1. Local
Shea  Serrano

Which Texas Unexplained Phenomenon is Best?

By September 5, 2009

Follow me on:

I've still been receiving a steady stream of emails regarding the Chupacabra post from Wednesday, so I thought I'd check with everyone and see what other unexplained phenomena you all either (a) had experiences with, or (b) just thought were really interesting. Bonus points if you can through out any that are Texas-related, double bonus points if they've got ties to Houston and†triple bonus points if it has nothing to do with stolen kidneys, because I'm so not impressed with that one anymore.

It's probably not initially near as interesting as goat sucking pseudo-vampires or La Llorona, but one of the ones that I remember reading about a while back was how the development of Houston, unlike most large cities, is entirely unplanned, meaning there's no real blueprint behind how it grows.†If it's even partially true, that'd be really nuts. Anyone else ever heard this before, or did I just make this whole thing up? †

For more about unexplained phenomena and paranormal activity check out Stephen Wagner's excellent site.

Follow Me on Twitter | Find Me on Facebook


September 5, 2009 at 1:17 am
(1) Steven says:

My dad used to tell me about these railroad tracks in San Antonio that were haunted by some school kids that were killed on them when their bus was hit by the train. If you park on the tracks and put your car in neutral, the ghosts push you up and over the tracks.

September 5, 2009 at 1:20 am
(2) Ciclary M. says:

My grandma said she lived across the street from a cemetary and every night there was this blue face that would show up on her living room window. Does that count? :)

September 5, 2009 at 7:17 am
(3) Gary Denton says:

Houston has no zoning and is flat in all directions except for Galveston Bay and a man-made ship channel. There is no direction to growth except for real estate developer planned communities and developer influenced new road projects.

Texas also has the Marfa lights as an unexplained phenomena.

September 5, 2009 at 10:04 am
(4) Shea says:

@Steven: I’ve actually done that exact thing. It’s crazy, but I seem to remember hearing some type of scientific explanation.

@Ciclary: Of course she counts. Grandmas always count.

@Gary: That’s crazy to think about (and kinda cool too; we’re like the wild west for real). Also, the Marfa lights? I’ve heard them mentioned, but never heard them explained. Can you explain?

September 5, 2009 at 2:29 pm
(5) printzapper says:

From a friend of a friend’s second cuz..

Driving across the Texas Panhandle on a dark summer night at a relatively high rate of speed, my friend was following a car full of some of his buddies. They were coming from the little town of Lefors and going to Pampa, which wasn’t a whole lot bigger- You’ve got to understand that distance in the Panhandle is not measured so much by distance as by time, ’cause everything is so far apart. A hundred mile commute to work is not uncommon. Anyway….
They were hookin it, following one close behind the other when my friend (who was in the rear position) saw the rear taillights, headlights–everything to go off in the front car! No sooner than “What the–” crossed his mind than his OWN electrical system died and the car started coasting. Almost as soon as this occured, however the lead car’s lights come back on. Then my friends’.
Needless to say a record was ultimately made in the amt of time to get from Lefors to Pampa THAT night!

September 5, 2009 at 2:34 pm
(6) cam says:

my grandfather was in the airforce at area 51

September 5, 2009 at 2:39 pm
(7) Hans says:

Google has the logo on their homepage to celebrate the Exeter UFO Festival:

September 5, 2009 at 2:45 pm
(8) Shea says:

“Youíve got to understand that distance in the Panhandle is not measured so much by distance as by time, ícause everything is so far apart.”

@Printzapper: That is a wonderful sentence. You’ve got to be a writer or something.

@Cam: Like, the real actual Area 51? He ever talk about it?

@Hans: Yeah, I saw that this morning. Cool.

September 5, 2009 at 2:52 pm
(9) Erica says:

You should really utilize the spelling/grammar check before posting things.

