TexasEscapes.comTexas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1800 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : TEXAS HOTELS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP : : SEARCH SITE
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
 Texas : Features : Columns : All Things Historical

The devil and ghosts

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman

With Halloween around the corner, this is a good time to mention the devil, ghosts and things that make sounds in the night.

Take, for example, the Devil’s Pocket, an intriguing piece of land lying in a remote part of Newton County near the Sabine River. A combination of tangled undergrowth, marshlands, hummocks and glades, the land left settlers with droughts, floods, plagues of malaria and fever, failing crops and the disappearance of their cattle.

And to add to the misery, a meteor is said to have smashed into the middle of the forest, landing with a terrible explosion that shook buildings for miles away.

It left a gaping hole some fifty feet across and thirty feet deep. Steam rose from the hole for weeks, leading a man to remark that “the devil came to see us.”

While the meteor story has not been confirmed, the area has a depression in the earth that is often filled with stagnant water and moccasins. Even today, hunters give it a wide berth.

Part of the reputation given to the Devil’s Pocket also came from unsavory characters who took refuge in the area.

The devil also had a hand in a stretch of the Neches River, where the river once raced between high cliffs for a distance of about six miles.

Even during normal river levels, the stretch took on the characteristics of rapids, and boats found it difficult to navigate in either direction, leading crews to call the area “the Devil’s Race Track.”

Early steamboats only went through the passage when the river was at flood stage, and the waters were as calm as quieter parts of the river.

During the days when loggers floated great rafts of logs down the river to the Neches River and Beaumont’s sawmills, the log wranglers often shot through the Devil’s Race Track at dizzying speeds, and more than a few men lost their lives.

Above old Hadden’s Ferry on the Sabine River, there was another river stretch known as “Widow’s Bend,” where early sternwheelers and log rafts went aground because of swift waters that put the boats and rafts into a deathly spin.

After several disasters at the bend, the site was supposedly marked by the ghostly cries of widows, leading to its name.

One of my favorite stories is “the Laughing Ghost of Todd Springs,” an area on a small stream near Shelbyville in Shelby County.

The story goes that Indians murdered a family living near the springs and the ghost of the mother continued to scream each night as she mourned for her family. Each scream, it seems, was ended with a hysterical laugh.

Freight haulers who camped at Todd Springs while making their way across East Texas grew so fearful of the screams and laughter in the night that they soon avoided the area.

All Things Historical
October 20, 2008 Column.
Published with permission
A weekly column syndicated in 70 East Texas newspapers

(Distributed by the East Texas Historical Assn. Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of 38 books about East Texas.” He can be reached at www.bob-bowman.com)

Related Topics:
Texas Ghosts
East Texas
Texas Towns
Hotels


Historic Murders of East Texas, Book 3
By Bob and Doris Bowman
18 more famous murders
Order Here
Traveling Texas?
Find Hotel Deals in
Texas
Book Here & Save
 
HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | TEXAS HOTELS
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | HOTELS | USA | MEXICO

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright ©1998-2008. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: October 20, 2008