The Ghost on Highway 281

The Ghost on Highway 281

In this article we will be taking a look at the story behind the now famous ghost on highway 281 – Lackey.

Numerous reports have described a unkempt hitchhiker, in light-blue shirt and tan or light brown trousers walking the stretch of road at night. His neck bares a deep cut and one side of his shirt is covered in blood…he also carries a long knife.

Lackey Starts Slashing!

Nobody really knows why, but, a man named ‘Lackey’, from Johnson City, decided to pick up his knife and go to town on his relatives (the exact date is unknown – but it’s safe to say it was over a century ago!).

He managed to carve his way through several relatives before he was eventually caught by the law. He was then taken to the then County Seat, Blanco, where he was put in the jail.

Highway 281

Lackey obviously had a bee in his bonnet with his relatives – but unfortunately for him, most of the locals got on fine with them…


One night something on the order of a dozen or so of these locals, dressed themselves up in masks, and took a wagon down to the local jail.

They broke into the building and pointed their guns at the head jailer – they wanted the key to Lackey’s cell.

He handed it over.

The dragged Lackey, kicking and screaming, to the wagon, then carted him off North.

The Execution

Halfway between Blanco and Johnson City, the ‘posse’ pulled over the wagon and positioned it under a nearby tree. They then stood Lackey up, on the tailgate of the wagon, put the noose around his neck, and asked him if he had any last words.

He did…

“If you’ll turn me loose and give me a knife, I’ll go back to Johnson City and finish what I started, and after that I don’t care what you do to me.”

Yep – the man DEFINITELY had BIG problems with his relatives!

Anyway, they didn’t cut him loose.

The wagon pulled off and Lackey was left hanging off the tree…but this particular rope was much too thin for this sort of execution.

As he struggled, hanging there, the thin rope cut into his neck and he eventually bled out – not the most pleasant way to go.

The Execution

His body was eventually found by the sheriff the following day – one side of his shirt was completely covered in blood that had spouted from his neck.

The remaining relatives, that he didn’t manage to get at, decided that they wanted nothing to do with his body…so he was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave.

The Ghost on Highway 281

Over the years, there have been numerous reports of Lackey’s ghost trying to scam a lift back towards Johnson City. Certain truck drivers refuse to travel that stretch of road at night…

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject we have covered here, please leave them in the comment section below.

The Old Alton Bridge & The Goatman

The Old Alton Bridge & The Goatman

I lived most of my adult life with a fear of heights – pretty ironic really considering I am a slim 6 foot 4 inches tall!

Balconies, ladders, fairground rides – if it get’s above ten foot off the ground I’m pretty much stuffed!

Bridges tend to be the same, but maybe there’s another reason behind their dark threat…

Gephyrophobia is the word experts use to describe a severe fear of bridges, and bridges do collapse from time to time right?

In the dark world of urban legends and folklore, bridges are often depicted as spiritual locations and entrances to parallel worlds…

Texas – The Old Alton Bridge

The Old Alton Bridge is located near the cities of Denton and Copper Canyon in Texas.

The bridge was constructed by the King Iron Bridge Manufacturing Company as a transport system aimed at general cattle and the population of the area.

The title ‘Old Alton Bridge’ was given to the structure due to an old, abandoned town in nearby Denton County – Alton.

The old bridge managed to stay in service until late 2001 when it was finally closed down to vehicle traffic.

The Goatman’s Bridge

The Alton Bridge is actually listed on the National Register of Historical Places under it’s original name…but the locals know it as Goatman’s Bridge.

In the early 1900’s, goat breeder, Oscar Washburn, decided to refer to himself as ‘The Goatman’ due to the success he had seen throughout his career.

He eventually decided to use the Old Alton Bridge as an advertising platform for his business – maybe he could see even more success this way?

He created a large sign which read “This Way to the Goatman” and hung it from the bridge.

The Goatman’s Bridge

At the time the Klu Klux Klan were extremely powerful in this area…and they did not take to this sign one little bit.

In August 1938, a group of Klan members abducted Washburn and hung him from the bridge.

After a few moments of watching the rope struggle they decided to peer over the bridge and make sure the goat breeder was dead.

Unfortunately they could not see the goat breeder’s body.

In a fit of rage they decided to return to Washburn’s home and finish off the rest of his family.

The Spirit of The Goatman

Ever since this horrible incident took place there have been numerous reports of paranormal activity on the bridge.

People often come across abandoned cars on the bridge that mysteriously disappear when approached.

The figure of Oscar Washburn himself is often spotted, leading his ghostly flock across the bridge.

These sightings have inevitably lead to the birth of local urban legends.

A common legend before the bridge closure in 2001 involved people driving across the bridge with their lights off.

When you turned you headlights back on you would be confronted by the figure of The Goatman.

Another variation claims that if you visit the bridge on Halloween and beep your horn twice you will witness The Goatman’s eyes, staring back at you through the darkness.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the Goatman and Alton Bridge, please leave them in the comment section below.

