Ghost Stories from Decatur and Wise County

Happy Halloween to family and friends, enjoy several ghost stories l located on the web. Have some fun remembering those scary teenage years and share and or provide your versions of these stories. Let the memories and sharing begin!

Goatman’s Bridge, a Texas ghost legend.

“On Halloween, if you honk your car horn twice, get out of the car, and look into the distance, you can see the Goatman’s glowing eyes.”

The story goes on to say that a man was hanged on the bridge above Hickory Creek. The victim somehow lost his head and his ghost is returning to search for it. When he fails, the ghost kills a goat to use ITS head. Since then this legend of the “Goatman” has been a fixture in the local community

Legends have it that you can hear hoof beats on the bridge and splashing below, and sightings of a man with a goat’s head. Others have heard, maniacal laughter, nonanimal or inhuman like growling coming from the surrounding woods. We have spotted mysterious lights, possibly the lantern lights that people have sworn to have seen though they are usually red or orange in tint in photographs and in person but always facing the bridge.

November 15th 1967: police discover an abandoned car beside Old Alton Bridge, five miles south of Denton, Texas. A rash of mysterious disappearances is becoming alarmingly routine on a chilling stretch of road that is known by locals as “the Goatman’s bridge.”

Constructed in 1884, the bridge connected Lewisville to Alton. The turn of the century brought a black goat farmer and his family to a residence just north of the bridge, and a few short years later, Oscar Washburn was known as a dependable, honest businessman. North Texans endearingly began to call him the Goatman. But the success of a black man was still unwelcome, and Klansmen in the local government turned to violence after he displayed a sign on Alton Bridge: “this way to the Goatman’s”

One night in August 1938, with their headlights off, Klansmen crossed the bridge, dragged the Goatman from his family, and lynched him over the side. Peering over into the water, his murderers saw a rope, but not his body. In a panic, the Klansman returned to the Washburn residence, and killed his family in cold blood.

Since the disappearance of the Goatman there have been many strange sightings on and near Old Alton Bridge. Some say his spirit still haunts these woods. Locals tell the story and follow it with a warning: those who cross the bridge with no headlights will be met on the other side by the Goatman.

After numerous abandoned automobiles and missing persons, a new bridge was constructed directly downstream. But Old Alton Bridge, the Goatman’s Bridge, remains still open to foot traffic. It is under surveillance by the Paranormal Investigators of North Texas and the Denton County Paranormal Investigators.

Oscar Washburn was never seen again and has been presumed dead since his attempted murder.

Hell’s Gates – Bridgeport, TX

Description of Haunting: I once went there with some friends. We went and parked our cars about 40 yards from an old wooden bridge, which is about 30-40 ft. long. (It was around midnight to 1 in the morning) we walked across the bridge (story goes once you have crossed the bridge you have just gone through hell’s gates and entered the demons domain) and went up a small foothill covered with tree branches as soon as we got to level ground we were on a dirt road covered by tall grass about 10-12 ft. high on each side. At the time it was very warm. We walked about 30 ft. and we were past the tall grass. As you walk further down the road it got colder and colder and you could sense a presence. Well I decided to look to my right in an the open field just in front of a wooded area there was a small black figure in the shape of a man about 4 ft. tall with glowing red eyes. As we walked further down the road I could see him keeping up with us in the pasture. Once we got quite a bit a ways from the bridge we came up on a log going across the road. The log was very long and covered the entire road. Even with 10-12 people it was much too heavy to move. (Keep in mind that it was cold enough to wear a heavy jacket at this point, but the strange thing is it was the middle of the summer in Texas) so we left it there. Well I and a couple of friends decided to walk back to the bridge and the others wanted to keep walking. So we turned around and starting heading back for the bridge. I then looked to my left and noticed the figure that was following us earlier started walking with us. And that kind of freaked us out a little. So we started running. But the figure kept up with us the entire time. And as soon as we got to the tall grass it was gone. I then turned around and walked past the tall grass to see if I could see it but it wasn’t there. So we went to the bridge and waited for the others. After about 45 minutes they returned. So we all decided to leave. We got in our cars and went driving around some. We turned down this road and that road. Then turned down the same road we were walking on. And all of the sudden we stopped at the place where the log was across the road. It was gone. After that we then drove down to the bridge and got out and decided to go somewhere else. So we turned the cars around and started leaving when all of the sudden we stopped. So I got out of the car and looked ahead and saw that the log was once again blocking the road. I thought we were trapped in. and I got scared. So we turned around once again and drove back to the bridge. We all got out and decided to go back and try to move the log with one of our vehicles cause one was a big 4×4 truck, but when we got to where the log The Haunted Bridge at Green Elm Cemetery

The day was warm for October, but he loved the fall, regardless. The crisp cool mornings and warm afternoons of north Texas were perfect for those exhausted from the scorching summer heat. The year was 1948 and four cattlemen were on their way back to Chico after a trip out to west Texas on a cattle buying excursion. The weather was dry as drought had claimed the land earlier that year, recalled G. E. Francis, age 92 when he shared this story back in 2002.

