties. When in doubt, choose functionality over fashion in Scotland <lol>

The next morning we wanted good Scottish comfort food and enjoyed Mum’s for shepherds pie. GO THERE! One of our favorite things to do is ask the locals places they enjoy to frequent: bars, restaurants or shopping areas. This is how you find the best gems that are not always obvious to the tourist (or even on Google). She guided us to a fun underground bar called Bramble. It was actually underground, had the most creative cocktails, and a DJ spinning hip hop records. We loved it and still talk about it to this day! We even went twice…hehe.

Afterwards, we made our way to Craigmillar Castle where I had a crazy paranormal experience. I felt some intense negative energy downstairs in the wine cellar that stuck with me for 2 whole weeks. (Intense demonic dreams, severe stalking and harassment from men, just general unease). After researching I found out that King James III kept his brother prisoner in the wine cellar where he died, after being accused of witch craft. And I also found out that there was a secret entrance to a Hellfire Club down there in the 18th century. These clubs were super misogynistic and anti women’s rights – so basically that energy did NOT like me while it had no problem with John. It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever experienced. I saged regularly for 2 weeks before I felt myself again.

Oh also, they filmed scenes from Outlander there.

After the castle we walked around the city some more and had a delish pasta dinner before going to the haunted underground vault tour. We read this was one of the most unique things to do and wanted to end our journey with this experience. It was creepy but also amazing to see this bizarre old underground vault, literally UNDERNEATH Edinburgh. Def recommend!!

I love how old the city is. Around every corner there is an awe of Gothic architecture. It literally feels like Hogwarts. It’s actually where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter (we even visited the cafe where she wrote the books). The buildings are so incredibly old and BOLD. It has a VIBE.

Fun things about Edinburgh:

  1. The city is built on top of itself, so there are layers of streets on top of each other – making GPS hard to follow in certain areas.
  2. The people were the nicest folks we have ever met in any country. Very friendly and warm, but not too much into your business, but also willing to get to know you and hear your story. I felt incredibly safe.
  3. It has a vibrant arts scene filled with poets, writers, comedians, artists – it felt amazing to be encompassed in creative energy.
  4. I have a habit of going on ghost tours every time I travel. I can say, hands down, Scotland is the most haunted place I’ve EVER been.
  5. It is our favorite international city we’ve explored, and we would love to live here! Words can’t describe how at home we felt being in Edinburgh. It’s chock full of amazing history, architecture, an expanding arts scene, and visually stunning nature. We didn’t get to make it outside of the city but can’t wait to eventually explore the Highlands and surrounding islands. It’s a breathtaking country that we feel called towards.

We CAN’T WAIT to come back. If there is one place to go in all of Europe, I highly suggest Edinburgh. You won’t be disappointed!