The Ghost Tracks
You can’t talk about urban legends in San Antonio without covering the Ghost Tracks. This long-dispelled myth is still a local favorite, and was voted Best Urban Legend in the Current’s Best of San Antonio poll for the past three years running. As the story goes, you can park your car at this spot on the train tracks and get “pushed” forward by some spectral helpers. As a bonus, if you put flour on the back of your trunk, you might even see their little handprints. The push purportedly comes from wee ghosts of children who met an untimely end in the early 1900s when a train rammed into a bus at the location. However, in 2003, archivist Matt De Waelsche traced the story's origin to a 1938 bus accident in Salt Lake City, Utah. Even worse, the tracks were "exorcised," if you will, by a construction project. When Union Pacific added a second track to the intersection, they levelled out the elevation, removing the downward slant that vehicles would gently roll down when they were supposedly being "pushed" by the ghosts. Turns out it was just a trick of physics the whole time.
Photo via Google Maps
Donkey Lady Bridge
You can’t live in San Antonio long without hearing a version of the city’s favorite creepy legend: the story of the Donkey Lady. The story goes something like this: In the 1950s, a young woman attempted to save her children from a house fire (that some say was lit by her sociopath husband) — but failed. The event left her horribly disfigured, with her fingers and toes melted together to create hoof-like nubs and her head warped into an elongated, donkey-like shape. She was promptly cast out of town and banished to live in the woods. Ever since, the Donkey Lady has roamed the woods of Bexar County, crying out for her children and generally pissed off. Want to meet her? It’s said if you stand on a stone bridge in the Medina River Greenway and call her name three times, she’ll appear.
Photo by Justin Moore
The Institute of Texan Cultures is haunted AF
People say the Institute of Texan Cultures is one of the most haunted places in San Antonio, with tons of ghost sightings attributed to the location. One notably haunted object in the museum’s collection is Castroville’s Horse-Drawn Hearse. James Benavides, the institute’s senior communications specialist, shared a spooky story about the hearse with the Current in 2020: “So, one night, a guard was on duty, making his regular rounds. When he gets to the exhibit floor, he finds the hearse doors open,” Benavides said. “He thought some of the senior officers were playing a joke on him, so he closes the doors and goes about his business. Coming up on the end of his night shift, he’s making his last sweep of the exhibit floor and he finds the hearse doors open again. He laughs to himself, then realizes, he was the only person in the building. ... The doors don’t open easily; they take two hands to work a latch and pull open. But stories persist, that from time to time, the guards will find the hearse doors open.”
Photo courtesy of Institute of Texan Cultures
The Majestic Theatre
This historic downtown theatre is so gorgeous that it’s no surprise that some souls have chosen to linger here. The Zoroastro, a longtime magician, is said to still have spooky performances today. There’s been sightings of ghosts attributed to a ballet troupe who supposedly died on the stage as overhead lights crashed on top of them, killing some of them. It’s not just performers that haunt the venue — an apparition of a woman is said to have laid claim to a second floor box, presumably to take in some post-mortem entertainment.
Photo by Mike Hume / Courtesy of Majestic Theatre