Rest of the Best: 10 Best Houston Urban Legends
|Larry D. Moore via Wikipedia|
Poor Kevin Archer of Sugar Land died in 1994 after getting accidentally stuck in the left buttock by a broken off heroin needle that was left in a McDonald's ball pit at his third birthday party. Or so an early scare-mongering chain mail would have you believe. No, there's never been anything more dangerous in a McDonald's ball pit than the bacteria from a gently rotting McNugget, yet this rumor has been attributed to a Houston Chronicle story so much that the paper was actually forced to run a denial that they'd ever published such a story six years after it supposedly happened.
5. Too Much Child Support
You might remember this one from earlier this year. Houston man Clifford Hall was sentenced to 180 days in jail for paying too much child support. Mainstream press treated it as a dog-bites-man story, while the Men's Rights "Activists" seized on it as proof of institutional misandry (Side note: It makes me happy Word doesn't recognize the term "misandry" as a legitimate word).
The truth from Hall's side of the story is that his child support and visitation terms were changed without his knowledge, and that he was $3,000 delinquent on payments when he found out the truth. He was sentenced for contempt Including walking out of a court hearing), and there's some evidence from court records that this was just part of a long-running custody issue. Still, he wasn't jailed for paying too much child support.
4. Harwin Islamic Martyrs
Source: Your racist uncle
You can find all sorts of great deal down on Harwin Street, but one Muslim-owned business found itself in hot water when it closed down on September 11, 2009 in observation of the martyrdom of Iman `Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, a 7th century cousin of Muhammad who was the first to accept the prophet's teachings. Unfortunately, a combination of ignorance and poor timing led to photos of the sign placed in the Perfume Planet's front door going viral as an Islamic honoring of the hijacking on 9/11 by terrorists in 2001 that claimed nearly 3,000 lives (None of whom were named Ali). The legend (and harassment) of a Houston store owner celebrating the greatest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor persists to this day.
3. The Immigrant Interview
On May 1, 2006 there was rumored to be a "Day Without Immigrants", a boycott movement in which illegal immigrants would stay home and not buy anything to show how important they were to the economy. The idea didn't really do much, but it did spark a chain email that was supposedly a transcript between KHOU's Jim Moore and an illegal immigrant named Juan where Juan talked about how much he enjoyed all his government benefits and free healthcare.
Here's a link if you're not in the mood to ask your racist uncle for it, but naturally no such interview ever occurred. KHOU never aired one, and Jim Moore wasn't even working at KHOU at the time.
On a lonely stretch of I-45 between Houston and Galveston bordering the Calder Oil Field is a place that has seen more murder and death than can really be believed. Police describe the area as the "Highway to Hell" because of the unusually high number of traffic accidents that occur there.
If that were not enough it's also been the final resting place of more than 30 murder victims since the 1970s. There are rumors that the Killing Fields are the haunt of a serial killer, as many of the victims have been young girls with similar features. At least one arrest and conviction for a victim, Krystal Jean Baker, has occurred, but the vast majority of the brutal deaths remain unsolved. As federal agent Don Ferrarone once told CBS, it's simply the perfect place to kill someone and get away with it.
1. UTMB Face
Houston's greatest ghost story is that of the face that appears on the concrete wall of the University of Texas Medical Branch on the dockside of the Ewing Building. Supposedly the face has moved to a different panel of concrete every time it has been attempted to be sandblasted off, and the common macabre addition is that people have drowned trying to get a good look at it.
Some claim the face is that of the pirate Jean Lafitte, while others say it's the vengeful manifestation of the previous owner of the land. Local Galvestonians swear that the face has moved before, but all the pictures I've tracked down point to it always being on the second floor. There's no argument, though, that it remains a favorite spooky story in Houston whether it's true or not.