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Ghost Children upon San Antonio's Railroad Tracks

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Just south of San Antonio, Texas, is the site of Texas’ most famous ghost story. Not far from the San Juan Mission is an intersection of the roadway that is crossed by railroad tracks. Whether this is an urban legend or truly a ghostly tale has long been forgotten in history. Reportedly, this is the site of a fatal accident in which a train collided with a school bus full of children in the 1930s or 1940s.


According to the legend, it was a rainy Texas morning as the train moved swiftly down the tracks when the engineer spied a school bus stalled along his path. Frantically pulling his break and tugging on the train whistle, the hulking engine quickly advanced toward the school bus, unable to stop in time. Ten children reportedly lost their lives that day and continue to haunt the area, protecting others from a similar fate.


San Juan Mission in south San Antonio, Texas

San Juan Mission in south San Antonio, Texas , courtesy National Park Service.



As the story goes, if you park your car directly over the tracks and shift into neutral, the ghosts of the children will push it uphill, out of the way of any oncoming train. And if you have the foresight to cover your bumper with baby powder or flour, you can reportedly see the children’s fingerprints upon your car.

This story has been featured on the popular television shows of Sightings, Unsolved Mysteries, as well as numerous Texas Magazines and newspapers.

Despite the much publicized story, its truth has been hotly debated in San Antonio and both area residents and local law enforcement are weary of the legend. Numerous accounts have been reported that cars do in fact inexplicably move on their own and mysterious prints are seen on vehicles. Others allege they have heard the voices and laughter of children while at the site.

However, in support of the San Antonio residents, there are no records of any such accident having ever occurred in the newspaper archives anywhere in Texas. It seems to us that an accident of such magnitude would have been reported somewhere.

Furthermore, official investigations into the events have determined that despite an illusionary appearance of a level, or even slightly inclined road, the street surface is actually at a 2 degree declination. This would result in the natural rolling of a car parked in neutral. As to the fingerprints, these could easily be those that were already there. Even after washing, forensic studies have concluded that fingerprints can still occur.

As the curious from all over the country come to witness the paranormal phenomena, law enforcement are constantly forced to deal with traffic problems at the site, especially around Halloween. Area residents have grown extremely weary of the congestion and the drugs and alcohol that seemingly accompany many of the visitors. Unfortunately, a criminal element has also entered upon the scene as reports of car-jackings, purse snatchings and worse, are perpetrated on the many curious and unsuspecting ghost hunters.


San Antonio is reportedly the most haunted city in the State of Texas with dozens of ghostly sites that are not debated. Perhaps it is time to give this legend a rest, along with local law enforcement and area residents.



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© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated January, 2010



Railroad Crossing Ghost?

Railroad Crossing ghost, photo by Andy and Debi Chesney, courtesy About.com


Also See:


A Grisly Past at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel

Haunted Menger Hotel in San Antonio

San Antonio - A Mecca For History Buffs


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