September 5, 2009 at 3:12 pm
(10) Spirit says:

What about the lights over Stephenville Texas, did anyone ever come up with a reasonable explanation?

September 5, 2009 at 3:14 pm
(11) rr3 says:

Baileys Prarie is a ghost story that originates in Brazoria County which is close to Houston. Local legend say Brit Bailey was an all around rabble rouser and slave owner who had requested to be buried standing up, facing west, with a bottle of whiskey and his rifle. At this point the story changes depending on who you here it from. The version I am familiar with says that the slaves for whatever reason did not bury the whiskey with Bailey so he now spends the nights searching for revenge and his bottle. The other version says his religious wife threw it out to prevent him from “going to god with a bottle in hand”. Either way the phenomena manifest as a white floating ball of light about 4 to 6 feet off of the ground. I remember seeing this on the way back from a football game when I was in high school, and the whole bus being dead quite for the rest of the ride home.

September 5, 2009 at 3:41 pm
(12) houston says:

@Erica: I’m certain I don’t know what you’re talking about, ma’am. :) Actually, I just fixed the typos. Thanks for the help.

@Spirit: I want to say I heard something about it being weather-related, but I might be thinking about something else.

@rr3: I’d never heard that one before but I already like it. It has all the ingredients of a great urban legend. Plus, I’m always a fan of any tale that incorporates the phrase “rabble rouser.”

September 5, 2009 at 3:47 pm
(13) joe says:

I found this site… very strange could this be the explanation?

September 5, 2009 at 3:47 pm
(14) Reiter Gray says:

What about La Llorona (The Crying Lady)? She was a story parents used to tell their kids in El Paso to keep them away from the Rio Grande.

Legend has it that through a variety of unfortunate circumstances (which depends on the version you hear), she ended up drowning her young children in the river. Upon her death, she was cursed to forever roam the river banks at night, crying and searching for her dead children. If she found any living children on the river banks at night, she would kill them (I think).

September 5, 2009 at 4:38 pm
(15) houston says:

@Reiter: That’s one of my favorite ones of all time. I remember being mortified when my parents told me about it.

And you’re halfway about the killing them thing. If she found any kids close to the river at night she would throw them in there.

September 5, 2009 at 4:57 pm
(16) KJCHOPPER says:

I have heard the children pushing the car over the railroad track story in Houston too!

September 5, 2009 at 6:17 pm
(17) Richard says:

In regards to the railroad tracks thing, the story of a school bus getting hit on railroad tracks is true. It was a busload of Baylor kids, heading to a basketball game, if I remember correctly. Baylor still incorporates the the event in their freshman orientation, I think. The accident occurred in Round Rock (just north of Austin) and they still have a little sign for it. This accident was supposably the reason that all school buses are now required to stop at railroad tracks. The story has been around for a long time and told in just about any city with a railroad crossing, and many people claim that the car will actually roll off if you put it in neutral. I don’t think that a school bus was hit at ALL of those crossings, but I’m sure the ghosts of the dead Baylor kids push each and every one of you off the tracks. They’re just that nice.

September 5, 2009 at 6:48 pm
(18) Darrel says:

There is some truth about Houston being “entirely unplanned”. Houston for the most part is not zoned. This has positive and negative aspects, but I believe the positives outweight the negatives. When a community zones, it says basically, that this is the way the town looks and will always look. This area will always be residential, this area will always have only industry, etc. It doesn’t account for the unexpected. I think the biggest example is the Texas Medical Center. If Houston had been zoned, it would not be the medical center it is today, because much is built on what was in some areas would have been residential if Houston had been zoned. Being unzoned also helps to keep Houston from having the slums of some large cities. In a zoned city, the slum area remains a slum, because it was pre planned to prevent changing what can be in an area. However, in Houston, if an area undergoes a major shift in property values for the worse, and you are left with lots of vacant buildings and low property prices, this invites a developer to come in and change. Maybe a new shopping center goes in, or a condo, or a factory. It’s almost like a Phoeniz, an area dies, but out of the ashes something new and beautiful can result.

