Old Places are Haunted – The Longhorn Cavern State Park

We didn’t plan on visiting a haunted place. We just thought it would be cool to see a cavern, and maybe some bats.

But the haunt was on us.

We didn’t see any bats, or cool cave formations.

In fact, we didn’t see anything. But something was there.

[insert evil laugh]

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. You probably want to know how we came to such a place.

See, earlier this spring Jason, and I took a trip to the Lake Marble Falls in the Texas hill country. There are several lakes in the area, including Lake Marble Falls, and Inks Lake. Lots of fun things to do and see, plus many recreational activities; including camping, hiking, boating, and fishing.

Good stuff. Beautiful country.

I had a free hotel stay and we wanted to explore.

Inks Lake

I should have known when I was photographing a “hawk”, then realized. It wasn’t a hawk. It was a flesh-eating zombie bird; aka – vulture. That our little “adventure” was only going to get worse. Yikes!

Zombie bird…looking for dead flesh.

I think I got a little shiver at that point. Give me a Bald Eagle, not a morbid vulture.

After our bird watching, we proceeded to the Longhorn State Cavern. The one we thought would be so cool with gorgeous stalactites and the like.

Instead, the cavern was closed (because it was getting dark!). This place was known to be occupied over 400 years ago by the Comanches. Then, it was used as a Confederate strong-hold that manufactured gunpowder. Even worse, it was the hide-out for legendary outlaw Sam Bass.

Let’s face it, this place had some bad mojo in its history, and that was pretty obvious when we stepped out of the car.

I could feel a presence in the air. Like something electric and thick. I had the creepiest feeling of being watched even though there was no one in sight.

The eerie quiet was palpable.

We decided to risk our lives to check out the water tower first.

Winding staircase, that wasn’t very sturdy.

Unescapable window inside the tower.

The top of the tower.

Texas hill country view from the tower vista.

The view? Pretty amazing. But I kept hearing creaking from the stairs. It made me very jumpy. I suppose I’ve watched too many episodes of Ghost Adventures. Ever notice how they jump a lot? Yeah. Like that.

For that reason, I left the tower and Jason, and took off on my own to explore (no idea what I was thinking here! Why? Why? Why?)

Alone, the skin prickles got worse. Especially the eyes on my back.

I came across these old military quarters.

It screams haunted.

I wasn’t touching that place with a ten foot pole. Just look at that spooky doorway. No way was I checking too see if that door opened. Nuh-huh!

I walked to the left of this house and discovered this trail.

I’m not sure Why, but I felt this deep desire to go there. To see what it led to. Was there a look-out? A cemetery? Another house? I had to find out.

By myself.

Of course, I might as well have wee’d myself, rather than going down that path. Just beyond those curves, there are dead gray trees. A forest of them.

Tree after tree, a pale gray. The trunks made a vertical pattern that was hard to see through. I would catch a glimpse of “something” from the corner of my eye, but when I stopped to look, I couldn’t see any movement. Of course.

I kept going. There was no end in sight. Every twist and turn led to more twists and turns.

At that point, I kept hearing footstep scrapes behind me. I would look, but nothing was there (or was there?). Eventually, I couldn’t take the suspense.

I’m really lucky, I didn’t fall and break neck, or my camera getting out of there. I decided running was the best idea, back the way I came.

I was so happy when I emerged and found Jason. He’s alive! He’s alive!

We, then, decided to pursue the entrance of the cave, even though the place was closed, and I had the willies. AND IT WAS GETTING DARK (gulp!). We had to see, right??

Looks harmless enough, if you like HOLES in the ground, which I don’t. You can fall in holes. Holes are bad, and dark, and scary.

The path to the entrance is VERY pretty though. It’s a trick……to delude you….

This is the last thing you see before getting to the cave entrance.

And the entrance is gated, and padlocked. To keep people out in?

I got brave enough to get right at the bars of the gate, then I felt a push of cold air blow right past my face.

I left tread marks back up those stairs.

The dark was descending quickly, and the hair on my arms stood up. Is it just me, or is there someone in that window?

So, we ran got out of there.

Of course, we looked the place up after we left, and discovered all kinds of things about it. Most especially, the paranormal activity recorded by Austin Paranormal.

What??? Told you something was there!!!

They do cave tours in the middle of the night. Paranormal Cave Tours. Can you believe that?!?!

It’s creepy enough during the day.

I don’t think my heart could take it at night. The witching hour? Deep inside a COLD, dark cave? With things that go bump in the night? Umm, no thanks!

So that was our adventure with a paranormal place. And? I have a whole new respect for Zac’s dramatics.

If you like haunted places, I urge you to visit and see for yourself.

Mwah HA HA!

Saying Good-bye to Summer

Yesterday, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park closed it’s doors for the summer. I bet you didn’t even know they stayed open until the last weekend in September. Well, in North Texas they do.

You could say it marks the end of summer here.

I am so proud of my daughter Sydney. This was her first job. She got it all on her own. She filled out the application. She aced the interview. She did it all herself.

She got hired working as ride attendant at the park. She had to go through CPR training before she even started. And this summer? Hottest summer on record in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. I think we cracked over 69 days of being over 100 degrees, but I lost count.

