Witches Gate #2


While Courtney took some more shots of Witches Gate in the previous entry, I pulled up on my handy Droid Witches Gate #2 located just east of Witchita Falls on Hammon and Hatton Road. This is nothing more than an intersection with a couple of versions, one involving a murder of a young couple doing what young couples do after the Texas sky goes dark.
When we found it I got out and walked around in the middle of the road and examined the guardrail and the ditch below. The area is open countryside scattered with small farms, horses, tractors, an old Chevy pick-up and some made-up stories. I looked up at October’s morning sky, yawned, stretched, and ho-hummed carrying my camera looking for a more interesting subject.
Number Two doesn’t look as mysterious and exciting as Witches Gate but because it was on our list of “haunts”, we had to drive there just to check it out. It is written on various websites that there is a relationship to this corner of the road and the burned structure I’ve written about. Some say that the land was owned by the Keith Brothers who owned the Witches Gate land. I suppose if you drive long enough on Hammon Ranch Road you’d end up on the WG property. If you drive long enough you’ll end up somewhere.
Perhaps after dark one night I’ll bring my paranormal detection equipment and hang out with the mosquitoes at this location and report back to you my findings, that is if I don’t get killed by a drunk driver out that way. You know, the one that takes the back road. By the way, did you know that you can download apps on your iPhone to detect ghosts? Is there an app to detect drunk drivers?
After a bit of googling I discovered several stories and books written about the Keith brothers and the troubles at Witches Gate. I bought the book, How Did They Die? (Murders in Northern Texas 1926-1975) by Julie Coley.
All I wanted was a trip to Amarillo to see the Cadillacs, the horse museum and some stars at the Canyon. Here I now sit spending hours researching the Witches Gate stories.

1 Comment

Posted by on October 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


Jolly, Texas


There isn’t much in Jolly. Really, there isn’t. There is an RV Center, a Baptist church, and the Jolly truck stop/Valero gas center that takes up a chunk of property just north of the highway. The population is less than 200 people. Hop on the 2393 south and you’ll find yourself eventually at Lake Arrowhead state park. I write about Jolly, however, not for the above listed places but for an easily missed little place along the 287 that is recorded on

According to the website, this place called Witches Gate is “a burned mansion, the centerpiece of a local legend. Many different stories circulate here. Some say the wealthy family who lived here was met with tragedy when the father passed away. The mother went crazy and burned the house. Another tale says robbers broke into the house, and one of the small boys in the family managed to trap the robbers and set the house afire, killing everyone inside, including himself. Other stories say the family was involved in witchcraft, which spawned the name Witches Gate. Folks say the ghost of the two brothers who lived in the family can be seen among the ruins.”

This is the month of October and the fields and trees remain lush with vegetation so finding ruins is not an easy task.  On our third attempt and U-turn, we finally located this old place on the south side of the 287 but it wasn’t easy to see.

Have you seen it?

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 10, 2015 in Uncategorized


Henrietta, Texas


Traveling to the Panhandle along the 82 on an early Sunday morning brings nothing but wide open space and wind, except for filled church parking lots. Even many restaurants in town are closed on this day in many of the little towns on the route. The only place I found a cold drink and snack was at the Bread and Butter Stop a couple of blocks west of C’s favorite house.

It was Henrietta that we decided for a hunt for haunts on the road to Amarillo. Just ahead on the 287 before getting to Amarillo is our story for a future blog entry. In the meantime, we strolled around the town square admiring the brick and sandstone courthouse built in 1884. According to records, a clock tower stood tall above the square on the building and later the dome replaced it. You cannot find these things out on Sunday mornings in the Bible belt for most people are preparing for church service or sleeping in recovering from a previous night of activity that they should be repentant of.

I asked a man at the Bread and Butter stop on information and directions to our next stop. Surely, he has answered this question before.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 9, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Wagonner Mansion, Decatur, TX


There are several good websites pertaining to the history of the Wagonner Mansion also known as El Castille so I won’t go on about it here. I saw this property October 3, 2015 with friends. It does not appear to have inhabitants, humans that is, but perhaps a few mice and mud martins. No Trespassing signs are spaced evenly along the fence. The gate was closed with a chain and padlock. The grass has been mowed but not maintained as shown in past photos. A sheet of plywood is seen on one of the front windows. I took pictures from the fence line as most people do. I’d love to go inside.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


Tatum, New Mexico


Tatum is one of those towns that you must stop at even if there is no big tourist attraction there. You cannot miss the Town and Country convenience store and gas station on the southeast corner of the 380 and Main Street.  Across is a cafe that by the number of cars parked out front at meal time determines it to be a decent eatery.  Allsups is situated on the opposite corner.  Suit yourself.

What catches the travelers attention are the many metal art signs and displays along the roads.  These ranch/cowboy cut outs are most commonly seen at the large gates to sprawling grazing pastures and ranches of the county.  Nice people live in Tatum.  Stop by for a visit.  Everyone’s got a story to tell.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


Carlinville, Illinois


If you drive southbound on Illinois I-55 headed toward St. Louis and there are very dark clouds ahead of you at 3:30 pm and purple is apparent on your radar, it’s best to avoid it and to turn on the 108 and head west toward Carlinville.  Perhaps there are other options but this was one of my last.  But you find the most beautiful little towns on spontaneous drives.  

Macoupin County Courthouse is what you see in the image in this post.  Records show that Abraham Lincoln represented many of his clients on this property in the courthouse but not in this actual building.  Over time, a larger courthouse was needed thus resulting in The Million Dollar Courthouse.   When there is money involved in costly endeavors such as this there is no doubt going to be rumors of misappropriations, scandal, and so on. 

There is quite a story behind the walls of this gorgeous structure.   A few raindrops felt on my arm when I rolled down the window to capture this image.  I took a sip of sweet tea and turned right onto the square to head out of town. 

Remember, if you’re governor, you can get a town named after you. 


Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Uncategorized


Winter Likes and Dislikes


Many where I live long for the Winter months.  I’m really unsure why.  Perhaps its the enjoyment of being warm and snug inside home with family, the joy of the holidays, comfort food, hot chocolate.  I have no use for Winter but it is inevitable so I make the most of it.   I’ll share my likes and dislikes here.


1.  See the above photo taken in town after a snow/rain/pellet day.  Does that look like a lovely morning to you?  Of course not!

2.  Snow and ice.  It’s pretty to look at from the window for a few hours.

3.  Cold wind.  It’s just terrible for your complexion.

4.  Being snowed in.  Who on earth lives for that?  Not a single soul benefits from being snowed in.  There are people in need in the world and if you can’t leave your house, you cannot help them.

5.  Gray winter skies.

6.  Short days.  At least the sun is now coming up at 7 am end of January.

7.  Seasonal affect disorder.  Results from short days.

8.  The flu.

9.  Heavy winter clothes

10.  Not so many good IR photography opportunities.


1 . On clear days, the sky is a deeper blue.

2.  Orion is visible all Winter long.

3.  The geese at the wildlife refuge are abundant.

4.  A good cold frozen winter reduces many of the summers insects (for a while).

5.  Many more yellow finches at the bird feeders.

6.  Valentine’s Day.

7.  Planning for the Spring planting.

8.  Butternut squash.

9.  Comfort food.

10.  All things leather.


Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Black and White, list, Photography, Texas


Tags: , , ,