The Ghostly Children’s Handprints of San Antonio, Texas

ghostly-handprint (Image: Keith Tyler)

San Antonio, Texas, is home to one of America’s most well-known ghost stories and, unlike many urban legends, this one supposedly has some terrifying real-world evidence. Near the San Juan Mission lies the intersection between a road and railroad tracks. According to the legend, the railroad crossing was the site of a horrific accident that claimed the lives of a school bus full of children in the 1930s (or 1940s). The school bus stalled on the tracks, and was hit by a train that was unable to stop in time.

The spirits of the children are reportedly still there, waiting, and watching. If you drive onto the tracks and put your car in neutral, the spirits of the children will push your car off, out of harm’s way. Get out of your car and look at the trunk, and you’ll be able to see the little handprints of your child saviours.

san-antonio-railroad-crossing-3 (Image: Google Maps; the crossing where ghostly children’s handprints supposedly appear)

The railway crossing in question is around the point where Villamain Road turns into Shane Road, and, according to the story, the names of the nearby roads – including Bobbie Allen, Laura Lee, Richey Otis, Cindy Sue and Nancy Carole – echo the names of the children who were killed on the bus that tragic day, decades ago.

Subsequent investigations into the area have since shown, however, that rather than being flat, there’s actually a subtle, two degree gradient at the railroad crossing that makes it perfectly possible for a car sitting in neutral to slowly roll off the tracks. And the roads? Named for the grandchildren of the area’s developer.

san-antonio-railroad-crossing-2 (Image: Google Maps)

But that isn’t the end of the story. History shows that there really was a tragic accident that claimed the lives of 26 school children, all between the ages of 12 and 18, just like the legend says. It happened in Salt Lake City, Utah in December 1938, and for ten days was covered extensively in the San Antonio press. While there was never any such incident in San Antonio, the detailed coverage cemented it as an urban legend in the city’s collective memory.

However, the popularity of the ghost story – and the exact location that’s given to it – has created another problem for local law enforcement, who warn curious ghost hunters and legend trippers to be wary of the car-jackers and purse-snatchers that wait at the intersection.

Related – Beware of the Bunny Man: Fairfax County, VA’s Creepiest Urban Legend


About the author: Debra Kelly



Around the web



Latest Articles




Send this to friend

Urban Ghosts uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience and to serve you with advertisements that might interest you. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Privacy Policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.