TAYLOR, TEXAS - Just 30 minutes outside of Austin is Taylor, Texas. It's a town that embraces all things creepy and supernatural, not only on Halloween.
Taylor has a long colorful history in Texas. Officially named Taylor in 1892, it was founded as a rail town and a hub of commerce in the early 1900s.
"Our early station master referred to Taylor as a hellhole of saloons and gambling houses," says Taylor Mayor Brandt Rydell. "It had some rough-and-tumble early days."
Fast forward 100 years later, and Taylor is now a growing, bustling town full of new businesses and a desirable school district. But locals haven't forgotten Taylor's complicated past.
"Taylor has a rich, full-bodied history and I think it does a disservice to the community to sanitize that," explained Rydell. He, along with several other members of the community, now host ghost tours to raise money for the city's historical preservation.
On the ghost tour, according to their website, you'll "join guides from the Taylor Conservation and Heritage Society on a nighttime stroll through the murderous and macabre, the frightening and fascinating, history of Taylor."
They're not scared to share their spooky past, even if it is occasionally the stuff of horror movies.
Take, for example, the haunting of Hoxie Bridge.
As legend has it, the bridge was built around 1900 then damaged in a flood some 21 years later. The town used prisoners from Huntsville for cheap labor.
"During the reconstruction of the bridge, the story goes there was one prisoner who kept getting out of line, and one of the guards shot and killed him," said Rydell. "They strung that corpse up in a tree as a constant reminder to the the bridge workers."
Then, the story goes, the bridge was haunted by the headless corpse.
"He would wander the river bottom or sometimes be perched on the rafter of the bridge," said Rydell.
The bridge has since been relocated to Taylor Park in Northeast William County.
One of Taylor's "most haunted" buildings, according to locals, is the two-story building on East Third Street in Downtown Taylor.
Currently home to Ricoco's Latin Grill, several people claimed to have spotted the ghost of a woman in the second story. On the first floor where the restaurant is, the owners have had constant trouble with the women's restroom door.
Some people believe the ghost of a little girl holds the door shut. A hostess at the restaurant once claimed she saw the little girl come in with a customer, but she disappeared when she turned around.
"If you go to the women's restroom here, the door will get stuck," explained Ricoco's owner Richard Torres.
They tried to fix it over and over again, to no avail.
"We changed the door one time, the whole frame. Then we started changing the locks," Torres said.
More than 50 door locks later, "the door still keeps getting stuck."
Talk to any number of locals and you'll hear a variety of ghost stories.
Taylor's ghost tour is sold out this year, but they welcome visitors to come experience the city for themselves anytime. For more information, click here.
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