Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
There are some places in Texas I advise you to go to: San Antonio. Austin. Poteet. Dallas. La Vernia. Just to name a few if you want to experience real Texas in a breathtaking way.
And then there’s Kosciusko, Texas, a place that I would never bring up in normal conversation. It’s a place you don’t go to. It’s a place you drive far away from when nighttime falls. It’s a place where your car stops and stalls and you feel sweat beading down your neck as you try to jiggle the keys in fear.
You don’t go to Kosciusko. Ever.
Pull up Google maps and try to find the town–here’s a hint. You won’t. You’ll go immediately to a marker labeled “Kosciusko Meat Market” but no indicator that there’s a town anywhere. There’s no street name called Kosciusko Street or Avenue. Just “Kosciusko Meat Market”.
It’s really more or less an abandoned town. Only about ten people reside there and country separates them all in between. There’s a meat market, like I said, and an old dance hall that people used to go to back in the 1970s. There used to be a school who resided there but they merged with Poth ISD way back in the 1970s.
Even the history of Kosciusko is lackluster: a simple Polish town that was established as a rural trading point for settlers as they headed to San Antonio. No battles were fought there. No historical significance.
Except, technically, one.
The story of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a fabricated story based on Ed Gein, who murdered and sewed skin of women together. Urban legend steadfast hold onto the belief that the real incident of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre happened in Poth, Texas.
This isn’t true because in reality, it was Kosciusko where the legend began. Poth got attached to it because Kosciusko lived and died with a very difficult sounding name. When the movie came out, the locals murmured and whispered among themselves that Kosciusko’s secret and dark past had been taken by Hollywood and transformed into a slasher film, complete with a cannibal family and bloody corpses that lined the grounds.
It’s a coincidence. The film had nothing to do with the town. But have you ever seen something that was so eerily coincidental and similar that you couldn’t help but feel a connection? Even the lonely, isolated feeling of the landscape felt like the harsh, hard ground of the ghost town.
Kosciusko is home to a violent clan of inbred cannibals that live in the countryside, kidnapping and raping victims before eating them alive. If the victims didn’t already will themselves to die by that time, anyway. Nobody exactly knows where they came from but rumor is that they were simply “left” behind when people started to move away. It’s agreed that they’re Polish descent and otherwise unintelligent humans, but that’s all anyone can say.
Right before Texas Chainsaw Massacre came out, a young, naked, and bloody man drove his car into a streetpost in Poth, Texas, and got out, screaming wildly in the dark of the night. The police and ambulance came, bringing him to a hospital center in Floresville.
After sedating him enough to clean him, the nurses and doctors found irregularities. He was bruised and bloodied and his flesh had been stripped on his thighs and buttocks, like a knife had been skinning him. He had no tongue and was unable to speak. His wrists were hanging off the joint, as if it had been bound so tightly that it was essentially severing them clean off. His ankles were shattered and broken and it seemed like it was pure will and luck that he even made it that far to Poth, in a car nonetheless.
The police detectives gave him a pen and paper and asked him what happened. The only thing he wrote was Kosciusko and died a day later from injuries and infections.
His body was studied by the medical examiner of San Antonio, who took interest in the case, and the medical examiner promptly remarked that this would be his last autopsy, as this was the worst he’d seen. Shortly after he signed the papers, the medical examiner resigned and moved out of Texas.
The medical examiner reported that the young man had been held captive for a week or so, bound by something tight, like rope or chains. His circulation was cut off in many parts of the body, requiring amputation of the fingers and toes. There was several infections raging in his body that would have eventually, by miracle had not, killed him. He was also tested positive for tetanus and fragments of rusty metal were found in his bloodstream. He was dehydrated, starved, and raped repeatedly in the rectum, mouth, and a hole in the base of his spine was found to be filled with semen. Shockingly, this did not result in paralysis and the doctor still can’t explain it.
His tongue was missing and the doctor presumed that it was cut using the same rusty blade as the fragments found in the bloodstream, as well as the skinning of his thighs and buttocks. He was also tested positive for HIV, which wound up quarantining the hospital. Blood, traces of seminal fluid, and rotted meat were found in his stomach as well as a wristwatch.
