PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

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October 31, 2012

Sarah Jane and more spooky stories

PORT ARTHUR — Every town has stories of a hexed house or ghostly bridge, and Port Arthur is no different. Below are two tales that have haunted residents for years. Read at your own risk.

Decades ago, maybe even longer than that, Sara Jane was fleeing for her life. Some say she was running from the law or a jealous lover, but others say it was from Lafitte’s pirates. No one knows for sure.

As her wagon bounced across the narrow wooden bridge on Port Neches Road, her baby was thrown into the swift, chocolate waters of the bayou below.

Sara Jane eluded her pursuers, whoever they were, but was grief stricken about her lost child. So she hung herself on the lowest limb of a gnarled oak tree on the bayou bank.

Years later, according to the 1924 publication of the Texas Folklore Society, a Beaumont man and his friend went hunting for treasure near the mouth of the Neches River, close to where Sara Jane hanged herself. The man had purchased a map from a treasure hunter who went mad after his last adventure.

As the men were digging, one of them claimed to have seen something horrible and told his partner to run for his life.

 Though that wooden bridge is now gone, those brave enough to venture out to that spot on a dark, foggy night might hear the cries of Sara Jane’s baby. And if they cry out “Sara Jane! Sara Jane!” they might be so unlucky as to see the ghost of Sara Jane herself.

Or so the legend goes.

At the turn of the 20th century, in the Sabine Pass marshes of Louisiana, a lighthouse keeper’s daughter stepped out onto the porch. As she shivered in the cold wind, enjoying the solitude of living away from the city, she saw something move.

Straining to see into the early morning fog, she screamed and fainted. When her parents found her and brought her back to consciousness, she had terror in her eyes. She saw a monster, a huge, hairy beast walking in the marsh.

Her parents thought nothing of it, but the child was consumed for days. Months, later the lighthouse keeper went hunting.

Crouched behind a patch of tall grass and gripping his gun, he saw a figure draw closer. He readied his gun and prepared for a glorious trophy to take home.

When the beast was upon him, he could do nothing but freeze with fear. The eight-foot tall creature lumbered past him into a small clearing, and the lighthouse keeper ran home.

Though seen by other people, the beast never harmed anyone. Folks in Sabine Pass reasoned it must have been a bear or an escaped gorilla.

Eventually the lighthouse was sold and abandoned. But it stands there in the marsh to this day, waiting for the next sighting of Bigfoot.

E-mail: jbrown@panews.com

Twitter: @joshnathanbrown

Stories provided by Yvonne Sutherlin, local historic preservation officer

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