Context: My informant (M) grew up in a small town in Texas about an hour outside of San Antonio. This was a local legend she heard growing up about haunted train tracks. She told me every kid in her town knew about the tracks, and it was a common outing for high schoolers to go see the tracks. She told me that if you visit the tracks now, there are police cars and signs telling people not to stop on the tracks because it creates too much traffic. San Antonio plays into the legend and features the train tracks in museums and historical tours.
M: There’s a place in San Antonio where a bus filled with children got stalled out on a railroad track. They weren’t able to move the bus so the train came and it killed all the kids inside. So the legend is that the kids now haunt the train tracks. So if you drive on the train tracks at around midnight-and you can put like baby powder on your bumper or something- but if you stop on the tracks and put your car into neutral, supposedly the kids will push your car just enough for it to get off the tracks. Then, if you get out and look at your bumper, you’ll see little handprints on it from where the ghost kids pushed your car. I guess they do this so you don’t have to experience the tragedy that they did.
Me: Did you ever do it?
M: No I wasn’t allowed to drive to San Antonio at midnight (laughs). But in high school, a lot of kids would do it and then come back to school and say ‘oh you know we did it and it totally worked I saw the handprints and everything.’ And there were all of these “first-hand accounts” that made it really believable at 15, 16 years old.
My thoughts: It seems like a common story around the United States to have a haunted site where kids died and now they push your car. I did some research and I found a similar story from Los Angeles about the ghosts of Gravity Hill, I linked it below. I also included a link to the San Antonio ghost tours website that tells this story with more historical information.
Los Angeles Gravity Hill: https://www.ranker.com/list/gravity-hill-haunting/erin-mccann
San Antonio’s Ghost Tours Site: https://ghostcitytours.com/san-antonio/haunted-places/haunted-railroad-tracks/
The informant–ZG– is an 18 year old male born and raised in San Antonio Texas. The train tracks to which the informant is referring are located near the San Juan Mission and have become a popular tourist destination for self proclaimed ghost hunters.
A story that I heard growing up and I actually did witness was south of San Antonio. There’s these railroad tracks, and supposedly in the eighteen hundreds a train was coming by and it killed all these small children. I don’t know what they were doing playing on train tracks. That was their fault. But if you go at night and you set your car in the middle of the train tracks–the train tracks are no longer in use–the ghost children will push your car across the train tracks. My mom and I went back in 2014 or 2013. We had this huge pickup truck. And we went over and, we parked on top of the train tracks and it’s actually like a line of people. And what do you know we put our car in neutral and… Wow! Our car was pushed across the train tracks from the little children. It was incredible.
Despite the popularity of the San Antonio train tracks said to be haunted by ghosts of children killed in an accident, there is no proof that such an accident ever happened at those specific tracks or in San Antonio. The legend could be a cautionary tale warning children about the dangers of playing around the train tracks or an explanation for the phenomenon that occurs when a car is put in neutral when stopped over the tracks.
The informant–ZG– is an 18 year old male born and raised in San Antonio Texas. The hotel he references, the Crockett Hotel, is located in downtown San Antonio and was founded in 1836. David “Davy” Crockett (1786-1836) was an American frontiersman.
So I’m born in San Antonio Texas and I’ve been raised here most my life and I love this city. An interesting aspect is that we have a lot of ghost stories and hauntings in our city. We’re famously known for the Alamo, but we have this Davy Crockett conspiracy that he haunts the Crockett Hotel. Personally, I’ve never stayed a night there but it’s in the midst of downtown and has this giant green neon sign. And rumor has it that the night at 3:14 am if I remember correctly he will knock on your door. I would really like to think that they hire someone to stay up at 3:14 in the morning and go around knocking on people’s doors. I think that would be hilarious. But maybe it is the infamous Davy Crockett and his soul.
The ghost stories of San Antonio seem to a point of pride, at least through the informant’s telling of the ghost story, for the city. Despite being born in Tennessee, San Antonio tries Davy Crockett’s ghost due to his part in the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.