The guess is as good as anyone else’s on how this poor man escaped his captors. The doctor theorized that maybe, he freed himself by dislocating his wrists and slipping out of his bonds. How he was able to run was pure will to escape and survive and the car he might have stolen on a highway or from his captors. A informal police report differs, suggesting the man was meant to be tossed in the river nearby and overpowered his captors while in the car and operated it into a frenzy.
The weirder mystery was the word Kosciusko. It wasn’t any difficulty to see that he meant Kosciusko, Texas, so the police began to search out there, starting with the Kosciusko Meat Market. There, all they found was an elderly couple running the store as usual and selling pork rinds in plastic bags. A detective bought one to eat on the search and eventually, that was all the search actually accomplished. Nothing was found and nothing was gained. Nobody in the small town had seen or heard of the man and nobody reported a car missing or stolen.
The detectives returned several times back over a course of months, attempting to secure more information. However, they were largely unsuccessful and considered the case had run cold.
The last time they were there, they went back into the Meat Market. A young girl of maybe six or seven was sitting behind the counter, eating a type of Polish candy.
One of the detectives decide to go ahead and try to talk to her. He first bought a bag of pork rinds to try and start conversation, which she returned with energetic favor. She seemed pleasant enough, as any six year old would be.
Then he offered her one of his pork rinds to curry favor. She declined.
“Momma says I only eat those if they made of piggys.” She said. The detective laughed a bit and told her that they were made of pig, hence “Pork” rinds. She shook her head.
“No. They’re not. I seen Grandpa make ’em. He gets a shipment of skin every month and while they’re screaming and crying and hollering, he takes the skin right off and tosses it in the fryer.”
Immediately, the detectives become unsettled and leave, opting to hand over their pork rinds to lab. They then dispatch and attempt to find the old couple. Every time they go to the Meat Market, it’s closed. And every time they try to find them, everyone in the town doesn’t remember them.
After some digging through the history books and birth certificates to locate the identity of the couple, the detectives learn a terrifying fact: everyone in Kosciusko is related. There’s no deviancy in the family trees. Any settlers who immigrated there was blemished out mysteriously.
The results come back. Now, this was back in the day where forensics did not exist so DNA testing was a science-fiction fantasy. The inspectors determined the pork rinds were of “untraceable origin…but were definitely not made of pork or any hog products”.
This resulted in a search and seizure of the town. The town of Poth dispatched and requested help of several towns to seize all people of Kosciusko. People were arrested and kids were transferred to Poth where they could not be in their families’ possession. Violence and fights broke out. Homes were destroyed and torn apart in ravage police searches.
In one home, they found equipment with noticeable blood. In another, fragments and bone were found. In yet another, teeth were buried under the soft ground.
Nobody was talking. And nobody was saying anything.
This was before DNA so the police couldn’t determine what the blood was. The household claimed they butchered their own livestock. The teeth came from burying it for the Tooth Fairy. Bones and fragments were from slaying pigs with hammers.
The rabbit hole went too deep and the police didn’t know what to do. So they shut down Kosciusko and ferried the kids to the Poth ISD schools. When they could no longer hold the townspeople in custody, the townspeople moved out of the homes and went deeper into the country so they couldn’t be found.
Then the movie came out. Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And everyone was utterly convinced someone in Kosciusko sold the story.
Of course, it was just coincidence. The two are unrelated and the case of Kosciusko never went solved. By that time, everyone knew to stay away from Kosciusko and the kids who were shipped to the Poth schools were bullied so hard that eventually, they too left for the isolated countryside.
The thing is, now Kosciusko is trying to open up the doors again. The dance hall is open and the meat market is under new management. Kosciusko is trying to sell itself as a “historic” town and bring business back to the ghost town.
People have gone there for the dances and insist that there’s a homely, cowboy like charm to the place. And the pork rinds can’t be beat.
And the nice old couple who runs the meat market are just the best people, I hear.
Credit: J.F Sindel