Just as the name suggests, Dead Man’s Hole has somewhat of a sinister past. The hole is actually a sinkhole that was discovered in 1821, and formed by a buildup of natural gas pressure. Measuring 7 feet in diameter at the top, 155 feet deep, and 50 feet long; it was a perfect hole for collecting dead bodies.
History of Dead Man’s Hole
It’s no secret that the Civil War was bloody and gruesome with supporters of both sides being 100% dedicated.
If you happened to have been a Union sympathizer in Texas back in that time who ran into one of the many radical groups like the “Fire Eaters”, you most certainly would meet death. Judge John R. Scott was one of those who was accused of being a Union sympathizer despite having four sons who were serving in the Confederate Army. He met his fate after the Fire Eaters secretly hunted him down and killed him along with anyone else that they believed expressed opposing views.
According to legend, there once stood an oak tree beside the site that was used to conduct hangings from these Fire Eaters “trials”. After the “trial,” the rope would be cut, which would allow the bodies to drop directly into the hole.
It is reported that anywhere from 17 to more than 36 bodies were once down the hole. Locals also report that bags of bones were once discovered in the hole, although no one knows their whereabouts, as they seemed to have randomly disappeared one night.
Dead Man’s Hole Today
The tree is long gone, and the hole has been covered (except for a small opening). The land it sits on along with the surrounding 6.5 acres around it were deeded to the county as a park by the owner Ona Lou Roper back in 1999, a year after it was deemed a historical site.
You can visit any time of day or night and while it is not believed to be haunted, it’s sinister past is enough to chill you to the bone.
My husband and I spent the morning exploring Doeskin Ranch’s hiking trails with plans to check out Dead Man’s Hole near Marble Falls before stopping for lunch and then heading to Oatmeal, Texas.
Whenever I ask him to take me exploring, he typically will wait in the truck if it is an “attraction” that is roadside. Unless, of course, it catches his attention. The name Dead Man’s Hole was enough to catch his attention and get him out of the truck to check it out.
There is a 40 pace walkway that will lead you to the historical marker and the hole itself.
The first thing I noticed was a homemade Ouija board laying right next to the hole. Obviously, some kids were having fun, although they were nowhere to be found and apparently left it behind. Or did a ghost get them? We may never know.
I moved it away and started taking pictures. Sorry to report, no ghosts made it into the pictures. However, there was a very somber feeling about the area even though it was as bright as a new penny outside.
From Fort Hood: Take 190/I-14 West towards Lampasas to US 281 South. Follow 281 past Marble Falls to FM 2147 and go east (left). Take your first street on the right which will be CR 401/Shovel Mountain Rd (it will be about 1/2 mile down). Follow CR 401 for almost a mile and the dirt road turn for it will be on the right (look for the sign). Follow the short dirt road and the hole will be at the end.
Distance from Fort Hood: 64 miles / 1 hour