Researching Paranormal Texas
The following is an adapted excerpt from my travel guide to haunted places, a book called Paranormal Texas. To see a 5-minute info-video I made to accompany this story (with even more photos) watch the video below:
And here’s a more recent video I made about Deep Creek Cemetery, in which I explain the meaning of several tombstone symbols:
I don’t know why so many cemeteries are reportedly haunted, but here’s what we found on our first journey to Deep Creek Cemetery near Boyd, Texas:
Pretty Country Drive to a Historic Texas Cemetery
Deep Creek Cemetery is a short drive up the road from Boyd, Texas. Getting there takes you on a pretty country drive through tree-lined lanes. If the weather is good, take a picnic!
Directions to Deep Creek Cemetery
The directions to Deep Creek Cemetery are as follows:
From Decatur: head south on Hwy 287, then turn right on CR 4227. The cemetery is about 5 miles (past Deep Creek) on the right.
From Rhome head west on Hwy 114, then turn right CR 4227 to the cemetery on the left after about 4 miles.
Please note: Thanks to a chained-off gate, you must park at the main entrance, then take a half-mile stroll down a pretty country lane to reach Deep Creek Cemetery.
Interesting Historical Tidbits
Once you reach the cemetery, you will see another gate, with a Texas State Historical Marker nearby. I sometimes glaze over while reading those markers, but this one is quite interesting and inspired me to follow up with more research afterwards so I could fill in a few of the more intriguing blanks.
The town of Deep Creek took its name from the steep banks of a nearby waterway where early settlers, Tom McCarroll and Sam Woody, arrived from east Texas with their family and friends in 1854. Thanks to that deep creek, the newcomers were able to raise cattle, corn, and the ever-important crop, cotton.
A Taste of the Real Wild West
Life in Deep Creek was far from easy, but things went pretty well until 1868, when 16-year-old Sallie Bowman found herself surrounded by Comanches while tending her family’s prize herd of fine horses. As the teen sped home on her trusty steed, three Native Americans followed in hot pursuit.
Sallie actually came quite close to escaping, but as she approached a neighbor’s farm, the homeowners watched in horror as two gunshots sent her tumbling to the ground. Both bullets struck her in the back, and were fired at such close range that they set her dress on fire! Sadly, although her father was a doctor, the young girl quickly succumbed to her wounds.
The Story Behind the Name on the Grave
We don’t always know the story behind the names we see in historic cemeteries, but the tale of Sallie Bowman gives us a taste of what life was like in the real Wild West. When you visit, keep your eye out for Miss Sally’s pretty, weather-worn monument, which (if you consider the cemetery gate to be the front) is located towards the back edge of the cemetery.
6 Degrees of Separation Leads to Mickey Mouse (not Kevin Bacon, for once!)
Further research into items mentioned on Deep Creek Cemetery’s Texas State Historical Marker sent me on a trail leading straight to Mickey Mouse!
You see, in 1860 a settler named Andrew Mann donated land to create Deep Creek Cemetery. Years later, his great-granddaughter, Burch Mann, founded the internationally renowned American Folk Ballet. While Mann is best known for providing the choreography for Walt Disney’s original Mouseketeers, she also created a ballet called “Winter at Deep Creek” based on the early Texas settlers from which she descended.
Winter At Deep Creek – An American Folk Ballet
I hunted around for videos of this ballet, but have not found anything…yet! The American Folk Ballet does has a Facebook page, so maybe they will be able to point me in the right direction. If you know anything about this particular ballet, please let me know.
Incidentally, when asked why she created the American Folk Ballet, Burch Mann explained that, “I wanted to create something that men would enjoy as much as women did. Men in Texas just weren’t ready for classical ballet.” To learn more about this interesting woman, check out a fascinating bio of Burch Mann, as well as this wonderful interview with Burch Mann where she says “My creativity seems to increase as I get older”.
What an inspiring person! I am glad to have been introduced to her via the Texas State Historical Marker at Deep Creek Cemetery.
Vandals & Ground Penetrating Radar
My husband and I found a few wire markers with little flags and signs saying “GPRS” scattered throughout Deep Creek Cemetery. I later learned via pals on Instagram and Facebook, that “GPRS” stands for “Ground Penetrating Radar Service.” This caused me to do a little more research and learn that vandals knocked over a bunch of headstones a couple years ago. The radar service is then required to properly realign tipped over stones. This vandalisam is also the reason why the gate from the main road is now locked, requiring visitors to approach the graveyard on foot.
Orbs and Hauntings in Deep Creek Cemetery
According to the book Ghosts in the Graveyard: Texas Cemetery Tales by Olyve Abbott folks have reported seeing a glowing gravestone at Deep Creek Cemetery, but details are pretty vague. (This is not to be confused with the glowing gravestone at Veal Station in Springtown, Texas which I have actually seen. Blog post and photos forthcoming!)
While I was impressed with Deep Creek Cemetery’s natural beauty, my husband and I did not encounter anything paranormal during our visit. No orbs, phantoms, or glowing tombstones appeared in my photos. Dang! Just bluebonnets, mockingbirds and lush trees.
Links to Paranormal Groups Research at Deep Creek Cemetery
That said, some north Texas ghost hunting groups have caught images of orbs and other anomalies during their investigations at Deep Creek Cemetery. Check out these links to see for yourself:
Have you visited Deep Creek Cemetery?
Have you visited Deep Creek Cemetery? Do you enjoy exploring old cemeteries and unearthing forgotten history? Do you know of any other allegedly haunted places to visit in north Texas that I should include in my upcoming book? Please let me know in the comments section below. Thank you!
The Rest of My Photos of Deep Creek Cemetery
To see the rest of the photos from our research trip, visit the Facebook photo album for Deep Creek Cemetery on my Facebook Author page (it’s open to the public, so you don’t need a Facebook account to see the photos._ While you’re there, I hope you’ll take a moment to click the like button. It would mean a lot to me!
Curious about my books? I’ve got 3, so far…
To read about more weird, offbeat, and overlooked places, check out my best-selling travel guide:
UNEXPECTED TEXAS: Your Guide to Offbeat & Overlooked History, Day Trips & Fun Things to do near Dallas & Fort Worth.
For ghost hunting hot spots, check out my best-selling travel guide to haunted places:
PARANORMAL TEXAS: Your Travel Guide to Haunted Places near Dallas & Fort Worth.
For a strange-but-true tale of Texas history, check out this bizarre piece of West Texas history:
The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber
Hey, you! Want to come along for the ride?
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Tui Snider is an author, speaker, and photographer who specializes in North Texas travel, cemetery symbols, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!”
Snider’s best-selling books include Paranormal Texas , Understanding Cemetery Symbols, and 100 Things to Do in Dallas - Fort Worth Before You Die.