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Ghost Tracks of San Antonio

There is gravity hill with a ghost legend at the intersection of Shane and Villamin Roads in San Antonio. Way back when, so the story goes, a busload of unfortunate kids got stuck in the intersection right across the railroad tracks. The bus was struck by a speeding train, killing everyone aboard. The names of the surrounding streets are supposed to be named in memory of the fallen children. If you stop your car right on the tracks at this same intersection, your car will roll off and away from the tracks, pushed by the ghostly hands of the dead children.

People have reported feeling the rocking of the car as if pushed by many hands as well as hearing childish whispers and phantom footsteps outside the car. Some even say if you put flour onto the trunk of your car before you do this, you will be able to see their little handprints in the dust.

The first thing we noticed as we neared the intersection was the fact that yes, indeed, the streets all around it really do have eerie childlike names––names like Cindy Sue, Laura Lee, Bobbie Allen, Nancy Carole, Richey Otis, even Shane itself. And it is a rather spooky area... heavily wooded and deathly quiet. Shane Road eventually leads to the intersection of the train tracks at Villamain. This is where it supposedly happened.

It's a desolate corner, and it wasn't hard to imagine it being haunted. We got out to take some pictures and to test out the legend for ourselves. We parked across the tracks a few times, in several different ways, but unfortunately nothing happened. We kept a sharp eye out for ghostly trains, buses, or children, but unfortunately saw nothing either.

There is no official record of any accident, much less one involving a train and a school bus full of kids, at this intersection. And we were also told that the nearby streets were named after the developers' children, who are still alive and well. Nevertheless, for some reason, there are those who insist that they have had paranormal experiences at this intersection, and the ghostly stories still persist.

The Children of the Tracks

I live in San Antonio and just outside of town sits a set of railroad tracks that have long been the focal point of a late night local legend. The tale is a tragic one, although those who suffered the tragedy seem to have returned to literally lend a hand.

People come from far and wide to drive onto the tracks and place their cars in neutral in the dead of the night. After a short period of time, the car will be miraculously pushed off the tracks without any explanation. Many years ago a gruesome event took place at the very crossing where this occurs, and people say that it is because of this that the phenomenon now exists.

A bus full of schoolchildren, who were on their way home from a class outing, had stalled out on the tracks. It was late, and the kids had fallen asleep, so their teacher, a nun, was trying to restart the bus without waking them. Suddenly, she heard a train was coming. Its light was off so she hadn’t noticed it from a farther distance. She knew she didn’t have time to wake the children to evacuate them, so she gave one last ditch effort towards starting the bus. She failed.

The bus was ripped in half by the speeding train. The driver’s area was thrown from the tracks, with only the nun inside. She was unhurt and witnessed the horror that followed. The train tore asunder the remaining section of the bus with the children entrusted to her care still inside. All of the kids died.

Weeks later, still wrought with immense grief, the nun decided to take her own life. She parked her car on the same tracks where the accident took place. As a train approached in the distance, the nun began hearing the voices of children. The voices grew louder and louder, and then she felt her car begin to move. Just before the train struck, her car was pushed from the tracks and out of harm’s way by some unseen force. She leapt out of the car in amazement only to see children’s handprints covering her vehicle. Her kids had returned and saved her.

Since that day, the mysterious moving of cars has taken place. Me and my friends have made more late night trips out to these tracks than I can even count, always with similar results—our car gets pushed off the tracks. I’ve heard that if you sprinkle baby powder on your car’s bumper you will see handprints appear on it after your car is pushed out of harm’s way, just as the nun did many years ago. (We’ve never tried this baby powder trick ourselves—it’s not something we usually travel around with.)

The children who died on these tracks return time and time again to make sure that no one suffers the same grisly fate that they did at this very spot. Still, it’s probably not the best idea to trust that these ghost kids will push your car from the tracks, especially if you happen to be staring down an oncoming locomotive! –Travis T.

None but the Nun Survived

Somewhere outside of San Antonio is a dark lonely railroad crossing. Many years ago, a Nun was driving across the crossing with a school bus of children. It was late and dark. They were coming home from a day's outing in the country. Many of the children were asleep, tired from playing in the outdoors. As the bus began crossing, the motor died. The nun tried a number of times to restart the bus, but it wouldn't start. Suddenly, she realized a train was on the track, moving much too fast, and without any lights on.

The conductor had fallen asleep. Frantically the nun tried to start the bus, knowing it was now too late to wake and move the children off the bus. The bus never started. The train hit with so much force it ripped the drivers compartment off the bus, threw it away from the tracks and dragged the bus hundreds of yards down the road. The train continued down the track, the conductor never knowing what he did. The nun survived. The children did not.

Many months later, the nun was still filled with guilt and decided to take her life and die as the children had. She drove to the same spot where the accident happened, stopped her car on the tracks, and waited. It became very dark as time passed. And eventually a train could be heard coming down the track. The nun sat, cried, and waited, but then heard what she thought was footsteps and then voices of children, playing, running, and laughing. The train kept coming at her, sounding its loud horn and flashing its lights, unable to stop in time, trying to warn her. The nun put her face in her hands and waited for her death. As she sat praying, she heard the children’s voices become louder and then she felt the car lurch forward as if being pushed from the rear. The car rolled over the tracks, down the hill, the train rolled on by. Her life was saved.

After the train passed, the nun got out of the car and looked for the children, but saw no one. As she walked back to her car, she looked at the back of her car and saw many tiny handprints as if children had pushed her car off the tracks. The nun went on to start an orphanage and took care of lost children. When she died, those at the funeral said they heard voices of children playing, and the voice of one lone adult laughing. To this day, it is said if you park your car in neutral on the track in the middle of the night, and stay very quiet, you will hear voices and your car will be pushed off the track. –John R. Cobarruvias

Rocking and Rolling Over the San Antonio Tracks

I have had the pleasure of visiting the train tracks in San Antonio. My husband was driving our car with me riding shotgun and his sister in the back seat. We covered the car with baby powder and parked on the tracks. We shut the car off and put on the emergency brake and my husband pushed as hard as he could on the brakes. After a few seconds the car started rocking as if someone was pushing us from behind. My sister-in-law burst into tears and said, "Look!" I turned to look back at her and saw big and little handprints in the baby powder on the window next to her. The rocking continued, all the while my husband had his feet on the brakes. Then the car rolled uphill as if we were driving, and then down away from the tracks to safety. It was an experience I will never forget. –Audra Sweet

San Antonio Tracks Are No Laughing Matter

I went to college in Austin, Texas, home of Threadgill’s (the only place where I have ever eaten a chicken fried pork chop) and the bars of 6th Street (which I maintain is the hot girl capital of the United States of America. You can’t go into one of those bars on a Friday night and NOT see wall-to-wall hot Texan girls). Anyway, I’m not writing to tell you about Austin’s great food and women––in fact, I’m not writing about Austin at all, actually. I’m writing about San Antonio, and its world famous haunted railroad tracks.

San Antonio is close enough to Austin that we got wind of its famous ghost story. What we heard around our way was that a school bus full of kids was crossing over these tracks back in the 50s when its engine stalled. The kids all began horsing around and making lots of noise. The driver was distracted. Nobody noticed the train barreling down at them. Upon impact, the train split the school bus in two, killing almost everyone on board. The few who didn’t die instantly were dragged violently down the tracks by the train, and died even more horrible deaths than their classmates.

The crossing where this all happened is now totally haunted. The ghosts make sure that no one suffers the same horrible fate that they did. If you put your car in neutral down the hill from the tracks, the ghost children will push your car UPHILL, OVER the tracks, and out of harm’s way. Supposedly, if you dust your bumper with baby powder, you can see the handprints of the little kids!

My sophomore year, just after finals ended, I found myself in a car with four other guys on our way to test this legend out for ourselves. We had heard that the crossing was a few miles away from Mission Espada, and that one of the roads nearby was called Shane, after one of the boys who died in the crash. In fact, a lot of the roads in the area are supposedly named after the deceased kids. After some driving around, we found it near the intersection of Shane and Villamain. We knew we were in the right place because there were a few other cars testing it out at the same time as us.

We waited for them to clear out, and prepared the car in the meantime. My boy Hugo, the driver, got out and powdered down the bumper. He got back in the car, put it in neutral, and to our shock we found ourselves actually rolling uphill! None of us expected it to actually work. We were freaking out, yelling and laughing, when my boy Baldini yelled “Shut up, shut up, do you hear that?”

We all went silent instantly, and realized it was the exact moment we were on the tracks themselves. Very, very faintly, we all swore we heard the sound of a little girl crying.

We tore ass out of there, scared out of our minds. We made our way back to Austin, and didn’t calm down until we were about halfway there. That was just about the time that stopped to pick up some food and noticed that there were patterns in the baby powder… it had mostly blown off in the wind, but what remained appeared to have the patterns of fingerprints in it.

The rest of that trip home was spent in silence. I think it really made us all think. To us this place was just a thrill––a place to kill a few idle hours on a spring night. But for all those poor kids who died there, and all of their families, this place was the scene of a horrible tragic event. After my visit I somehow felt as if I had sensed their presence and understood their suffering. –Mark “Wingman” Winger

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