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Ghosts at Pioneer Farms


A man in black has been seen leaning against the fence outside the Orsay House (green house with picket fence.) This same figure has been reported to follow people around the farm. He’s very tall and just a shadow figure with a wide brimmed hat.
One Sunday afternoon near Halloween, 2 volunteers and their children were sitting in the village square. The volunteers were sitting facing each other on hay bales placed in the square for seating during an event. There were 4 shepherd hook plant hangers at the 4 corners of the square where lamps were hung. One of these hangers was visible just over the shoulder of one of the volunteers, whose back was to this. Suddenly this hanger began whipping violently as if someone were shaking it. There was no wind and looking around, none of the other hangers were moving.There was no bird on the top of the hanger. The volunteer facing the hanger leaned around to be able to see the entire hanger. Thinking a child was likely sitting at the base of the hanger shaking it, she called “stop shaking that, you are going to pull it out of the ground or else bend it!”. The shaking stopped immediately as if whoever or whatever was shaking this stopped. As the entire length of this became visible, it was realized there was nothing near the shepherd crook hangers. The children were all on the other side of the square.
One afternoon 3 volunteers were sitting in the office just after the farm closed to visitors. A tapping sound was heard at one of the windows. As one of the volunteers looked at the window he saw the face of a young girl. She giggled then vanished.

Bell is thought to be still at this house. Volunteers have reported a very pleasant floral fragrance waft through the rooms from time to time. Once a volunteer was locking the house late one night after a paranormal investigation. As she locked the front door and the fragrance was noted. This followed her through the house to the back door and vanished as she turned locked the door.
Re-enactors have slept overnight in the house. Everyone who has stayed overnight has been awoken to a woman humming or singing. Paranormal investigations have taken place at Pioneer Farms.
A volunteer was playing the piano. She was one of only 3 volunteers in the house at that time. That night 2 members of a historical recreationist group stayed overnight in the house. They both woke sometime during the night hearing a woman singing. They found no evidence of anyone else in or near the house. They were the only 2 people known to be at the farm at that time.
One Sunday afternoon 5 volunteers were inside Bell House, in the hallway. Three were sitting, 2 were standing at the door into the parlor. It was cold winter afternoon. The doors and windows were closed. At that time there was a harp in the parlor. All 5 volunteers heard a scraping sound from the parlor and the harp played as if fingers had run across the strings. The volunteers standing at the door into the parlor saw the harp move and lean after they described it felt as if something pushed past them into the room. All 5 volunteers heard the harp play.
A volunteer was giving a tour of Bell House one afternoon. He was standing in the doorway of the parent’s bedroom when a candle in a holder set on a washstand across the room began to spin. It rose from the holder and crashed to the floor a few feet from the washstand.
One afternoon the farm’s superintendent was locking the house after the museum closed for the day. He was checking the rooms as he walked through the house. In the study he saw the head and shoulders of Judge Bell sitting at the card table in the middle of the room. The appearance matched the photo of Judge Bell that hangs in the study.
SCARBOROUGH BARN (big red barn across from Bell House)

One afternoon a volunteer was sitting on the porch at Bell House. The blacksmith was at his forge, at that time located at a building just past the barn. He could be heard hammering at his forge. The only other volunteer on site was in the general store. There were no visitors on site at this time. The man sitting on the porch looked across to the barn. There was a man with dark hair and wearing a long tan colored duster standing between 2 of the farm’s horses. He seemed to be doing something with one of the horses, perhaps brushing the horse. The horses were calm, seeming not to notice that anyone was there. The man who witnessed this did not recognize the person with the horses. He watched him for a short time then glanced away. When he looked back, only a few seconds later, the man was no longer visible. The volunteer walked to the barn immediately but found no one inside the barn. Doors were still locked to the various rooms inside the barn. The volunteer looked up the road toward the village and saw no one walking. No one had passed him as he sat on the porch, he hadn’t looked away long enough for the man to have left the corral and barn and walked past the Bell House. The volunteer continued on the blacksmith shop. The blacksmith was still at work at his forge. He faced the road as he worked and had not seen anyone pass. However, he said the description of the man with the horses matched what he had seen once in the pasture near the barn. The volunteer then walked to the general store and asked if any other volunteers or any visitors were on site. Assured there were not, he described the person he had seen and asked if that description matched any farm volunteer. The store clerk was also the volunteer coordinator at that time and did not recognize the description. The volunteer who witnessed this man with the horses had never believed in ghosts. He scoffed at anyone who did believe and said nothing could change his mind to prove the existence of ghosts. From that day forward his mind was changed. He was quite shaken but admitted he firmly believe he had seen a ghost that day.
At least 2 volunteers have also reported seeing a man in a duster and hat around the horses. This figure disappeared as they approached.
TEXIAN FARM (log house with board and batten addition on the back, dog run porch runs through this house with kitchen and parlor to the left and 2 bedrooms to the right)

There is a strange knocking sound heard often at this location. This happens on days with no wind. It seems to come from the attic or loft. When volunteers try to find the source of the knocking it moves to a different location.
Re-enactors have slept in this house. One stayed alone on his cot in the parlor. It was a very cold January night. He was in a sleeping bag with an additional wool blanket over him. He woke during the night very cold. He felt for his blanket but it was not there. Thinking it may have slipped to the floor, he turned on his flashlight to look. The blanket was neatly folded on the foot of his cot.
A re-enactor put her cot in the parent’s room. She woke during the night hearing a child’s laughter. Rolling over on her cot, she saw a young child in a nightgown jumping on the parent’s bed and laughing. There were no children with this person. There was only 1 other adult sleeping on a cot in the kitchen, across the dog run that night and the doors and windows were closed since it was early spring and still cold overnight.
2 teen volunteers and their fathers were camping overnight at the Texian Farm. The teens had gone ahead of the men to the loft of the house. They called their fathers very soon after they arrived to the house reporting footsteps and glowing red eyes seen in the mirror over the fireplace in the parlor. The loft is open to the parlor to aid in cooling the house in the summer and warming the loft in the winter. The teens were so frightened their fathers had to physically remove them from the loft. That ended the camping trip!

A young American Indian girl has often been spotted around the 600 year old oak tree. She usually only appears to other children. Sometimes she is seen lying on the ground under the tree, other times peeking around the tree, and a couple of times perched on a limb in the tree. There is a story associated with the Jourdan-Bachman family that tells of a time Mrs. Jourdan and one of her daughters found a young American Indian girl who had fallen from a tree and had a broken arm. They attempted to take the girl to their home to treat her injury. It was a very bad break with the bone protruding from her arm. The girl was in pain and very frightened and ran away. Later Mrs. Jourdan learned the girl had died. Perhaps this is the same girl whose ghost now roams the farm.
One morning a volunteer was preparing for a special event at the farm. She was using her vehicle to haul supplies around the farm. On one trip past the Tonkawa Camp she saw a man in American Indian costume standing beside the road. She blinked and he vanished. This man was not shadowy or pale. He looked as any living person would. Several weeks later another volunteer was walking past the Tonkawa Camp and saw a man in American Indian clothing walking around the camp. She did not recognize this person. As she watched he stepped into one of the tee pees. Without taking her eyes off the teepee she walked over to talk to him. The teepee was empty. There is only 1 opening and not enough space under the edges for an adult to crawl out.
GERMAN FARM (one room log cabin)

Volunteers have claim to have seen:
Krueger in and around the house here. A blue orb has been seen in the woods behind the house when no other person was in the area.
A young girl watching from behind the house when volunteer children are playing in the yard.
Pioneer Farms has been a location for several movies and short films. During one of these times a man had brought his horses to be used during the filming. Since his home was some distance from Pioneer Farms, he was staying overnight in a travel trailer near a temporary corral where he boarded his horses. After filming ended for the evening and everyone had left the site, he was readying for bed when the door to his trailer opened. He thought he had locked the door. He looked out and saw no one so he closed the door and locked the door and double checked that it was locked. As he got into bed, the door opened again. He checked the door and looked around outside. Seeing no one and seeing the door was still locked, he thought the door must not have latched fully and a gust of wind may have blown it open. He assured the door was fully latched and locked and returned to bed. The door opened again. He ran out the door expecting to catch some prankster. He heard child like giggles and spotted a young girl run around the trailer. He followed but found no one. He returned to his trailer, locking the door but didn’t get much sleep that night!

Nature Trail/Pecan Bottoms

3 volunteers were leading a scout group on a tour of the farm. They wanted to go see Walnut Creek and view the old wagon crossing where Sprinkle Road crossed the creek during the 1800’s. As they neared the area they heard a loud crash and screams. The adult ran to the creek but saw nothing amiss.

When volunteers have been setting up the trail, they sometimes work well after dark to gauge the lighting and props after dark. Sometimes one volunteer will be working alone along the area used as the Red Trail. This volunteer has reported whistles and voices. The gate is locked and no one else is on the property. Other volunteers have been sitting on the creek bank and heard voice speaking in another language. One volunteer says he has camped along the creek and heard words he recognized as the Tonkawa language. This volunteer has studied the tribe to assist in recreating the type encampment the tribe used when their camp was along Walnut Creek.

Small, bright red lights are often reported by volunteers along this area during Halloween. The lights circle them. These are different than the lightning bugs (or fireflies) that glow with yellow light or the beetles that emit tiny blue or green lights.

Associated Tours

Pioneer Farms Investigation

A night time haunted history walk into the many haunted buildings all built in the 1800's.

Austin Haunted Walking Tour

Learn the history behind the ghosts residing in downtown Austin’s most haunted locations including The Driskill Hotel.

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Austin Haunted Walking Tour

Learn the history behind the ghosts residing in downtown Austin’s most haunted locations including The Driskill Hotel.

Pioneer Farms Investigation

A night time haunted history walk into the many haunted buildings all built in the 1800's.

Special Haunting Events

Welcome to the fascinating history and hauntings on the Square in downtown San Marcos

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