Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About San Antonio's Ghost Crossing



For years, San Antonio teenagers have headed to the south side to experience the "Ghost Crossing." Local legend states that a school bus stalled on the tracks and was hit by a train at this crossing. Today if you leave your car in neutral, the ghost of those school children will push you across the tracks to safely.

Where: The crossing is on Shane Road where it intersects with the Southern Pacific Rail Line. Take Presa south off SE Military Drive. Turn right on Southton Road, travel under Loop 410 and right again on Shane Road. Continue to the train tracks.




What to do next: Turn off your engine. Put your car in neutral. Your car will mysteriously start to roll from a dead stop over the tracks.

Scary Scooby Doo Stuff:  After your car is pushed over the tracks, take some baby powder and dust the back of your car. You will find finger prints of the ghosts that pushed your car across the tracks.

Reality Check: Chances are pretty high that those fingerprints are yours, from the last time you got into your car's truck, unless of course, you wipe your trunk of fingerprints every time you access your hatchback.

More Scary Stuff: The subdivision nearby has streets named after the children who died at the tracks.

Reality Check: The streets are named after children. However, Bobbie Allen, Cindy Sue, Laura Lee, Nancy Carroll and Richey Otis are actually the names of the developer's grandchildren.

Even More Scary Stuff: If you listen closely, you can hear the cries of the ghost children in the distance.

Reality Check: There is a nearby farm, which has peacocks. The haunting noise you hear is actually the cries of the peacocks.

History of the Ghost Crossing: There is no record of a bus accident at the rail crossing. The story of the Ghost Crossing goes back many years. At one time, there was a version that a horse drawn cart was caught on the tracks.
There was a school bus that was caught on tracks in Salt Lake City in 1938. Twenty six children lost their lives in the accident, and the story was front page news across the nation.  Today it is law that school buses must stop at rail crossings and look for trains before crossing the tracks.

Reality Check: The Ghost Crossing - A Scientific Explanation: The Ghost Crossing is an optical illusion. The road is actually at a slight decline which causes your car to roll over the track. However, the horizon gives the impression that the car is actually being pushed uphill.

Similar Legends: Gravity Road in New Jersey is quite similar to the Ghost Crossing. Notice how close that legend parallels the San Antonio tale

The Ghost Crossing has received interest from a number of Television shows. Here is an excellent clip from one national broadcast which debunks the local legend.


                            


Enjoy My Blog? You might also enjoy my book, The Travis Club

Intrigue + Mystery + Romance + San Antonio

"What a surprise! . . .a page-turner . . . extremely well-written and well researched. . . I highly recommend this book to all mystery lovers . . . a great read. . . couldn't wait to find out what would happen next . . . I love a book you can't put down, and this certainly fit the bill . . . very engaging . . .  I really couldn't stop reading it . . . a fantastic and completely believable story"

                                                       Reviews From Amazon.com Readers





         

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Forgotten Grave of Major Leaguer Rube Waddell



   On Block 5, Lot 182, Space 2 of the Mission Burial Park South in San Antonio, sits the rather impressive grave of George Edward "Rube" Waddell. Buried in 1914, the grave site doesn't get many visitors. Few in San Antonio remember him and even know he is buried here. If it wasn't for the generosity of baseball legend Connie Mack who paid for the monument, Rube Waddell would have remained interned in a unmarked paupers grave.

  Who is Rube Waddell? Perhaps the greatest left handed pitcher to ever play baseball.



   Rube Waddell played in the major leagues from 1897 - 1910. Some of his more amazing statistics:

- A lifetime ERA of 2.16
- A career total of 50 shutouts
- 4 20 win seasons
- Set record for strikeouts in a season (349)
- Only pitcher to win 10 games in one month (July 1902, Philadelphia Athletics)
- First pitcher to strike out the side with 9 consecutive pitches
- A career total of 2316 strike outs, 193 wins and 261 complete games.
- Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946

   More importantly, Rube Waddell was arguably the first celebrity in the fledgling endeavor known as professional baseball. Rube Wadell biographer Alan Howard Levy noted:
   "He was among the game's first real drawing cards, among its first honest-to-goodness celebrities, and the first player to have teams of newspaper reporters following him, and the first to have a mass following of idol-worshiping kids yelling out his nickname like he was their buddy."




