Friday, November 8, 2013

San Antonio: Ghost Railroad Children

This legend is by far one of Texas’ favorite ghost tales. It is so popular some even state they wish it were true. Most people interested in ghosts have heard at least one version of this story. 

What many don’t know is that versions of this story are told in several locations around the United States. San Antonio’s version is a part of a subset of ghost stories known as “Gravity Hill” tales.

It is stated that this story happened in the 1930s. The basic premise is that a school bus with ten children stalled south of San Antonio on a railroad track. Before the bus driver could get the children off the bus a speeding train smashed into it killing all on board. It is stated that these child spirits linger at the spot where they died.

The story goes on to state these ghost children not wanting others to experience their tragic fate make sure that cars cross this railroad track safely. How they do this is by pushing any cars that are stopped near these tracks across to the other side. 

This particular version is unique in that it involves hundreds of people who have parked their cars near this intersection to see if this legend is actually true. *

Some walk away as believers after they test this legend. This is not surprising because whether cars are running or their engines are off if they are put in neutral they do move up and across these tracks often gaining speed as they go. 

People are mystified because their cars not only move on their own but it also appears as if they are going up hill. Some witneses have even put balls on Shane Road-- they also appear to roll up hill. But this is actually just an optical illusion.

It does appear this road goes up hill.

Another aspect to this story is that many witnesses have put baby powder on their bumpers and trunks or they basically just have dusty cars. It is stated that after their cars stop on the other side they often find small finger or handprints within this dust. 

These prints are pointed to as proof these ghost children pushed their cars across the tracks to safely. This part of the legend makes it even more intriguing.

Some facts--this accident happened in the first part of the 20th century but stories about this haunting did not begin to circulate until the 1970s. It should also be noted that there are no written records of a train/bus accident like this occurring in San Antonio. ** 

People wanting this legend to be true point out the fact that the street names around this road are named after these children but actually the developer of this area named these streets after his grandchildren.

Gravity Hill stories most often involve teens not children I think this is one reason the San Antonio story has become so popular. Here is a link to another gravity hill story I wrote entitled, Crybaby Bridge: Monmouth Illinois. Another one is a legend told in New Jersey about Franklin Lake’s Gravity Road.

* One Texas writer when addressing this topic wily mentioned that all these “tests” especially around Halloween really put these poor child spirits to work.

** There was a tragic Salt Lake City, Utah school bus accident in 1938 involving twenty-six children on a school bus that stalled on a railroad track and was hit by an oncoming freight train--this story did receive extensive coverage in Texas at the time. 

The following is just one of many videos made of people “testing” this road.

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