The Devil’s Backbone: The Most Haunted Stretch of Texas Highway

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Texas Farm Roads 12, 165, 2325, and 32, along with U.S. Highway 281, form a scenic loop that connects Wimberly and Blanco. This loop cuts through a scenic portion of the Texas Hill Country that looks like something straight out of a Wild West movie. The area, called the “Devil’s Backbone,” draws visitors from all over Texas who come to see the sweeping vistas. Supposedly, the area also draws visitors from farther away…perhaps even from the “great beyond.”

A Bloody, Violent History


Photo: Facebook/Bobcat Magazine

The history of the Devil’s Backbone, like many areas of the West, has seen its share of violence for Native Americans and white settlers alike. In more recent years, the twisty stretch of highway has been the scene of numerous fatal car accidents as well. And many ghosts seem to have lingered.

One account of ghostly encounters comes from a foreman at an area ranch. He awoke to the sounds of horses running by his cabin. When he went outside, he saw at least twenty men on horseback riding near the cabin. They appeared to be the ghosts of Confederate soldiers. According to the account, the sound of their horses’ hooves was loud enough to shake his cabin.

Mysteries on Purgatory Road

Ranch Road 32
Photo: Flickr/Adventures of KM&G-Morris

There are also tales of the ghost of a Native American named Drago who has been seen herding cattle along the backbone, according to some ranchers. The ranchers also tell of the widow and child of a miner who was killed, who have been seen wandering the area, supposedly seeking a proper Christian burial for their husband and father.

Along the aptly named Purgatory Road, an apparition is said to materialize on the hoods of cars as they drive along. Ghost hunters frequent this area and have seen shadow people there and recorded EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon).

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