Homes built on top of a cemetery may be cursed.

The Black Hope cemetary, several headstones in a field in front of a line of trees.

The Black Hope Cemetery

A human skeleton being excavated, the bones are still partially buried.

Human remains were found in the backyard


Two men walking away from two freshly filled in graves.

The Black Hope Cemetery

Just outside of Houston, Texas, is a neighborhood filled with upscale homes and manicured lawns. In the early 1980s, Sam and Judith Haney settled in at the far

western edge of the development. Sam described it as their dream home:

“When we bought the house in Newport, it was the house that we had always been looking for. So, it was the house that we intended to stay at for a long period of time.”

But there was a morbid secret about the Haney’s perfect home, one that soon turned their lives into a never-ending nightmare. Sam said it all began when a mysterious old man showed up at their door with an ominous warning:

“This elderly man told me that he had noticed that we were putting a swimming pool in our backyard and that there was something about our backyard that I needed to know about. So I followed him around to my backyard and he pointed at the ground and said that there are some graves right here. And he marked a spot on the ground where they were. And I really didn’t know how to react to that. I didn’t know if he was just joking. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to joke about something like that.

Using a backhoe, Sam decided to see if the man’s alarming claims were true. Sam says it wasn’t long before he hit something:

And at that point, we stopped with the backhoe and we got down into the hole and continued digging by hand. There were pine boards. When we lifted up the first board, we could see an indentation of a skeleton form. It didn’t take long to figure out that it was actual human remains.”

Sam immediately called the Sheriff and county coroner who conducted an official exhumation. Most of the bones had turned to powder. But 25 fragments were found, some so brittle that they disintegrated when touched.

A partially excavated grave.

The Williams’ discovered they had graves to

A second coffin, located alongside the first, hadn’t been disturbed. Inside, two wedding rings were discovered on the frail index finger of the exposed skeleton. Judith Haney was mortified by the discovery:

“They handed me the rings and it was sickening to think that I had desecrated somebody’s grave.”

Wanting desperately to do the right thing, the Haneys decided to find out whose remains were buried in their backyard. The search led them to a longtime resident named Jasper Norton.

Years earlier, Norton had dug several graves in the area. He told the Haneys that their home and a dozen others were built on top of an old African American cemetery called Black Hope. The deceased were mainly former slaves. The last burial was in 1939, and as many as 60 people were interred there in paupers’ graves.

A shovel pushed into the ground, the leg and black shoe of the shoveler can be seen in the background.

Jean decided to dig for the bodies

The two people buried in the Haney’s backyard were Betty and Charlie Thomas. They died during the 1930s and their graves were eventually forgotten.

Judith and Sam Haney made an extraordinary decision. They reburied Betty and Charlie in their yard, and prayed their spirits would rest in peace. But, according to Judith, peace was not forthcoming:

“There was a clock in my bedroom and one night it started sparking and putting out a sort of blue glow.”

When Judith checked the clock, she found that it was unplugged. That was only the beginning of the Haneys’ ordeal. On another evening, Sam went to work the night shift, leaving Judith alone:

“I heard the sliding glass door open and I heard what I thought was Sam saying, ‘What you doing?’ Everything was quiet, the sliding glass doors were locked, and I thought, ‘Well, you know, you must be losing your mind. This really must be getting to you.’ But much to my amazement that’s not where the story ended. In the morning I awoke, went in my closet to get my red shoes, and I could not find them anywhere.”

Sam backed up Judith’s story:

“So, of course, I started looking for them and went through all of her closets where she normally puts things. And we just couldn’t find them. We had walked just a short distance from where the gravesites were and I could see something on the grave. And they were both side-by-side like someone had just picked them up and carried them over and laid them down on the gravesite.”

Even more disturbing to Sam was the realization that this was Betty Thomas’ birthday:

“And I kinda got the feeling that it was like Charlie was giving Betty a birthday present.”

Judith felt she knew what was going on:

“I began to come to the realization that this was not all in my mind and that this had to have some relationship to Betty and Charlie’s graves being disturbed. Their spirits were saying, ‘This isn’t right.’”

The Haneys were not alone. A dozen of their neighbors also reported lights, televisions and water faucets turning on and off, and unearthly sounds and supernatural apparitions. Worse, these bizarre events were becoming malicious.

Like the Haneys, Ben and Jean Williams thought that they had found their suburban paradise when they moved into the same neighborhood. But Jean said she never felt at peace in the house:

“After we moved, in everything changed. When I tried to plant new plants, they just would not live no matter what I did. You know, fertilizer or whatever, they still would not live. And I constantly had a foreboding feeling, a feeling of things are not right or something bad is about to happen.”

