By Evelyn Vallejo
With a vast history dating back hundred of years ago, it’s no wonder so many ares in the South Side are home to many local legends. Here are a few places around town that may give you the heebie-jeebies:
1.) Donkey Lady Bridge: Applewhite Rd.
There are various stories surrounding the actual urban legend. However, the end of the story is always the same. One story dates back to the 1800s, a woman and her donkey were walking along the bridge and came across a man and his son. The woman was known to be a witch in the area and the man began to insult her. During the altercation between the two, the son tried to pet the donkey but the donkey bit his hand, causing the father to scream out in rage and retaliate against both the woman and her donkey. The father took it upon himself to throw her and her donkey over the bridge where they both drowned. The story doesn’t end there. The woman comes back as a terrifying creature that’s half woman and half donkey. The bridge itself now belongs to the city and the area around it is a nature park and trail where people go to fish, hike, bike and run. As with the urban legend, different ghost stories pop up when you visit the bridge itself. If you walk along the bridge, you can hear hooves. If you stay in the car near the bridge, you will hear her knocking on the car in different places such as the roof or the windows and doors. People say if you do walk the along the bridge, that you feel someone watching you and a presence is always around.
2.) Chinese Graveyard: Loop 410 and Zarzamora Rd.
The Chinese Graveyard holds an interesting past. Long ago a man and a woman fell in love, however they were star-crossed lovers as she was a Chinese woman. The burial ground was their secret meet up spot. There was a curse placed on the lovers if they continued to see each other: death. Both the lovers died and are still cursed, searching for each other for eternity. Years ago, a sign hung read “No witchcraft or black magic” which was recently torn down or thrown away. The cemetery now has no indication of Chinese tombstones as it once held years ago. A no trespassing signs hang along the fence. It is still a private property and a family cemetery. Urban legend says that driving up to the small and gated cemetery and flashing the headlights, disembodied voices can be heard and white apparitions and mists appear.
3.) Devil’s Bridge
The urban legend of Devil’s Bridge is located near the San Juan Mission. At night, the bridge is so dark, not even the high beams on headlights from a car reach the end of the bridge. Stories say that the bridge absorbs the light. Other accounts say that if a huge rock is tossed over the side, it never reaches the water.
4.) San Antonio Insane Asylum: FM to Market Rd.
One of the most popular places people love to visit is the Abandoned Insane Asylum located on Farm Rd. (NOTE: The Asylum is owned by Bexar County and heavily guarded by the police on the property. Absolutely no trespassing is allowed.) Back in the 1800s, the facility was built and named the Southwestern Insane Asylum. Over the years, renovations added more rooms to house more patients, and the name changed to the San Antonio State Hospital. The building was permanently closed and abandoned in 1996 for reasons still unknown to this day. However, the buildings are now part of the San Antonio Police Academy and used for trainings. Years ago, stories were told of a man who lived across from the property and was known to shoot any trespassers he saw. The stories that surround the buildings vary from person to person. Most famous stories are told of dark shadows believed to be the ghosts of patients who lived there that follow the people who visit. If someone decides to pay a visit to the buildings in hopes of a scare, they must not run out. Running attracts the spirits and they are known to chase. The legend is so popular that the asylum has it’s own facebook page where people discuss paranormal experiences and the best way to get in. Visit the Facebook page here.
5.) Railroad Tracks:
Another famous story is of the haunted train tracks. Depending on the variation of the story, it goes back between the years of 1940-1950s. A school bus filled with children was stalled on train tracks as they were coming home from school. As the bus driver tried to start the bus up again, a train came down fast on the tracks, and didn’t have enough time to break. It hit the bus, dragging it along a few feet, killing all the children inside. In remembrance of the children, the street names near the tracks were all renamed to the children who perished in the accident. If someone goes to the tracks at night with their car parked over the tracks, the car will start to move on it’s own. Legend says that it’s the ghost of the children who died and they try to help the person so they don’t suffer the same fate they did. To test this, visitors put baby powder on the car and when the car makes it over the tracks, handprints appear. There is another part of the ghostly legend where if the person has their foot on the break, the windshield will crack because the children are trying hard to push the car away from danger.
6.) San Juan Mission:
The Missions are a huge part of San Antonio history, especially the Alamo. Every mission was built along the San Antonio River and were sanctuaries for the priests and families who resided there. Old places don’t make a place haunted, however. The missions saw lots of bloodshed outside the walls, and illnesses inside the walls. So much emotion is left behind that it conjures up restless spirits. People reported experiences of all types of paranormal activity while visiting these places even seeing spirits of conquistadores, monks, Indians, settlers and soldiers.