True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 129
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 129
Andrews was making those formal entries in this little leather.
bound book he little dreamed to what use they would be put
over half a century after they were written. They have served
the purpose today of carrying me back to a day when some of
the greatest men of Houston tread the boards, and the experience
has been very pleasant.
HANTS AND kOODOOS.
WAS amused when I read in the papers the other day
about the negroes being so frightened by the report that
the "Axe Man" had reached Houston and was looking over
the field before beginning his destructive work here. The description
of how the negroes were using charms to ward off the
disaster, wiich they feared was pending, was peculiarly amusing
to me because I recognized that the negro of today is the same
as the negro of my boyhood days. They are better educated,
of course, but you can't educate superstition and the belief in
charms out of a negro, and it is useless to try. "Hants," "hoodoos"
and "spirits" are just as potent today as they have ever
been with the negroes.
When I was a boy I had as implicit faith in the reality of
ghosts as I had in anything, notwithstanding the fact that I was
born a Doubting Thomas. The negroes taught me all kinds of
nonsense and I became as superstitious as they. I was not
alone in this for my state was common to all boys raised in the
South among the negroes. I would no more dream of going In
swimming without a string tied round my ankle to ward off
cramps or to allow another boy to stunt my growth by stepping
over me while I was lying down than I would have thought of
jumping off the highest building in town. All three would prove
fatal and I knew it.
Ghosts, however, were our strong points. Graveyards were
shunned, even after early twilight, and after dark no boy would
venture near one alone for anything. One of the greatest panics
I ever was mixed up in was caused by this universal fear of
ghosts. Four or five of us had been out hunting up Buffalo
Bayou beyond the old San Felipe graveyard. We had stayed
longer than we intended and it was quite dark when we came
down the road by the side of the cemetery. Each boy recognized
the dangerous position we were in, but not the slightest reference
was made to the graveyard. We walked along boldly, each
trying to get as far away from the cemetery fence as he could
without attracting especial attention to what he was doing.
There were several negro boys with us, for in that day no hunting
party was complete unless there were as many negro boys
as white ones. These negroes were frankly afraid and did not
try to disguise the fact that they were shunning that fence. We
talked loudly about everything we could think of except ghosts,
though each boy knew that these latter were on each boy's mind
Here’s what’s next.
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Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young., book, 1913; Galveston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/m1/129/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .