In late 2001, in the wake of September 11th, a new publication was born out of fear for our Republic and a need to communicate the weirdness of post-911 life to our Central Texas friends, family and neighbors.
From early 2002 to mid 2003 I was editor of the Austin Para Times news-zine. We covered a variety of paranormal and parapolitical issues and topics.
I left the magazine to finally start my non-profit community lending library, the Anomaly Archives.
In issue #3, I wrote an article as my alter-ego Jackson Valient (with co-writer Yogina Bare … another pseudononymous author and fellow fringe explorer) that serves as an introduction to all things anomalous here in Central Texas.
I offer it here for archival purposes and as part of my personal introduction to our new audience within the LOWFI network.
AusTex Anomalous: An APT Guide to Para Texas
By Jackson Valient and Yogini Bare
Why Austin Para Times? What’s so “Para” about Austin or Texas?
People might not think of Texas as particularly paranormal or parapolitical, but we have a long tradition as a disputed territory and have retained the right to secede from the United States. Our state sports a lot of stereotypes about backyard barbeques, cowboy roundups, and other wholesome family fun, but Texas has also seen some of the most notorious mass killings in the country, from murders by free-range serial killers like Henry Lee Lucas & Angel Maturino Resendez the “Railway Killer” to the Matamoros massacre graves found along the Texas/Mexico border. We have one of the largest training facilities for Air Force intelligence in the country, and we’ve even had a President ceremonially sacrificed as part of a Military-Industrial Complex coup right on Dallas’ own Grassy Knoll. The Lone Star State may seem pretty straightforward at first, but, for the curious and well-informed, there’s a lot more lying beneath the façade of normalcy.
Texas Cryptoozoology Connection
Deep within the heart of the East Texas Piney Woods lies the mysterious Caddo Lake region, a place of great cinematic interest which has seen the filming of many movies, including the drive-in classic The Legend of Boggy Creek about a bigfoot creature. But East Texas is also the stomping ground of real life bigfoot hunters. A network of dedicated outdoorsman and naturalists forensically investigating the physical traces of these intriguing and archetypal Sasquatch reports stretches from Conroe to Jefferson. Chester Moore, a contributor in previous APT issues, is headquartered in Conroe where he just held the annual Southern Crypto Conference last month. Meanwhile, Craig Woolheater, Assistant Director of the Texas Bigfoot Research Center in Jefferson, is busy organizing the 2nd Annual Texas Bigfoot Conference scheduled for October 12th.
All across the State you can see the tell tale folktale markers in such placenames as HarryMan Road. Sombunall of these street namings actually originate from local sighting reports. Even Austin has a Cryptozoological Connection. The Fortean coincidence of names in these “alien animal” phenomena recurs with the strange goings-on reported down along Austin’s own … Boggy Creek. Residents along a certain stretch of Boggy Creek have reported mysterious shadowy shapes and animal noises. Reports one person:
“I heard a strange animal call: it was positively mournful. It was almost like the hooting of our owls, but not quite. The cry had a resonance to it that was mammalian; it had expression.” And later … “This was a ‘textbook’ chimp sound, starting with the characteristic low, heaving grunt, working its way up to a shrieking “OOH-OOH-OOH-OOH- AH-AH-AH-AH!”
Soon after, a resident’s dog went missing. When the dog was found barely alive, it:
“… Appeared to have fallen off the bluff, and was unable to move. ‘He was ripped to shreds’, recalls Darrell, ‘The skin on the top of his head was flipped back like a bad toupee, and his skull was punctured. He was a bloody mess.’”
The main witness was so frightened that he actually contacted Texas Parks and Wildlife. TPW was rather dismissive but sent out a two person team armed with rifles. The team searched the area along the creek and up on the bluff:
” … they reported having found a veritable boneyard in an area up above the bluff, with skeletons ranging from dog-and-cat-size to entire deer. Their official opinion was that our ‘monster’ was a mountain lion.”
As cut and dried as this case appears it offers typical Fortean and Paranormal anomalous details that are the hallmark of such ambiguous mysteries. The main witness, who was only one of the people to report these happenings, stated he was part of a consciousness group experimenting with their own version of Stanislov Grof’s Holotropic Breathwork, and quoted another para-investigator as saying:
“It is inevitable that the intention to investigate and communicate any experience alters the ultimate reality of that experience.”
Whether you are a Fortean, Anomalist, Paranormalist or Cryptozoologist, the subject of “Bigfoot” offers an opportunity to consider various possible paradigms. From a purely Fortean or Anomalist (informational) perspective, one can consider these reports as possible misidentification of escaped chimps as bigfoot creatures or even the reverse: the misidentification of bigfoot as an escaped chimp. The Fortean or Anomalist will focus on the report as a narrative with possible but unnecessary physical evidence. The paranormalist usually will focus on the mysterious aspects of the beasts’ sudden appearance and disappearance. They may also link the witness reports of extremely foul odors preceding bigfoot sightings with smells like sulphur and rotten eggs that were supposed to accompany the presence of Medieval-style demons and Mephistophelean visitations. Austin even has it’s own paranormal oriented cryptozoologist, Rob Riggs, the author of In The Big Thicket: On The Trail Of The Wildman. An interview with Mr. Riggs will be included in a forthcoming issue of Austin Para Times.
