CROSBY, TXHISTORYBARRETT, TEXAS. Barrett, just south of U.S. Highway 90 on Farm roads 1942 and 2100 in eastern Harris County, began during Reconstruction as a black community. The community was named for former slave Harrison Barrett, known as "Uncle Harrison," who had been born in Texas around 1845 to slave parents. After emancipation, Barrett settled his family on part of Reuben White's league east of the San Jacinto River and, in 1889, purchased the land for fifty cents an acre. It became one of the largest holdings in Harris County to be acquired by a former slave. Barrett named the property Barrett's Settlement. The community began with seven houses, which Barrett helped to build with lumber from his land. He helped members of his family to set up farms, established a sawmill, a gristmill, and a coffee mill and granted others open access to fish and crayfish in the spring and gully near his homestead. Harrison donated land for Shiloh Baptist Church, which also served as a school. In 1947 a high school and a post office branch known as Barrett Station opened. Barrett, who died in 1917, was buried in Journey's End Cemetery in the settlement, and a museum and park were later named in his honor. State highway maps in 1936 showed a school, St. Martin Cemetery, and a camp at the townsite. The population reached 2,364 in 1960. U.S. Highway 90 was built through the area in the 1970s, and by 1990 the population was 3,644. In 2000 the population dropped to 2,872. The town celebrates its heritage every Juneteenth.- Diana J. Kleiner (Handbook of Texas On-line) Outside of Houston, Texas is an upscale neighborhood subdivision called Newport that sports finely-manicured lawns and tasteful, strikingly beautiful homes. It sports an 18-hole golf course in close proximity and is the place many retirees migrate to to spend their golden years after years of hard work to enjoy the fruits of their labors in the place of their dreams. It was also built on an old African-American cemetery. Black Hope Cemetery was the place where many slaves and people of poor backgrounds were laid to rest. As many as 60 in all. The graves were largely unmarked and the last recorded burial there was in 1939. The land was said to previously belong to a family named McKinney from the Civil War until the 1960s or 1970s. They were a wealthy clan who are said to have hired free blacks to work the plantation they owned. They deeded a few acres of their land to the help to be used as a burial ground. When they sold the land to a developer, there was no apparent mention of the plots at any point in the transaction process. This explanation however, does not satisfy many people who claim that several crosses and a picket style were bulldozed by the developer who apparently disregarded them as a sign of anything pre-existing there. It is located on Poppet's Way, a street within the subdivision that was built in the late 70s. Unfortunately for those residents who would eventually move there a short time later, the developer - either ignorant or apathetic of the graves that previously existed - built directly over them. Most of the activity that occurred did so at the east end of Poppet's Way and an adjacent side street. Black Hope Cemetery The stories that follow have been the basis for a book called The Black Hope Horror written by former residents Ben and Jean Williams - whose story you will read below, a movie - Grave Secrets - The Legacy of Hilltop Drive starring Patty Duke and maybe, just maybe the true inspiration for the movie Poltergeist. It was not unusual to see many people move to this cozy and secluded neighborhood only to move out just as quickly - sometimes in a month's time or less - abandoning their homes and their mortgages. Someone or something unnerved them to the point they could not stay in a place that originally was a place where their hopes and dreams were finally realized. Whether or not you believe in ghosts and hauntings - it does become clear that something strange and unusual happened to the people of Barrett Station, Texas. The amount of residents that experienced strange phenomena in this location numbers in the dozens, but two stories set themselves apart from all others.THE BIZARRE STORY OF THE HANEY FAMILY Sam and Judith Haney moved into their home in Newport in 1982. It seemed to be exactly the home they were seeking and looked forward to spending the rest of their lives there. A year after they moved in, Sam's attention was drawn to a knock on their door. Opening it, he saw an old man standing outside. The man mentioned to Sam that he noticed the Haney's were building an in-ground swimming pool in the backyard and there was something they needed to know. They walked out to the backyard where the man told Sam there were graves located there - at one point pointing to an exact spot where he said one was located. Sam was aghast at this revelation and did not know how to react. Was this a morbid joke? The old man left at that point, not wanting to say anything more, but gave Sam the names of some people who might be able to shed more light of his claim. As time passed, Sam was compelled to get to the bottom of the man's claim and hired a backhoe to dig in the spot the old man has gestured to. It was not long before the machine struck something underground. The men began digging by hand and to their great shock and horror discovered the remains of human skeletons within a crude pine box. The Sherriff and county coroner were contacted and the exhumation of the remains began, although most of the bones in one coffin were extremely brittle to the point where they turned to powder upon being touched. The second coffin was a little better preserved as were the remains of its occupant. On closer examination two wedding rings were found inside. The rings were handed to Judith Haney who experienced a sickening feeling to know they had desecrated someone's final place of rest. The Haney's felt they owed it to whomever was buried there to discover their identities and make whatever reparations they could. Eventually that search for information, including names given by the mysterious old man who came to the house, led them to a man named Jesper Norton. Mr. Norton told the Haney's that he had in fact dug many graves in the area and that their home and a number of others sat on what was once called Black Hope Cemetery. It was further discovered that the two bodies buried in their backyard belonged to a couple named Batty and Charlie Thomas who had died sometime in the 1930s. Their effort to bring peace to the couple culminated with their remains being re-buried in the yard with a small, solemn ceremony thrown in. Little did they know at the time this would not entirely appease the Thomases. The first indication that something was not right came one night when Judith was lying in bed. She noticed her clock seemed to be sparking and putting out a bluish-type of glow. Checking it to see what the problem was, she noticed it was unplugged. This unsettling discovery was followed quickly by another bizarre occurrence while Sam was at work on the night shift. Judith heard their sliding-glass door open followed by a voice