A look into the Black Hope Curse
Just outside of Houston, Texas, is a subdivision called Newport; an upper-middle class neighborhood with neat lawns and very nice houses--a normal looking place; however, the land on which this neighbor hood was built is anything but normal.
In early part of the decade of the 80's, a couple named Sam and Judith Haney decided to buy one of the lovely houses in the new housing development of Newport Subdivision--they would soon wish they had not.
What the developers had not disclosed about the land they chose to turn into this upscale subdivision was a dark and morbid secret that would turn their lives, and the lives of some of their neighbors, into a nightmare. Sam Haney said it all started when a strange, old man showed up at their door with an eerie tale that would soon prove to be true.
The old man told them that their house, and the entire subdivision, was built on an old burial ground called Black Hope...a potter's field where the majority of it's inhabitants were once black slaves. The last burial in the potters field cemetery was back during the Depression Era of the 1930's.
He also told them that many of these graves were in their backyard and the developers had only moved the grave markers, not the bodies.
This bit of creepy news alarmed the Haneys, and since they had decided to add an in-ground swimming pool in their backyard, Sam and Judith, his wife, would soon find out if the old man's claims were true.
Sam Haney rented a small back hoe and started digging, and it wasn't long before the Haneys found something that would mortify them. Mr. Haney found a pine coffin and realized that the old man was telling the truth. Mr. Haney immediately called the local Sheriff as well as the county coroner, and they conducted an official exhumation of the remains. They also found another coffin that was right next to the first one that had been uncovered. Inside the second coffin they found two thin wedding bands on the brittle finger bone of the skeleton and then handed them to Judith. She and her husband was horrified to realize that they had desecrated the graves of two people.
The Haney's decided they would try to find out whose remains had been buried on the property and they finally found an old man by the name of Jasper Norton who could give them information about the land and the property their house was built on. Many years ago, Mr. Norton had been employed as a gravedigger, and had been the person to inter as many as 60 people in the area during the late 20's and during 30's. He said that the Haney's house and a quite a few of the other houses had been built on top of an old cemetery called Black Hope. Many of the deceased were former slaves who had settled, died, and been buried in the area during the 1800s.
Norton identified the remains of the two people found buried in the Haney's backyard as an old couple by the names of Betty and Charlie Thomas, who had been former slaves and died during the early thirties. When Sam and Judith Haney were unable to locate any living relatives of the Thomas', the Haney's decided to rebury the remains back where they found them and live happily knowing they had restored the Thomas' to the rightful resting place. Unfortunately, things did not remain peaceful or happy.
Not long after they reburied Charlie and Betty's remains, the Haney's started having weird and unexplainable occurrences happen in their home. They would hear eerie voices talking while they were trying to sleep, and one night Judith was startled awake when a clock in the bedroom, that was unplugged, began giving off sparks and an eerie glow. One night after her husband had left for work, and Judith was alone in the house, a disembodied voice asked Judith "What are you doing?" Spooked by the unfamiliar voice, she checked for intruders, but there was nobody there and the door was locked. The next morning, while getting dressed to go out, Judith couldn't find her favorite red shoes. When she finally found them, they were outside, sitting on top of Betty Thomas' grave. It was also the date of Betty Thomas' birthday.
Another couple by the name of Ben and Jean Williams were also having some serious trouble with unexplainable and creepy occurrences. They lived just across the street from the Haneys with their granddaughter, Carli. They had been having problems from almost the moment their house was finished and they moved in. The house was always cold and felt clammy and icky all the time, no matter how hot the weather was, and Jean and Carli couldn't shake the feeling they were always being watched. The toilets were always flushing by themselves and doors were being open and shut by unseen hands. Household appliances seemed to operate on their own. Perfectly rectangular sinkholes would opened up in the yard, and no matter how well, or how often, the Williams would fill them in, the sinkholes would show right back up in just a matter of days. Any new plants, trees, or anything else the William's would plant would die no matter what they would do. The Williams noticed some rather odd markings on an old oak tree that stood by the sinkholes, an arrow carved into the tree that pointed downward with two horizontal slash marks beneath it. Finally, a long time resident of the area told them he had made the marks on the old tree as a way to be able to identify where his two sisters had been buried. This shocked and disturbed the Williams.
Not only were the Williams being plagued by apparitions, voices, and unseen footsteps, but 6 members of their family were stricken with rare types of cancer and 3 of them died, all within 6 months.
The Haney's were also being plagued with strange health problems and terrified of staying in their house, Sam and Judith decided to fight back and sue the developer for not disclosing that the houses had been built over a cemetery. At first they were awarded $142,000 by a jury, but a judge decided that the developers were not liable nor required to pay the Haneys anything, and reversed the decision, ordering the Haneys to pay $50,000 in court costs. Beaten, broken, and financially ruined, the Haneys filed bankruptcy and abandoned their home.
The Williams' decided to also take legal action, but were told that unless they had proof of a cemetery on their property, then there was nothing they could do. So, Jean made a decision she regrets to this day. Out of desperation, and to prove their home was built on a cemetery, Jean started digging up the sinkholes beneath the oak tree, positive she would find the proof they needed. Jean started feeling ill and couldn't dig any longer, so her daughter, Tina, picked up where her mother left off and kept digging. After digging for about a half-hour, Tina collapsed, and knowing something seriously was wrong, her last words to her parents was for them to take care of her baby. Two days later she died, at the age of thirty, of a massive heart attack. She had no prior heart disease or any other health conditions that would have caused her collapse and death. Grieving terribly, the William's fled their house, leaving everything behind.