The Williams said that near their flowerbed, sinkholes appeared in the unmistakable shape of a coffin. The Williams would fill them in, only to have them reappear a few days later. The Williams also felt their ideal home was being invaded by a menacing presence. Random shadows slid along the walls, followed by whispered words and a putrid smell.

At the time, the Williams’ granddaughter, Carli, lived with the couple. During the blazing heat of summer, Carli said she would stumble into bone-chilling pockets of ice-cold air:

“It would be very, very chilly and you’d have this feeling of foreboding, or just, you know, like something wasn’t right. Anywhere in the house you’d have a feeling that you were not alone. Somebody was watching you. It terrified me to be in the house by myself. The toilets used to flush on their own. As the water went down I could hear, it was almost like conversations. You could hear people murmuring to themselves. It was a presence or spirit or something there. Something that wanted to be heard. Wanted me to know that it was there.”

Jean Williams had no doubt as to the source of the disturbances:

“I absolutely believe that all of these things happened to us because we were on the graveyard, and that we were simply going to be tormented until we left there.”

Ben said he and Jean debated what to do next:

“Me and Jean, we talked it over. And she said, ‘Well what can we do? Walk off and leave it?’ She said, ‘We ain’t got enough money to pay down on another home.’ I said, ‘We’ve always been fighters. We’re gonna stay right here and fight it and try to beat it.’”

According to Ben, it wasn’t long before he got his chance:

“I came home from work around ten after twelve from the midnight shift, and I walked straight to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator door, and that’s when I seen these two ghostly figures. And they went straight backwards into the den. And then they started heading right down the hall to Jean’s. And it was standing right about a foot and a half from the end of the bed. The only thing I really thought of was, ‘They ain’t messing with me wife.’ As I dove through it, I felt a sticky cold sensation in my body.”

Down the street at the Haney’s, Judith said the disturbances caused her life to unravel:

“I was crying all the time. I was frightened. I was scared of doing my daily routine in my own home.”

The Haneys decided to fight back in court. They sued the builder for not disclosing that their home was built over a cemetery, in part, so that everyone would know what was happening at their subdivision. A jury awarded them $142,000 for mental anguish. But a reversal ruled on legal grounds that the developers were not liable. The verdict was thrown out and the Haneys were ordered to pay $50,000 in court costs. Sam Haney recounted the total cost of their ordeal:

“At that point we decided to file bankruptcy. All in all, we ended up losing the case, losing the money, losing the house.”

The Williams also explored legal recourse. But they say that they were told that without definitive proof of a cemetery on their property, nothing could be done. It was then that Jean made a decision that she will forever regret:

“That was the last straw. You want a body? I’ll show you a body. So, I thought to myself, I can dig about two feet a day and I knew I would reach a body.”

But soon after she started digging, Jean felt ill. Her adult daughter, Tina, volunteered to finish the job. After digging for a half hour, Tina also fell ill. Carli Karluk was there that day:

“I remember her saying that she was, that she felt funny. She was getting dizzy as well. She put the shovel down and she went back inside. And she just laid down on the couch. She’s like mom, daddy, I don’t feel right. There’s something wrong. The last thing I remember her saying was, ‘Mommy, take care of my baby, take care of my baby.’ And she looked so scared.”

While waiting for paramedics to arrive, Jean tried to keep her daughter conscious:

“Almost immediately her eyes started glazing over. And I was talking to her, trying to talk her out of dying. ‘Please Tina, talk to me.’ And all this time her eyes were changing until they got to the point where I knew that she wasn’t responding at all.”

Tina had suffered a massive heart attack. Two days later she died. Jean burdened the blame:

“I realize that I had desecrated another grave and now I’m paying. I told Ben, ‘We have to get out of here. It doesn’t matter what we lose, what we had.’ And I knew that if we didn’t, that I was not going to make it, because my fight was gone. I could fight no more.”

The Williams escaped to Montana and later moved back to another house and another neighborhood in Texas. Today they are a happily growing family, no longer plagued by mysterious noises, horrific apparitions or heart-breaking tragedies.

Back in their old neighborhood, none of the current residents have reported any paranormal activity. No one has ever been able to explain what happened to the Williams or the Haneys.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season twelve with Robert Stack and in season two with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.


  1. Anonymous

    It is not advisable to have water pipes interfering with a cemetery. That could cause hallucinations. And make someone very sick. They had a good lawsuit. Usually when you rebury someone you should be good. An old fashioned way to end hauntings was to rebury the grave. So digging something up and reburying it shouldn’t have been an issue. Texas has all kinds of problems with their water. More today than ever before.


