By Lawrence Miller
Investigator for Houston Paranormal Research Team
Contributor to Normal Paranormal
Before I had my first personal paranormal experience, I’d heard the story of the lady that haunts the Old Greenhouse Road Bridge just a little north of my house in Houston, TX. Actually, I’d heard a few stories about her. In one, she was a car accident victim. In another, she caught her husband with another woman and drowned her kids in Bear Creek. Yet another had her as a jilted lover, waiting for a ride home.
This is a pretty big part of why we investigate.
What makes a spirit linger? What are they trying to tell us? What went so horribly wrong that they cling to their important places? We may never know, honestly.
I grew up in a small (tiny) town in the Texas panhandle.
It had one school, one hospital, one cemetery, and about fifty churches. It also had a pretty active and vivid folklore.
Buffalo Point was just south of town. That’s where the Native Americans indigenous to the area would chase bison so that a few would plunge off the mesa and then be harvested for just about everything. There were also cave paintings showing not only day-to-day life in pre-colonial America but images of clearly recognizable wagon trains. All of that has been covered by a manmade lake now.
Back to the cemetery...
When I was in High School, everyone knew the story of "Carrie’s Grave." Just about everyone who died in town from it’s founding was buried in a small cemetery just outside the city limits. If you drove all the way to the back and parked, then walked out into the pasture behind it, there was a single headstone in the middle of the field.
Legend had it, "Miss Carrie," as the headstone read, was a witch.
She put the evil eye on people and their cattle died. Their children sickened. Their fortunes were lost. When she eventually died at the end of the 19th century, the townsfolk buried her well away from their own dead kin, so that when the devil came for her, he couldn’t grab the wrong soul by mistake.
By the time I arrived on the scene, the story was that if you walked out to her grave, touched the stone and made a wish, if you could make it back to your car without dying your wish would be granted.
I’ve always questioned the folklore.
I had the opportunity to research the issue as an adult. Let’s start with the assertion that there is no documented wish granting associated with this site. Further, there was no record in the local newspaper around the turn of the century regarding unexplained crop blights or witchcraft accusations.
What I did find is that Miss Carrie was a domestic servant.
She worked for a single family from the founding of the community until the children she had nannied had children of their own. She died of consumption. She was also the only black person to die in the town during the time when they segregated the cemetery. Hers is, to this day, the only grave in the African American section of the cemetery.
If she ever used a last name or had family of her own that information is lost to history. There isn’t anyone left alive to pay to move her grave, and there really isn’t a lot of practical reason to move it. As people continue to die and be buried, the cemetery creeps ever closer to Miss Carrie.
As we continue to grow as a people, the differences that used to define us mercifully blur. I love a good urban legend. Who doesn’t?
In this case, the evil wasn’t witchcraft, but racism.
Last I heard, kids still visit her grave to have wishes granted. I’m just glad she has visitors, I guess.
We should strive to remember that our investigations relate to those that have gone before us. They deserve our respect. Reverence, even. While it isn’t always pretty, we work to echo and validate our own history. Ours is a sacred duty.
Hauntings are great, but truth is better.
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