Halloween costumes and other traditions are dictated by Texas’ unpredictable autumn weather, but chilling ghost stories transcend October’s muggy warmth.
Over the years, superstition collided with reality for several El Campo locals, who shared their real-life paranormal encounters on Ghostsofamerica.com.
One El Campo commenter, listed only as Joe, wrote about the possible apparition he saw while driving past Lakeview Cemetery around midnight one night in 1964.
“About 50 yards ahead of me, in the headlights, I saw an old woman cross the road walking toward the cemetery,” Joe said. “I thought that this was odd. Years later, I’ve heard other reports of this woman being sighted near the cemetery.”
Another local anonymously shared their experiences with a young apparition who reportedly haunted their grandmother’s former residence located near Hutchins Elementary.
“Everyone in our family has encountered the spirit of this boy at least once,” anonymous wrote.
“We hear him in the living room playing with his ball bouncing it around. Also when he’s been mischievous and pulling the blankets off anyone sleeping in my grandmother’s bed.”
An El Campo occupant, listed only as Matthew, described pictures he captured of a roller-blading ghost at the Silver Wings skating rink.
Matthew, his mother and his aunt visited the rink, taking photos while they were there. They didn’t check the pictures until five months later, and they saw a spirit lurking in the background of a few, Matthew said.
“It was like a ghost from the 1970s you can see the old looking pants and an arm,” Matthew said. “It looked like a man, and he was skating by my mom when she was on the ground.”
These moderately goose bump-inducing reports are out-matched when compared to the true local behemoth for ghost activity; Texas’ largest private museum, Egypt Plantation on 11914 FM 102.
Run by residents Bud and Mary Margaret Northington, the site housed six generations of Northingtons and is home to thousands of centuries-old artifacts — most notably a desk and photos belonging to Martha Washington, a letter from Gail Borden, the Borden milk company founder, Stephen F. Austin’s Spanish land grants and cannonballs from the Alamo.
While Bud Northington recognized the Halloween-time appeal of the ghosts at Egypt Plantation, he was adamant that the home’s spirits are not malevolent.
“Several professional paranormal groups came here for the last few decades and found that there are ghosts in this house,” Northington said. “They are happy ghosts, but they protect our five generation family living here.”
Northington learned about the family spirits’ protective nature at a young age. Extremely curious as a boy, he decided one day to climb to the top of a towering corn silo on the property.
The family’s nanny was unaware of Northington’s dangerous whereabouts until she was alerted by howling voices coming from outside.
The sounds came from the nearby family cemetery, and it was as if his ancestors wanted to protect him before he could fall from the silo, Northington said.
Particularly paranormally active spots on the property are the slave house and the parlor, where, in the 1930s, a moving marble-topped table prompted four ladies to bolt out the front door.
Visitors experience gusts of wind when every window is closed, while flying fireballs, thumping sounds and a spinning soda can have also been observed.
A piano and a grand Regina music box from the late 19th century stand in the house’s open front room. These items, along with Mary’s violin, are favorites of the ghosts, who love music, Northington said.
Northington turned on the music box, and as the tinkly metallic notes poured from the device, it was not difficult to imagine generations of spirits dancing around the room.
Perhaps the paranormal experiences in El Campo and at Egypt plantation have scientific explanations. Whether you believe in ghostly apparitions, history always seems to find a way to recapture modern attention.
“Ghosts are just one piece of the history here,” Northington said.
The Northingtons offer two-hour house tours, but the buildings are currently being renovated. Air conditioning will be added upstairs so that part of the house can be converted into a bed and breakfast.
Visitors who spend the night might receive back massages from the house’s ghosts, if they’re lucky, Bud Northington said.