Ghostly Pics: San Antonio Railroad Ghosts
Everything is bigger in Texas, including their paranormal tales and urban legends. Why have just one ghost when it could be a whole school bus of children, who tragically got hit by a train while crossing a set of tracks just outside San Antonio?
That is the basis for one of the most interesting tales of paranormal activity in the modern era as well as one of the most captivating photographs of purported ghostly phenomena.
According to legend, at some point in the middle to late 1930’s a school bus tried to cross the rail road tracks at the corners of Shane and Villamain streets just outside of loop 410 in San Antonio.
The bus got stuck on the tracks for some reason or another and was hit by a freight train using the system. All of the children aboard were killed, including the buses driver.
As the tale persisted with locals of the area down through the decades, the railroad crossing gained a reputation for being haunted.
People could hear ghostly moans or children crying at the site during the afternoon, the time the accident was said to have occurred.
Ghostly hands were said to push cars across the tracks if they were left in neutral just before they got close to the famous crossing. If a person put a powder such as baby powder or talc on their cars, they reportedly saw phantom hand prints on the rear exterior of the vehicle.
Some others have claimed to have had their windows busted out by an unseen force if they try and stop the vehicle after the ‘ghosts’ have it in motion, but there is not too much out there about that aspect of the case.
Others still state that the car will stop on the tracks out of no where.
The railroad crossing has appeared on such popular shows as Unsolved Mysteries and is even promoted as a tourist site by the city of San Antonio itself.
Thousands come to the spot near Halloween each year to see for themselves if the legend is true.
Sure enough, most come away happy and satisfied, finding that their vehicle did indeed roll across the tracks, apparently on it’s own. Some even find the hand prints they seek on the back of their car or truck.
Adding even more fuel to the fire is the photograph above which was taken by the daughter of a woman named Debi Chesney, who sent the photograph in to about.com with this explanation:
“My daughter and some friends went to San Antonio, Texas this last weekend and went to the railroad tracks where they say that a busload of children were killed a long time ago. They took several pictures. They emailed them to me after they got home to show me, and a ghost appeared in this one. They had no idea that it was in the picture until the next day when I printed out the picture and showed them. It was really freaky. It appears to be a little girl carrying a teddy bear.”
So this place has got to be truly haunted right?
We have everything in place; the tragic back story, thousands of eyewitness accounts, physical evidence in the form of that hand prints that appear on people’s cars and we even have a photograph showing what is clearly a human like form near the tracks.
But not so fast.
Both a researcher for Abstract Dreamteching and illusionist Jonathan Levit, during a segment for his 2004 Discovery Channel pilot called Miracle Hunters, discovered that the road is actually on an slight incline.
The flat appearance of the road to the naked eye is an optical illusion.
This does not explain the reports of cars actually stopping on the tracks, something even the researcher from Abstract Dreamteching experienced first hand during his investigation:
“It was truly startling moment,
There was no reasonable explanation for the occurrence, only the odd thought that the ghosty kids wanted some company.”
The hand prints were also long believed to be explained away by the fact that powders being able to ‘lift’ the oily residue of prints on objects to make them visible is one of the key tools and discoveries of modern forensic science.
This was put to the test by the pilot television show above where they washed a car, wiped it with a towel to make sure no prints were already present on the vehicle, they then doused the back end in powder and let the ‘ghosts’ do their work.
No prints were found on that car during filming, leading one to reason that indeed it is only prints and marks already on the car that people are seeing materialize after being ‘pushed’ over the tracks.
The program also brings on a local historian who says there are no accounts of an accident between a train and a school bus ever occurring in the county where San Antonio resides.
However, there was a case of a similar accident happening in Salt Lake City in the appropriate era. It would seem that the tragic story was adapted into one of nations most famous urban legends.
The photograph itself, which has become popular in recent years, due to the internet in all honesty seems too good to be true.
It is a perfect creepy photo in the middle of a reputed haunted location.
But if the haunting is not real, what does that say about the photo?
If it is not an outright fake, then I would guess this is a very creepy and convincing form of matrixing, with our own eyes seeing shapes in the clouds.
The effect itself could easily be a reflection of some kind, as you can see in the picture itself the ‘X’ sign right by the tracks is heavily reflecting light from one source or another, be it the cameras flash or a paid of headlights.
I’d guess the light shown in the photo reflected off an object, maybe even one out of shot and created this gorgeous picture.
But even in the face of scientific fact and good theorizing, I think this urban legend will just keep on rolling along the tracks for decades to come.
– Thomas Spychalski