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three witches

Posted by dave c 
three witches
August 08, 2005 07:01AM
Someone has to tell me if I imagined or dreamed this. I seem to remember, but it's very fuzzy, from my childhood in the sixties, a group of statues referred to by some, as the the "three witches". They where near those white 50's or 60's style office towers on the east side of stemmons, a few miles north of
Downtown. They looked more like monks or people in cloaks to me. But i was very young and barely remember them. Does anyone recall ANYTHING like this? Thanks!
Re: three witches
August 08, 2005 07:10AM
Boy howdy, Dave, I remember the three witches vividly over at the Stemmons Towers. I wonder what happened to them?
Re: three witches
August 08, 2005 10:12AM
I remember them too. My guess is that the owners (possibly Lincoln Properties at the time)removed them after their popularity as a tourist attraction increased. From a distance, it sure looked like three witches in a huddle. Close up, it was pretty much just three stylized, black boulders.
Re: three witches
August 08, 2005 10:32AM
Wow, thanks, i wasn't sure if I imagined them. Think I saw them once up close, at night when I was maybe 4 or 5, and everybody really sold me on them being something scary , lol. Seems their silhouettes were just visible from 35, which must have created the mystique and drawn everyone to them. How cool.
So was it just an abstract art piece? Was it a dark pourous sort of stone?
Chad Smith
Re: The Stemmons Towers Witches
August 08, 2005 11:01AM
I sometimes wondered if anyone else remembered the witches. My friends and I would wait for foggy nights ('70-'72) and take friends, and or dates to see the witches.
Story was that three construction workers were killed in the construction of the towers from a scaffolding accident. Legend was that they were worshipers of the Church of Satan, and followers of the sect would gather at the area of the statues for ceremonial purposes. They would dress in black robes like the grim reaper, and walk in circles chanting and talking in tounges. By the time we arrived at the towers, we could really have 'em worked up!!!
Kristy
Re: The Stemmons Towers Witches
August 08, 2005 11:16AM
Oooooh, I love creepy stuff like that. I used to work in Stemmons Towers in the mid-eighties and I guess the witches were long gone by then. Never knew it had such a frightening past.
Re: three witches
August 08, 2005 11:51AM
I remember the urban legend too! I was in high school (early 70's)--we'd drive by there to "have a look" at the witches. I think we all knew it was bunk and that they weren't really witches (altho' they did look like it from afar), but it was still kinda scary--and fun to tell the story to those that didn't know!
Beth
Those silhouettes between Stemmons Towers -- what goosebumps they raised. That subdued lighting that was cast upon them didn't help. Thank goodness no eerie music accompanied their presence from loudspeakers. As Chad said, all kinds of urban legends had grown up around them. The dad of one of my girlfiends had an office at Stemmons Towers, so she wasn't scared, but all of the rest of us WERE. My friend's dad stated that the figures kept the burglars away at lol. One of the first things that a group of us did when we finally got our drivers' licenses was to drive down to Stemmons Towers at night. It took us a while to muster up the courage to make it from the parking lot to that little atrium area, too. Up close, the statues appeared to be modernistic blobs. But when you left them alone and kept to your business after dark on Stemmons Freeway, they grew capes ... I swear it! lol
KMC
Re: The Stemmons Witches
August 08, 2005 04:04PM
I'd forgotten all about them! Chad's story is exactly the one we heard in high school. We'd drive freshman and younger kids over there and tell them all about it on the way. They'd think we were lying and then they'd see the dark figures and freak out, especially the girls who would need comforting. So they're gone now? That's too bad.
Re: three witches
August 09, 2005 06:50PM
Yep, from a distance it looked like three witches in hoods and capes forming a circle. Actually it was a contemporary "sculpture" of black stone or painted concrete. When we went as teenagers, there was an old, black airline limousine...one of those extended Checker cab type vehicles parked at the west tower. The guy that took us told us that was their vehicle, so "They're here!" Then he pulled around to the back of the towers at quite a distance and had us roll down the windows. He convinced us that the drone of the traffic on Stemmons was the voices of the witches chanting!
