In the summer of 2012, Mr. Oddbooks and I drove out to Baby Head, Texas. A real place. I swear.
It’s a ghost town now, more or less incorporated into Llano, Texas, and Llano was a weird place in its own right. We drove around forever trying to find the remaining Baby Head post office and never found it. But we did find plenty of Apostolic churches, Cowboy Congregations, exotic animals being raised so weekend warriors can obliterate them with assault weapons on canned hunts, and several hidden little cemeteries that I really want to go back and investigate, as long as I can remember to wear steel-toed boots to repel all the grass burrs and fire ants.
Back to Baby Head. The town got its name because “oral tradition” says that some time between 1850-1875, a local Indian tribe kidnapped a white child, killed it, and left it on a mountain that came to be called Babyhead Mountain. (The town’s name and the cemetery’s name are Baby Head, while the mountain is Babyhead. Don’t ask me why. But even that isn’t carved in stone as you will find the town, the cemetery and the mountain all referred to as “Babyhead” or “Baby Head” with no real explanation for the variations.)
It’s hard to know if there is any truth to this legend. The tribe of the Indians who supposedly killed the baby is unknown, though if hard-pressed I would say it had to be Comanches, a pretty harsh tribe to be sure. The name of the baby is also officially unknown, but it is assumed to have been a little girl. I personally suspect the baby’s designated gender is because the oldest grave in the Baby Head Cemetery belongs to a little girl who died on New Year’s Day in 1884, though one local historian insisted her late husband knew people who searched for the child. The woman’s husband said the little girl was murdered in 1873, and that her name was Mary Elizabeth Buster. I have never been able to run to ground a Mary Elizabeth or a Mary Elizabeth Buster from Baby Head in 1873, but I also have a notoriously short attention span. This article by Dale Fry best illustrates all the stories about this Texas legend.
I had read several accounts of how creepy Baby Head Cemetery is. It wasn’t creepy. It was interesting, and sort of macabre in a very sunny way, but mostly it was painful.