The Ghosts of Longhorn Caverns

This topic is presented for entertainment purposes (mostly mine). It is not intended as scholarly research or as a final authority on the topic. Please enjoy this article for what it is–free information on a topic of interest. 

On my vacation in June, I visited Longhorn Caverns in Burnet, Texas. This is a neat place. The caverns were formed by the cutting action of a river that receded thousands of years ago.

Since then, the caverns have seen lots of action.

  • The Comanche Indians first used the caverns. They found it about 400 years before anyone else did.
  • During the Civil War, the caverns were used as a stronghold where gunpowder was manufactured. The gunpowder was made from bat guano.
  • The outlaw Sam Bass is believed to have used the caverns as a hideout. Some legends even claim there’s a huge fortune hidden down there.
  • During Prohibition, the main cavern was used as a speakeasy and dance hall.

The video below shows the interior of the Longhorn Caverns. Pay close attention to what you see from 1:45 to 1:56. We’re going to talk about that building later.

You didn’t come here for a history lesson, though. You came here for a hair-raising ghost story. Rumor has it Longhorn Caverns is haunted.

Reports include poltergeist activity, hearing voices and laughter, and being physically touched. A lady dressed in white victorian era clothing has been seen wandering all over the park–both above and below ground. Several apparitions of Native Americans have been seen.

The Austin Paranormal Group has done several investigations of Longhorn Caverns.

Amanda Foster, Director and Founder of the Austin Paranormal Group, graciously agreed to allow me to share the videos of her group’s investigation. Both videos are short. What you’re supposed to hear is explained on the screen.

[Note: I had an easier time hearing stuff with my headphones on.]



The team who took these videos had rocks thrown at their request, felt cold drafts where there were no openings, were touched, and heard…voices.

Longhorn Caverns is made of limestone. Amanda Foster shared a theory regarding limestone and ghosts. She said limestone is thought to hold psychic energy. It is possible ghosts gravitate to it because they can more easily interact with people near limestone.

It’s worth a trip to the Austin Paranormal Group’s wesbsite to see their pictures of the Longhorn Caverns investigation. Creepy, creepy stuff.

I guess it’s time to tell you what happened to me at Longhorn Caverns. Think back to the building shown at 1:45 in the first video.  It was built during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

This is a beautiful building. My husband and I had half an hour before our tour of the caverns began. We thought we’d get some good pictures inside the building.

The interior of this building had a dead, empty pressure to it. Each step I took was accompanied by the feeling that there was something coiled, waiting to jump out at me. Heaviness grew in the air and in my chest.  It was an effort to breathe.  Utter quiet and still hung over everything.

I told my husband I couldn’t be in there anymore. He said he felt the same, but he wanted to get one more picture. Though I planned to go outside, I sat down in this room on this bench.

A few minutes later, my husband joined me. Despite our earlier plan to leave, we sat on that bench.  We were unable to get up and get out. It felt as though all the energy was being siphoned out of me. Finally, we did get up and leave, but it was an effort.

On impulse, I encouraged my husband to take a picture of these windows. The craftsmanship of this building is truly amazing, no matter how creepy a place it was.

When we got home and uploaded the pictures onto my husband’s computer, this is what we saw. Look carefully at the windows. It wasn’t a cloudy day.

It’s a given that I have a good imagination.  Heck, I write fiction. Something was weird about that place, though. Maybe it was just a spirit who liked the look of us and wanted to make contact. Maybe it was a brush with someone we’d known in a previous life. We’ll never know.

If you enjoyed this article, the best compliment you can pay me is to check out the My Fiction page on this website or visit my Amazon Author Page on 

Comments on this article are closed. I am no longer researching or writing non-fiction and no longer have time to discuss (via comments or email) the content of these articles. Please enjoy this article for what it is—free (albeit imperfect) information. 

Special thanks to Amanda Foster of the Austin Paranormal Group for allowing me to share her materials and for patiently answering my questions. 