Re: three witches
August 09, 2005 08:16PM
I'm glad this thread came up! The last few times I came home to Dallas, I looked and looked for them. I thought I knew where they were. I guess I did know where they were, they just weren't there. At one time, they were kinda spooky at night. Thanks to all for all,
B
Re: three witches
August 11, 2005 06:28PM
Yup, I remember them, too. A night cruising the city usually included a trip to the witches. I was telling a younger friend about this just a few weeks ago while driving past where they stood. He looked at me like I was nuts.
I also heard they were removed because of the "satanic" myths that sprang up around them which worried the owners of the property. They didn't like the controversy or the "bad element" who came to gawk at the witches in the dead of night. I have no idea how true this may be but it sure adds to the legend.
I just wonder where the statue is today?
Re: three witches
August 11, 2005 08:00PM
Surely someone in the organization knows what happened to the sculpture. I personally wouldn't know where to start. I'm sure that with all the really sharp folks on this board, someone can get the skinny.
B
OK Guys,
Now you have all got me curious. Any of our "photo experts" have a photo of this sculpture? I would like to see it.
Respectfully,
Jerry Dealey
Ladies & Gentlemen, This post is going to be rather long but necessary to pass on the story. I have shared this myth of the famed "witches" with my now college-aged sons, among others, who think this was one of the classiest stories/pranks ever pulled...and pulled it several times on numerous friends over a few years (late 60s through mid 70s). At some point in the late 70s, there was a full-page article on the witches, in either the Dallas Times-Herald or the Dallas Morning News, and the author was careful not to give away the ending. Of course, over the years the owner(s) of the towers apparently tired of the numerous cars that cruised the towers' parking lots every night of the week, but especially weekends. As the story grew or spread, it got so that there were so many groups playing the prank on their friends, they began running into each other just from the sheer numbers. But I'll readily admit: yes, I took my friends to see the "witches." And our group got V-E-R-Y G-O-O-D and extremely creative & quite divergent with our renditions of the story, which many kids from U.D., U.T.A., U.N.T., T.W.U., Jesuit, Ursuline, SOC (my school), Sunset (my now wife's school), Adamson & Kimball (our friends' schools), got to experience at our hands. Here was our usual modus operandi: A group of us in a car, usually on a multiple date, or just even cruising with the guys, would always make sure there was one newcomer who didn't know that the witches were just a lifesize set of statues. Having a single newcomer was best, as the other knowing group members would each add to the effect for the newbie as each saw fit, and based on the newcomer's responses at any point. After leaving a movie or dinner, someone would invariably mention "Hmmm, I wonder if the witches are out worshipping tonight." Usually that's all it took to hook the newbie into asking, "What do you mean, witches?" (And usually by then we had them.) Then one of us would usually say, "Oh, you haven't heard about them?" and we'd tell them the (supposed) legend of the owners of the 4 towers at Inwood & Stemmons being "closet" devil worshippers. If it was a Fri. night, we'd say something like, "and they always come out on the Jewish sabbath to worship Satan." On Sat. night we'd say something like "and they always come out on the eve of the Christian sabbath to worship Satan." Sunday's was obviously because it WAS the Christian sabbath. Etc. If the newbie gave us any doubting comments, one of the others would say, "C'mon, Steve, let's go check, and you can prove it to them." Looking at my watch, I'd reluctantly add, "Well, I hadn't planned on it, but I guess we have time" and head my car in the pre-planned direction. Getting there, we'd almost always pass-by going northward on the service road, pass it then turn in right, a fast u-turn south, and head around in a counter-clockwise direction at the farthest outer perimeter of the parking lot, where you really couldn't see the figures. Someone would distract looking too closely with banter about the large light fixtures, which appeared to be large concrete chalices, throwing light upward onto the building sides, as if each was a giant incense burner to the devil. And it did look similar. We did lots of embellishments (e.g.,"Ever notice how there is one tower at each of the 4 compass points?" and such). Well, we'd slowly make it around to the far back side parking lot, still at the farther-most outside perimeter, turn off the headlights, creep forward cautiously & slowly, and I'd usually say "Well, they don't seem to be here tonight." And