REAL Texas Haunted Houses

REAL Texas Haunted Houses

Texas is known as the Lone Star State, bringing up images of cowboys and the wild west. What it usually doesn’t bring to mind are thoughts of the paranormal.

However, Texas haunted houses are plentiful and prominent in the southern state.

From the La Carafe in Houston to the eighteenth century Spanish fort in Goliad, the place is crawling with tales of spirits and unexplained phenomenon.

For example, in a place called Mineral Wells (a little west of Fort Worth), the Baker Hotel opened its doors in 1929

The Baker Hotel

It cost over one million dollars to build, which was a considerable amount of money at the time and an extremely risky business venture considering that the stock market had just crashed.

Society’s elite came to the hotel for the cure-all mineral springs nearby and, possibly, to also partake in alcoholic beverages during the Prohibition.

When it eventually closed for good in 1973, many reported that they witnessed windows opening and closing on their own. There have also been reports of a boy in a wheelchair moving about the abandoned hotel, as well.


A popular and well-circulated story is of the Lady in White. The story goes that she maintained an affair with the hotel manager but, eventually, she threw herself from the balcony of the fourteen story building to her death.

Some claim that the stress of honoring the secrecy of the affair is what led her to end her own life.

The Lady in White reportedly stays to the seventh floor, where she once lived in one of the rooms. Those claiming to have seen her say that she is nude and bloody or wearing a white dress.

The woman’s red hair is a consistent aspect of the story and that is what is most noticed when people catch her staring out a window.

Maids also find her lipstick on wine glasses in her former living quarters, even when the room is uninhabited.

The La Carafe Bar

Another haunted site, this one right in the heart of Texas, in the La Carafe bar in Houston. This bar is believed to be the oldest known bar in the state, as it was built in 1866.

This bar was thought to be a popular watering hole for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, though the most popular ghost sighting at La Carafe is not a fallen soldier. No, the most popular ghost is a former employee named, “Carl.”

The La Carafe Bar

Carl, who worked as a bartender at the La Carafe, is usually witnessed looking out of a second-story window. According to some, his eyes can also be felt on you or he might even make a strange sound to alert unsuspecting patrons of his presence.

Most associate the unexplained footsteps coming from the second floor of the establishment as Carl making his way around, as well as the sudden and distinct cold spots that manifest without reason inside the building. Objects have even been witnessed moving without any visual explanation.

The Presidio La Bahia

During the Texas Revolution in 1836, at the Presidio la Bahia (a Spanish fort on the fringe of Goliad), arguably the worst massacre of the revolution was enacted. A total of 342 Texan soldiers were ordered to death by General Lopez de Santa Anna.

Paranormal investigators report seeing the aftermath of the Goliad Massacre, at an estimate of three days or so after the act may have taken place.

Presidio La Bahia

They estimate the time frame that they are seeing these apparitions by the state of decay the Texan soldiers appear to be in at the time of the sightings.

They are piled in the Quadrant, some of the soldiers being described as “not young enough to shave.” Doors bang repeatedly and rhythmically throughout the night, out of time with the wind or without any wind at all.

Apparitions are witnessed gliding through the fort and some claim they hear another unseen entity turning a lock.

Paranormal investigators even report the sound of approaching horses, their hoof beats drawing nearer and nearer to the courtyard in the middle of the night.

Haunted Texas

The state of Texas is wrought with the spirits of the long departed, whether they remain because they loved their job like Carl the Bartender or because their lives ended prematurely in the midst of a violent revolution.

Texas haunted houses are where some of the most vigorous and undeniable reports of paranormal activity emerge, as expected from a state that boasts that “everything’s big” there.

The Haunted Emily Morgan Hotel

The Haunted Emily Morgan Hotel

Built in 1924 as the Medical Arts Building, San Antonio Texas. This beautiful Gothic Revival Building resplendent with grotesque gargoyles, stands next to the famous site of The Alamo Mission.

Opened to the public in 1984 the building has become a landmark in its own right. In an area that draws tourists from all over the world keen to steep themselves in the history of the Texas Revolution, the haunted Emily Morgan Hotel has become an attraction in its own right.

A Brief History of The Emily Morgan

Built in 1924 as the Medical Arts Building, the thirteen story structure functioned as a working hospital until closing its doors in 1976.

Used as office space for the next eight years, it was then re-imagined in its current incarnation in 1984 when it opened as a hotel. Standing on The Alamo Plaza the hotel casts a protective shadow over the historic mission where so many laid down their lives for Texas.

How appropriate then that it was named after one of the heroines of the Texas revolution. Born Emily West in the early 1800s, this beautiful young woman took on the surname of her employer Colonel James Morgan.

Captured by the Mexicans she took full advantage of her looks when she had the opportunity. Knowing that the Texans were about to charge, Emily is said to have distracted the Mexican Captain Santa-Anna, long enough for him to fail to organise a response.

Immortalized first in the song ’The Yellow Rose of Texas’, the self -styled official hotel of The Alamo, now proudly bears her name.