42 thoughts on “The Ghosts of Longhorn Caverns

  1. Ooohhh that gave me goosebumps. I didn’t watch the videos because I’m too much of a scaredy cat >.> But even without the videos, that gave me chills!

    I really love caves though, especially with all the stalactites and stalagmites and what not. I’ve been to quite a few (in France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Barbados…) and there was only one I sort of felt what you describe although that might be because the cave wasn’t lit very well, hehe. That was the Valkenburgse Grotten here in The Netherlands – it used to be a hide-out for the people in the second World War. Some crazy stuff happened down there.

    Great story and great post, Catie!

    • I’ve never been to your part of the world, but I’d love to for the history. I really do think we can “feel” the history of places. I’ve walked into old buildings where I immediately felt happy, sad, scared, and sometimes comforted.

      I love it that you enjoyed this post even though you’re a scaredy cat. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  2. on ,
    MoM said:

    Yes, this was an interesting place to visit. When looking through the windows of the building, I do see what appears to be several things running. Wow!!!

    • Now you know why you didn’t want to go inside with us, huh? Y’all, my mom went and sat in the shade while the husband and I did our photography. Maybe she had some kind of intuition. 😀

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. I love this stuff, Catie, and you always include cool additions like videos and great pictures to make it even more interesting. I have to show this to my daughter who is in love with paranormal activities. Thank you for this.

    • I’m just like your daughter. I don’t know where my love of paranormal started, but I’ve got it bad. Thanks for saying you like the videos and pictures. They’re fun to hunt down and stick into just the right place. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. Yikes! My daughter and I are avid fans of the Ghost Hunters shows and so I couldn’t wait to read this and to watch those videos. I must confess… I could not use Headphones because just the thought of those whispers going directly into my ears sent shivers scurrying over my skin. Jeepers. Just had to shake off another one. These videos were so cool!

    And your experience… and that picture?! Catie, how incredible. I think whatever was there found you very interesting and pleasant. From what you describe, it seemed strong enough to have let you know if your presence wasn’t wanted there. I’m still staring at that picture, though. Amazing.

    I did have an experience once – ages ago. It’s long and involved so I might have to blog about it at some point. But to answer your question… I ran. lol. After several moments of curiosity and self-conscious looking over my shoulder, I ran to join two friends. All of us decided it was time to leave that place. And none of us spoke about it until we were about an hour’s drive away.

    Ghost stories intrigue me and scare the crap out of me at the same time. lol Loved the one here. GREAT post. (sorry this reply is so long)

    • Debbie, if you get up your nerve, go back and listen with your headphones. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. It was sooo freaky. ::shivers::

      As for the pictures and the building, I’m glad you enjoyed seeing them and reading about my experience. That was the oddest I’ve ever felt. My brain was saying, “get outta here,” but my body just kept sitting on that bench. I was soooo tired and lethargic. It was very weird.

      I do want you to blog about your ghostly experience. That would be so very cool. I love reading about stuff like this and feeling that little fright thrill ping through me. Thanks for stopping by. Never worry about your comments being long. I enjoy reading them. 😀

  5. I just saw something recently on these caverns. It was focused on the story of Sam Bass and the potential of hidden treasure and loot somewhere within. Interesting experience you had and the picture of the swirling smoke spirits is creepy.

    Great post, now I want to visit and see the caverns (and the “spirit hut”) for myself.

    • I’d like to learn more about the Sam Bass connection. The guides at Longhorn Caverns told us that they believed it was unlikely the treasure was there. They think the guys in the Civilian Conservation Corps would have found it if it had been there. I dunno, though. I like thinking the money’s there.

      You need to visit Texas. I can tell you about tons of neat stuff to do and see.