  2. barb

    Those people buried there were dealt a bad life and now they cant rest because of money hungry people. What about the people living there now? Why arent they hearing and seeing things?


    • Angie

      Because the Williams family sensationalized and made up 90% of what happened to them, if not more.They were in financial trouble and decided to profit while they could.


  3. Greyson Griffin



  4. Rome

    Crazy story, but even crazier you can google map search Black Hope African American burial getting and it takes you to a house in Crosby,TX specifically. Creepy.


  5. Beth

    I was wondering about the William’s daughter, Tina, who died. I can’t find any info on her or her death. Anyone have any info on that? I’m just curious about what the exact cause of death was. Also, where are the Haneys, Williams, etc today? Again, I tried searching on the net and really didn’t find anything. Were any other bodies found in other yards? Was any ground scanning done at all? Why have the officials not done anything about this? Yes, I get that it’s expensive to move graves but it just seems wrong to me that nothing was done really to rectify this situation. And who was the developer? Because I can’t see how they are NOT liable for all of this. They can say they didn’t know the cemetery was there, but wasn’t it their responsibility to check all this out prior to building??


  6. Holly Joy Battle

    Your comment shows a decided ignorance of paranormal activity. Educate yourself


  7. Bob

    Maybe it was something in the water that was playing games with there mind , some chemical that put them in delusionary state


  8. Tim

    Those people buried in those Graves were obviously evil. They would not be getting a hall pass from Heaven to go and do some haunting back on Earth. Pure evil beings.


    • Denise

      That was the Ancestors of natives and slaves serving karma for what white ancestors did to people of color


    • Jason

      So, they dug up a grave w/o getting a lawyer, then re-buried them again…in their backyard. Then, dug them up again?? Okay.
      I’m sorry what the family went through, this is a crazy story


  9. girl

    there is still a lot that is unexplained


  10. girl

    That is bone chilling ,but at the same time amazing because you got to experience something no one else will get to experience. Just be careful if you ever go back.


  11. Karl Groweg

    As a reinspector for State Farm I worked in this neighborhood in 1995. I had a few homes on Poppets Way to inspect and I happened to get one that was next door to the house where the swimming pool was dug. I asked the current resident if any part of the story had merit. He said that nothing strange had ever happened while he lived in his house. The only aspect of the story that I could verify was true was a swimming pool in his neighbor’s yard that I observed thru the fence.


    • Jason

      Awesome. Good story tho. I heard A LOT of these ghost/alien stories were fabricated (Allagash abductions, Cowboy’s ranch, Rainman guy, etc) to get some sort of financial/celebrity status. I wonder if the FL “haunted” house with the large dude and his sixteen year old wife was made up as well?


  12. Anonymous

    I have lived in Newport my entire life and currently my mother lives on a street near Poppets. Recently, she’s been having strange things happen to her when she’s home alone like glass bowls breaking and the feeling she’s being watched at all hours of the day. She’s also heard two complete strangers that have lived one after the other in the house next door say that they have a male spirit in the house that always walks around at night asking “where are my girls?”. Two completely unrelated people having the exact same story about the place couldn’t be a coincidence. Newport, and especially the area around Poppets Way, is definitely haunted. Any time I have been in her house, and especially what was once my room, which is the closest in the house to the “Poltergeist House”, I felt like someone was in the room watching me and even once when we had first moved in, I saw what appeared to be a person standing near me and staring at me. After that, I never slept in that room again and would feel very eerie even being around that room.


    • Lisa McCoslin Vincent

      I know it’s easy for me to say this because it didn’t happen to me but this is very interesting! I would love to spend some time in the house and see if I can feel or see anything. I don’t do any ghost hunting if you want to call it that but I am “sensitive” and most of the time I am able to make connections. Only 1 that scared me but that 1 was enough for me to know that I wasn’t going to play around with it. I’ve learned a lot since then.


  13. Kara

    This story is beyond absurd. It is easy for people to take completely unrelated events and squish them together in their minds to fit a narrative such as this.
    Our memories are incredibly malleable. A clock that was flashing or got burned up in a power surge becomes a sparking, unplugged clock. You can never trust the recounting of supposedly paranormal events.
    The young woman who had the heart attack could have easily had preexisting heart issues that had not been previously diagnosed. This happens rather frequently. We chalk up our experiences to other causes, not realizing there is an underlying cardiac issue at play. There also could have been something toxic being emitted from the ground that caused the women to feel ill as they dug. There are so many normal causes that could have lead to these events that it is absurd to reach for the paranormal.
    Aside from all of that, how petty would these “spirits” have to be to attack people who very nicely reburied them after discovering they were there? They could have said screw it and threw their remains in the trash. They could have had the bodies relocated elsewhere (which is what should have been done from the start).
    The builders would only be liable for this if they had knowledge of the graves when they developed the land. There is no reason to sue unless you have that.
    Btw, I do not appreciate the racial overtones of some of the above comments. To automatically dismiss the idea that descendants of these people may have perpetrated these events is rather shortsighted. If you believe the the dead would be upset at the graves being disturbed, then why not the living? It is a far more plausible explanation than demons or other supernatural nonsense.


