Saturday, August 27, 2011


HOUSTON, TX - Without a doubt the most important investment a family will make is the purchase of a home. If you choose to buy an older home there are problems you might expect to face: plumbing disasters, an aging water heater, and electrical malfunctions to name a few. You might if you believe in such things even expect some evidence of former occupants, perhaps even a ghost. If however you save and work toward your dream of owning a new home, moving day would mean a fresh start. No one has walked a trail across the carpet, or put dents in the dishwasher. The home you have purchased is uniquely your own.
Black Hope Cemetery
In 1980 Ben and Jean Williams brought a new home in Newport a subdivision just outside Houston, Texas. They moved in with their young granddaughter expecting to have all the satisfaction of living in a house that was built to their specifications. The neighborhood was beautifully designed and the house roomy and comfortable with the entire modern convinces they could want. But almost from the first day they began to have experiences that one would expect more in a drafty castle than in a brand new suburban house in southeast Texas.

At first it was just a feeling. The prickle at the back of the neck you have when being watched. An atmosphere became prevalent, a general gloomy darkness was experienced in some parts of the home and cold spots were noticed. As if something was trying to get their attention toilets began to flush by themselves and electrical problems that could not be explained occurred again and again.

The family began to have other more serious problems. Poisonous snakes began to find their way onto the property and into the couple’s home. Their daughter became seriously ill. Their neighbors reported similar incidents and problems with their own homes, but none of them could offer any explanation.

The frustration was exacerbated by a nagging doubt they could not put their finger on. When they moved in they had noticed that a tree in the back yard had strange markings carved into it. The terrain in the subdivision seemed oddly dotted with what looked like sinkholes. They could not shake the feeling that some clue or history of the area was being withheld from them. Unintentionally a neighbor discovered the horrible truth. Workers digging a swimming pool in the back yard unearthed the remains of two people.

Facts began to slowly emerge. They were able to locate an elderly man named Jasper Norton who as a youth had worked as a gravedigger. Not only could he help identify whom the graves belonged to, but he also told them how they came to be there. The subdivision was built over the graves of an abandoned cemetery that had been called "Black Hope." Buried in pauper and often unmarked graves were the remains of at least 60 people most of whom had been former slaves.

Horrified by the incidents that now seemed to be intensifying, and disgusted at the thought of having even unwittingly desecrated a graveyard many of the residents left the area, some taking a huge financial loss and simply abandoning their homes. Jean Williams was convinced that the carved markings on the tree in her back yard were in actuality a makeshift grave marker. As the Developer continued to dispute that the area had been a cemetery, Jean attempted to prove her case by digging around the strangely marked tree. Her daughter Tina, age 30, tried to help but collapsed and died of a massive heart attack. Jean and Ben devastated by their loss, and convinced the property was at least partially to blame also fled the subdivision.

The William's neighbors sued the Developer and were awarded a large cash settlement by a jury, but the judge in the case set aside this decision and none of the residents of the Newport subdivision received any money in compensation for their losses.

Many of the former residents now have rebuilt their lives, and are no longer plagued with the problems they experienced while living unintentionally over the graves of the Black Hope Cemetery.

No comments:

Post a Comment