*SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains spoilers for Episode 1 & 12. Before reading, be sure to listen to Ink, Coffee, & Spirits & The Spider House . Afterward, feel free to check out this "Behind-the-Episode" blog for additional info and photos! And visit our Patreon page for more extras!
Photos for this story provided by Thao Photography
The Spider House Cafe, 2908 Fruth St., Austin, TX
On September 7th, 2017 I decided to invite Sara to the Spider House Cafe for a cup of coffee and to chat about my new podcast in the works. This was a photograph I snapped with my phone that evening when I arrived.
I picked a booth on this main patio - just further back behind where this photo was taken. It was here that the booth at the end of this covered patio faced the stairway that led straight up to the window of Royal Legion Tattoo.
While Sara sat in this booth facing this window, she shared this drawing with me.
At the time, she had only partially drawn the female figure and the male figure with the vest. As the night progressed, so did the drawings, leading to the page you see above. The female spirit, Christine, was tied to the tattoo shop. The male seemed to be tied to the grounds or the Spider House. Note the name she jotted down at the end of this night - Christina. In the records I found for the daughter of the founder of this property who inherited and lived here until just a couple years before passing, her name was listed as both Christine and Christina in various articles I found at the Austin History Center. Upon returning numerous times with Sara, this spirit made it a point to tell Sara she preferred Christine. So that's why we refer to her that way from this point on.
When Sara needed to run to the bathroom during our 1st investigation at the tattoo shop, she pushed her way through this hallway, but before she made it to the back room, the male figure with the vest appeared in this basement doorway. He told Sara his box was down in this basement and that he couldn't get to it. Sara couldn't handle two spirits this first night - remember, this was the first time she'd ever tried doing something like this - so she ignored this man, went to the bathroom, then rejoined us in the back patio to continue communicating with Christine.
On October 9th, 2017 - Sara, Alexis, Franklyn and I returned to access the basement and see if the male spirit with the vest would give us more about this box he was adamant about us finding.
Waiting for Conrad and staff to arrive to let us into the basement of the Spider House, Sara took an opportunity to check in on Christine. We hung out on the upstairs patio at Royal Legion and she got several updates from her. During this check in, the male spirit called to her from the bottom of the stairs. She soon got a letter then a full name for him - Patrick.
Patrick led Sara down these stairs and into the basement of The Spider House.
While in here, Sara was drawn to the far concrete wall you see here - just behind the stacked red chairs.
But Sara felt something was wrong. She kept saying, it's behind this wall. Conrad, the Spider House founder and owner, directed us to this section just above the wall. If you look close, you can see where the concrete ends and a sheet of paneling begins. You can see a small gap between them. Conrad removed this panel and revealed a crawlspace that stretched into darkness under the cafe.
Roy, one of the employees, went around the house and climbed under the house. We could see him through this removed panel in the basement. But it tough to see and communicate with him through this. So, I ultimately had to join Roy under the Spider House.
This is the tiny crawl space door located on the exterior skirt of the house.
This is the area where Hunter used to live and sleep. The rug is folded in half because Roy and I had to dig under it for a while. So this isn't exactly how it looked when we crawled in. It looked much more like a sleeping space. If you look in and to the right, you'll see a concrete foundation pillar. There's another one of these that's slightly further back. This further one is where I was when Sara said Patrick jumped into the crawlspace and got right by me, trying to show me where to look up and find the watch in the cross beams above my head - above the concrete beam.
We weren't able to find a watch or a box. However, wee learned more about a man that used to live in this crawlspace and made some interesting connections. He used to carry around a box. He would collect trinkets and objects. And he slept right where Patrick kept leading us. It led me to theorize that maybe this spirit, Patrick, was showing us who took the watch rather than showing us where it was at the moment. Sara had also mentioned that he kept saying "Stolen". She drew a man, who we now assume was Hunter, laying under the house. She had also written in pencil above this drawing of Hunter, the same word - "Stolen".
After hearing some of the testimony from the past and present staff members, we decided to head back for a quieter investigation to see if Sara would pick up on any other spirits in the Spider House. I had a hunch the boots and footsteps reported in the front end and hallway of the Spider House might have been Patrick, I was curious if Sara would get anything in the back room or women's bathroom, where most of the other experiences were reported.
It was a rare sight. Seeing the Spider House vaccant.
It was eerily quiet.
I'm not concentrating or trying to look intense here, my wife just caught me mid-blink. But here I sit with Sara in the main seating area in the front of the Spider House. Within minutes, she was seeing a female spirit in the back room just down the hall.
Sara and I standing in the front of the house still, just before entering the hallway leading to the back room and women's restroom. Sara was reporting the female spirit was checking out my wife here while she was snapping this photograph.
Just on the opposite wall from us was the shelf mentioned in a couple of the staff's testimonies. These are the little bottles of liquor that have been both spotted and heard falling.
This is Spider House bartender and employee Robert Baldwin, whom you heard recount some of his experiences in this episode.
Here, we made it back to the back room. Sara reported that the female spirit ducked into the bathroom. She seemed only curious about my wife. Soon after she snapped this photo, Sara reported the woman came back out of the bathroom and went over here to look at my wife. She just seemed curious about her.
Sara begins to sketch what she's seeing in this back room of the Spider House.
You can see the image of the female spirit with dark hair on her finished page.
Alexis and I did some readings to rule out high EMF. The Spider House was flat and had little to no high EMF fluctuations.
In the foreground here, you can get a good look at how much writing is all over the wooden walls of this cafe. Conrad mentions in one of his segments that he wanted to take photos of some of his favorite writings but when he went to do so, the ink had absorbed into the walls. He had an interesting theory that this house is absorbing the positive energy of everyone that comes here and sort of exudes that same positive energy.
I had an amazing time investigating my favorite coffee house in Austin. I couldn't believe the many serendipitous events that happened surrounding this magical place. There was the run-in with Hunter and the confirmation that he found a watch where Patrick seemed to be leading us.
Another strange coincidence that occured during this year was that I ended up stopping by Royal Legion one night, really late, just because I had a desire to just pop by and say hi. Coincidentally, a man arrived this night to paint a memorial for Christine on the front door of the tattoo shop. Ray told me he had been trying to get this done for months but for some reason, it kept getting cancelled or pushed back. He had no idea it was going to happen this night, and I was just extremely happy to have been here to capture this beautiful moment at this shop.
Another interesting coincidence, the guest tattoo artist from Los Angeles, Johnny Vampotna, was coming back to Austin and wanted to share his story with me. I wanted to swing by Royal Legion and catch him before he left town. On my way there, Ray had text me saying he really wished Sara could be here to hear this story. I told him that I actually hadn't even planned this so I didn't have enough time to get her there. She lives quite far from The Spider House actualy.
Well, she ended up texting me as I was on my way to the Spider House, that she was there! She had decided to take her sister, who was visiting, there to show her this place we had so many crazy happenings at.
There were so many serendeptitous occurances like this that led to such an amazing experience at The Spider House and Royal Legion Tattoo.
Johnny shared a painting he did inspired by the story of Christine and he left it with the boys at Royal Legion.
Sara said it actually looked very similar to her. The only note she made was that she had a much thinner face.
I'll never forget this experience. I've made some amazing friends at this beautiful space and plan plan to take a pen one day and write a note to Patrick and Christine on the walls of this incredible cafe.
Stay restless out there fellow Night Owls,