It was 1941, and the Texas football team was nearing a Thanksgiving road trip to Kyle Field, the scene of 18 straight years of Longhorn losses. What’s worse, this year the Aggies were undefeated. Hoping to break the A&M jinx, UT students consulted with local fortune teller Madam Agusta Hipple, who recommended burning red candles a week before the big game to place a hex on their rivals. And it worked—Texas shut out A&M 23-0.
The red-candle hex has been put to work against various other rivals over the years, including Southern Methodist University, Baylor, and yes, even Texas Christian University back in 1955.
While the Texas Exes Hex Rally started with the Aggies, it has over its many years been a tradition bigger than just UT vs. A&M. The red-candle hex has been put to work against various other rivals over the years, including Southern Methodist University, Baylor, and yes, even Texas Christian University back in 1955—with varying degrees of success.
During the tumultuous 1960’s and ’70s, many students lost interest in long-standing UT traditions, including the Hex Rally. The rally—along with all other football pep assemblies—disappeared from the Forty Acres completely until the mid-1980’s, when the Texas Exes Student Involvement Committee (now the Texas Exes Student Chapter) revived the red candle hex before playing, you guessed it, A&M.
On Monday, Nov. 19, Texas Exes Spirit and Traditions Council will host the 2012 Hex Rally at 8 p.m. in Main Mall, in hopes of jinxing this year’s Thanksgiving day opponent, the TCU Horned Frogs. The event will feature Judge Harley Clark, a former UT cheerleader who, in 1955, first unveiled the Hook ’em Horns sign that he and fellow student H. K. Pitts dreamed up.
It hasn’t been decided yet who will get hexed next year. In all likelihood, it will be whomever we play on Thanksgiving 2013.
For more information on this year’s rally, click here.
Top, a Hex Rally in the 1950s.
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Cheryl McDowell Hawkins:
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Judy Jude Thompson:
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