KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
October 30, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
After two centuries, Katy has developed a rich history, complete with legends and ghost stories passed down through the generations. While many unexplained happenings have been debunked by paranormal experts, some stories still push the limits of reality. Real or not, you decide. Regardless, it's fun to explore the lore that makes up Katy's history this time of year.
Ghosts or Dust at the Katy Train?
As one of Katy's most iconic landmarks, the MKT Katy Train on 1st Street has been the go-to
location for many photo shoots. But did you know rich legends and hauntings surround the old train? Many believe ghost/spirit orbs, often thought to be the souls of people, appear as soft lights in Katyites' pictures.
Don't get scared away from the train just yet, Katy!
"We can most likely call this case closed," says paranormal investigator Paul "Elvis" Amos of Cryptozoological Paranormal Investigations. C.P.I. investigates the unexplained in Katy and surrounding areas in Texas.
"We checked out the Katy Train,” says Amos. “We did capture a lot of orbs, but dust can make it look that way. In truth, I think the train is dusty."
Possible 'Romantic Ghosts" at the Train
Fiona Broome, a popular paranormal author, investigator, and psychic, visited the MKT Katy Train in the early 2000s. She reports seeing some orbs near the back of the train. However, what's most intriguing about her encounter was what she described as a "romantic couple" she believes to haunt the location.
"The impression was so vivid," says Broome on her popular Hollow Hill website. "I could sense the couple as soon as I got out of my car. He’s a man in a brown suit with lapels trimmed in braid. She’s taller than him, especially with the tall, perky hat that she wears. And, she holds his arm as they stroll around the depot."
"I like to think that they’re remembering a time when they took a romantic journey by train, perhaps to some still-wild part of the Southwest, or a second honeymoon in Kansas City or Chicago, during a more genteel era," says Broome.
So, if the train is indeed haunted it's most likely a pair of friendly ghosts reliving a past romantic stroll. Continue your photo sessions at the Katy Train, but don't count on Casper photo bombing. Any ghostly encounter is highly unlikely.
Katy Cemetery Legends
Considering Katy's age and growth, rumors about haunted cemeteries have built up for generations. While these ghostly stories usually get shared this time of year, always keep in mind that cemeteries are places of rest and must be respected. Follow posted signs and do not trespass at night.
A Moving Blue Light
This cemetery, like most old cemeteries has a great and long history. The old Hillendahl-Eggling Cemetery is known to many as the "Blue Light Cemetery” and its grounds are the final resting place for many of the area's original families. Monuments to many of the German immigrants from early Katy settlements are found here. The small cemetery is located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 6 North and Patterson Road and no longer accepts “residents.”
In 1879, the Bear Creek German Methodist Church was built on an area that proved to drain poorly. So, in 1902, the congregation moved the church here to sit on three acres donated by Fred and Katherine Brandt. A portion of the acreage was laid out as a cemetery. Drainage continued to be a problem, however, and in 1915 the church was destroyed in a storm, but quickly rebuilt.
The church was moved in 1940 to a new location as construction started on the Addicks Reservoir. The church is now known as Addicks United Methodist Church.
The cemetery remains in its original location to this day. The legends describe a glowing blue orb traveling through the grounds at night. To the best of our knowledge, no one has captured footage of the orb. People still carry on the long tradition of parking near the cemetery at night and looking into it (without entering).
"I grew up hearing about that blue light," says Jerrilyn Rheman. "I've driven by the cemetery but have never seen a blue light. Still it's fun to tell the story to others and celebrate a fun local legend."
The cemetery is also near Langham Creek Bridge, where people have long told tales of hearing the taps and marches of Civil War soldiers beyond their graves.
The Witch's Grave
The Magnolia Cemetery has been around since 1900 and is the resting place for many of Katy's founding fathers and civil war soldiers. A walk among its tombstones reads like a map of the city, with many familiar names of main streets and landmarks scattered throughout Katy.
One tombstone attracts a lot of attention, and that is Barbara Snyder's grave, a German immigrant who passed away in 1911.
Snyder's grave is the legendary "Katy Witch Grave" that frequents lists of things to visit, especially any top haunting lists this time of year. Is it the creepy epitaph on her tombstone?
Remember me as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I:
As I am now, you soon shall be,
Prepare for death and follow me.
Legend has it, if you read the words at her grave, you must pay, or risk bad luck for the rest of your life. There have also been tales of visitors seeing the image of the witch behind them in mirrors. However, there is no proof to any of this.
"Of course, we visited the Magnolia Cemetery," says Amos. "We did an EVP session and didn't see anything. I think it's just a fun legend."
There once was a crystal orb on the top of the tombstone and visitors claimed it would levitate off. The orb has since been removed due to the number of student pranks, and now rests at the Katy Police Department. Legend or truth, visitors often can’t leave without donating coins of their own for Ms. Snyder.
Magnolia Cemetery Haunts
Barbara Snyder's grave isn't the only "haunted" spot in the cemetery. Laurie St. Cyr, founder of KT Paranormal, visited Magnolia Cemetery in 2009. She began investigating strange occurrences to be the cool mom with her son and his friends who were interested in ghost hunting.
"Over the years, if they were interested in this stuff, I could make sure that they were safe and investigated it properly," explains St. Cyr.
She made sure a set of safety rules were always followed. They were never to break any laws, trespass on private property, or investigate anything deemed potentially evil.
The group is mostly inactive now as the students all graduated. But they were responsible for investigating many local Katy haunted legends.
Photo credit: Laurie St. Cyr
"We went to investigate the cemetery, and of course the "witch" grave but we didn't get anything there. It wasn't until we were all out of the cemetery and on the other side of the fence that some of us were shocked to see a little boy," says St. Cyr.
St. Cyr described him as about three years old, wearing a red ball cap.
"He was playing around a collection of three flat tombstones and kept ducking around them like in a game of hide-and-seek,” says St. Cyr. “Then he would sit up on one and swing his legs like little kids do."
A City of Mystery
Old Town Katy is full of mystery and unmarked grave sites you wouldn't be able to find unless you knew where to look.
"There was an old hidden cemetery, a mass grave from yellow fever, somewhere near Avenue D and 5th Street," says St Cyr. "You can find it on some old Katy maps."
Whether you believe or just like to enjoy the season, Halloween is a fun time to share old family stories and discuss local legends. It’s a great time to acknowledge the past and histories that make Katy home to so many.
"I think talking about such tales are fun and promote our history," says Rheman.