Tomorrow is my favorite holiday, Halloween. The decorations and costumes, the candy (of course I would never eat Halloween candy intended for children — how ridiculous!), the bad, B-rated horror flicks … it all makes for a great time.
I especially love ghost stories and “hauntings.” Who among us hasn’t heard about all the ghostly goings-on at the Alamo in San Antonio? Soldier apparitions, ghostly bugle calls, and more are said to be evidence of the haunted mission (John Wayne is even said to be seen there.) Sadly, though I’ve been to the Alamo many times, I’ve not encountered any of these things.
But you don’t need to go outside the local area to experience a haunting, apparently. There have been multiple reports of supernatural events right here.
Take the soccer field in Harker Heights. Many people have reported seeing a red-eyed cowboy wandering the field looking for the Indian tribe who killed his family. He disappears into the sewage plant, and if you wait a bit longer, an Indian runs from the trees.
There are reportedly the sounds of gunshots, and the Indian falls to the ground, leaving nothing but an impression of being dragged in the grass. And if you listen, there are also reports of distant screams.
I’ve been cheated. I’ve been out there several times, both day and night, and haven’t seen or heard a thing.
Texas Thrift in Killeen has reports of eerie happenings going back before it was a thrift store. As a grocery store, people say pyramids of canned food would set up in the middle of the night. As Hastings, merchandise would fall to the floor when no one was around it. Now that it’s a thrift store, people say items “fly” off the racks.
I shopped at the grocery, no food stacks. I frequented Hastings like a junkie with a bad habit, and the only merchandise that fell in my presence was that which I myself knocked over (much to my embarrassment). Nothing. I feel cheated.
Someone in Killeen even said he saw a Wendigo, a tall, deathly spirit with fangs and glowing eyes and a hunger for people-meat. If Killeen has Wendigos, I’ve never seen them. Cheated. There is such a thing as “Wendigo psychosis,” a form of cannibalism, but I’ve never met anyone with this disorder, either.)
Presser Hall at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton is said to be haunted by a young woman who was murdered by her boyfriend. Subsequently, people hear piano music and the elevator doors open and close by themselves. Again, been there, and nothing. So very cheated, because for all that tuition I paid, you would think I would have gotten a little more bang for my buck.
Also in Belton are the old city jail (this used to be on Pearl Street) and the train depot. Oh yeah, and Walmart, which people say was built on an old Indian burial ground (“Poltergeist” anyone?).
Places I can’t speak to: the Coryell County Courthouse, haunted with the ghost of a dead maintenance worker, and the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, which apparently used to be a state school for boys, has haunted dorms.
Fort Hood’s III Corps Headquarters has had reports of footsteps and doors opening and closing late at night. BLORA, too, supposedly has a ghostly soldier who skips rocks on the lake, disappearing at sunrise. How disappointing that I’ve never been around to see these things. Bummer.
Someone with my luck expects to be haunted at least once, but nada. I’ve been robbed.
Stephanie Ratts Grissom is a Herald correspondent.