  14. Bill Blaski

    Who was the man that knocked on the haneys door? Could this be kane? Scary stuff


  15. CNN

    This never happened,Trump is a good president.


  16. T

    I don’t believe it was the people buried that were haunting these people. Have you ever hear of “familier spirits”? This was demonic!
    You go to heaven or hell, you aren’t trapped in an inbetween life! I absolutely believe this 100%!



    Was this subdivision called Newport?


  18. Missy

    I lived close to it growing up… before they moved in everyone I new and people I didn’t know all would go to that home and watch it. We all new it is a haunted home and when we found out they bought it and moved in we all thought they would come up missing or something. It’s all true what you are hearing. We moved shortly after it was into a movie. We had to watch the movie in our classes in Barrett Station school… we saw things happening and since they left nobody has moves in they can’t get anybody to buy it last I heard. Beautiful home it was. Newport is a great place to raise kids and a family. We used to stay up all night outside til our parents were bout to get up… I lived so close to this home I walked there everyday and night. Would love to go back down there and see the place I grew up in again… I heard alot has changed there. It was a hit in that town when that movie was made. We were all shocked small town get a movie down there…


  19. Missy Johnson

    I lives close to it growing up… before they moved in we all would go to home and watch it. We all new it was and when we found out they bought it and moved in we all thought they would come up missing or something. It’s all true what you are hearing. We moved shortly after it was into a movie. We had to watch the movie in our classes in Barrett Station school… I sure do miss living down there…


  20. Anonymous

    My question is, is this what poltergeist is based off of?? because it sure does sound like the plot!!


  21. Xcuzmepleez

    After reading all these comments, I gotta tell ya, I’m a little scared. In fact, I’m throwing away all my red shoes and I’m gonna remove my sliding glass doors. Wait a minute… I don’t have sliding glass doors… Wait another dog-gone minute… I don’t have red shoes but I do have a brown pair that pinch my toes, I’ll throw them out the window tonight. I hope they don’t land on the property next door, Wight Wishing Well Cemetery.


  22. New Port resident

    I heard the Graves were removed and reburied


  23. yomamma



  24. Anonymous



  25. A rather disturbing plausible explanation...

    My long-standing theory is that these unfortunate people were targeted and ruthlessly victimized by means of black magic, at least in the case of the Williams’ family. That is to say, it is my belief that the Williams were in fact being poisoned, unbeknownst to them, by one or more very sinister individuals…quite possibly descendants of the slaves who were buried in that area. It would not have been terribly difficult for someone knowledgeable in bypassing locks, and with an esoteric knowledge of toxic compounds, to trespass upon an unsuspecting residence and spike their refrigerated goods (such a crime was actually the subject of an episode of Forensic Files); later, the family would have been quite malleable for all manner of paranormal suggestion. Even less difficult a task all of this would be if the Williams felt secure enough within their neighborhood to leave their doors unlocked. Any physical anomalies or mass hallucinations typical of paranormal accounts happening in concurrence all throughout Black Hope would have served to obfuscate the practitioners’ malicious endeavors and misdirect their unwitting victims.

    It is not very common for residents of supposedly haunted households to claim to hear voices emanating from flushing toilets, but a pothead in a bathroom may well experience such auditory phenomena.

    Many aspects of this “ghost story” are very, very suspect. Had it been scrutinized further at the time, perhaps a tragedy could have been prevented. In any event, any perpetrators of Jasper Norton’s generation would likely now be well old enough to join their ancestors six feet under…having ultimately evaded the arms of justice.