It was still near 100 yesterday – 97 – close enough. But she did it. She worked in the heat, in the sun, and she looked pretty darn cute doing it.

Did I mention I am proud of her?

Ready for work

And look at her tan…holy cow!

Sydney's First Job

Thank goodness she didn’t have to save anyone. No heart attacks, slips, or seizures.

Ride Attendant

But she was prepared, just in case.

Surviving Summer of 2011

This is the shirt they gave all the employees on the last day. It is soooo appropriate.

Congrats Sydney on your first job!

She actually still has a job now that the water park is closed. They send them all over to Six Flags over Texas (across the street) to work a haunted house.

Her next job? A scary clown (shudder!).

Thank goodness, they do their make-up there (I hope!).

Oh, and by the way…….

We got a NEW car!

No more car pooling.

No more long days at work waiting for a ride; no more swapping.

It’s our first Kia. But I tell ya, so far, this car is SWEET. And most importantly, smaller than the other car we have, which is MUCH easier for me to drive.

Black Kia Soul

2012 Kia Soul

And yes, I may pretend I’m a dancing hamster in it (one of my favorite commercials of all time -PARTY ROCK!).

Soul tag

It has lights around the speakers. They change colors from red to yellow to purple to green and beat with the music. It’s way too cool.

Front of Kia Soul

It also has a back-up camera for driver-challenged folks like me.

I am so thrilled with it. We, finally, have TWO cars again. Plus, I love BOTH of the cars and can drive either one.

I will probably drive the Kia Soul the most. My work is farther and it has an Eco System to save gas.

The car buying process only took a few hours. I have to thank the good peeps at Kia Patterson of Arlington. There was only a small hiccup because Jason’s ex still has the house they bought in his name. It doesn’t look so good on your credit when you have two houses and a car. Thankfully, we were able to convince them it wasn’t his in the decree. But still……scary stuff when you have no control over your credit because of someone’s actions, or inaction in this case (it’s been almost four years since the divorce).

So….a very close call on getting another car, but it all worked out in the end. We got a REALLY good deal and I highly recommend this dealership (told you I was a blogger!).

Happy Monday everyone! You know I’m smiling and cruising in my own set of wheels. ūüôā

My Life Edited

Mama's Losin' ItI chose weekly writing prompt #1.
1.) If you could do it over again…
(Inspired by Barb from Half-Past Kissin’ Time)

Truth is, almost every time this question comes up, I answer it the same way. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life, or where I am today.

However, today I decided to answer this burning question with absolute honesty, and a little of the stuff dreams are made of.

I got a Nikon D3000 DSLR mid January this year. Since then I have had a burst of creativity. My mind has enlivened. The camera frees photographs, the photographs free words, the words tell a story. For me, it flows in a never-ending whirlpool of spectacular visions.

Recently, I decided to try portrait photography for the first time (with a non-family member). That post could be written using writing prompt three: 3.) Steppin outside the box (describe a time when you went way out of your comfort zone)
(inspired by Sherri from Matter Of Fact).

Believe me, this was the time. Yes, I had a big camera. No, I had zero bridal portrait experience and very little experience of non-family photos. I started out extremely nervous. What made it easier was – she really didn’t expect much. She knew I had a nice camera and liked to take photos. So, we did.

The result.




See more photos here, or here.

The story.

She had brought these army boots to take pictures in and an army helmet. Those and her bridal veil were very important to her. She wanted to make sure, I had some poses with them. I noticed the veil did not quite match the color of her dress, but never considered anything else, other than my eye was seeing it through the lens. The boots and helmet made me think a loved one was in the army. A dad? A brother? Come to find out (after the session), her fiance is in Iraq. The boots and helmet were his. Now when I see the pictures; the story unfolds.




She is not just a beautiful bride-to-be. She is the ultimate bride awaiting the safe return of her groom. And the veil? Her mother’s. To me, it became a story of love, and family. Made more endearing by the photos taken.

She wants me to take photographs of them both when he returns home from Iraq. What an honor.

This is not the first time this has happened. On the drive back from Houston Рwhich definitely qualifies for writing prompt four: 4.) A long drive…
(inspired by Lindy from Lindy And Ree
). For me, Dallas to Houston is the worst drive. Ever. But I digress.

We stopped North of the Woodlands, at a little 7-11. There was a man seated in front of the store with a dark green duffel bag. I could tell he was homeless. He had on worn clothes. He didn’t smile, or frown. He just sat there; still and tall. Browned by the sun, his facial features resembled leather, as if they were chiseled on his face. I was surprised he didn’t have a cup, or a sign. But he had nothing- literally nothing. And he didn’t ask for anything more.

I gave him a few bucks upon leaving. He thanked me profusely and we blessed each other. I got in the car, but couldn’t help notice his features again, the bag next to him, and his story. What was it?

I wanted nothing more than to grab my camera, offer him twenty bucks to take his picture; ask his name and where he was from. Get his story. How he got there? What he did before? Was he a vet, a father, a brother? The opportunity passed. We drove away. But I never forgot that burning desire to know and to capture.

Maybe, I should have been a photo journalist. Maybe, I still could be. If I could, would I? Would I choose to discover this desire earlier in my years and turn my life in that direction? Maybe.

I find it all very fascinating and interesting. I have my camera ready…..what’s your story?