  6. Wow, you are certainly drawn to ghosts and stuff! Or they’re drawn to you? Fabulous blog entry, Catie, as usual!

    • I don’t know what it is, Christine, but this has been my biggest interest all my life. I did grow up in a haunted house, so perhaps that’s why. My poor hubby has learned that I’m going to do at least one “ghost” thing while we’re on vacation. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

  7. I love the good scares you give me! Do you ever have a problem convincing your husband to go to these places on vacation? That would be a creepy experience alone, but then that picture, yikes!
    Great post as always Catie!
    Mary Jo

    • To answer your question, sometimes I think he’s inwardly rolling his eyes. He’s a photographer, though. Most of these places are old and/or scenic. He can always get some interesting pictures while I’m wondering around hoping to get scared.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  8. You totally need to read my Friday Flash, lol. I wrote a story based on one of the many experiences I had at my parents, and the heavy feeling you described is EXACTLY what happens to me. Same guest room I was in when I had the experience with my brother, too. It’s a feeling that hard describe but impossible to miss. I’ve had it more times than I want to remember in that house.

    The Longhorn Caverns sound very cool. They’re the kind of place that automatically get your imagination hopping, but those experiences are hard to ignore. The limestone theory is a major one among paranormal researchers, and it makes sense.

    Great post!

    • I read for Flash Fiction just now, Hoss. It was very good. Reminded me of those old Twilight books. You ought to consider writing a YA horror. I bet it would be cool.

      How cool that you’ve felt the *same* things I felt in that weird building. I had a hard time describing those feelings. The quiet was the oddest part. I don’t even remember hearing our footsteps gritting on the floors. Such an odd experience.

      So glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  9. So creepy! My parents tell me that the house we lived in when I was a toddler was haunted. They both describe feeling a presence, similar to the one that you felt inside that building. The strange thing is that neither of them mentioned it to the other until they moved out. Mysteriously, no one’s key would fit into the lock on the front door (not even the realtor’s), but the locks hadn’t been changed. *cue creepy music here lol*

    What I find awesome is the fact that the caverns were used as a speakeasy during Prohibition! I’m doing research on the 1920s right now for my MA thesis, and one day I’d like to translate it all into a novel. A dance party in a haunted cavern might have to work it’s way in…

    • The speakeasy (and the 1920s & 1930s) fascinate me. If you watch that first video, there are some pictures of the speakeasy on it. Oddly, though, I was unable to find any much other information about the speakeasy. Fun factoid regarding speakeasy: The guy who owned threw booze parties in the cavern on Saturday nights and had church in there on Sunday mornings. LOL

      Creepy story about your babyhood house. I really do think there’s more in the world with us than anybody ever imagines. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

      P.S. I’d really love to read your book set in the 1920s when you get it written.

  10. on ,
    DeeAnna Galbraith said:

    Very cool blog. About a year and a half ago, my local RWA (Eastside, Bellevue, WA) had a speaker from a ghost hunting organization – they also taught classes. The speaker brought photos, videos and voice prints taken in the Seattle Underground. There was one with a child’s voice, who, when asked for his name, answered ‘Eddie”. Still pegs the creep-o-meter for me. Have you ever been inside the Alamo? Went through a couple of summers ago and it is definitely thick with spirits. There are signs asking you not to touch the walls, but you don’t have to – just hold your palm a few inches away and the walls almost vibrate with energy.


    • DeeAnna, Seattle is an old city. I bet there are some cool ghost stories there. I’ve always wanted to visit.

      San Antonio is my favorite Texas city. The Alamo numerous times is always so crowded that I never pick up any vibes. I also wonder if all the stuff they’ve built on to it over the years (it was a lot different when I visited for the first time 30 years ago) hasn’t muted the spirit activity. There’s also a haunted hotel in San Antonio–the Menger. I’ve wanted to stay the night there, but we never have. Thanks for sharing your experiences at the Alamo.

      San Jacinto Monument (near Houston) also has interesting vibes. The Texans won that one. I always feel very excited when I go there. It’s a very cool place.

