said the old stone house in Mason County was haunted.|
in the early 1900s, when people started talking about the place, it could not
have been all that old as vintage structures go – maybe a half-century. No one
remembered when it had been built or by whom, but no one had lived in it for a
long time. Its roof about gone, it lacked windows and a door.
is for sure. A structure standing empty and in disrepair sooner or later will
attract a ghost story as sure as a
burn full of mice lures snakes and cats.
The spooky story connected to
the Mason County
house came from Stella Gipson Polk, older sister of one of the county’s
more famous natives, Fred Gipson. While his name may not be a household
word today, he wrote the classic children’s novel “Old Yeller.” Stella,
as everyone called her, could spin a pretty good yarn herself, either in person
gist of the tale is that a lot of people claimed to have heard noises inside the
old house, including the mysterious tinkling of a bell. Eventually folks became
convinced it had a resident ghost.
Finally, some brave soul took up a dare
to spend the night in the abandoned house. For protection, as if someone already
dead could be killed, the self-assured fellow who made the bet toted a loaded
gun along with his bedroll.
Settled for the night, the disbeliever eventually
drifted off. Either a light sleeper or not entirely confident he would win his
bet, at some point late that moonlit night a noise awakened him. Listening carefully,
he heard something moving toward the old house he lay in. Its pace seemed slow,
Then the sound of the little bell that others had reported
as accompanying the apparition. At that, acting on instinct rather than logic,
the bet-taker hefted the old six-shooter he’d brought along and eased the hammer
As the noise grew louder, he raised the weapon and pointed it toward
the door. Fortunately, only seconds before pulling the trigger, the young man
realized the silhouette entering the house had horns – goat horns. The tinkle
came from the small bell hanging on its collar.
Shooing the intrusive critter
away, he settled back for a good night’s sleep, confident he had confronted a
“ghost” and lived not only to tell the tale but collect his money.
Sloan Rodgers had a spooky experience one night in the 1931-vintage Travis
County courthouse. Newly returned in 1995 from a hitch in the Army that had
included combat duty during the U.S. invasion of Panama, Rodgers worked as a security
guard for the county.
By this time, the sheriff’s office had moved to another
building downtown and the original jail on the top floor of the courthouse
sat empty, all the prisoners having been relocated to a new lockup in a building
across from the courthouse.
aware of all that, as Rodgers made his rounds in the empty building he started
hearing voices. Checking the building floor-by-floor, he found no one. But the
voices got louder the closer he got to the old jail.
Walking from tank
to tank in the jail, which the county planned to dismantle and convert to badly
needed office space, Rodgers could not find anyone. But he still heard loud voices.
Finally, he came to a ladder leading to a trapdoor opening into an attic-like
area above the jail.
Climbing the ladder, he pushed open the door. Clearly,
the voices came from this area. Sweeping the area with his flashlight, he finally
discovered their source: Someone had left a radio blaring at top volume. The voices
he had been hearing were those of people calling in to get their proverbial two
cents worth in with a late-night talk show host.
Rodgers turned off the
radio and resumed his watch.
history buff, Rodgers found another explainable ghost story while looking for
something else in an old newspaper.
Back when Texas
had small, single-room rural school
houses presided over by one teacher, some of the older kids at such a school
in North Texas decided
to have a little fun at their teacher’s expense. Demonstrating a level of intelligence
that under other circumstances doubtless would have made their teacher proud,
the ring leaders of the plot attached a long piece of wire to something heavy-but-movable
in the crawl space above their classroom.
One October evening as the shadows
outside grew long, the teacher stayed late to grade some papers. That’s when he
started hearing something above his head. It sounded like someone slowly dragging
something from one end of the storage space to another, stopping periodically,
only to resume the effort. Trouble was, he knew no one was in the school house
Soon, to the delight of the kids hidden in a nearby creek bottom
at the other end of the wire, they saw their teacher emerging from the school
moving with more than normal purpose, nervously turning every once in a while
to look back as he added distance between him and the school house.
- October 26,
Texas Ghosts & Hauntings | People
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