Isn’t it sad we only get ghouls and spooks one night each year? If, like me, you’re a fan of all-things-Halloween every day, then I have the thing for you: Walking Ghost Tours! Owned and operated by Jim Miles, the tour company offers insight into Austin’s dark past. Part historian, part ghost enthusiast, Miles has melded his passions into an experience everyone is bound to enjoy.
Thank you to Walking Tours of Austin for letting me experience a Ghost Walk. All opinions are my own.
Charleston to Austin
Miles discovered his love for the macabre while studying Southern History in Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating, he turned his education into a job by starting The Best History Tour of Charleston.
The entrepreneur’s interest in ghost stories began at a young age. He fondly recalls camp fire stories from his grandmother, Rachel Anna. The stories always began with the age-old trope, “It was a dark and rainy night.” As he refined his business focus, Miles launched a new tour called, The Best Ghost History Tour of Charleston.
After 12 years, Miles left Charleston for Austin. “Charleston has nothing on Austin,” he exclaimed excitedly during our chat. I, personally, don’t have much knowledge of Charleston’s past, but I trust Miles’ expert opinion.
I had a chance to go on a Walking Ghost Tour with Miles, and it took less than five minutes to get sucked in to his stories.
Austin Ghost Tour Experience
Most of Miles’ tours begin outside Jo’s Coffee Shop on 2nd Street. You’ll find him perched on one of the outdoor stools, ready to jump into action. After you check in, Miles gathers everyone around for a quick introduction and off you go.
The ghost tour covers the busiest parts of downtown, between Congress Avenue and Red River Street. In my opinion, this added to the creepiness factor. Did you ever think the alley you’ve casually walked through 100 times was the site of murders? Or how about the sushi restaurant that’s been your go-to favorite as a location of paranormal activity?
Miles is a prolific story teller. Our group was all over the map in terms of age. Yet every one of us stayed engaged, asked questions, and was in awe of all these facets of Austin’s history. All our questions were answered with enthusiasm and bonus tidbits.
The tour lasted a little under two hours, but I didn’t notice the time flying by. As the tour progressed from one present day hot spot to another, my eyes got wider, and my mind more blown.
➡️ Keep reading: Is The Driskill Hotel Really Haunted?
Fact and Fun
Miles puts a lot of effort into researching the stories he tells. A high school history teacher by day, he values the importance of teaching well, and teaching correctly. His tours are a healthy and entertaining mix of fact and fiction, though you can choose to believe as much or as little as you want.
The tour will teach you about well-known stories, like that of The Driskill Hotel’s Suicide Bride, and introduce you to a world of new ones, as well. Remember to wear comfy shoes, bring a bottle of water, and prepare to be captured by Miles’ stories!
P.S. Costumes and four-legged friends are encouraged. In addition to the Ghost Walk, Walking Tours of Austin also offers a Morning Walk full of history and local tips.
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