      Thanks for the comment! 😀

  11. Loved this post! I want to visit now. And yes, I have felt that way before, but I’ve actually been thinking about doing a blog post (or series of posts) on it so I won’t say too much other than that it was once in a very old house we rented in downtown Baltimore, and another time on my great-grandparent’s home in West Virginia. I’m thinking of doing some ghostly posts in the Fall – for some reason I love ghost stories the best then : )!

    • I sure hope you do a fall-ghost theme on your blog. I can do the ghostbusters thing 365 days a year, but there is something even neater about it in the fall. Halloween is hands-down my favorite holiday. I’m looking forward to having you wow me with some scary stories! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

  12. Oh awesome post Catie! You check out the coolest places. I’m positive we would be perfect road trip partners. That photo of the windows is eerie and unusual. Did you guys send it in to the research teams or conservation center? I bet they log it. I’ve been to places where you feel an eerie presence. I actually worked in a video store for 5 years I’m convinced was haunted. And there are a couple spots in and around my hometown that I’ve experienced unusual phenomenons. Hmm, perhaps you’ve inspired some future blog posts. :)

    • Jess, we might have to take a scary-themed road trip sometime. My poor, long-suffering husband gets sick of it, I know. But he’s always tolerant. LOL

      We did not send the picture in to any research teams or anything like that. We were shocked when we saw those shadows in the windows. They really didn’t look like that at all when we took the picture.

      I would love to read about haunted hotspots in your hometown, so I hope you blog about them. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  13. on ,
    Texanne said:

    Creepy about your experience in that building. Look at all that rock–hand carried and set by men unfortunate enough to be out of work. They did build beautiful structures, relying mostly on unskilled labor. You can see a lot of these structures in the retaining walls in national parks, for instance. The brick highway that ran from Fort Worth to Mineral Wells. That brick road is still there, but now it’s under a whole lot of concrete.

    The ennui you felt in that building may be an echo of the exhaustion and hopelessness of the men who built it. Someone should hold a blessing for that place. Hauntings are really sad, don’t you think?

    You write the coolest posts, Catie.

    • That’s a good point, Tex. Maybe it was just leftover emotions haunting that place. My great-grandfather used to ride the rails looking for work during the Great Depression. He lost a lot of jobs because he liked to get into fistfights.

      As for the beauty of that building, it was gorgeous. There are supposed to be some CCC buildings down here, but I am not sure where they are. I need to look into it and go see them. That’s a shame about the brick highway between Fort Worth and Mineral Wells. You know, I’ve never spent much time in your part of Texas.

      Thanks for saying I write cool stuff. And thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  14. Maybe it’s weird, but I believe spirits are everywhere, always. There have been several times in my life when I have felt the presence of a deceased family member. But there are times, like in your story above when I feel people who don’t like me (or anyone) very much. It always creeps me out.

    • The house I grew up in is malevolently haunted. The house I live in now has a spirit that I see out of the corner of my eye, but I’m never scared. You’re right. When you feel their dislike or their nastiness, it’s unsettling. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

  15. Totally freaky. Being in a haunted place is one thing … in haunted caverns only adds to that creepiness! Thanks for sharing.

    • They were creepy. I sort of wish our tour group had been smaller. I think that would have added to the freakiness of it all. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • That’s a good idea, and I just might. I use a lot of places I’ve been (changed around, of course) in my books. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

    • Oh, come on. It’s fun to get scared. Being scared feels good. Your heart beats fast. Your vision sharpens. Adrenaline sings through your body as your fight or flight instinct kicks into high gear. This is the good stuff. (kidding, but only a little)

      Thanks for stopping by.

  16. Fascinating post, Catie! In spite of my aversion to horror films and the like, I’ve always been drawn to anything supernatural. I love to visit old cemeteries, listen to other people’s accounts of unexplained events, and learn as much as I can about existence of beings beyond the physical world.

    On one of our trips to Key West, my husband and I went on a Ghost Tour. It was fun listening to the local lore, and we scared ourselves on a few occasions during that guided walk through Old Town. But the spookiest part of that night was much later.

