It was another hot summer in Texas in 1981, and I was excited to be going to summer camp with my best friend to Camp Champions in Marble Falls just outside of Austin. The camp was located on the banks of Lake LBJ, which was part of the Highland Lakes, a chain of six fresh water lakes in Central Texas formed by six dams on the lower Colorado River. The lake-front scene would later set the stage of a remarkable paranormal event.
There was excitement in the air as my friend and I were riding in the back of my mom’s station wagon, playing air drums to a new song called “Tom Sawyer” being played on the radio by my generous mother, which was a lifesaving reprieve from The Carpenters “The Singles” on 8-track tape. Our excitement level would only increase upon our arrival. We had so many fun activities lined up for us!
In addition to the activities, the camp was full of friendly camp counselors. One of the most colorful personalities we would experience at camp was that of “Pitch”. Pitch was a camp counselor known for his practical jokes, wild antics, and last but never least, his brilliantly told ghost stories. His ghost stories were by far the scariest my 13-year-old ears had ever heard. He would tell one story after another at the crackling campfire under the Texas moonlight bouncing off of the lake. These stories filled my mind with a healthy amount of fear as I went to sleep each night. And these stories were the most prominent thoughts in my head on the final night of camp, when all the campers and counselors slept as a big group in sleeping bags on the bank of Lake Travis on a humid night.
It was sometime during this final night that I woke up and noticed something strange. I looked out over the long dock jetting out over the lake and saw what appeared to be a glowing-white person walking slowly up and down the dock. Was this a ghost? I kept starring in disbelief at the apparition, which looked like a man wearing an old-style diving suit, complete with a brass helmet. The figure was making no noise whatsoever. After a minute or so of watching this, I thought that this must be an elaborate prank being pulled by the aptly named “Pitch”.
With that in mind, I kept watching until he would no doubt make a loud noise or something to wake everyone up so that we all could take a look at the “ghost diver”. After another minute of watching, I looked out over the lake shore at what must have been 200 campers and counselors, and no one appeared to be awake! The only sound I could hear was a chorus of crickets chirping through the night. I then thought, if this was a prank, surely Pitch would reveal it by now. I thought this must be a dream. I looked back at the dock, approximately 50 to 60 yards away, and the apparition was still there!
It seemed like I was indeed awake. I recall like it was yesterday, digging my fingers into the cold ground to prove to myself I was awake. The ground was cool and hard as I looked at my hand with the dirt on my fingertips and under my fingernails. I was not dreaming. I looked back at the ghost diver and it started making its way up the dock and closer to where I was in my sleeping bag. Now in terror, I looked over at my friend sleeping about 10 feet away, and started to go and wake him up as I noticed that the ghost diver was finally gone. My heart was beating out of my chest. I sat up for a few minutes to gather my thoughts, still looking at my dirty hands. I was finally able to calm down and go back to sleep.
Upon awaking early in the morning, I immediately looked at my hands with black hard dirt on them and under my fingernails. I know what I saw was not a dream. I told my friend and a few others what had happened, and of course they all thought I had a dream induced by Pitch’s wild tales.
Many years after this, I was asked by a friend if I had ever seen a ghost. I told my friend the story and he suggested I look on the internet to see if I could find any other sighting of this ghost. To my shock and amazement there was. I found a story about a photograph that was taken in 2007 by a biology professor who was simply testing his camera during a research project he was conducting on the bank of Lake Travis, outside of Austin. Lake Travis is about 45 miles from Lake LBJ and part of the connected “Highland Lakes”.
After viewing his photos from the project, the professor noticed two points of light on one photo. He thought it must have been an animal in the distance. After he enhanced the brightness of the image, he was startled to see what could be a monster or imposing ghost.
The image that he photographed looked identical to the ghost I saw lurking up and down the dock so many years earlier. Was it the same? Could this be a ghost of one of the workers that was killed when building one of the six dams that form the Highland Lakes? Both sightings could be part of the many strange happenings along theses lakes that include at least nine people who have disappeared into the depths of these lakes never to be seen again.
Submitted by Drew Beeson
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