It's the Halloween season and people are often vexed by stories of the paranormal. You can hardly switch through channels anymore without finding a paranormal show on one of the cable channels.

They often say truth is stranger than fiction. Here in San Angelo, that can definitely be true. The case of the human bones found on Central Freshman campus seems like some macabre story. Except it's true.

Central Freshman Campus has stood at 218 N. Oakes Street for at least 113 years. The campus previously was San Angelo High. Legend has it that the school was built on top of an ancient graveyard. Truth is, the school's practice field was or is situated on what was San Angelo's first cemetery.

Photo: San Angelo ISD
Photo: San Angelo ISD

This cemetery held hundreds, including many of those lost in the Ben Ficklin flood of 1882. In 1921, San Angelo's city manager sent out notices that the bodies were to be removed and families were allowed to make arrangements for reburials.

Those who had no family were shoved out for $1 a grave and dumped in a mass burial at Fairmount Cemetery. For the most part, everyone considered that the bodies were all moved.

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In 2006, that notion was definitely challenged on an ordinary November day. Water utility workers were working on fixing a 20-plus inch water main that was causing a lack of water pressure for many in north and northwest San Angelo. While working on the fields of Freshman Campus near the tennis courts, workmen saw what looked like a human bone sticking out of the dirt. It was definitely human bones.

According to press reports from that day, local police,  the Central Freshman Campus and Fairmount Cemetery were contacted. The bones were found at the typical burial depth of six feet. Forensics revealed that the remains were those of people buried in the former cemetery near what is now East Third and South Magdalen Streets.

The estimates were that the bones were buried between 1852 and 1879. There were three bodies there. A mother and child in one casket, which had deteriorated to just some nails and knots. The other body may have been a soldier.

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash
Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

No one knows for sure if all the bodies were found and reburied back in the 1920s. My guess is that they were not. In fact, there might be human remains in a lot of forgotten places around San Angelo, perhaps under your own backyard.

I doubt Central Freshman students ever think about the fact that their practice field might still be a graveyard. There have been numerous reports over the years of paranormal activity in that area. Perhaps it would be a great idea to bring in a minister and consecrate that land, just to let anyone who was left behind know that we are sorry that they were left behind.

If in the far distant future my remains are dug up by water utility workers I would be a little happier knowing that someone was willing to do that for me.



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