Always haunting season in Llano County

Llano Red Top Jail
The fourth floor of Llano’s Red Top Jail. Although no inmates met their maker here, many have experienced paranormal activity, years after the last inmate checked out. Photo by Dakota Morrissiey/

Llano County’s hills, lakes, rivers, and historic architecture attract visitors from far and wide. It appears to have drawn a few apparitions, too. Over the years, people have experienced strange sights and sounds in and around the county. Here are a few.

Llano Red Top Jail 

400 Oatman in Llano

By appointment only; call 325-247-5354

This imposing structure was home to Llano County lawbreakers and jailers’ families from 1895 to 1982. Although the gallows in the upper two floors were never used, and there’s no official record of violent deaths within the walls, unusual things have happened, including coughing from an unoccupied area of the building, the sounds of girls laughing, smells of cookies baking, and conversations with a ghost named Barry.

Dabbs Hotel

112 E. Burnet St. in Llano


Guests from all walks of life, including bandits Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, have stayed at this venerable old railroad hotel that opened in 1907. Apparently, some never checked out. A former owner told of waking up to a rather large apparition jumping on his chest. One paranormal investigator who stayed at the Dabbs experienced a door opening and shutting although no one was there. Paranormal activity has set off laser detectors in the building. The former owner saw enough to call the Dabbs “definitely haunted.”

Badu House

601 Bessemer in Llano

The Badu House is currently vacant and not open to the public. 

This 1891 building has housed a bank, a residence, a boutique hotel, a restaurant, and apparently a few spirits. Over the years, people have reported strange voices, objects falling off shelves, and being awakened by tugs at their bedsheets. Some speculate that the building’s deceased original owner, Nicholas Badu, still inhabits the premises.


1010 King Court in Kingsland


No grisly goings on ever happened here, although horror movie fans may beg to differ. This was where the cannibalistic Sawyer family lived in the cult classic “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” directed by the eatery’s namesake, Tobe Hooper. The 1909 farmhouse moved from Round Rock to Kingsland in 1998 and became a restaurant for the adjacent Antlers Inn. Leatherface hasn’t been seen, but former owners reported hearing the sounds of children playing upstairs (where there were no children) and seeing objects fall to the kitchen floor without a cause. The head chef at the time saw enough to declare, “The ghosts in here are for real.”

Ghosts, no doubt, lurk elsewhere in Llano County. If you’ve experienced paranormal activity here, share it by leaving a comment.