Places in Austin that are Probably Haunted*

By Bethany Swoveland

Places in Austin that are Probably Haunted*

*Our ghost scientists are still confirming.

Here’s the inside scoop: we were all ready and set to give you a golden blog post about all of the legitimately haunted spots in ATX that you could scope out, get drunk, and bone in or whatever, but, turns out, a fuck ton of those already exist. And we’re not ones for doing what’s expected. So, we gleefully present to you something a little nontraditional. This one’s for the locals.

You know when you’re waiting in line to buy toilet paper, because even though you texted your gd roommate to remind them to pick up toilet paper on their way home, they somehow conveniently ~*did not see*~ this text, so now you’re at the grocery story at 5 pm on a Monday afternoon, when literally everyone and their mother is at the grocery store, and the guy in front of you is separating his cart by 15 items so that he can be in the shorter line, and the kid behind you shit himself and is crying about it, and you’re wondering if you actually got in a car wreck on the way to the store and this is purgatory? Newsflash: it is purgatory, and there are lots of spots like it all around Austin. Take a look.  

Barbarella Dance Floor

Barbarella is a magical, whimsical dance club for star-crossed lovers and young blood Austinites looking for lively and fun ways to get to know the locals...until about 9:30 pm. Then all cocaine-infused hell breaks loose and the dingy, dark dance bar replaces charm with actual fear by way of drunk white girls screaming “PLAY TAYLOR SWIFT” at the top of their lungs, while sloshing Vodka Red Bulls all over innocent bystanders.

Look, I’ve busted a move a time or two on that dance floor. Tuezgayz is an actual religious evening for many folks, and it will forever hold a puke-smelling place in my heart, but there are 5,000% ghosts shakin’ their thang in that place. Ghosts of “I swear I’m not going to text him tonight,” “Just one more shot!,” “Hold my beer,” and *inaudible mumbling while eyes roll to the back of the head.*

Next time you’re jamming to the Selena remixes out back, keep an ear out for the ghosts of lost phones, bad decisions, and spilled drinks that haunt Barbarella every night at the stroke of midnight.

Every pedicab ride ever

I would go so far as to say that every pedicab DRIVER is actually the ghost form of hipsters past lookin’ to make an extra buck and reconnect with the physical realm while forcing passengers to listen to their list of Spoon albums ranked from worst to best, before they sold out.

I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve never had a pleasant pedicab experience. It’s all car doors opening up and dinging the buggy, drivers honking at us for a solid 15 seconds without a break, and pedicab drivers going rogue and somehow mistaking Congress with a Grand Theft Auto setting??? So, sure, if you’d like to shorten the length of your life and forever roam the dirty streets of downtown Austin as a person who was just trying to meet their friends at Rainey St., take a pedicab ride.

The line for Franklin BBQ

If waiting in line for upwards of seven hours in the beating Texas sun for some meat is your thing, then maybe this isn’t super spooky for you, but some of us are normal-ass human beings who don’t hate ourselves. Seriously - S E V E N H O U R S. Standing in line. Outside. For food. Search what “being in limbo” means and you’ll find dozens of articles about how people pass the time while waiting in line for the infamous BBQ. They don’t even let God-sent Kanye West cut the line, so don’t try any funny business. They’re scary hardcore. Really fucking important sidenote: We jest about the line, but Franklin BBQ is a cherished establishment in ATX, and recently closed after the restaurant caught fire. Follow them on Facebook to scope out their food truck and help support a dope, probably haunted, locally owned gem. 


Any HEB between the hours of 4 and 9 pm on a Friday night

I’ll begin this portion by explaining what HEB is for all you non-Texan heathens. It’s a God-send grocery store. It’s a saving grace. It’s everything Wal Mart isn’t plus some. It’s basically holy grounds and shall not be trifled with in any way, shape, or form. On that note, it’s most def haunted.

When the last-minute Friday night plans roll in and you need to get your pre-game on STAT, HEB is the way to go. For all your wine, beer, mixer, and snack time needs, you’re covered. But giant-ass newsflash for you: every single person over (or under apparently) the legal drinking age is in the same fucking HEB at the same fucking time every fucking Friday night. The lines are long, the people are loud, the babies are crying, they’re definitely out of PBR, but no worries, they have 400 selections of Merlot from Italy. HAUNTED AF.

What’s even scarier than braving the lines on a Friday night, not totally dissimilar from having to buy your club soda and limes from the middle of the jungle, is HEB at about 1:45 am, just before closing, where sad souls go to wander in a drunken stupor before being kicked out.

I-35 and MoPac between the hours of UMMM I DON’T KNOW LITERALLY ANYTIME EVER.

This one really doesn’t even need any kind of explanation. If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of sitting on I-35 or MoPac (Loop 1) during peak traffic hours, you’ve likely wished you would croak on the spot, to ascend from that ungodly mess, and never have to waste precious life guessing what the person in the car in front of you is listening to, while watching the minutes pass, saying goodbye to happy hour specials while your friends Snapchat photos of themselves together using that obnoxious fucking dog filter and you’re left to rot on the interstate.

According to Forbes, Austin natives waste 41 hours in traffic each year, making Austin the 4th city with the worst gridlock in the nation. Literal hell on earth.  

So, yeah, these places aren’t traditionally staked out for signs of axe murderers or creepers gone slayer, but they’re plenty haunted in our book. Happy day of the Spook! Let us know what your favorite probably haunted spots are in Austin and how you avoid them at all costs. Keep it nasty and support your local vintage embroidery shop.