an episode of Columbo - we'll give you the story at the beginning:
Ten happy children on a school bus going home - bus stalls on railroad
tracks - speeding freight train comes - crushes bus, killing children.
Now on the anniversary of the event or Halloween or anytime (depending
on who's telling the story) any car that stops on the tracks, intentionally
or not, mysteriously moves off the tracks as if pushed. Talcum placed
on the trunk of the car receives little peanut butter and jelly stained
handprints in the powder.
An add-on to this urban myth is that the names of the nearby streets
are named after the deceased children.
The site is well known and there have been reports of car-jackings,
purse snatchings and worse perpetrated by non-believers who exploit
the want-to-belivers when they get out of their car to check for handprints.
Police have to keep the traffic moving every Halloween.
The tracks are on an incline, but of course that doesn't have anything
to do with it. There's no record of such an accident in the newspaper
files anywhere in Texas, and the builder of the subdivision named
the streets after his children. But ignoring all this, and assuming
we all want to believe the story (which we desperately do) let's ask
ourselves - Is this the proper way to behave with kind-hearted children?
Kind-hearted ghost children? Let's look at ourselves. Aren't we better
than that? Aren't we kinder and gentler?
The site of the collision is on an incline, (which would explain the
movement to a logical mind) but even so, pushing stationary vehicles
is a bit of a strain even for grown-ups. Is it right that people trick
the ghost children into pushing 30 or 40 cars an evening off the tracks?
It was told to us that faint little voices (faint from exhaustion?)
have supposedy been heard saying things like "Take it out of
park, Stupid!" or "I'm not pushing this Camero another time
tonight. I hope a train does come." One woman reported drops
of moisture appeared on her talcumed trunk. Were these tears of the
ghost kids, or sweat from being overworked?
Assuming the little tykes are there, shouldn't they wise up? Can't
they see there's no train coming? Haven't they noticed that these
drunk teenagers didn't stall their car, but intentional stopped and
got out? Okay, so they aren't bright ghost-children. Does that give
people the right to work them to … Okay, so they're already dead.
this is a traditional story and as we all know, tradition is not in
fashion. In fact tradition has been out-of-fashion for so long, it's
becoming a tradition to be untraditional. If the ghost children were
suddenly to become as sharp and sophisticated as our kids today; they
might not just push the car, but reach inside the car and steer the
wheel so that the car sets firmly astride the tracks. They can then
push it toward any oncoming trains. Thank heavens these are Spanky
and Alfalfa-era ghost children and not Beavis and Butthead-era children.
As a public service, we're not going to give you the address. If you
go you'll have to find your own way. Don't look for us there - we're
staying home and putting talcum powder on our outside doorknobs.
Any good ghost story collection should include this one. We would
suggest Spirits of San Antonio and South Texas by Docia Schultz
Williams, Republic of Texas Press, 1993. In this volume Mrs. Williams'
gift of description is in fine form and she even throws in a related
story that was told to her. It's a variation of the "Vanishing Hitchhiker"
story, but who gets tired of hearing that one? This time she even
has a name.
Subject: Haunting in San
As a former long-time resident of San
Antonio, I am familiar with many of the local legends about ghosts
and the like. I know all about the "haunted" train tracks, and the
optical illusion responsible for the phenomenon, I remember tales
of Midget Mansion (actually hiked up that way a time or two),
and I have heard fascinating, and rather scary, stories of the ghostly
activities in the old Hertzberg Circus Museum. More specifically,
I have heard tales of what occurred in the basement, used at least
at the time by the library for storage. The mother of a personal friend
of my brother actually worked in that basement, and had her own stories
to tell. Cases of a man in dark/black clothing, often very threatening,
books moving, being "grabbed" by nothing visible, and more. While
looking around online for these old stories, I found many of them,
but can locate nothing on the circus/library building. I did visit
the museum there once, and only once, and was rather uncomfortable,
for lack of a better word, the entire time. I am hoping that you might
have some information on this "haunting". Thank you. - Deborah Fisher,
May 25, 2006