good ghost story, whether read aloud or spun around a campfire, is always a little
better at Halloween. In Texas, the ghost stories
get better with age, through blending the diverse Texan cultures, tall tales,
and timeless stories. Some of the haunted
Texas legends are humorous, some are haunting, while others are terrifying.|
harbors several haunted places, of which only the bravest residents dare to investigate.
Tales of ghostly apparitions, strange lights, and noises that send chills down
one’s spine linger in the autumn air. In October, the legendary ghost stories
begin to rear their heads, leaving residents spooked and leery of certain areas.
old church sits amid the 100-year-old tombstones."|
Photo courtesy Dana
Goolsby, October 2010
Cemetery has long since been the most talked about haunted place in Grapeland.
The historical cemetery is nestled beneath the pines and giant cedars, in the
bend of a deep sandy road, where only a few rays of sunshine can peer through
in the evenings. The sand is so deep that if one were to attempt a getaway the
deep sand would certainly make it a slow escape. |
Many 100-year-old tombstones
are scattered about the property. Some of the tombstones are directly next to
trees that have pushed through the gravesites over the years while others are
broken and lying where they fell. Others are discolored by green fungus attempting
to overtake the headstones, and plenty are eroding due to the sands of time that
beat against them each time the east Texas wind blows. Many of the names on the
tombstones can no longer clearly be read, and some only read, “Mother,” “Father,”
or “Infant Son.”
courtesy Dana Goolsby, October 2010|
of the tombstones are directly next to trees that have pushed through the gravesites
over the years while others are broken and lying where they fell."|
courtesy Dana Goolsby, October 2010
church sits amid the 100-year-old tombstones. The church, which is no longer in
use, once held the services for the deceased. Mourners would sing old hymns accompanied
by piano music as they bid their loved ones farewell. |
Though the story
has changed over the years, and adapted to a new generation’s fears, what witnesses
encounter in the cemetery is much the same. Over the years, hundreds have fled
the cemetery, full of fear, after experiencing unexplainable events
claim to have witnessed strange lights floating about in the cemetery, to have
heard piano music coming from the church house, and to have had brief encounters
that ended with broken windshields. It is said that a presence can be felt in
the cemetery, a presence that does not always welcome curious guests.
Recent cemetery visitors, though skeptic at first, reported strange lights lingering
around the cemetery. The graveyard guests said at first they thought someone was
nearby, maybe 50 yards, with a flashlight, which ultimately frightened them. They
sat still and waited for the light to move again or approach the cemetery.
At a second glance, the curious visitors realized the light was too large to be
coming from a flashlight.
“It was much too big to be made by a flashlight,
but it appeared to be moving. I didn’t know what it could be,” said one of the
The two ghost hunters began to look for something,
anything, that could be reflecting light in the distance, causing the appearance
of the large light.
“We couldn’t find anything that would be reflecting
light,” said one of the ghost hunters.
About the time, the two came to
the conclusion there was nothing in the vicinity that could be casting a reflection,
and shrugged the light off as a reflection from a nearby house or perhaps some
old farm equipment, their hearts stopped as they saw an image pass in front of
“Something or someone walked in front of the light. Something
dark,” said the wide-eyed witness, as she told about their experience one night
in the cemetery.
Others claim Hattie Parker, a woman supposedly
buried in the cemetery, haunts the cemetery. Some say Hattie is prone to lose
her patience with visitors, and not only sends out an unwelcoming vibe that can
raise goose bumps, but has at times become enraged and made her presence known.
100-year-old tombstones are scattered about the property." |
Dana Goolsby, October 2010
the early eighties, a group of teens went to the cemetery to collect some friends
per their parent’s request. The teens arrived at the cemetery, but did not find
their friends. The group joked around momentarily, poking fun at anyone who was
afraid of the cemetery legend or Hattie for that matter.|
The group piled
back into the vehicle to head home shortly after they realized their friends were
not at the cemetery. The driver shifted the truck into gear and began to pull
away, when suddenly they heard a loud noise. The sound of cracking glass was loud,
but there was no sound of impact on the glass. The back glass had shattered.
group, nervous and in disbelief, exited the vehicle to search for the culprit
that could have broken the glass. They began to scan the area for a prankster,
and even looked up into the trees. No one was found in the area, and no evidence
of what cracked the glass could be found at the scene.
The group again
loaded back up quickly and rushed home to their parents, anxious and scared of
what had happened, and afraid of what the driver’s parents would say in regard
to the broken glass.
One of the group members was a mechanic, and upon
reaching safety began to examine to truck to find an explanation for what had
happened. He inspected the motor, looking for an element that could have slipped
and perhaps caused a part to eject and crack the windshield. He looked high and
low on the vehicle, but found nothing.
who have visited the cemetery and wandered into the church report the doors shutting
and then locking behind them, leaving them trapped within the old church walls.
Witnesses who were trapped in the church said the sounds of piano music could
be heard distinctly, as they struggled to open the doors.
Others who have
experienced the haunting of Parker Cemetery do not claim that Hattie is the culprit,
but rather a woman dressed in white, who was a victim of a brutal murder. Ghost
seekers in more recent years claim that a woman who was tortured and murdered
is buried in the cemetery, and is the one haunting the grounds.
resident returned home in recent years, and went out to the cemetery with a camera.
She is said to have photographs, “that will make you wonder,” according to some
of her family.
Be it Hattie, or the woman in white who is haunting the
cemetery, local residents assert with great fervor that the cemetery is in fact
haunted by the spirits of the deceased. Skeptics leave this cemetery believers,
and the faint of heart leave trembling, never to return.
The tales of
Parker Cemetery live on through new experiences had by the curious, and through
its deep history, and aging tombstones.
Reporter of The Grapeland Messenger
shoe horses, don't they?"
October 22, 2010 Column
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