September 5, 2009 at 9:26 pm
(19) sue says:

Actually.. I believe it’s “Phoenix.”

September 5, 2009 at 9:32 pm
(20) James R says:

Never heard the tale about Houston, but in our Texas history in HS we learned that Dallas was a city that know one knows why it was formed. Every other large city in Texas has a reason, seaport, river crossing, cattle yard. All are some point of economic stimulus except Dallas. It is officially the largest metroplex area in the US without some sort of link to the ocean. Look it up.

September 5, 2009 at 10:15 pm
(21) Tully.Venus says:

Has the East Texas swamp monster been forgotten?

But I think the lights of Marfa are the best Texas unexplained phenomenon. I haven’t had a chance to see ‘em, but I know a Federal judge and his wife who live out there now, and both have seen them and don’t have any explanation.

September 5, 2009 at 10:49 pm
(22) rob says:

dallas was founded as a utopian community, by people who thought the trinity river might be navigable with terraforming

September 5, 2009 at 10:59 pm
(23) Jerry says:

We had an unexplained earthquake last year here in Louisville, KY and it wound up presumed to be a sonic boom from possibly a UFO somewhere in Indiana.

September 6, 2009 at 1:18 am
(24) houston says:

@Richard: That happened with Baylor kids? I never knew that. Thanks for the explanation.

@Darrel: That’s a good point about the Medical Center. Never considered that.

@Sue: Haha. Nope, nope. It’s Phoeniz. I googled it.

@James: Dallas is an awful place. :)

@Tully: I have never even heard of the East Texas swamp monster, but it sounds amazing. Please enlighten me.

@rob: Founded as a utopian community? What happened?

@Jerry: You all attributed an earthquake to a UFO? Your scientists are awesome.


September 6, 2009 at 3:42 am
(25) printzapper says:

Thanks for the compliment! I don’t write professionally or anything, just like to comment…

June 11, 2010 at 4:45 pm
(26) Bob says:

There may be a ghost story out there on this but I havenít seen it in quite a while. It is the mystery of the Lady in the Lake (the lake being White Rock Lake, Dallas, Texas). The stories all revolving around people driving around the lake and seeing a young woman all dressed in white walking along the road that wanders around the lake. Back in the 1940ís, 50ís, and 60ís the road was a short cut for many teen-agers trying to make curfew and was totally dark on moonless nights. The story that was personally given to me was from a guy (in 1962) who was driving through the area on a dark stormy night with wind gusts, lighting and sporadic showers (sounds like the introduction for a B-grade horror flick). Grayson, the guyís name, was driving home along the lake when a lighting flash illuminated the entire area. He glanced in his rear view mirror and saw a young girl sitting in the back seat looking back at him. Stopping the car, he turned on the dome light and discovered there was no one there. He started to just pass this off as an optical illusion until he looked at the back seat, which had a wet spot where she was sitting. He swore it was the truth and never wavered from his story. His was not the only story about this ghost but over the last few years, I havenít seen anything about her.

October 16, 2012 at 2:30 am
(27) wickerman2012 says:

The lady at White Rock Lake is called Lady of the Lake. Its an imported story from up north.

The best story is of The Hascal Rascal. Run if you can.

April 24, 2013 at 11:59 am
(28) Samantha says:

Athens, Texas Fullers park.
a preist and his wife owned the park,if you look him up as a priest it shows he lived and preached long before his death,there were also rumors of animal and human breeding experiments out on his land and that some of the beast escaped,to this very day it is a hotspot of paranormal and devil worship activity.theyr bodies are buried between two trees and keeping their spirits in the grave is a wrought iron chain that is wrapped aound the trees that is always cool to the touch there is also a pentagram in underground tunnels under Athens texas.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>
  1. About.com
  2. Local
  3. Houston

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.