October 30, 2020, 7:43 p.m.
A creepy forest trail has a dark, recent history. Photo / Aleks Marinkovic, Unsplash
Ghostbusters might be encouraged to stay home for the moment, but that hasn’t stopped them from searching Google for ghouls.
In a quiet corner of a field in Texas, outside of Martha Chapel Cemetery, Google Street View has unwittingly captured a ghost. Maybe two.
The wooded alley outside of Huntsville is pretty pretty, if nondescript. On the street, Friedhofsstraße looks like any other of the extensive country roads that lead through the forest. Until you zoom in a little closer.
Take a closer look. . . Photo / Delivered, Google
A pair of creepy eyes peek out from behind the trunk of a tree. These eyes belong to a seemingly gaunt looking child. (Or maybe it’s a Ggg ghost?) Redditors who discovered the character have pointed out that it bears an uncanny resemblance to the Shining children.
However, some online spook sleuths have taken it a step further, suggesting that the image may contain a different ghost. A dark figure can be seen through the wire fence of the cemetery. A dark hooded figure seems to wander through the rows of tombstones. Creepy like.
What’s in the forest? Photo / Delivered, Google
At this point, it could be argued that the image expands the limits of credibility (and the limits of Google’s zoom function). What a Texas ghost may or may not be is more of a leaf stuck in a wire fence. However, it’s not the image that scared Google’s ghost hunters, but the history of the website.
Ghostbusters were street view. Photo / Delivered, Google
The road that leads to one of the oldest burial sites in Texas has a correspondingly creepy nickname.
Built in the 1830s, the street became known as “Demons’ Road” according to the local Houston Chronicle newspaper.
The street earned the nickname because of a series of “disturbing encounters and an eerie feeling that grips anyone who dares to disturb the ghosts that are supposed to linger,” according to local ghost tour guide Dana Goolsby.
Historian and blogger Cristian Williams says the old country road earned its name more recently. During the “satanic panic” of the 1980s, Williams said there was fear that “a vicious circle of devil worshipers would call demons in the cemetery”.
The local high school even received a warning from the county sheriff across the street.
During this era, a devil worship mania gripped Texas and other parts of the United States. The police received seminars on “ritual crimes” and training on identifying satanic images as “indicators of crime”. According to Vox.com, there were over 22 convictions related to “satanic rituals” in the 1980s and 90s.
Many of those involved in this “20th Century Witch Trial against Salem” are still serving decades of prison sentences, according to The Guardian, although some have since reversed those beliefs.
While there has been real criminal ramifications for those affected, some of the more sensational aspects live on in urban myth and legend.
Ghostbusters and bloggers are still obsessed with the site’s stories from “bright eyed” children.
One post – again by Goolsby – refers to a “strange, faceless, threatening creature supposed to appear to some people”.
But. On the other hand, it could just be a leaf in a fence.