What is folklore you might ask? It’s the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth. There are also numerous synonyms for “Folklore” to include: mythology, oral history, tradition, legends, fables, myths, folk tales and even old wives’ tales to name a few.
Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs and jokes.
I remember hearing about the haunted railroad crossing on San Antonio’s southeast side at the corner of Shane and Villamain just outside of Loop 410.
I was told by friends in school that Ghost hunters from all over came to the Alamo City just to see the legendary haunted crossing. The ghost crossing is easy to find if you are looking. If you get lost, just ask somebody on the southeast side of town. I’m sure they’ll all know the location of the haunted railroad crossing, a.k.a the ghost tracks.
When I first heard about it I got nervous. I was in grade school at St. Gregory the Great on Dewhurst. I asked a fellow classmate if his mother would take us there to visit. His mother smiled and said “you sure you want to go?”
Later being curious, I read a book from the school library which stated, ‘in the 1940’s, a bus load of school children were on their way home when the bus stalled on the tracks while going over the railroad crossing. A train speeding down the tracks crashed into the bus killing all the children and the driver.”
According to the story, ‘the streets in the adjacent area shows the haunted tracks bear the names of the children killed in the crash and during Halloween, cars line up for a creepy push over the ghost tracks.”
Ghosts of the children from the bus are said to remain at the tracks today, along with the ghost of the bus driver. It’s said that if you stop your car just before the tracks and put your car in neutral, the ghosts will push you over the track, protecting you from any oncoming train even though there is an uphill grade before the tracks. Many people have sprinkled baby powder on their bumper. Following the push over the tracks, they inspect their car and claim to find children’s hand prints in the baby powder.
Other stories tell of moaning and crying in the afternoon at the ghost tracks around the time of the crash while many people claim to have their windows broken by the ghosts if they put their brakes on before reaching the track. Accordingly these little ghosts aim to get your vehicle across this haunted crossing!
Years later when I moved back to San Antonio, I tried hitting the brakes on that street, and nothing happened. I parked my vehicle just shy of the tracks and my car didn’t budge. I tried it 3 more times with the same results. Obviously the “legend” of this railroad did not pan out for me.