HUNTSVILLE - by Sherry Williams/KHOU 11 News - www.khou.com - There is a statue that locals in Huntsville call “Black Jesus.” Some folks believe there is something awfully strange about it.
The statue is located in a dark grove of historic Oakwood Cemetery.
The proper name for it is “The Comforting Christ,” said James Patton of the Walker County Historical Commission.
Some townsfolk say the eyes are sometimes open and sometimes closed.
The statue was commissioned by Judge Benjamin Powell and his wife, Marian Lee Rather in the early 20th century, Patton said. They commissioned it, based on a work in Denmark, for the grave of their son.
“The young boy, who was five years old, had his tonsils out in Austin, Texas and he died on the operating table,” Patton said.
“They say that sometimes the statue actually cries,” Cook said.
According to legend, the statue’s palms, which normally face downward, sometimes turn up.
“Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous,” said Patton.
As for the statue’s trademark dark color, “It’s not black. It’s bronze and bronze turns dark,” Patton said. “The acid from the different trees turn it darker.”
Oakwood Cemetery holds the remains of men who lent their names to Texas cities, like General Sam Houston and the Reverend Thomas Ball.
We asked paranormal investigators to come out. Immediately their meters registered energy fields.
Using divining rods, Jon Strohbehn of Houston Ghost Town Paranormal Investigators said he made contact with the child whose grave is marked by the statue. The child’s name was Rawley Powell.
The rods crossed repeatedly signifying “Yes” answers when Strohbehn asked questions like, “Is Jesus real?” and “Are you with Jesus?”
The rods uncrossed whenever Strohbehn asked Rawley to step back.
To test whether or not Strohbehn was manipulating the rods, KHOU 11 News Photographer Brent Horstmann used them too.
“Rawley Powell are you here?” Horstmann asked. The rods visibly crossed. “Yeah, I can feel it. Hey Rawley,” he said. “The rods are definitely spinning on their own.”
When we asked Rawley if the palms of the Jesus statue would turn up that night, the rods crossed, signifying “Yes.”
But the palms did not change position.
However a paranormal activity meter registered a spike. When the paranormal investigator asked Rawley to make a noise by breaking a stick, we heard, and our camera recorded, what sounded like something small stepping on sticks.
There was also another unexplained noise that we were not aware of until we reviewed the video.
Throughout everything, the statue remained an image of peace.
“I don’t believe this statue moves,” Patton said. He is also skeptical about ghosts, even little ones.
Patton invites the living to visit Huntsville’s historic Oakwood Cemetery and The Comforting Christ statue, as long as they come in a spirit of respect and reverence, he said.