she thought was Sam's saying "What you doing?" Noting that the doors were locked and Sam was nowhere in sight, she passed it off as her imagination and went to bed without further incident. The next morning she awoke for work and went to her closet to get her red shoes out. Surprisingly, they were not where she had left them. Sam eventually came home where he found Judith searching for her lost shoes and joined in the hunt. Looking through all the closets and corners of the house, they came up with nothing. It was then that Sam first noticed something sitting atop the graves outside - as they walked out to the site their collective breaths were taken away to discover what they were looking at were in fact Judith's shoes, neatly sitting on top of the graves as if gently and precisely placed there. More disturbing to Sam was the realization of something he discovered while searching the lives of the Thomases - it was Betty's birthday. To Sam, it was as if Charlie had just picked out a gift for her. Despite this seemingly romantic gesture, the Haney's were not amused or touched. In fact, some events that followed were anything but amusing. They began to feel as if something wanted them out of their home. Soon they both began to experience health problems that they attributed to the foul atmosphere that now surrounded them. They took yet another unusual action - they filed suit against the developer for not giving full disclosure of the location of a graveyard on their property. A jury awarded the Haney's $142,000 but that award was overturned by the judge who had legal grounds to reverse the decision against the developer. The Haney's were stuck with $50,000 in court costs, declared bankruptcy and eventually abandoned their home.THE WILLIAMS HAUNTINGS Shag (Ben) and Jean Williams and their granddaughter moved into their house in the subdivision in 1980 and lived across the street from the Haneys. In fact, they were the first family to settle in the development. Their house, like the Haneys and others was the culmination of their hard work and life's savings. The house was - like the others - a beautiful dwelling with an immaculate yard and was built to the Williams own specifications. The first indication that something about this new home was not right came in the forms of uneasy feelings. Men building the home complained of illness and anxiety while on the property. Once they had settled in, feelings of being watched, feelings of despair and darkness in certain areas of the house began to overwhelm them. The cold spots would follow soon - and then came the strange physical manifestations. The Williams toilets began to flush by themselves at all hours of the day and night and then all manners of electrical problems began without warning or explanation. Footsteps were heard in hallways and there were mysterious sinkholes that dotted the yard that resisted all attempts to fill them, re-appearing time and time again. More telling was the fact that their neighbor's yards also displayed these same depressions. The family's pets were not spared either. Birds kept inside suddenly died, their granddaughter's pet gerbils displayed signs of what can only be called dementia and their pet cat gave birth to hideously deformed kittens. There were other bizarre occurrences that made these events look almost tame by comparison. Poisonous snakes were a frequent sight out on the rear deck and then eventually, horrifyingly, inside the home itself. Rain storms would produce abnormally huge worms numbering in the thousands and large carpenter ants would appear under the sofa and even inside the dishwasher, miraculously surviving even the hot water cycle. But even those events pale in comparison to the physical and psychological torture the family went on to endure. One night Shag, while watching television, encountered two shadow figures standing by the TV set, describing them as "flickering" and "darker than black". The most terrifying of all incidents took place one evening while Shag walked from the den to his bedroom. He was shocked to see two shadow-like figures standing outside next to the big oak tree in the yard. While observing them he saw them move toward the house, through the wall and into the hallway! In an instant, Shag felt the figures upon him and began gasping for breath as if being chocked. He awoke the next morning happy to be alive, but soon found himself in the hospital suffering from asthma-like symptoms (a condition he did not previously have). This was merely the prelude - as many as six family members would die suddenly with little warning, some under mysterious circumstances. Family members underwent dramatic personality changes in an extremely negative way. The most disturbing of the deaths involved that of daughter Tina. Shag and Jean had immediately upon moving into the house - noticed a tree in their yard that held unusual markings on it. There were two horizontal lines with an arrow underneath pointing to the ground. Some time afterwards, while taking pictures outside, Jean had been literally attacked by a gathering of crows that were roosting in the tree. Around the time when their hauntings were at their peak, Shag and Jean became simultaneously aware of the tribulations of their neighbors, the Haneys. When the Haney's discovered the bodies buried where their pool was scheduled to be constructed and the story spread through the development, many neighbors who had kept their own tales of supernatural occurrences to themselves began to exchange their stories with those of others. The sinkholes found throughout the subdivision now began to make sense when the disclosure of a cemetery being located there came to light. When the Haney's went to trial against the developer, the Williams were keen observers to the proceedings, pondering their own potential recourses. The Williams made their claims known to the developer at this time as well, but like so many others were rebuffed. It was then that Jean became convinced that the mysterious etchings on the tree in their yard were in fact a crude grave marker. Determined to prove her point to the developer, she began to dig around the base of the tree in an effort to unearth any bodies buried there. After just a couple of feet of soil was removed, daughter Tina, aged 30, volunteered to take over for her mother. In what seemed like no time at all, Tina collapsed and died of a massive heart attack. Now devastated by the loss of their daughter and convinced the property was to blame for her death, the Williams followed the lead of many others who had come here to live out their golden years in the house of their dreams only to bear witness to horrible events and so abandoned the house and fled the area. Neither they or any resident of the development ever receive any compensation for their terrible ordeals. The Williams were last reported to be residing in Missoula, Montana. The present-day residents of the Newport development for the most part report no unusual activity there, but local police do report that on a few occasions they will respond to a house alarm that has activated only to find no one in the home and nothing disturbed.