I would usually comment about a 1940s black car which was almost always there but hadn't yet been spotted. I'd say "They have this sleek black coupe from the late '40s or early 50s, but I don't see it anywhere. Their car is dark, just like they are." If the car was there around back, as it almost always was, then someone else would say "THERE IT IS." (If it was not present, then someone would indicate the direction toward the 3 statues and say "THERE THEY ARE." It never failed to astonish, even if the car wasn't there.) Then I'd slam on the brake from my 5 mph speed, just for mild effect. Motor idling, we'd be silent for maybe 10 seconds, then begin to whisper (again, just for effect) things like "They look like they're vibrating or gyrating" (which was the effect of headlights of vehicles driving past on Stemmons behind the statues, which made them appear to be moving slightly.) Someone would say, "LISTEN...I think I can hear them chanting" (cars on Stemmons going up or down the incline of the freeway bridge over Inwood naturally make low melodic sounds from the tires on the grooved pavement). I'd then slowly turn the car towards the "witches" and, with motor running, stop again, then just watch & listen. Silence & awe on our part was a great persuader, and the newcomer's imagination usually would take over. If they still doubted, I might say "Let's sneak up on them but not get too close." Sometimes the newbie would go for it, sometimes not. If so, we'd get out, sneak very slowly & quietly, get maybe 75 feet away, then hide behind a small bush and whisper. At some point I might say "Be careful and stay back...you never know if they might have a gun under their cloaks." Or if staying in the car was to be the newcomer's choice, I would usually also remain in the car, just the same. (I wanted to appear somewhat reasonable.) Finally, one of us might start screaming and running whole-hog with wildly flailing arms toward the center of the statues, then fall into the middle and lay down, or something similar. Or else, I'd flip on the lights so they shined on the statues and begin screaming myself, hold down the car horn, peel out and "rush" the statues at maybe 45-50 mph, then screech to a halt a few feet away. Or maybe both. Regardless, the effect was ALWAYS a pleasure, as the newbie didn't know what to believe anymore, and was usually somewhat freaked. And, of course, we'd all start laughing, and finally someone would say, "My friend, you have now seen the famous witches of Stemmons Towers. Now share this experience with someone else you know." The whole experience took maybe 5-6-7-8 minutes around the parking lot, so lots of suspense and unknowns and interjection, and the darkness always added a great deal to the overall effect. BTW, the 3 statues were appx. 7 feet tall, looked like hooded monks facing a common center (and each other), were made of stone material like mortar pestils of a rough, dark brown nature with a texture of sack-cloth, and even in daylight at a distance, they looked somewhat real. Experientially, it was a great sham, and we never lost a friend over the gag. Many times the newbie would even be disappointed at the end. But it was always memorable for all.
Fred Ragsdale
Re: A True Story of the Witches of Stemmons Towers
August 27, 2005 12:06AM
Good telling of the story, Steve. Gave me a good chuckle. The witches were after my time, but I know we pulled similar pranks on 'newbies' in the '50s.....like at the peacock farm/ranch at Hampton and Camp Wisdom.....which has been mentioned previously on this board.
I'm not aware of kids of today doing such pranks. Just think what they are missing.
Fred
Hey Fred.
True, true. My 22 y.o. son said "Man, we never do anything that cool or imaginative nowdays." From the mouths of babes....
Hey Jerry,
25-30 years ago, either the Dallas Times Herald or the Dallas Morning News did a full page spread on the "Witches of Stemmons Towers," and included some well-planned photos (as I recall) of the statues, plus the article was well done. You might research in that direction, to see which writer & photographer might have done it. The shots might be at the paper, or in someone's files.
I seem to recall the shots were of "Orson Welles" type angles & used dark against light, so as not to show too much. I wish I had saved it.
Steve,
I did find that the Dallas Morning News did a spread on them on August 22, 1970, in "The Dallas Scene". Unfortunately, the DMN on-line Archives does not have any photos or graphics.
So I guess during my next Library section, I will have to jump to the microfilm section to see if I can find a photo.
Respectfully,
Jerry Dealey
I have to report being a first person witness to steve's tale of the three witches....
that description brought back a lot of memories steve...
i am sure I was in the car several times....
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