A Brief History of The Emily Morgan

The Ghosts of The Emily Morgan

Said to be the third most haunted hotel in the U.S.A, the Emily Morgan Hotel is perhaps not an obvious choice for restless souls. Even so non-believers who arrive as skeptics are said to depart the hotel convinced that they have had a supernatural experience.

Perhaps the answer lies in the medical background of the building. As well as being concerned with medical research, the building had surgical and psychiatric wards on the upper floors.

Another explanation is that the powerful paranormal energy of the nearby haunted Alamo Mission permeates the hotel’s walls drawing in ghosts and poltergeists.

Paranormal Activity

Reports of paranormal activity began to circulate almost as soon as the hotel opened. Staff would report telephones ringing constantly, with nobody on the other end, lights switching themselves on and off and elevators stopping and starting on their own.

One live-in member of staff returned to her room one night to find her bathtub had been filled with water. When she looked again the water had changed colour and was now a deep shade of blue.

Those living through these strange experiences began to detect a pattern. It soon became apparent that the 3rd, 7th, 9th, 11th and 12th floors were the most active.

3rd Floor: The 3rd floor is said to be haunted by a small child. Guests have reported being awoken by the sound of humming and a child singing.

One female guest reports waking up and finding a little girl sitting on the end of her bed. The happy little girl asked the woman if she would like to join her in a song before disappearing before the woman’s eyes.

The next evening the little girl returned again, slipping silently into bed next to the terrified woman and taking hold of her hand.

7th Floor: Dark shapes and shadow people are said to wander and flit about this floor. Suddenly caught in the corner of the eye, they will disappear almost immediately. One unfortunate family witnessed a full body apparition which disappeared through a brick wall.

9th Floor: A family staying on the ninth floor endured a very disturbing weekend. Noises coming from the guests in the next room kept them constantly awake. Doors continually slammed.

The sound of the toilet seat being repeatedly lifted and dropped down with force was heard over and over. Coffee pots and wine bottles were upset and spilled for no apparent reason.

As they checked out of the hotel, the family quite rightly complained, only to be informed that they were the only guests staying on the ninth floor.

staying on the ninth floor

11th Floor: One of the most frequently seen ghosts appears on the eleventh floor. An older lady wearing a hospital nightgown is sometimes seen sobbing in the hotel corridor. People also swear that they hear the sound of a hospital gurney being pushed along the corridors.

One guest on this floor reports being woken up in the night by the sound of a trolley being pushed past her room. When she opened the door, the corridor was clear.

The same guest took the elevator down to the 10th floor the following day to get some ice. When the elevator doors opened the guest and another witness found an elderly lady in her nightgown sobbing uncontrollably.

When all attempts to comfort the lady failed, the guests reported the incident to staff. Enquiries soon established there was nobody matching the lady’s description staying at the hotel.

On another occasion a terrified chambermaid felt herself surrounded by a group of ghostly children. The children laughed and teased the chambermaid until she dropped the towels that she was carrying and ran away.

12th Floor: The twelfth floor was once used for operations. Guests who stay on this floor complain of being touched or the sudden smell of alcohol in the air. Both this floor and the fourteenth are said to smell strongly of medicine or chemicals.

frequently seen ghosts

14th Floor: Like a lot of suspicious hotel owners, the current proprietors of the Emily Morgan have chosen to rename the thirteenth floor. This doesn’t pose much of a problem unless you are allocated room 1408.

Go in search of this room between 1407 and 1409 and you will find nothing. Add up the digits of the room number and you may find the explanation.

Another floor where the pungent smell of chemicals often makes people feel nauseous. Guests on this floor have reported hearing a male voice growling at them, lights are said to flicker and electrical equipment cuts out.

The Elevator: Lots of activity is said to surround the elevators at the Emily Morgan. Despite being well maintained they sometimes appear to have a life of their own, moving constantly between the 6th and 7th floors.

Strangely, the elevator telephones are used to call down to Reception. When staff pick up the phone, nobody is there.

Another unique feature of this building is that it once housed a crematorium on the 14th floor and a morgue in the basement. The elevators are said to travel to both of these floors of their own volition, before the doors open and you are invited to step out.

The Alamo: The hotel directly overlooks the Alamo Mission where many people lost their lives. Built on the Santa-Anna Battlefield it is an excellent viewpoint for the historic building below.

The Alamo

Many guests looking out of their windows late at night have reported seeing shadowy figures and strange lights moving around the mission.


Strange noises, orbs, unusual smells, electrical interference, mischievous children, sobbing women and elevators with a life of their own, just some of the paranormal phenomena occurring in this wonderful building.

If you are looking for peace and quiet then perhaps a stay at this hotel isn’t for you. For those who want to take a step back in time and celebrate the history of Texas, there couldn’t be a better hotel.

The haunted Emily Morgan hotel may have a few extra guests but if you don’t mind a peppering of paranormal spicing up your vacation, this official Alamo hotel is well worth a visit.