Belton Ghost Tours 2016
So over the summer in our online "Archaeological Discoveries" course we had been learning about major archaeological discoveries around the world but more importantly, how to tell archaeological fact from fiction. Archaeological "news" sometimes includes fantastical interpretations of artifacts found at sites, usually invoking theories involving aliens and supernatural entities. On doing research for this course I was surprised at how many historical places in Texas also had some kind of paranormal report included with historical archaeological reports. Dowsing or the use of divining rods also seems to be a pretty popular way to find water around Central Texas, but also burial sites. I am often asked if I use divining rods as part of my archaeological research.
|Divining rods we were provided with on the tour|
|We did it! Yes they played "Ghostbusters"|
Tour guide explains the "Ghost Radar" and tells anecdote about a speak easy
I'd say the highlights of the tour included (with a few links I quickly found, for more history check out Lena Armstrong's book on the history of Bell County):
- the old Belton Jail, where 9 men were killed by a mob in 1874, now a renovated home
- the try-it-yourself divining rod activity at Yettie Polk park. We learned the park was the site of the great flood of 1913 which killed Yettie Polk and her children, as luridly described by the tour hosts
- visiting the site of the MKT Belton co. depot railroad station and its history with Temple
The tour was a fast and fun way to start learning about history in Belton. That said, I didn't see any spirit orbs and remain a skeptical Scully.
|Quick history by the confederate soldier monument, courthouse in background|
|Tree in front of the old county jail|
|Jail wagon for transporting prisoners according to tour guide|
|Old county jail in 2016, sold as of 2017|