2014 Ghost Hunt

The public is invited to join the Ghost Trax paranormal group of Midland, Texas, as they conduct a full-scale “ghost hunt” at the historic Fort Leaton in Presidio, Texas, on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fort Leaton has been identified as a verifiable “haunted place” by paranormal investigators. The original owner, Ben Leaton, is reported to have carried out a slaughter of unsuspecting local Indians, after inviting them to a “peace council” in the fort. There were a number of other violent episodes involving murder and mayhem in the fort over the years that followed.

Fort Leaton

Aerial View of Fort Leaton by Brad Newton

According to the site militaryghosts.com: “Prior to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department taking custody of the dilapidated mission, treasure hunters had scoured the ruins, and had dug a large pit looking for gold that Leaton allegedly buried in the fort before he died. Two park employees assigned to clean out this treasure pit reportedly fled the fort in terror after they claimed that they felt something invisible trying to pull them into the hole. Other park employees have reportedly observed the transparent figure of Edward Hall, in the same room where he was shot to death at the dinner table. An elderly woman, possibly the ghost of Mrs. Hall or Mrs. Burgess has been observed several times by park employees rocking in a rocking chair in the fort’s kitchen.

Here is a brochure showing the layout of the Fort and some of the history associated with each location in it:
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_br_p4501_0091d.pdf

Fort Leaton Graveyard

Fort Leaton Graveyard

“Even today, it is rumored that during thunderstorms, a headless specter, a victim of a freak equestrian accident, rides around the fort’s corral on a white horse. Apparently, this unfortunate cowboy was riding near Fort Leaton when he was caught in a sudden thunderstorm. It is said that the thunder and lightening spooked the rider’s horse, throwing the man off his saddle. Instead of landing on the ground, the cowboy became entangled in the stirrup of his saddle and was dragged to his death behind his terrified horse. The day after the storm, several of the missing cowboy’s friends from a nearby ranch went to find their friend. The cowboys were mortified when they found the headless body of their friend wedged between a tree branch and a large boulder. After a couple more minutes of searching the cowboys, already shaken by the horrific death of their friend, found their coworker’s severed head several hundred feet from his body. Now, whenever there is a sudden thunderstorm near the fort, it has been reported by eyewitnesses that a headless horseman has been seen riding around the fort’s grounds on a brilliant white horse. The moral of this little vignette, if you ever find yourself caught in a sudden thunderstorm near Fort Leaton, be afraid, be very afraid.”

Fort Leaton is also listed in the books Texas Haunted Forts by Elaine Coleman and More Ghost Towns of Texas by T. Lindsay Baker. In her book, Coleman says, “The legends of Fort Leaton are of a bloody nature, and the apparitions stem from violent and vicious men who carved out a livelihood from others’ pain and strife. Many believe Ben Leaton’s ghost haunts the area around the fort along witht he ghost of Edward Hall, Mrs. Leaton’s second husband, who became the murder victim of Leaton’s friend John Burgess. Mrs. Leaton is sometimes seen in her rocking chair at the kitchen window. A number of people have told of evil feelings at Fort Leaton where they have visited or worked. Violence seems to have stayed with the fort over the years.”

Psychic investigators believe that the violent history of the Fort may have left behind residual psychic energy that occasionally manifests itself as strange apparitions in the fort at night. This will be the first time that this theory will be put to the test by the MPRG investigators, who use high-tech electronic surveillance equipment to detect psychic anomalies.

Fort Leaton Mausoleum

Fort Leaton Mausoleum