This is probably the most famous of Ghosts in our area and the one that I have seen the most.
As a kid growing up in the small historic town of Amherstburg Ontario, you could not help but hear of all the folklore and stories about the haunting of the Texas Rd Graveyard. There is a lot I have to say about this area and this particular story has to do specifically with my encounters with the Ghost Horse.
As a young kid one of the few things we were able to do as a family was go horseback riding. We would go a couple of times each summer. One of our favourite spots was a ranch not very far from my childhood home, named Sutton Creek Ranch. I guess it was your average horse ranch consisting of about 30 or so horses and a handful of ponies. I'm roughly guessing that it was about a 40 acre ranch consisting of about 50/50 fields to forest. I use to love going there as I had a childhood crush on one of the young girl farmhands.
The first time I saw the Ghost Horse was actually one of the last times I rode at the ranch. I think it was in late August, just before school started. I was 11/12yrs old. The Ranch was a nice place. It had an old two story white farm house with a small front porch about mid way down a wide dirt driveway. The barn was in the back behind the house about 300-400 ft. It was a dusty old barn with a large door in the middle and had about 20 old stalls on both sides. The back of the barn opened like the front and behind the barn was a rolling field with a small stream in the middle and a bush lot/forest behind. When you are looking at the farm from the road; to the left was a large fenced in field where the horses would graze and wander around. The fence line would run from the back of the barn out south (left side) to the edge of the forest and then up to the road, along the road edge to the driveway and back to the front left corner of the barn.
On the right side of the barn was a very similar field except the fenced in area was only half the size. It did not touch the barn and ended very near the back of the farmhouse. It also stopped mid field from the forest to the north (right side) This was the pony riding area where a large circle was worn into the ground from where the farmhands would walk the ponies for the younger riders. Next to the barn on the right side was a large wall of hay bales.
There were 2 typical riding paths for the horses. The first would start at the barn and then continue out between the hay pile and pony corral moving North (right side) behind the pony corral and out into the open field. Then it would cut up diagonally across the field to the intersection of the field and the forest very near the road. The path would then tuck into the forest. The north end of the forest was young and full of underbrush with wild raspberry bushes and young maple trees. The trail would turn West (toward the back of the ranch) and travel into the back woods.
The back woods were older and more established with tall trees. The land also was more contoured and had several small rolling hills. At the back of the woods was a ravine. This ravine was wide and the sides had a very gentle slope. The first path would head down into the ravine and cross to the far side. Once on the far side, the trail would continue South towards the left side of the property. We would travel at the back of the forest and not very far away from a corn field. At times you could see through the trees and see the corn field through openings in the brush.
The forest was very open on the inside and you could see quite far around to the far side of the ravine and into the forest closer to the ranch. It had rolling hills and old rotted tree trunks littered on the ground. The sunlight passing through the tree canopy of the forest created a very nice calming effect and a very surreal feeling about the forest.
As the trail arrived at the southern most back corner of the property the trail would cross back over the ravine. The ravine walls here were steeper and I can remember my first few times being very cautious about how the horse moved down into the bottom of the ravine as I was not an accomplished rider and was afraid of falling off the horse. Going down was the hard part. The horse seemed to climb the other side in just a couple of bounces.
Once on the other side, the trail would continue east towards the front road. The path continued along a large land roll that was built up to keep the deep drainage ditch past the southern property line from overflowing into the forest. Beyond the deep ditch was a thin strip of brush and trees and then the Texas Road graveyard. We would pass very near to it. The trail continued along the older forest.
As it got closer to the roadside (front South eastern corner) the tall trees faded into a younger brush filled area. The trail would then exit very close to the road and continue in front of the fenced in grazing area along the road edge to the driveway. Then the trail would turn back down the driveway and end at the barn. This was the most common route.
The other route would start the same as the first; from the barn passing behind the pony corral, to the north east corner of the property and into the forest. It would continue to the edge of the ravine at the back of the property but then it would not cross. Instead it would cut back towards the barn and exit the forest in the back northwest corner of the back field and travel along the open area behind the stream. I liked this trail too because you got a good look at the ranch and the open area that was actually quite beautiful. The trail would continue along the back of the field to the south west corner and tuck back into the forest. Then it would meet up with the first trail at the second ravine crossing. Then it would continue along the south side near the graveyard and back out along the front road and back to the barn.
I know this is a lot of detail but I need to explain the area as it is very significant to the Ghost Horse appearances.
The larger area was framed in by a dirt road (Texas Road) traveling along the southern edge of the Texas road grave yard to a bridge that crossed over the ravine. The ravine ran along the back of the Sutton Creek Forest and continued North out across the landscape. Behind the forest to the West was several large farm fields typically cornfields.
This particular ride was panning out like usual. (other than I got stung by 2 bees before we left the barn). I remember I got a large brown horse (Quarter horse I think). There were about 5 of us in total for the trail plus the trail master, who was a younger man that had taken me out on the trail for most of my visits. My sister was riding her first horse and it was her first time on the trail. The other riders consisted of a mid aged man, his wife (Who was so large the first horse laid down and refused to move until she got off. They got her a bigger horse but had a hard time getting her on it because she was so short. We had many chuckles over it). The last person was a teenage boy who was also on his first ride.
