Linda Dégh’s concept of ostension-the process through which people enact legend-has been generally applied to criminal activities, yet there is substantial evidence that ostension can also transcend horror and inspire a sense of wonder in those who bring legends to life. One legend-teller’s account of a group "pilgrimage" to a legend site in San Antonio, Texas, reveals the complexity and depth of her community’s relationship with the supernatural. The haunted railroad crossing, often simply a "gravity hill" phenomenon when experienced or narrated by non-Hispanics, becomes for one narrator and many members of her Mexican-American community a site where beliefs concerning the dead, the innocence of children, and the necessity of reverent behavior intertwine as legend-trippers both imitate and interact with the ghostly victims of a railroad-crossing wreck.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.