Posted on January 27, 2020
Shoal Creek is a microcosmic view of all the trials, tribulations, and peculiarity that assailed the Wild West during its heydays and painful years of expansions.
Along the banks of the stream and urban watershed, encompassing more than 12.9 square miles, you can dig out all sorts of savage tales and unearth all manner of sinfully pernicious stories. It is a place coursing not any with tributaries but with links to the frontier passions that drove Austin into what it now is.
The creek is notable for its links to the history of Texas and Austin… and, for the plucky ghost haunter, it is also famous on account of its bizarre stories and paranormal incidents. The creek and its regions are an esoteric focal point for some of the providence’s most iconic and active specters.
A History Of Shoal Creek.
A detailed description of all that has happened along the Creek would need at the very least a couple of blog pages, a lunch break and the attention span of an academic professor… things I doubt normal readers of this blog have in abundance. With that in mind, I’m going to whizz by and give you a flyby of all the naughty bits of historical events and dastardly tales that call this place their own.
- Arrowheads confirm that the area was inhabited by Native Americans way WAYYY before the arrival of Europeans. Artifacts uncovered tell tales of tribe discord and gang dispute between different factions of natives that go all the way back to 9000BC.
- “Near Old McCall Spring, just west of the street now called Balcones Trail,” that’s how archaeologists designated a zone that was once an ancient Native American burial mound.
- In 1838, settlers lived along the creek’s mouth. They were an offshoot of the Dewitt Colony – what Autin was previously called. Mirabeau Lamar – the second president of the Republic of Texas – was one of its most famous residents.
- These settlers were continually harassed and haunted by Comanche warriors. Many lost their lives during this period.
- 1850, after the Civil War, General George Armstrong Custer, commanding the 2nd Wisconsin and the 7th Cavalry was assigned to Austin. They were a peacekeeping force meant to enforce the edicts of the Reconstruction era. Custer’s men camped on the banks of the Shoal. A great deal of them died of cholera and some of them are still buried by the creek.
- 1890, rumors surfaced of a buried Spanish Treasure that was hidden in the area. The region became a bustling hive of activity and hundreds trespassed into the different properties that called the creek their home. Home-invasions became a fad and dozens of persons were violently killed during the treasure hunt.
- “Split Rock” – between 29th and 31st street – became a hideout for outlaws and desperados. It was one of the best cubbyholes in the west.
- in 1956, numerous cottages were set ablaze by a pyromaniac. To this day the identity of that arsonist remains a mystery.
And all of that is just an afterthought compared to the big historical whammy that assailed Shoal Creek, the reason why ghost enthusiasts flock to the spot and also the reason why it has such an insidious reputation.
The Shoal Creek Indian Massacre.
In 1839, against fair warning, a farmer named Gideon White decided to build a home close to the banks of the Shoal Creek.
“Even by then, the place had a sinister mojo to it. You just felt that something was off.”
By then, the creek had a reputation. A couple of years back, Mrs. Sarah Hibbins, who had been captured by Native Americans when crossing the Colorado River, was chased by her captors through the tributaries of Shoal Creek. When they couldn’t recapture her, the Natives disemboweled her husband and tossed him into the creek. To say the place had bad ju-ju would be underselling the madness.
Anyway, Gideon and his family went and moved into their newly constructed house.
“They found their bodies 3 years later in 1842. His corpse had been beaten to death by a passing band of Native Americans.”
But, and here’s the kicker. When they started digging a grave, right on top of where Gideon’s body was killed, the neighbors came upon a shocking sight. There was an unearth mass grave right under their feet.
“Previous settlers. The majority of the graves were victims of cholera and yellow fever. But, the first few bodies, the ones on top, showed signs of violence.”
The Hauntings At Shoal Creek.
Shoal Creek, given some of its historical factoids, is nothing more than a den of demons and devils… the literal type.
There is a scenic running and biking route that runs right near where Gideon was killed. The thing is that the trail is closed right before 10 PM. This is rather uncommon for public lands. Authorities claim that pedestrians are not permitted inside for their own safety… many think it because of the inordinate amount of supernatural activity.
Shoal Creek has been the site of numerous documentaries, series and reality shows about ghosts and the like. YouTube is flooded with videos claiming to have caught some of the restless spirits that haunt this place.
Some of the most common preternatural phenomena that plague the area are:
- Cold spots in the middle of summer.
- Marfa lights and will-o-the-wisps.
- Vanishing apparitions.
- Noises and shrills in the dead of night.
- People having nightmares after visiting the region and experiencing the presence of entities in their homes.
- People becoming ill and succumbing to strange maladies.
- A beautiful jogger with spandex leggings disappearing in a haze in front of other runners. There’s a claim that a young woman died on the trail a couple of years ago.
The most pernicious ghost that haunts the plains of Shoal Creek is Gideon’s. Hundreds have seen his spirit and heard his moans and yells.