LOCATION - 226 Cascade Caverns Rd, Boerne, TX
HOURS - Open For Guided Tours Daily, Flashlight Tours First Friday Monthly CLICK HERE To Visit Their Website
OWNER - Private Property/Overnight Camping Allowed
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY - High. Disembodied Voices, Strange Noises, EVP Audio (electronic voice phenomenon), Light Flashes, Electronic Interference
LEGEND - Cascade Caverns is a living cave located in the hill country near Boerne. Turned into a tourist attracking in 1930 by the Hester family...tourists were originally dropped down into the vertical opening of the cave in a bucket, later stairs were carved uot of the stone so that visitors could walk down. The cave was discovered first by the Lipan Idians in the 1700's. Around the time of the Civil War the Indians became friends with a strange man, a German doctor who the locals came to know as Hermit Bayard. The Indians showed the hermit where the cave was, and this man took up residence in and around the cave for nearly 25 years. He completely isolated himself and spent his time sunning himself on the ledge near the opening of the cave, writing in his journal, and carving out a tomb waiting to die. He grew a small garden, and lived off the land. He would only speak to children in mono-syllables. When people were sick, he would administer treatment using the herbs and things that grew around the cave which proved to be very effective - this is probably how he came to be friendly with the Indians. Once finished the hermit would reportedly lay in the tomb he had dug out just waiting to die. Ironically, he died above ground, but his neighbors placed his body in the cave per his wishes around 1890.
His life remains a complete mystery other than his journals which were turned into a German language book translated "A Wasted Life". The original manuscript was lost for many years until a writer stumbled upon it and translated it into a novel titled "The Hermit of the Cavern" - one of the only copies resides at the Boerne Public Library. From what we can gather from the book, the hermit may have come to the cave to escape his life because of a love gone bad. The story says he was tormented over a lost love, until he saw her in a dream...which satisfied him, and he died. Another legend says the hermit came to the cave because he thought he had caught his wife cheating on him, and he thought in a blind rage he had murdered his wife's lover...only to find out later, he had not. While he rarely spoke to anyone, one article states in a rare moment of confidence he claimed to be the brother of Thomas F. Bayard, President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of State.
While efforts to prove or disprove these claims have been futile, we find it interesting that the entire Bayard family is very educated, very prestigious, and all very important in American politics. If it were true, his uncles, cousins, and newphews would have served in the U.s. Senate, in Congress, as mayors, judges, etc. One has to wonder if he truly is of this bloodline, did something go wrong with his family? Was he the black sheep? Did he go against their politics, or was it truly a situation of love where he married or dated someone the family did not approve of? Regardless...he is never listed in any Bayard family history.
Despite his family tree, one part of this story is very interesting. The entire time Dr. Bayard lived in the cave, he never once had a woman call on him. When they would, he would cover his face and wear gloves. He certainly seemed to be scorned by a past love. Yet after he died, a woman and her daughter came to Kendall County to claim the estate of Julius Jackson Bayard...the women claimed to be his wife, and the girl...his daughter. This lends creedence to the story about his wife cheating. Unfortunately we will never know what happened to the Hermit of the Cavern. The documents below list all of the information we have regarding the hermit.
Recently new owners of the cave have been installing new lighting systems and making repairs. Work crews have reported hearing laughter, voices, and singing while in the cave. One former worker tells the story of being in the cave one night working when the power went out causing the pumps to fail. As a flash flood swept through the cave, he could hear someone laughing at him as he tried to escape...except, he...was the only person in the cave.
WHAT WE EXPERIENCED - Investigation conducted with Mission City Paranormal ...present were Russell, Bobby, Vanessa, Mike, and Angelka. Never having investigated a cave before we had no idea what to expect. The constant temperature of the cave is 66 degrees, and since it is a living cave water is running and dropping everywhere. This made it difficult to review audio evidence. Russell was also running from bats all night so there was that sound to compete with. We focused on three main areas of the cave where there was major activity. The front room of the cave where the Indians spent most of their time - the front room is also where the hermit's bones were recovered from - the Cathedral Room, at the very end of the cave where the majority of the laughing and singing has been heard, and the Imagination Room near the bend in the cave at the Cathedral Room. What is most frightening about the cave...there's only one way in or out. Luckily because it had been very dry the few weeks previous to our visit, the pumps rarely ran all night. We began our investigation around midnight and ended around 4:30 AM before the pippistrelle bats returned. The voices cave workers have reported have been child like though we focused first on making contact with the hermit. Angelka started by using her ghost box which provides a white noise for spirits to speak through. This produced little evidence. We conducted EVP sessions in German to try and entice the hermit to talk with us - it seemed to work. The cave is the only place we have been where you could hear voices in real time. Possibly because of all that rock and metal, there was nothing to interfere with it? We heard voices, high pitched singing, and both male and female voices. When we called out to other individuals we got nothing, but when speaking to and about the hermit the activity continued. Twice we saw sparks of light, once by Angelka, the second by Russell as it was flying down the hall of the cave at him. We tried communicating with any Native Americans who may still be roaming the cave with a mock Indian chant, which definitely changed the energy of the room...but produced few results. The most telling evidence of the cave were the many EVP's we captured. While we hope to investigate the cave again soon, there is no doubt in our mind the hermit's spirit till roams the cave. Speaking from the Cathedral Room then moving to the Imagination Room, the voices seemed to follow us.
Click here for a map of Cascade Caverns.
Click here to read the introduction to the book about the hermit "Hermit of the Cavern."
Click here to read Hermit Bayard's obituary.
Click here to read a newspaper article on the Hermit's death.R