How Jefferson Texas (Maybe) Inspired Poltergeist & Other Spooky Tales
When it comes to haunted destinations in the Lone Star State, you can't get more spooky than Jefferson. Much like older cities situated on a river, this town has a long and dark history - which makes it the perfect spot for ghost hunters or anyone looking for an other-worldly thrill
The city of Jefferson is born
Jefferson, Texas was reportedly founded in 1841 with land ceded by the Caddo Tribe. Thanks to it's proximity to the Red River and the "Great Raft" (a 100+ mile long log-jam just north of Natchitoches, Louisiana), Jefferson enjoyed a very prosperous time as a very popular economic hub. With the log-jam in place, Caddo Lake and the Red River were several feet higher which allowed for the passage of gigantic, steam-powered paddleboats that ferried everything from cotton to passengers.
Between the years of 1845 and 1872, Jefferson was in its heyday. The population peaked around 30,000 residents, making it the 6th-largest city in Texas. At the time, it was bigger than Dallas (in 1850, the population there was less than 2,000 people). It was a vital port for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and even had a huge black powder storehouse on the banks of the river.
Jefferson's fall from glory
After the invention of nitroglycerine, the Army Corps of Engineers were able to use powerful explosives to finally loosen the giant log-jam in the Red River. When that happened, the water in the river near Jefferson and Caddo Lake dropped to a devastating level. It fell so far that riverboat travel was no longer economically feasible.
In the years that preceded this catastrophic change, legend has it that railroad magnate Jay Gould tried and failed to bring his railroad through Jefferson. City officials scoffed and said that trains were completely unnecessary because the river was all they needed. That's when Gould famously said that "grass would be growing in the city streets of Jefferson."
In the years following the demise of the log jam, the town's population dropped to just over 3,000 people - ultimately proving Gould's prediction to be true.
Jefferson's Darker History
The unpleasant parts of Jefferson's history are terrible and numerous. Tales of racial violence at the hands of the Klu Klux Klan are plentiful. According to the paranormal experts at Austin Ghosts, out of the 322 lynchings have been recorded in the state of Texas, 307 of them occurred in East Texas - and it's a safe bet that lots of them happened in Jefferson.
On top of that, the seedy bars and brothels that dotted the Jefferson landscape during its peak led to plenty of horrific crimes and murders in the area. It is for this reason that many experts claim that Jefferson is the most haunted town in all of Texas.
If you're brave enough, read on to discover the spookiest spots in haunted Jefferson, Texas.