The ride started as all the others had and we set out across the ranch behind the pony corral and into the forest on the far side. All was going well until we started to pass into the old forest. At first the problems seemed small and ordinary. The heavy woman's horse would stop and refuse to continue (I thought it was due to her weight like the first horse she had). We would have to stop and the trail master go to the back of the line and tug the horse into moving forward.
Then as we continued other horses stopped and had to be coaxed into moving. I noticed that my horse was looking around and twitching his ears around. (typically they just trotted along the path with their heads lazily looking forward. It seemed they knew the path and routine and would practically perform the ride without participation from their riders). But this time they were all being stubborn.
In front of me was the teenage boy and his horse and towards the back of the forest his horse just suddenly turned around and started back along the trail. (going back the way we came). The boy fought the horse but could not turn it around. The trail master once again trotted off to get the horse and struggled to get it to return to line.
When we reached the ravine and were to enter it, the trail masters horse started to act up. It refused to go down into the ravine and was actually hopping on its back feet trying to change it's direction as it was led down into the ravine floor. It wasn't until we reached the far side of the ravine that the real trouble started. The horses started to bunch up. So tight that my legs were actually hitting the other rider's legs and at times the other horses.
The heavy lady's horse tried to make a break for it towards the cornfield and she got caught on a branch and was being pulled off her saddle. (the horse was not pulling hard but it looked like it could have bolted and sheared her off its back without much trouble.) It seemed to be indecisive about what it was doing. The pull from the lady and the shouting of the trail master seemed to stop the horse from continuing.
Once all the horses were back on the trail and heading South along the back of the forest, things seemed to be doing well (other than the horses were clumped together and seemed to be frightened). About mid forest the horses all stopped and stayed clumped together. At the time I had no idea what was going on. Even the trail master's horse would not move. So to pass the time as the trail master fought with his horse, my sister and I looked around.
The forest seemed nice and relaxing, but the horses definitely were tense. Then I saw it through the trees. It was just a plain white horse trotting through the woods on the far side of the ravine. It looked lost. I thought it had gotten loose from the ranch and wandered into the forest. I really suspected nothing of it and it seemed quiet ordinary. The horse stopped in a small clear belly in the forest (a low pocketed area with leaves and a dead stump). It looked around and seemed to notice us but did not really care that we were there. To me it looked like a unicorn (without the horn) and I immediately pointed it out to my sister. She saw it and thought it was a beautiful horse. (It was. It had a long flowing silvery white main and only a little darken felt looking patch on the end of its nose.) It moved very gracefully and trotted round in a small circular area.
Quickly the other riders caught on to what we were looking at and soon all of us were appreciating the beautiful white horse. This quickly caught the trail master's attention and he asked what we were looking at. I pointed to the horse and I said to him. "One of your white horses must have gotten loose." He said back to me. "we don't have a white horse". He looked out into the forest and turned white. He quickly became very serious and loud with his horse. He told us all to kick the horses to make them go, it they didn't move we'd have to kick them harder until they did move. I did not like the idea, but we all did kick the horses. The horses reluctantly moved along the trail.
We crossed back over the ravine at the south end but instead of continuing along the southern trail, we cut back to the southern back corner of the back field along the portion of the second route that normally was traveled in the opposite direction. Once the horses broke through the forest and could see the barn, they all started into a full trot. It was the fastest I had been on a horse. They moved very quickly and I was afraid that my sister would fall off. But there was no stopping the horses. The quickly moved across the field and splashed through the little stream. I could see the Southern grazing field and noticed that all the horses were packed tight against the barn. We quickly reached the barn and entered it from the rear. We all got off the horses and the farm hands all looked confused as to why we had returned the way we did.
I can remember thinking that perhaps there was bad weather coming and the horses could tell and were acting funny because of it.
The barn had three farm hands. The girl I had a crush on, a younger man with blond hair and an older heavy man.
The trail master jumped down and started to help us off the horses. He quickly told the girl farmhand that "we all saw it this time." The girl asked, "saw what?" The trail master said, "the ghost horse." It was not very loud but I heard it clear as day! So did my sister and the teenage boy next to us. The heavy old farm hand heard it too and quickly left the barn out of the front. He returned a few seconds later and said, "the horses are all spooked and pressed up against the barn too." The farm hands quickly got all of us off the horses and out of the barns and with a quick grin and a shake of the hand sent us out towards our cars. While the others pulled the horses in the old man came up with written paper giving us a free ride next time. He apologised for the short ride and said they had to pack-up the ranch.
I don't remember what his reason was, but I do know that by the time we had gotten into the car and ready to leave they had moved all the horses into the barn and they themselves were getting into their cars to leave. Only the old man stayed behind finishing up.
We left that day and I can remember thinking that the whole day was very odd. I did not think anything about the horse as at the time I did not believe it was a ghost. For the next couple of years I continued to think that the trail master was just fooling with us and that they had something else they wanted to do.
I returned that fall after school started and we took our last rides at the ranch. The old man was still there, but the farm hands were all new. And the trail ride only went out around the inside of the fields and never passed into the woods.
