Whether it's fact, rumor, or folklore, here are some of the most interesting tidbits and juicy rumors that you won't believe.
KATY MAGAZINE | August 2018
By Katrina Katsarelis
Opening photo by Anetrius Wallace
Matilda the Witch Landed in a Helicopter at a School
Have you ever had a helicopter land at your child’s school around Halloween time transporting a witch? If you went to Hutsell Elementary in the ‘80s, you might remember this unusual, but fascinating tradition of Matilda the Witch. Only once did Matilda come by helicopter, the other times she just made an appearance near Halloween and then led the students in a fun Halloween song written by Jeannette Hayes (namesake of Jeannette Hayes Elementary.) Sharon Rhoads, beloved Katy educator and school namesake played the part of Matilda and started the tradition as an impromptu idea one year around Halloween time. She wrangled up some sticks and a string and hung it outside the classroom window. She teen took some various classroom fabrics and items to create a small Halloween witch. The children couldn't wait to run to the window and see Matilda and through the years, the tradition grew into Rhoads dressing up as Matilda. The kids looked forward to seeing Rhoads dressing up as Matilda and singing the special Halloween song.
Rhoads (dressed as Matilda) arriving by helicopter the last time she made her appearance
Matilda giving the kids hugs at halloween
Katy is Known as a UFO Hot Spot
A Katy resident who was driving along Hwy 99 Grand Parkway north towards I-10 and Highland Knolls saw several something strange in the sky around 8:30 PM last September and captured a video of three strange unexplained lights in the sky. According to UFO experts, there have been numerous other 'sightings' happening over the Grand Parkway and Katy freeway area. The story above was aired on ABC Channel 13 so there is some validity. Watch the video and decide for yourself.
The MUFON UFO stalker map shows a great trend in sightings along the Katy Freeway. (MUFON)
ABC 13 Report on the Grand Parkway and HIghland Knolls sighting
Our own Katy Magnolia Cemetery is known by Texas ghost hunters as a historical haunted site, but many locals disagree and say it is just a peaceful resting place for loved ones. An old rumor about a witch being buried there has never been validated, although many ghost chasers claimed to have visited the alleged witch's gravesite to read the scary epitaph in unison as the old legend dares. The last sentence is "Prepare for death and follow me." Legend has it that if you go to the grave and read the inscription in unison, you might witness strange occurrences. According to one article entitled, “The 10 Most Haunted Cemeteries in Texas,” that’s exactly what happened. After the group visited the monument and read the inscription in unison, one woman claimed the witch’s spirit followed her home. “Every time she goes to look at her reflection, she sees the witch standing behind her, with a deranged grin plastered on her face,” states the article.
Katy is Almost the Drone Capital of the World
Second to only Las Vegas, Katy Texas has been named the Drone Capital of the World with 475 drones registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. Las Vegas beats Katy by 195 and leads the United States in drones. Nobody knows exactly why we are the drone capital of the world, but Katy Magazine ventures to guess it’s because of Hurricane Harvey and all the drone videos that were being shot around that time. Some of it might also be attributed to our housing boom with realtors offering drone photography as part of the listing packages.
Katy's Homecoming Mums are the Biggest in Texas Yes, everything REALLY IS bigger in Texas, especially if it's Katy teen's mum. If you’ve never raised a high schooler in Katy then you’re not aware of this fun, but expensive Katy tradition. Each year during homecoming, high schoolers (and their parents) make plans to buy their date a homecoming mum. The girls wear full length gigantic floral and trinket creations that can weigh up to 10 pounds or more. Mums are worn the day of the homecoming game during the school day and at the big game, and the more gadgets the better. The costs can range between $100-400, with senior girls’ mums being more elaborate than any. The boys wear a garter-style mum on their arm which is not nearly as large or expensive as the girls’ mums. Why are Katy's mums some of the biggest? We can only guess because we have a lot of overachieving kids who continue to outdo their predecessors. Below: Megan, one of our mega mum contest winners.
Secret Diving Cliffs
Cliffs in Katy? Yeah...right. There's not even a hill to be seen for miles. Oh but it's true. Described as a Redneck Paradise, “the cliffs” behind Rain Tree Village is an old excavation hole that was originally started to be a dump site. Instead, it became a teen party zone and four-wheeler destination for years. According to a blog on “the Cliffs” by Kevin Michael, the hole being dug hit a large spring bursting forth beautiful pristine blue water. This sudden rush of water, however, drowned out the cranes and excavating equipment so the company just left them and abandoned the project. What remained was a pretty lake like area with certain spots around the hole too tempting for young people looking for cliffs to jump off. Reports of many injuries and arrests have reduced the number of trespassers who visit the cliffs.
Katy Had Another Devastating Hurricane Virtually every structure and home in Katy was damaged by the Galveston hurricane on September 8, 1900, but fortunately no Katy lives were lost. Through the years, Katy had also weathered smaller storms like hurricanes Andrew and Ike, but in 2017 the community rallied together after homes and property were destroyed in the flooding from Harvey, a cataclysmic "100 Years" storm, that came 117 years after the other devastating one. Fortunately, no human lives were lost, but we did lose a hero of a bulldog named Frank. Read Frank's heroic story here.
The Oak Trees Were Brought For Shade Most of Katy’s giant oak trees are not native to Katy, but were brought in from other places and planted by early settlers badly in need of shade. Can you imagine living in this Katy heat without the relief of lakes or beaches to cool you down? These old transplanted oaks grew into beautiful, majestic oaks that you see all around historic Katy.
Kids Used to Cool Off in Katy's Rice Fields As a rice farming community, one of the most fun things for kids as late as the 1980's was to swim in the rice fields. This was long before the resort style pools of Cinco Ranch or Cane Island, when there were few watering holes at all. The old rice farms had pipe canals that would pour out water and create instant pools to the delight of rice farming kids and teens.
Katy Was a Bird-Hunting Mecca For decades, Katy's rice fields were prime real estate for geese migrating south for the winter. Millions would settle here, creating a booming bird and waterfowl hunting headquarters like no other. With Katy's growth and expansion, the days of the migrating birds are gone, but we pay homage to the geese that put Katy on the map. You'll notice several statues, and a nicely decorated water tower near City Hall commemorating our geese legacy.