“We had been driving for hours, stuffed into a dark colored sedan. There was no air-conditioning in cars in those days and the trip had been warm, even for October”. The car rattled along the winding road through what was known as “the bottoms,” a stretch of roadway that is now under water and encompassed by the north end of Lake Bridgeport on the Jack-Wise County line. The last leg of the journey home ran from Wizard Wells (now a ghost town) to Chico.

“We had to stop for a nature break. We’d been driving for hours and though we were close to home, we decided to pull over,” the driver coming to a complete stop right on the bridge. “We could do that back in those days as you might not pass another car on these old country roads for half an hour or so.” The bridge he spoke of spanned the west fork of the Trinity River and was constructed of iron frame and wooden slats.

The four companions exited the car as the sun was just about to set in the western Texas sky. As they finished their business they stood on the bridge taking in the scenery and the cool of the autumn evening watching the vast blue sky fade into orange across the horizon. The bridge was known as the “Green Elm Cemetery Bridge” because of its proximity to an old cemetery located about 500 feet south of the river crossing just beyond the bend

Suddenly, without warning, a blood-curdling scream vibrated across the air amongst the men with a waling that chilled the soul. The feminine like cry was so loud and startling that they found themselves dumbfounded of its origin. All four were confused about what it was or where it came from. Once able to gather their senses they realized the sound was coming from about 100 feet or so up river.

“We saw this thing”, said Mr. Francis. “It floated in the air about eighteen to twenty feet above the river and was moving toward the bridge as if it were floating in unseen flood waters. It was coming straight toward the bridge…and us. I was scared half to death. Actually, terrified in my shoes was more like it. I couldn’t move I was so scared and apparently, either could anyone else. We just stood there in complete horror and bewilderment trying to figure out just what this thing was and just what was its purpose. As it got closer we all began to realize that it appeared to be a woman, a Mexican woman, in a white dress…screaming and moaning as if she were in great turmoil, as if she were drowning, being carried downstream through invisible turbulent waters, in mid-air.

I was so scared, not knowing if I should run or hide or just get back in the car. She floated right toward the bridge, wiggling and thrashing about as she went right over it and right over us. She floated on south down the river about 500 feet or so till she got to the bend near the old graveyard then, just like that…she just faded away like a vapor in thin air. We all stood there completely stunned not knowing exactly what to do next. We just looked at each other not knowing what to say. We then quickly got into the car. Everyone was screaming at once with extreme consternation. We just got the heck out of there, still not sure what to make of the strange ghostly encounter.”

The men couldn’t get away from the bridge quick enough as they realized they needed to calm down and get a grip on their emotions. Taking a while to gather their composures they began to discuss what they had just encountered. Obviously shaken by the incident the four decided they would not tell anyone what they’d seen as they feared friends and neighbors would think them taking to fast liquor or at least, pulling some sort of prank. They simply didn’t think anyone would believe them and wondered if they could believe it themselves.

But as human nature would have it, secrets are known to be shared and within a couple of years word of the “Ghost of Green Elm Bridge” began to leak out. Teenagers looking for a thrill and the curious from Jacksboro, Chico and Bridgeport began to visit the bridge in hopes of seeing the specter. Some got just that over the following years, reported Mr. Francis who swore the ghost was the real deal. He said, “I remember every minute of the terrifying event as though it had happened yesterday. A fella don’t forget that kind of thing…it stays with you always.”

As of 2002, most of the area around the old bridge belonged to the son of G.E. Francis who declined to comment on the story. He, according to his father, has had his share of the spook over the years. He and his wife have heard the screaming woman down on the river several times in the past.

“Back in 92, said Francis, two oilfield employees got quite a scare down at the compressor station near the bridge. They were working and went to leave long about sundown one evening when their truck wouldn’t start. While working on the truck they heard a horrifying scream coming from the direction of the river. I’m not sure if they actually saw her or not but they did hear her because it scared them both something terrible. They high-tailed it on foot and came to my son’s house down the road. One of them fella’s quit his job right there saying he was never going back down to the river where that ghost was. He was really, really scared from whatever he saw or heard”.

Not much is known about the old Green Elm Cemetery (also known as Verner Cemetery), or those buried in it. It is located down river from the bridge on the left side of a right bend in the river among a dense area of mesquite bush and post oak trees. The grave yard is located just on the Jack and Wise County line. The earliest grave in the cemetery is entered in 1870 and the last in 1909. The cemetery is occasionally mowed but mostly un-kept. According to Jack County records, 55 or so graves have been entered into the cemetery with 20 to 30 sadly unmarked.

The life and times of pioneers in north Texas was a very rough road to travel in the mid to late 19th century. Many died from the hardships endured by life in this once savage land. Who knows who or what the phantom could be. What terrible fate had befallen this poor soul? What is it that still holds her to this plane so many years after her death? Did she die in a flood? Did she simply drown in the river? Is she buried in an unmarked grave in the near-by cemetery or is she something from beyond our realm of understanding? We will obviously never know.

