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San Antonio's
Overworked Ghost Children

by Raoul Hashimoto
Like 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.


Well, 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.
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.

Getting There
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.

John Troesser
Forum:
Subject: Haunting in San Antonio

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


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