Do You Know the Haunted Tales of Monkeys and Tunnels in Athens?
East Texas is full of history. Some good, some bad and some history that will make your skin crawl. To the locals of a particular area, those stories could be second hand knowledge. To others, those stories are unknown. For instance, I had never heard of the tale of the haunted Monkey Bridge and Fuller Park in Athens and the supposed tunnels underneath the city.
I just happened to stumble across this searching Athens Texas on YouTube. It was titled, "Haunted Monkey Bridge and Fuller Park. Athens TX." Okay, cool. It was a seemly innocuous tour of the woods in Athens that started at the corner of Wilson and West College Street. The gentleman in the video talked a little about the story of the area.
From there, I went down the rabbit hole.
I had never heard this story before. First thing I came across was the story of Monkey Bridge, or Thunder Bridge. In the 1960's, a circus was coming through town on the railroad and the train derailed around the bridge. Supposedly, the monkeys that survived escaped and killed their handlers. Stories say that people can hear the handlers screaming and the howls of the monkeys at night along West College Street.
The story continues that Medford Fuller captured the surviving monkeys and held them in cages at Fuller Park. It is said that he performed rituals and did unspeakable things to those monkeys. You can still see these cages in the abandoned park along with the grave stones of Medford Fuller, and his wife, Virginia, in Fuller park.
It is also told that Fuller park is home to one of five entrances to a labyrinth of tunnels that form a pentagram underneath Athens. The story of these tunnels goes from they lead to a coffin at the center to they were part of the Underground Railroad to the tunnels were used during prohibition to there is no way tunnels could exist underneath Athens because the ground wouldn't be able to support it. The beauty of an urban legend, it's hard to distinguish the truth from the myth.
Sometimes it's fun to go down a rabbit hole of unexplained phenomena and weird stories in East Texas that most may not even know about.