Legend – Jake’s Hill – Ghosts

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 29
Occupation: Treasury Dept., ex-military
Residence: Austin, Texas
Date of Performance/Collection: April 2011
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Legend – Jake’s Hill – Ghosts

“There’s a bridge in Hutto, Texas where if you go there at night in your car, park on the bridge, put your car in neutral, and turn off your lights, the ghosts of children will push your car across the bridge. I’ve heard of people who put flour on their car and then they can see the handprints of the kids after they leave. We didn’t want to put flour on the car, so I dunno about that. But I went with three friends during high school and did it, and our car did move across the bridge. And then we were followed by this truck that put on it’s brights… it tailgated us for a few miles and then just.. kind of.. disappeared… there wasn’t even a road. That’s another part of the legend.. they say a truck will fly around the corner and chase you away from the bridge. I dunno if this was a coincidence, but I won’t lie, it scared me. So the story… apparently back in the 1800’s or something there was this dude that was a cotton farmer… and his family was hit by a drought and went broke. Then, story goes, he murdered his wife and kids on the bridge and then committed suicide. They say the ghost kids are pushing your car away from the bridge to save you from their father. Another story I’ve heard is that a school bus full of kids drove off the bridge and everybody died.. so the kids push your car away from the bridge because they are protecting you from driving off. I dunno which is true. And I have no idea where the truck part of the legend came from. All I know is that this worked when I went, and I haven’t been back.”
The first variation of this legend seems to reflect the importance of farming in this area in the past, and even today to an extent. The fact that it is children makes the legend that much more disturbing, because children are the embodiment of innocence. The part of this story that struck me was that the informant went and investigated this legend during high school, and was with his male friend and two girls. There seems to be an aspect of liminality in that they were in high school and about to graduate, so they were sort of exploring their independence. There also seems to be a sexual or romantic aspect in taking two girls with them. It is similar to horror movies, where the young woman will seek protection and comfort in the young man out of fear. In reality, both parties are perfectly aware that they are merely finding excuses to be close to each other. Overall, the investigation of this legend exemplifies these young peoples’ transition into adulthood, and the uneasiness that comes with that. Additionally, the social aspect of doing this with friends is notable. By sharing emotional experiences such as this, people build commonality and bonds with their friends.