5 San Angelo Urban Legends–How Many Have You Heard Of?
Urban legends are stories passed down by word of mouth, often with no known origin. Most urban legends involve an element of mystery, horror, or intrigue. Often urban legends warn against certain behaviors or situations.
Some urban legends have a basis in truth. Many are purely fictional spread as a form of entertainment or a way to scare or amuse others.
Here in San Angelo, we have the urban legends everyone has heard about, like the ghosts of Fort Concho or the hauntings at the historic Cactus Hotel downtown.
Then some are lesser known. Here are five well-known San Angelo urban legends.
1) The Ghost Children of San Angelo: In 1938, a bus carrying 17 children was hit by a train at a railroad crossing. The accident resulted in the death of 10 children. The crossing was on U.S. Highway 87, 14 miles southeast of downtown San Angelo near the intersection of Highway 87 and Farm to Market Road 2105. Today, a marker memorializes the children lost in the accident.
Over the years, the story has taken on a supernatural element. Some story versions say children can be heard playing near the accident site. Others say children warn drivers of the danger there.
There have been several adaptations of the legend in movies, tv shows, and books. The most notable one was a 2011 film called, "Sanctuary; Quite a Conundrum," about a group of friends who became stranded in an abandoned school bus and are haunted by the ghosts of the children who died in a school bus accident.
The TV show "Supernatural" also featured an episode titled "The Kids Are Alright," which revolved around a similar story. The story has also been mentioned in books, including "Weird Texas" by Wesley Treat and "Texas Ghost Stories" by Tim Tingle.
2) The Concho River Monster: According to this legend, this monster is a large serpent-like creature with a body that is said to be 30 feet long. This one is a stretch since the Concho River is not very wide or deep in its trek through San Angelo.
The creature is said to be most active at night. Witnesses have reported hearing strange noises or seeing ripples in the water when the monster is near. Some even say the monster rises from the water and attacks creatures on the river bank.
The Concho River Monster has been featured in many tv shows and books. Travel Channel's "Mysteries at the Museum" aired an episode about the legend in 2016. History Channel's "MonsterQuest" also did an episode in 2009.
3) The Crying Lady Of San Angelo There are two separate stories about the crying lady ghosts in San Angelo. One is the local legend known as Mary of South Concho" This legend asserts that a young girl named Mary died in a fire in the 1930s in her South Concho neighborhood south of the river and just east of downtown.
The other local legend, often combined with Mary's legend or told separately, involves Inez. According to the legend, Inez was a Native American woman who was forced to marry a Spanish conquistador against her will. The legend states that Inez committed suicide by drowning herself and her baby in the Concho River after her husband left her.
Some versions of the legend suggest that Inez drowned near the location of the Chadbourne Street Bridge, while other versions state that it was further downstream along the river.
Another version of the legend states that the mermaid "Siren of the Conchos" was installed at the location where Inez drowned based on a dream of an un-named city leader. As with any local legend, there is no proof of any of this, but the story is fun to tell.
4) Molly of the Bluffs If you live in the Bluff neighborhood in San Angelo, you may have heard the legend of Molly. According to the story, in the late 1800s, Molly lived in a small house in the Bluffs. Molly was said to be kind and generous and would often invite travelers passing through town to stay in her home for the night.
I can already see trouble.
Sure enough, one night, a stranger arrived at Molly's door. The stranger attacked and murdered Molly, leaving her body in her home and disappearing into the night. Obviously, Molly is not at rest. Who would be?
She often appears as a misty figure with long hair and a flowing dress at night. Some have reported feeling her presence or hearing her voice. She is said to be capable of communicating with the living, but only those who are kind and pure of heart.
5) San Angelo's Buried Treasure: This alleged treasure story has many variations and different clues. No wonder no one has found it yet, or have they? I'll get into that in a moment.
The most popular version of this story tells of a rancher in the early 1900s who feared his wealth would be stolen or confiscated by the government. Who knew they had Fox News back then? I digress.
The treasure is said to consist of gold, silver, and other valuable items said to be worth millions of dollars. The most commonly cited candidate for who hid the treasure is local rancher William "Billy" Childress.
According to the legend, Childress was a wealthy rancher who lived in San Angelo in the late 1800s. It is said that he amassed a fortune through various illegal or semi-legal means, such as cattle rustling, gambling, and bootlegging. My apologies if this man is one of your ancestors. I didn't say any of this is true. It is a local legend.
Some believe the treasure is hidden in an underground vault or tunnel like the many discovered under San Angelo. Others think it is hidden in a natural cave or crevice. Some think it is somewhere in the Tom Green County Courthouse or at the location of previous buildings that held that function.
Others say it is hidden in San Angelo State Park or in the Concho River.
The alleged treasure was briefly mentioned in the book "Texas Obscurities: Stories of the Peculiar, Exceptional & Nefarious" by Ken Bridges, exploring various oddities and mysteries throughout Texas history.
San Angelo is a small city with a rich heritage of legends and folklore. We are fortunate to live in an area with so much exciting history and paranormal phenomena. If you seek out these kinds of experiences, I hope some dark night you hear the cries of the ghost lady or hear the happy voices of the ghost children playing forever by the side of the road.
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