Hauntings Of The State Capitol

Posted by blogger in Haunted Austin Ghost Tour
Hauntings Of The State Capitol - Photo

The lone star state has along the years fostered a reputation as not only being the good old boy but the take no prisoners, “you talkin’ to me”, grit dancing bronco. The sort of State that in a staring competition wouldn’t even blink, even if his testicles were on fire and Maine was dropping scorpions down its back.

Texas was outlaws. Texas was cowboys and Indians only with scalping and revenge-fueled ride outs. Texas was the Alamo. Texas was John Wayne. And, above all, Texas blood-soaked history is prime mulch for ghosts and goblins.

The same breed of rodeo riding rebels that manned the Alamo and spit poison in the Mexican Army’s eyes were the same ones proving that the pen was mightier than the sword… and when they ran out of ink, they’d go back to their foolproof strategy of pumping lead into a recalcitrant senator. The governor’s and lawmakers of this place were the sorts that came to work strapping heat and with a bandoleer sash over their shoulders. 


The Texas State Capitol building and seat of the government of the American State of Texas was designed by renowned architect, Elijah E. Myers, back in the heydays of this region’s inception in the year 1881. It replaced a rickety old shack that once served as Capitol. That old shack went up in smoke, metaphorically speaking, and was replaced in 1853 by a larger mansion…. unfortunately, that second building did go up in smoke – as in flames and fire personnel going: “well, we can’t make a dent in that inferno.” The second construct turned to cinders in the great capitol fire of 1881. Construction in the third and final building didn’t begin until late 1882 and it took civil engineer Reuben Lindsay Walker’s teams more than 6 years to get the building ready for habitation… there were a few bumps along the way and some mishaps. Some of Reuben’s team didn’t make the inauguration. Accidents back in those days were a dime a dozen and, like Alan Jackson’s song, there really were a Million Ways To Die in The West. 


In 1993, a 75 million extension was completed bringing The Texas State Capitol to a total of 302.64 feet (92.24 m) tall, making it the sixth-tallest state capitol and one of several taller than the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. 

“The building has an old-world distinction to her. It’s grand, and majestic, like everything in Texas. We like to show off. The whole building was made a National Historic Landmark in 1986, and in 2007 it was voted as one of America’s Favorite Architecture. We’re really proud of her.” 

Ghost Of The State Capitol

The State Capitol, being the proverbial halls of intrigue and skulduggery that most of its kind are prone to be, has amassed quite a lurid reputation on account of its spiritual inhabitants. The place is basically the West Wing, only if Aaron Sorkin was botted halfway off as showrunner and the direction of the show given to the scriptwriters of American Horror Story.

“I have an idea for Bartlet, Martin Sheen’s character. I’m thinking zombie apocalypse with a dash of witchcraft. Put him in an affair with Allison Janney’s character, then have the first Lady murder the s&@t out of her… then, C.J. haunts the White House as a vengeful wraith. No, I’m not on drugs… at least not a lot.”

The gruesome ghosts and creepy crawlers that call this swamp of legislation their own have a peculiar distinction when compared to others of their kind. These MOFUs come out 24/7. Rain, shine, blazing summer, bitter winter, these spooks simply don’t care. The hauntings in this capitols hill don’t keep a schedule. The specters might as well sport name tags given the dozen or so times they’ve come out during a school field trip or on one of the many free tours of the building.

I think the one most people are accustomed to, if there is such a thing, is Comptroller Robert Marshall Love. Some folks tend to spot him regularly during the free tours and they don’t even blink twice. His spirit is so lifelike that he passes off as just one more staff member.”

In 1903, Comptroller Robert Marshall Love was murdered inside his first-floor office.

Since that sanguine scintillating scandal, the walkway leading up to the capitol – the Promenade – has been the site of most of the grand building’s hauntings. On misty and foggy days, people have often seen the Comptroller waltzing up to the capitol, top hat and walking cane. The spook leading a procession of other phantoms along the promenade.

“It’s like a picture or fragment of the past caught on a loop.”

But, the comptroller isn’t alone in his hauntings, aside from his ghostly entourage, there’s also a few more specters that compete for the spiritual big dog crown. One of those wraiths is the Red Lady.

A mysterious and enigmatic lady in red seems to haunt the capitol. Crews, staff, and hangers-on have reported seeing her quite often, the apparition wandering the third-floor offices. Whenever anyone approaches her or tries to strike up a conversation, the wraith just vanishes out of sight. 

The general consensus concerning her origins is that the Lady is the spurred paramour of a long-dead political shark. The lady most likely embroiled in a hot and steamy affair with one of the many occupants that once called the third-floor office their stomping ground.

“You hear rumors and urban tales, and can really tell what’s real and what’s not. It is hard to separate truth from fiction in this place. People say that when the person she was having an affair with called the thing off, the Red Lady either committed suicide or was ‘disposed of’ when she started rattling nerves.”

The Lady only appears at night and in a section not open to the public, so chances are it’s going to be a bit troublesome for would-be ghost hunters to get a pic’ of her.

Handprints in the Window

The story goes that in 1983 a fire broke out in the Capitol building, the scorching inferno gutted the place and killed a few people. One of those that perished in that oven, burned to a crisp, was a 23-year-old document caddy, an intern. Rescue efforts were in bane and almost all the firemen watched in horror as the kid slowly roasted.

The room he was in went up fast. The rescue team managed to tame the flames but a window, the one they needed to pry open to get to the kid, was locked and impossible to open. The whole room was destroyed but that pesky bolted window somehow survived. 

To this day, no matter how often the window gets cleaned, handprints materialize whenever there’s a cold front or it’s raining cats and dogs. The condensation blankets the crystal and prints and handprints, like those found on a bathroom mirror, start to form.

“We’ve replaced the window and the panes and no matter what we do, they appear. Quick but they appear. After a while, they vanish but no amount of scrubbing will make them go away.”