Perhaps, however, we could find it in our hearts to say a simple prayer for this specter in hopes she may find peace.

Green Elm/Verner Cemetery is located about five miles down a lonely dirt road that basically turns into a trail eventually ending in the cemetery. The old skeletal remains of the bridge still remain. The bridge was burned many years ago and is not passable. There are no longer roads on the other side anyway. The cemetery lurks just down from the bridge, lonely and isolated, reflective of the lonely soul that haunts it.

If you ever feel brave enough to venture down that lonely road be very mindful and respectful to the present property owners and know that the scream you may hear in those hollows could be your own.

Screaming Bridge

Screaming Bridge is located south of Decatur and a couple of stories ties to the legend. Some say girl drove off the bridge creek and supposedly, if you park on the bridge, turn off your engine and roll down the windows, you can still hear her scream. It used to be an old wooden bridge — now it is just a concrete bridge. Others say people still go there to try and “raise” the screams of the woman who was hanged there many years ago.


A male ghost is seen standing on the side of Highway 287 headed toward Rhome on Sunday mornings between 4:00 and 5:00 AM. Several truckers report seeing ghost in their headlights, but when they check their side-view mirrors, he’s vanished.

Some see an older man walking south on 287 wearing a dark colored suite and grey gloves could be the ghost of 287?

Wise County Courthouse

If you are in the courthouse around 2 a.m. the elevator starts going up and down all by itself.

Supposedly a person committed suicide or was pushed out of the tower of the courthouse long before barriers were installed over the windows.

Deep Creek Cemetery

At the Deep Creek cemetery (south of Decatur off Highway 287 on the right) a lady in a pink shroud has been seen.

Slidell Gym

The old Slidell gym has a ghost. No one recalls the poor soul’s name. People tell stories about hearing basketballs dribble when no one is around, or balls falling off the rack when no one is close to it


Outside of Springtown is a cemetery with a glowing tombstone.

The Moth man Cometh…

On June 2, 2003, about 6 a.m. a postal worker traveling east on County Road 3673 in Wise County, Texas, slammed on the brakes of her white Mustang when a frightened group of deer suddenly bolted across the road in front of her. Incidents with wild deer are nothing new in this mostly rural county but this time there was a bizarre twist– the deer were being chased by two red fireballs about the size of basketballs.

Co-workers described her as visibly shaken when she arrived for work at a local post office. She breathlessly described the strange encounter to coworkers. I had just arrived for some routine mailing matter when she gave me an account of the incident. Intrigued, I visited the site and upon investigation, I have found and photographed several damaged small trees that appear to have been subjected to a high heat source traveling on a straight trajectory as if something had passed by. Leaves on the affected trees appeared to be wilted and dried in appearance. Leaves outside the trajectory appeared normal.

The following day, June 3, 2003, at approximately 9 a.m. two major accidents occur on Hwy 114 in Wise County. One multi-vehicle accident near Rhome and another at the Hwy 114 and Hwy 51 intersection involving a concrete truck, a rock hauler, and three sections of a triple-wide mobile home. The same postal worker had taken the day off and was traveling into the Dallas area for some recreation. She was in a vehicle stranded in between the two accidents. One minute ahead of schedule she would have been involved in the first accident and a few minutes behind schedule she would have been involved in the second accident. This author was stuck in traffic just a few cars back behind the second accident. I am still mentally thanking the girl at the coffee shop for being a little slow that morning or I would have been involved in the wrecks.

A few days later, I showed the cover illustration on Loren Coleman’s book Moth man and Other Curious Encounters to the postal worker. It depicted a shadowy figure with two luminescent red eyes. The woman immediately claimed that those glowing red orbs were the same as what she had seen chasing the deer. While there are no current reports of winged creatures in Wise County, this is by no means the first report of flying fire balls, often associated with Moth man type events.

Even more curious is the “name game” that seems to extend from prior Moth man events to this one. A man named ‘Turner’ was involved in the second accident; a man named ‘Turner’ was also killed when the Silver Bridge collapsed in 1967. The “name game” is a definition applied to the fact that certain families with the same last name pop-up repeatedly in relation to Moth man or UFO sightings. ‘Turner’ is one of those names. No one has any explanation for this phenomenon.

Governors Ridge

Governors ridge assisted living ghost haunts the home. One night employees where walking down into the new wing of the building. As they walked through the hall they noticed in every empty room the lights were on.
The doors were all locked but the lights were on. One resident have seen a little girl, a man and a woman in their room. The resident tells us the people will sit at her table. When employees walk into the room the resident says the people leave and she’ll point to the wall. The resident says that the people say they’ll be back. And when you walk throughout the new wing you can’t help but get this eerie feeling that someone is either watching you or following you


A father looking for his daughter who was in a car crash a few decades ago found her dead in her car. Being upset he shot himself. Go to hunter trail at 11:21 pm and wait you will eventually see a light coming closer. Your car must be running and once the eerie light shines on your wind shield the car will turn off.




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