   Many say that the upstart American League would not have survived had it not been for the draw of Rube Waddell. But is was not his blazing fastball and terrific curve that earned him the endearment of fans. Rather it was his eccentric behavior the also brought the nickname "Rube." 
  
   Often described as having the emotional and intellectual maturity of a child, Rube Waddell was a constant source of grief for his managers, but a favorite of the fans. 
   Between pitching performances, he would often disappear for days and be found playing in pick up games with neighborhood children. Once he disappeared from spring training in Jacksonville and found later leading a parade. 
   Opposing players often distracted him with shiny objects and puppies, which was said to put him in a trance like state while on the mound,
   He was so bad with his money, that once year the Philadelphia Athletics paid him in one dollar bills to keep him from spending it too fast.
   He had a fascination with fires and often would be found assisting local firefighters.
   Many feel that he probably suffered from a social disorder, autism or some other mental disorder that were not diagnosed in the early part of the 20th century.

   In 1911, Rube Waddell caught pneumonia after helping a town stave off flood waters from a nearby icy river. He never recovered and in 1913 was sent to San Antonio to live with his sister and later to a sanatorium to recover and regain his strength (It's often falsely reported that he was sent to a mental institution.) In 1914 Rube Waddell passed away and was buried in a unmarked grave. Connie Mack and his business partner Ben Shibe paid to have Rube buried with an impressive monument, just like they paid to have him cared for at the sanatorium. 

   Today in south San Antonio sits the grave of perhaps the greatest southpaw to ever play the game.  Upon his passing, Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson noted:

   "Rube Waddell had more sheer pitching ability than any man I ever saw. That doesn't say he was the greatest pitcher, by a good deal. Rube had defects of character that prevented him from using his talents to the best effect. He is dead and gone, so there is no need for me to enlarge on his weaknesses. They were well enough known. I would prefer to dwell on his strong points. And he had plenty."



Enjoy my Blog? Perhaps you'd enjoy my book,

The Travis Club

Intrigue + Mystery + Romance + San Antonio

"What a surprise! . . .a page-turner . . . extremely well-written and well researched. . . I highly recommend this book to all mystery lovers . . . a great read. . . couldn't wait to find out what would happen next . . . I love a book you can't put down, and this certainly fit the bill . . . very engaging . . .  I really couldn't stop reading it . . . a fantastic and completely believable story"


                                                       Reviews From Amazon.com Readers



   
            

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Travis Club -A New Novel About San Antonio

  In a cathedral in downtown San Antonio, just a few blocks from the Alamo, sits the tomb of Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and the other Alamo Defenders. Or so we have been led to believe. 
  What secrets really lie inside the tomb and what has a group of misguided activists known as The Travis Club stumbled upon? How far will the city's power brokers go to protect those secrets? 


   The Travis Club is my first foray into fiction. After writing about San Antonio's oddities and lost history in the first two editions of San Antonio Uncovered, The Book, I thought it might be fun to weave our city's rich past into a feisty little tale that captures the spirit of the Alamo City.

  I hope you enjoy this mix of true San Anotnio tales and a compelling story.

Mark Louis Rybczyk



   The Travis Club is available for a special eBook price of only $4.99. It is available for the Nook, Kindle and iPad. Find out more at The Travis Club website


Intrigue + Mystery + Romance + San Antonio

"What a surprise! . . .a page-turner . . . extremely well-written and well researched. . . I highly recommend this book to all mystery lovers . . . a great read. . . couldn't wait to find out what would happen next . . . I love a book you can't put down, and this certainly fit the bill . . . very engaging . . .  I really couldn't stop reading it . . . a fantastic and completely believable story"

                                                       Reviews From Amazon.com Readers