The Ghosts of Good Times: A Haunted Tattoo Shop in Round Rock, Texas

Haunted Good Times Tattoo

Good Times Tattoo Round Rock, Texas

A Haunted Tattoo Shop in Round Rock, Texas

The Ghosts in Good Times

You know when you get one of those feelings that is a little naggy but not obnoxious? Like someone or something gently nudging you to do something you didn’t plan to do? I got one of those a few months ago when I was in downtown Round Rock for an appointment. I ignored it. But it didn’t go away. So I returned to downtown Round Rock, and that nudge pushed me to Good Times Tattoo. Only it wasn’t telling me to get ink. It was telling me, “That place is haunted.” 

I reached out via email, as one does when asking a stranger if they have ghosts, and was thrilled to get a “yep!” reply. What was meant to be a brief chat turned into a three-hour journey into the transient ghosts that use Good Times Tattoo as their cosmic bus depot. 

Good Times and their ghosts live at 111 E. Main Street – if you’re into the woo-woo side of numbers, then you know 111 is the perfect address for nomadic ghosts and a new business owner. The significance of 111 is about leaving the old in the past and beginning a new chapter, either in this world or in an entirely different realm. (I know, it’s out there, but don’t click the “X” yet; I promise we’re getting to the “logical” paranormal stuff.) 

The Historic Round Rock Collection shows that most buildings downtown were constructed in the late 1870s through the early 1900s. 111 East Main Street is listed as “constructed between 1916 and 1925.” However, with a little more digging, we found those dates were for a remodel, and the address is much older. Now we give you the story of 111 East Main Street. 

The Red Front

In 1878, the lot was owned by Bigelow Yates – quite possibly one of the best names I’ve come across in Victorian Texas History. It changed hands again in 1882 and was eventually sold to Archibald M. Dumars – who was not a character in Harry Potter but who opened a confectionery that sold sweets and fruit called The Red Front. In 1889, Simeon A. Pennington bought Dumars’ stock and sold interest to brothers H. B. and T. C. Sheppard. It evolved into a combination confectionery, fruit, and jewelry store; by 1902, it was a general store. 

As Round Rock rolled into the mid-century, Mr. Sam Thomas opened Angel’s Gift Shop there – see the irony in the name? And then 111 E. Main slung barbecue into the 1970s, when Round Rock Printing opened in 1976. E & E Printing took over in 1991, and finally, Good Times Tattoo brought in another kind of ink in 2016. 

I know you’re here for the hauntings, but those names are relevant, and history is where we get out ghosts. But yes, we are getting to the dark and eerie stuff. 

Ghosts on Main Street

It was a damp, drizzly morning when I arrived to chat about the paranormal activity inside Good Times Tattoo. It didn’t take long to jump right into the phenomena. The owner, Johnny, remembered 2016 like it was yesterday and could lay out an impressive timeline of events up to the present day. And in keeping true to the history of the building, the hauntings seemed to have changed hands over the years, as well. 

Johnny hadn’t been in the market to open his own place; he had a growing and loyal clientele in Austin where he worked, but the stars aligned and through a series of what some would call synchronicities, 111 sort of fell into his lap. And the next thing he knew, he was opening a tattoo shop in Historic Downtown Round Rock. 

As soon as the build-out started, it was hard to deny that something was going on inside the space. Once the shop was set up and folks were getting inked, the energy and presence became more obvious and obnoxious. 

All sorts of paranormal activity was happening: objects falling off of shelves, the water faucet routinely turning on by itself, and lights flickering at almost choreographed moments. Patrons and 

staff began sharing their discomfort and claimed to feel the hair on their arms standing on end. The ghosts had become regulars in Good Times and were soon named Kathy and Nancy. 

Nancy was the mischievous one with a sense of humor, while Kathy was known to be rather nasty and wasn’t confined to just Good Times. Kathy’s darkness moved through walls to wreak havoc on their neighbor. 

The sweets shop next door had an employee complain about being harassed by “something.” This “something’s” harassment pushed her to walk out of her job and quit. The catalyst was when a bottle of bleach jumped off the shelf and slammed into the poor woman’s head. Nobody knew why she was the only one tormented by this aggressive spirit until it was revealed that her sister Kathy had recently passed away. Coincidence or “Of Course”? 

The Female Ghosts Depart

One day, a medium strolled into Good Times (told you! It pulls you in) and casually confirmed the theories of the hauntings. She talked about Kathy’s aggression and Nancy’s playful nature. She also felt the energy of a little girl, but not much going on with her. 

After a few chats and more experiences, the medium helped to move the women on. Where they moved on to is up to you and your beliefs… Life’s greatest mystery. By 2018, the shop had quieted down without any more paranormal activity. But the easy, like a Sunday morning vibe, didn’t last long.

Male Energies Move In

 

With the ladies gone, the space opened itself up for some dudes to move in. In 2019, Johnny and one of his artists at the shop began a subtle physical transformation without realizing it. They were growing mustaches and beards, changing their dress, and developing new interests they had never had before. They also complained of exhaustion as if they “were older than they actually were.” They were subtly transforming into old, tired cowboys… from 1900. Who were these new ghosts? And why were they influencing this unexpected transformation?

An old friend of Johnny’s drove down for a visit. He lives a couple hundred miles north of Round Rock, in a  place with its own legends, lore, and hauntings. He brought his girlfriend, who also just happens to be a medium. (I know, they’re like the new entrepreneur). This was the first time she and Johnny met. Within an hour of the visit, she asked, “Do you feel this ‘old man’ energy in here?” Everything was illuminated with that one question. The pieces of the mystery puzzle came together. 