    • B. Rob

      This comment is ignorant and disrespectful. It is appalling to think that these SLAVES who already probably had a very tough upbringing and death can’t rest because some greedy land developer bought the land for cheap and decided to rip off some well off white folks… But you honestly think that these dead slaves recent ancestry hurt these ppl? If you mentioned black magic you obviously believe that it’s real, so why wouldnt you believe supernatural things wouldn’t happen? Where did you even pull the term black magic from? There are many “religions” and word names associated with connecting to certain realms. By the way we are talking about the dead, they dont need magic! Also they are supposedly lock experts that are skilled in breaking in? The fact that these people found out that land was sacred because it was a cemetary, and was callus enough to be so brash and say we are not leaving is extremely disrespectful! Also how dare you try and dig up someone’s grave? Like wtf? They should of banded together and sued the builders and stood together as a unit. But every family for themselves right? I just think you should not pass judgement and open up your mind before you state non-factual highly opinionated dumbass statement scenarios.


  26. shshhyfhbjerbejb

    hey hey hey hey hey hey hey


  27. deiana



  28. mike

    Is so creepy


  29. Alao

    that subdivision had been standing on the spot of the former cemetery for years, which could be considered desecration of grave property, and no one had reported any super-natural goings-on. Why would this one act of disturbing one grave plot result in sudden occurances of hauntings?


  30. debra

    Positive and negative
    Schizophrenia is often described in terms of positive and negative (or deficit) symptoms.[27] Positive symptoms are those that most individuals do not normally experience, but are present in people with schizophrenia. They can include delusions, disordered thoughts and speech, and tactile, auditory, visual, olfactory and gustatory hallucinations, typically regarded as manifestations of psychosis.[28] Hallucinations are also typically related to the content of the delusional theme.[29] Positive symptoms generally respond well to medication.


  31. carl



  32. Bernard Short

    ( CAN YOU HEAR THE VOICES ) Because that’s what this Homeowner’s Grand daughter has said when she & the child witnessed the toilet being flushed on its own power then before that somewhere on the segment I remember seeing an older fella who’d just gotten off of his night shift at work when he came across these 2 ghostly dark figures leaving the kitchen in reverse heading towards the master bedroom then around that time it was only one then I remember seeing the old fella diving through this spirit & onto the bed disturbing his wife then breaking out in a cold sweat right there & all because this is what happens when people disturb someone’s resting place & speaking of that they’re shouldn’t had been any houses on that site in the first place since this was then an African American Burial site which had been abandoned since the 1930’s but if people were notified back then this Cemetery should’ve been dedicated to the former slaves who were buried there many years ago.


    • Yves

      Did you read the summary above? You just repeated part of it for no reason.

      I’d like to know why disturbing graves supposedly leads to haunting retaliation. These people buried in the subdivision were evidently Christians. Why should their souls with the Lord have a care for their forgotten, earthly remains? Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. why should they become hostile over it? Theological questions not discussed, not even in the book of the Williams story, Black Hope Horror. (Still a good read.)


  33. a

    kys autist


  34. Johnny

    There is a rational explanation for this, for starters seeing as Sam knew the birthday of one of the skeletons, and knew where his wife kept her clothes, it’s not entirely implausible that he put the shoes there himself, perhaps as he wasn’t comfortable with having skeletons buried in his back yard and wanted to move. As for the other case, it is quite likely that this was just an extremely tragic coincidence, there is a condition called Sudden adult death syndrome which although extremely rare, can kill perfectly healthy adults.


  35. Christina Rose

    ok so I rarely believe anything supernatural but this I believe I mean come on how can you not the proof is there sliding glass opening her shoes moving I mean how can you hoax that well you can lie about it but another family had strange things happen SO I DO BELIVE THIS IT IS NOT FAKE


  36. Tony Cypriot

    To whom this may concern

    I remember as a child watching this film on living and how it used to give myself and older sister goosebumps (both of us were also victims of a black figure at night attempting to harm us and make us feel chilled&afraid). We did get blessed and learnt to close off this thing, although I am still sensitive. Has anybody else since these families moved out moved in to the houses? And if so has the houses been ‘cleansed’? It may never will if the bodies are still there but of course certain blessings can be done or simply abandon the house.

    It is also frightening to think they may become hotspots for youngsters or adults who are curious to try things out (like using a ouji board or a triangle rod or other means) to communicate with them. The more interaction the worse it can get, so I hope this has been resolved in the sense that the spirits are banished or if not the locals are forever keeping people away.


    • melissa castelveter

      I believe everything the Williams and Haneys went through and it’s ashamed that it happened to them


    • Cheri

      I’m from a city near Crosby. I’ve been there too. We walked past the Williams house to the edge of the woods. It was everything I heard about and more. First I heard what sounded like chanting near me. Except it sounded like people mixed with howlings of beasts. When I said, do you hear that? It stopped… Later, I through a stone right into there and at the same exact time a stone landed by my foot. Then We Left!

      I heard that the slaves who were buried there were from Haiti and that they practiced Voodoo. Has anyone else heard that or is it just a local story?


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