Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Case File: The Devil's Backbone
Location: San Marcos, Texas
Date: 1975—1990
Description: The Devil's Backbone is 4,700 acres of undeveloped property filled with mountains, ravines and woodland located between San Antonio and Austin.


History: The Devil's Backbone is a large rural area in Texas northeast of San Antonio and south of Austin that seems to have more ghosts and other strange spirits than any other place in the United States. The owners of the land claimed to have seen hundreds of spirits while they have been there.
On one evening, resident Bert Wall was writing a story when he heard his dogs barking. He looked out the window and saw a Spanish Monk. The monk was dressed in clothing from the 1700s; Bert does not believe that he was a living person. After a few minutes, he vanished into thin air. Bert believes that the monk was the ghost of a Franciscan Monk named Espinoza, who lived in the area over three-hundred years ago.
John Miers came to Bert's land to hunt deer. One afternoon, he was on a tree stand when he heard someone walking around the tree. The person appeared to be walking in circles around him for several minutes until it stopped. When nightfall approached, he left the tree stand and found no evidence that anyone had been walking around him. As he walked away, he had a strange feeling, so he decided to look back at the tree. He then saw a Native American man standing next to the tree. As he walked back to the house, John noticed that the man was following him. When he tried to approach the man, he vanished into thin air.
Lynn Gentry was a foreman at Bert's ranch. One night, he heard the sounds of horses running by his cabin. When he went outside, he saw at least twenty men on horseback riding near the cabin. They appeared to be the ghosts of Confederate soldiers.
One of the strangest experiences was that of John Villarreal. One afternoon, John was hiking with two friends in an area known as the "Haunted Valley". While walking, he saw a vision of a wolf. Suddenly, the wolf jumped at him. However, his friends did not see the wolf. When they got back into their truck, John's friends noticed that he was very cold. When they got back to the ranch, they were certain that John was possessed. He spoke in a deep voice and talked about Comanche and Lipan Apache massacres. Out of nowhere, a gust of wind came through the ranch's kitchen and opened the back door. At that point, John seemed to return to his normal self.
To this day, nobody can explain why all of this strange phenomenon is occurring at the Devil's Backbone.
Background: The location of the Devil's Backbone is in Texas between Austin and San Antonio. It is approximately the size of 4,700 acres. Comanche and Apache tribes once resided in this area. In the 1700s, Spaniards lived in the area; one was a Franciscan Monk named Espinoza, infamous for his ruthless ambition. During the 1800s, renegade Confederate soldiers came to the area looking for gold.
Investigations: None
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the January 12, 1996 episode.
Results: Unsolved