The medium continued, “I see him pulling something.” Could it be the man who operated The Red Front confectionery working the saltwater taffy? Or maybe he’s one of the men who ran the printers, using the old machines to run the paper through the press. It’s all speculation and feelings at this point, but one thing is for sure: he wanted to hang out. 

They began calling this man Harold. Harold has a much nicer and friendlier energy than the gals before him. Perhaps he likes that it’s mostly men who work at Good Times Tattoo. Or maybe he’s just happy to be heard and acknowledged. Not long after they all made their acquaintance with Harold, he decided to say “howdy-do” by tugging on Johnny’s keys and making them swing off his belt loop like a pendulum as the light in the shop pulsated with glee. 

Who is Harold?

It’s easy to fall into the rabbit hole of research and forget to come up for air. You may start in 1888, and the next thing you know, you’ve scoured decades before and after, reading the Victorian Texan vernacular of the old newspapers and chuckling at the adverts for hair tonic and Booty’s Buggies. While navigating the early days of Round Rock, two names stood out in the history of 111 E. Main Street: H. B. Sheppard and Simeon A. Pennington. 

As I mentioned earlier,  In 1889, Simeon A. Pennington bought Dumars’ The Red Front and sold interest to H. B. and T. C. Sheppard. The shop evolved into a combination confectionery, fruit stand, and jewelry store. Could the H. in H. B. Sheppard stand for Harold? Unfortunately, we couldn’t find anything that gave Mr. Sheppard’s full name. However, we discovered he was quite the mover and shaker in Williamson County.

H. B. Sheppard was a prominent Texas landowner, a Justice of the Peace, a Tax Assessor, and a Williamson County Commissioner. He was extremely active in the Presbyterian church and even donated the land on which the first Presbyterian church in Round Rock was built. In fact, Sheppard was one of the trustees who chose Round Rock as the location for the retirement home for all Texas Presbyterian ministers. So, I don’t think he was pulling saltwater taffy, but he definitely seemed like a man who would appreciate being in the small-town spotlight, living or dead.

Simeon Says

1912 Williamson County Sun

The next guess was possibly Mr. Simeon A. Pennington. Not a Harold-sounding thing in that name, but his story has a tragic ending. And as we all know, unfortunately, tragedy makes a good haunting. On a Thursday morning in February 1912, Mr. Pennington shot himself in the heart with a six-shooter. The Round Rock Leader reported:

Following a long spell of sickness as a result of extreme nervousness and indigestion, Mr. Simeon Austin Pennington, despairing of further belief, lay down his burden and sought relief in death.

Is Mr. Pennington returning to his confectionery to hang out with the boys? Or could Simeon be the other ghost that haunts Good Times Tattoo? The one that’s not as friendly as Harold.

Angry in Life, Angry in Death?

Just as everyone was learning to live happily with Harold and his good-natured hauntings, another male energy moved in, and he wasn’t so nice. They started calling the new guy Tom and noticed that since his dark presence attached itself to the shop, Harold was no longer around. 

Not long after Tom showed up, both mediums (they don’t know each other) reached out to Johnny. They were simultaneously feeling the shift that had occurred in the shop. One remarked that she felt the “mood had soured in the store.” They surmised that Tom had entered through a mirror – some believe mirrors can act as a portal for the dead. Believers in the South continue to cover the mirrors in their homes during thunderstorms because the combination of the barometric pressure and the rain is perfect for realm jumping. And they want to keep their dead at bay. 

Tom’s influence was negative and nasty. Employees noticed their attitudes and overall demeanor changed to anger or depression and sorted out that this tended to happen when Tom was around. Things fell off shelves and broke for no apparent reason, and co-workers and clients found themselves snapping at each other in the shop. Somebody, or some-thing, had replaced the lightness and joyful energy of Harold with side-eyes and snide remarks. 

They knew Tom had run Harold off. So, they made a deal with Tom, “behave and don’t break our stuff, then you can hang out.” Since then, it’s been more of a shared space. Some days, Harold is there, bringing positivity and an overall happy vibe to the shop. And on the occasion that Tom decides to show up, Harold exits. However, Tom doesn’t stick around too long and does his best not to break stuff or cause too much trouble. But the change in the environment is evident, and all they can do is wait for Tom to leave and Harold to return. 

What is Time and Distance to a Ghost?

If you’re reading this, chances are you know something about the world of paranormal investigations and theories. Terms like “residual energies” and “intelligent hauntings” have made their way into our vocabulary, and most everyone knows what is implied when someone refers to an “attachment.” 

The experiences weren’t limited to just the tattoo shop. Unexplainable things happened at Johnny’s house, too. And they felt connected somehow to the energies surrounding him at his business. An antique tool that went missing from Good Times appeared at his house months later. The picture hanging above his bed was moved to the floor overnight while he and his wife slept. 

These odd and unsettling experiences were foretold by one of the mediums. She knew that a spirit took a shine to Johnny and followed him home. Consensus says it’s Harold, but is it possible to know for sure? Nobody can really know except for the one who is experiencing the attachment. I think that we are all capable of communing with the dead, especially if said dead is attached to you. But again, that’s just my theory. We’ll probably never know, until we’re one of them. 

Ghosts and Tattoos 

Good Times Tattoo

I’ll leave the rest up to you and your imagination. Believer or non-believer, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is some things just aren’t explainable. But if you’re looking for a place to create a haunting piece of art on your body, Good Times Tattoo in Round Rock should be at the top of your list. 

 

 

 

If you’d like to visit Good Times Tattoo for your next work of art, they suggest you call ahead for an appointment. But you are more than welcome to stop by and check out the shop and meet the artists. And whoever else may be lurking in the corners.