After that they closed for the season and the next year the horses and the barn, plus house, were gone. It was very odd that everything was gone. All that was left was a footprint of where the house and barn were. The fencing and the overgrown fields were still left. But that was it.
For the next couple of years the land was vacant. Occasionally you would pass by and see military trucks parked in the driveway and several soldiers (in training) in the area. The land is still vaccant today.
Once I got into high school I started to hear about the horse and got to know some of the stories.
There are two versions. Once has it being the faithful horse of the dead British commander and is protecting/guarding his grave. The other is that it was a young Indian maiden's horse whom was burned for witch craft, the horse remains bonded to her and wanders the area looking for her.
I have seen the horse five times and each time I get a sorrow filled feeling for it. I am not really scared, just more in awe. The horse definitely sill startles you when you first see it. But to me it looks sad and lost, and I would hate to think the poor animal is stuck like that for eternity.
The next time I saw the horse I was in the ravine in the middle of the night looking for a satanic alter. But we were scared out of the woods that night and I did not return until sometime later. (See the Lore of Texas Road)
The third time I saw it I was about 17 and it was from my parents' car. We were driving home late one night and passed by the old ranch area. It was foggy and misty from a recent rain that had just let up. I just happened to be looking out the window over the overgrown fields. In the back and I caught site of it as it trotted along the forest edge in the mist. It was very beautiful and mournful looking. I pointed it out to my sister (who also developed an interest in it). She caught some of it, but not fully, as we were traveling fairly quickly and were already passing beyond the ranch.
The fourth time I saw it I was later in that year. I was still 17 and winter was just letting off. (March Break) It was late morning probably before 8:00am. We (my group of friends) normally would have been sleeping, but we were on our way home after staying the night in a cabin (winter camping), and we were off really early to make it home in time to pack and head up north to go to Toronto (mini vacation). Our route home brought us past Sutton Creek Forest and the Texas Road Graveyard. We did not set out to find the horse. But as we passed I could see in the edge of the trees a white horse moving deeper into the forest.
I immediately told my friends and we turned back to take a look. It was not the same group that was with me in the ravine but they had all heard the stories and were all equally interested. This time we had a small camera. (I do not remember the kind it was. But it was small and rectangular and popped out sideways. It lengthened to about twice its original length and exposed the flash square and picture aperture. The film was loaded in the back through a door and was B shaped.) I can remember that it was not that good of a camera but it was capable to taking pictures (And it was all that we had).
Since we did not want to get caught trespassing (as we were warned before), we stopped on the side of the main road on the North side of the forest (thinking leaving the car hidden in plain sight would be a strategically wise idea. Amazingly we did not get caught). The reason we pulled over was to get a picture of the horse but the camera was buried in the back of the car and the horse was moving deeper into the woods. So we left the camera and ventured into the woods on the side of the road to get a better look without a camera.
The ground was still very wet from the recent loss of snow and the air was still crisp enough to see our breaths. We did not travel in very far and we all caught a glimpse of the white horse trotting through the trees. But the horse was not staying still and the forest in the front section was thick and hard to see through. We did get some good glimpses. I remember specifically seeing the horse stop and snort and seeing the horse's breath in the air (which would be odd for a ghost). After a few minutes the horse moved deeper into the woods and we could no longer see it. Since we had all seen it we decided to leave the woods and return home before we were caught.
In the car it was a very tough conversation about the story behind the Ghost horse. Of the four of us in the car; (2 guys, 2 girls) I was the only one that thought it was a ghost. I think my girlfriend at the time was giving me the benefit of the doubt. But the others thought it was a real horse. To be honest it sure did look real (but we could not explain why it was in the woods and far away from any ranch). We came to the reluctant conclusion it could be a Ghost Horse. I totally understand this as they were not there before. To be honest it's what I thought the first time I saw it.
The fourth time I saw the Horse was when I was visiting the Texas Rd Graveyard. We often would visit the graveyard and take new people to see it, but typically nothing happened. It was at night and we were sneaking in on a dare. It was freaky and I was with 3 girls and another guy. Although it was creepy, nothing was happening so the guy pinched one of the girls and she screamed. The scream scared everyone. But seconds after her scream the white horse bolted from the road side (Texas road) across the back of the Graveyard and into the forest on the far side. It did not jump over the large chain railing around the graveyard nor did it leap over the deep drainage ditch it passed over on its way into the forest. It creeped the girls out and we quickly left. (They were not waiting for us and were our ride) So we left too.
The last time I saw the horse was actually not too long ago. It was on a stormy night and I was returning from a business trip (probably 6-8 years ago). I was driving carefully in the bad weather. I passed the Sutton Creek Forest and had a brief glimpse of the horse running in a circular arc from the overgrown field to the forest. I was awed by it as it had been a long time since I had seen it.
If anyone is looking to see a ghost this is the one to look for. It has been frequently seen by many people over the years. It is hard to tell it is a ghost at first. But the same horse has been in the same woods for at least 23 years now. I don't know how long horses live, but there is nothing out there for it to live on. If you are able to get a real good look at it you'll know what it is. Just don't get caught trespassing!