• Graveyard Shift

The Haunted History Of The Devil's Backbone In Texas Hill Country

Texas is known for its wide open spaces, high school football, and, of course, barbecue - but just outside the state capital of Austin sits an area full of creepy legends and ghost stories. The Devil’s Backbone is a series of interconnecting roads taking visitors on a loop from Wimberley to Blanco - its barriers marked by limestone hills. As beautiful as the area is, it’s also notoriously haunted

Stories of the paranormal along the Devil’s Backbone range from the unsettling to the straight-up terrifying. There are haunted taverns, mysterious sounds, and even the ghost of a homicidal maniac that walks along Highway 281. The area is steeped in weirdness but, despite its evident beauty, locals might warn visitors about staying out after dark.

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  • People In The Area Feel Like They're Being Watched

    When you're alone, it's not unnatural to feel you're being watched, whether you're in a field in Texas or an apartment in the big city. But when people get this sensation while traipsing through Texas Hill Country, it just may be true. Many of the ghosts that purportedly litter the Devil's Backbone are happy to just stand and observe rather than interact with the living - creeping out the locals in the process.

    One local man says that, after a long day of hunting, he returned home as the sun was setting only to feel a set of eyes on the back of his neck. When he turned to look, he saw a Native man wearing buckskins and Comanche war paint.

  • People Report All Manner Of Paranormal Activity Along Highway 32

    When driving through Texas, there are a few major highways you can take: I-10 and I-35 are fine for getting to Houston or Dallas, but if you're trying to get somewhere off the beaten path, you've got to take a state highway like 281 or the regional Road 32. Drivers cruising along Road 32 have experienced close calls and a variety of paranormal entities, making it hard to discount the haunted nature of the area.

    Drivers have seen shadow people along the road and heard phantom sounds during their drive. Some even report a nebulous shape climbing onto the hood of the car as they hugged the curves of Road 32 in the middle of the night. And then there's one particular story shared by numerous locals and out-of-state drivers alike: a woman walking the highway with her baby, calling out for her husband. If you're taking Road 32 in the middle of the night, you might want to press on and wait until you hit Blanco before you stop.

  • There's A Tavern Where People Say They Encounter Supernatural Entities

    Whether you're a paranormal investigator on the hunt for a mischievous entity or a traveler looking to quench your thirst, the Devil's Backbone Tavern is where you want to be. This bar has been serving the Hill Country since the 1800s and has been the site of numerous hauntings. People who work at the tavern say they've actually seen apparitions; a few claim to have been touched by the ghosts, but no one has ever been truly threatened. 

    Locals and employees of the Devil's Backbone Tavern report that, for the most part, the ghosts supposedly haunting the establishment seem to just want attention. They turn the lights off and on, mess with the photos on the wall, open the doors and windows, and play with the jukebox.

  • One Resident Claims He Was Possessed By A Ghostly Wolf

    Photo: Homer H. Lansberry / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Most of the reported hauntings and ghostly interactions around the Devil's Backbone are creepy but more or less harmless. People might lose a night of sleep after seeing a herd of phantom horses, but no harm, no foul. The same can't be said for John Villa­rreal, a local man who claims he was possessed by an unexplained creature

    Villa­rreal says he was hiking through the area with friends when he saw what he believed to be a wolf leaping toward him. He called to his friends, but they didn't see anything. When the group returned home, Villa­rreal went into a trance, followed by seizures and guttural noises. One witness said Villa­rreal seemed to be speaking "a mix of Spanish and Apache." 

    As Villa­rreal convulsed and spoke in strange tongues, his friends freaked out, but a gust of wind burst through the home and, just like that, the episode ended. Villa­rreal says he doesn't remember what happened to him - but locals say such possession stories are not uncommon and typically begin with the spirit of a wolf.