    We were riding our bikes back to our B&B through the dark streets. Our trek took us past the Key West cemetery. I cannot explain why, but I felt the strongest urge to stop. (Yes, I’d had a few glasses of wine that night, but nothing different than any other night on vacation.) I got off my bike and was drawn to that cemetery, stopping only when I reached the high wrought-iron bars. I really felt like I was in a trance, almost, and I felt heavy, like you shared. I couldn’t leave. I heard people’s voices telling me their names, saying hello. I wasn’t frightened at the time, just curious. They didn’t seem dangerous. My husband told me the next morning that he had all he could do to get me away from there. (He’s double my size. I don’t know if he felt the same pull I did.) I told him I had to go back. One voice had struck a chord in me, a childlike voice so sweet and lonely. I felt like she had told me her name which I shared with my husband.

    Reluctantly, he accompanied me to the cemetery–during daylight. We were able to find a headstone with that name, far back in the cemetery toward the right just like I felt it would be. We’ve never entered that cemetery before, always too busy doing other fun stuff in KW. The headstone indicated the person by that name was a preteen at the time of her death.

    Needless to say, we’ve avoided taking that route at night ever since. We left KW the following day and returned to our busy life, leaving that experience behind.

    Until now.

    Thanks for reminding me, Catie! I’ll probably have to sleep with the lights on. :O

    • That is a cool story. It’s far, far better than my ghost story. I’ve watched a few specials about Key West (the haunted aspect of it). Key West has a rich history, and is supposedly one of the more haunted places in the US. The writer in me wonders if you researched the little girl and tried to find out what happened to her.

      I do believe you “see” more when you’ve had a few drinks (or other mind-altering substances). Your mind is relaxed and more open to unusual things.

      Thanks for sharing your story. 😀

  17. Intriguing story and eerie videos! Longhorn Caverns sounds like my kind of place. Thanks for sharing.

    I’ve always been drawn to old, abandoned houses and buildings. As a child, I used to seek out vacant, dilapidated houses and barns out in the country on Halloween night. But I didn’t sense any ghosts. Last month I went to Ouray, Colorado and visited the ghost towns in the mountains. Again, I didn’t sense any ghosts, though maybe all the tourists had long driven them out. Guess I’ll keep looking. :)

    • You know, when I visit supposedly haunted places that happen to be over-trafficked, I rarely feel anything out of the ordinary. I am also drawn to abandoned buildings and houses. They’re very creepy and they make neat pictures. Ouray, Colorado is a neat, neat city.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

  18. on ,
    Karen Hamilton said:

    I was at Longhorn Cavern last Wednesday and in the room that was used as a dance hall and bar in the 20’s and 30’s, I saw (very briefly) a woman in a tan dress with chin-length wavy brown hair. She was standing beside my husband and looking toward the tour guide. She was slightly over-weight and the dress style was like something from the 40’s. I wasn’t freaked out at all because there was just nothing malevolent about her. I glanced away and then back but she was gone. This only lasted a second or two. I am now going through my photos of the cave and have come across one I think has a energy orb. Do you have any idea where I could email it to get verification? Thanks.

    • First off, what a cool experience. The dance hall had a nice feeling to it, didn’t it? I bet it was a neat place to go party.

      As for your picture, I suggest contacting the Austin Paranormal Group. The link is within this blog post.

      Amanda Foster (the director) is super nice and very helpful. She will probably be able to suggest a place for you to send your picture.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  20. on ,
    alandhopewell said:

    CATIE- I’ve been in and lived in haunted places, and have experienced sensations from a faint presence to what mught be called a spiritual stench of death, along with a near-panic desire to flee.

    These days, I’m a Christian, and I believe all such events are demonic in origin; however, that doesn’t diminish my interest in them.

    EVPs were mentioned-my friends and I did that a number of years ago, as this account describes; the tapes in question vanished years ago.