Texas Parapsychology Connection
Bridging the gap between Cryptozoological Investigations and Paranormal Research are the multitude of ghost, haunting, ESP and remote viewing seekers populating all of Texas. There’s the Lone Star Spirits and Capital City Ghost Research Society in Austin, North Texas Paranormal Investigation and Research Studies group in and around Dallas, and the South Texas Paranormal Society in Corpus Christi. Also of note is Michael Weaver and his San Antonio Paranormal Research Society. The SAPRS is a membership based division of the Institute of Paranormal Investigations, which conducts research in the areas of Apparitions, ESP, Hauntings, Remote Viewing, Mediumship and other paranormal phenomena using the rigid tenets of scientific method.
Last but not least, we have legendary psi scientist Hal Puthoff, who has been in Austin for a while now studying possible alternative power sources involving Zero Point Energy. Puthoff produced the psi research scene’s premier Remote Viewing project at Stanford Research Institute in California working with the Father of Remote Viewing, Ingo Swann. Both Putoff and Ingo Swann spoke at last month’s International Remote Viewing Conference held here in Austin by former military remote viewer Paul Smith. Smith actively trains people in the art of Remote Viewing and makes his home in Round Rock.
Of Crashed Craft & Soaring Airships: Texas UFOs – The Early Years
Perhaps the richest alternate paradigm engrained in Texas history is the state’s legendary UFO sightings & hotspots. An alleged crash of an alien ship has left a legacy of tales in Aurora, Texas. Some people believe, the interred body of the ship’s dead crewmember rests in the town’s cemetary. Someone even made a children’s movie based on the accounts, but didn’t attempt to portray an accurate record of the alleged events. Owners of the legendary Austin underground zine and counterculture store, FringeWare, commissioned a sculpture by artist Steve Brudniak to replace the stolen Aurora Alien tombstone.
Let’s not forget other paranormal phenomenon like the Marfa Lights in West Texas that have mystified indigenous peoples as well as early and modern day settlers and travelers for a hundred years or more. The Marfa Mystery Lights appear almost everyday starting around dusk, and have been widely studied, but never solved. North East of Marfa is the site of another famous Texas UFO Mystery, the Lubbock Lights. The unidentified lights were seen by multiple witnesses and even photographed, but many dismissed them as geese flying in formation, reflecting the city lights off the bottoms of their bodies.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s Southwestern States from California to Texas experienced a wave of unidentified flying objects before terms like UFO or flying saucer were ever introduced. These unidentified objects are known as airships because they predate the Wright Brothers’ contraption and seem to mimic early experimental blimps. Yet, in a strange twist some of the crew / occupant appearances portend both the Italian-looking olive-complexioned Space Brother crews of the 1950s and, in some cases, the short grey aliens of the 1980s seem predated by the Asian-eyed airship occupants.
Several sightings of the airship were reported in Austin within the pages of our city’s precursor to today’s Austin American Statesman. The first sightings took place on April 19th and were reported in the next day’s Austin Daily Statesman. Two more mysterious airship sighting reports appeared in the April 26th & 29th issues.
“About 3 o’clock yesterday morning, it began to rain and the young men were compelled to get up and fasten their tent. It was at this time they saw the mysterious air craft. They claim it was in sight fully fifteen minutes and are positive they could not have been mistaken. At intervals of every few seconds it would throw its searchlights, and the boys said the light looked as big as four ordinary arc lights. It made its appearance from behind Mount Bonnell and traveled north.” – Austin Daily Statesman, April 26, 1897
“The airship, carrying a large headlight, passed over the city yesterday morning, apparently about 300 or 400 feet above the earth. … an intelligent and wholly reliable gentlemen living at the corner of Colorado and Second Streets. … Saw a great light slowly moving over the Salge Hotel. It was coming from the southeast and moved in a northwesterly direction… It traveled very slow, the light being so blinding that I could not see the shape of the vehicle. … After it had passed me, I could see the shape of the rear end of the vessel, and it appeared to be in this shape,’ and Mr. Porsch arranged his hands in a V shape, somewhat like the tail of a fish.” – Austin Daily Statesman, April 29, 1897
Nearly a hundred years later, one of the most famous physical trace UFO cases would occur in North Texas. The Cash-Landrum Encounter is a well known case in ufology that left rather significant physical traces in the form of conspicuous radiation burns on the witnesses, the road, and the witnesses’ car. It was December 29th, 1980, when Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum and Colby Landrum were driving along Highway FM1485. Colby was the first to spot the distant object which would eventually approach them and block their way on the road. Vickie screamed to, “Stop the car or we shall be burned alive!” The diamond shaped object hovered at tree top level above the road, occasionally belching flames below. It also had small blue lights on its dull aluminum surface and occasionally emitted a beeping sound. The three of them got out of the car, but the heat terrified them. Then the helicopters arrived. “They seemed to rush in from all directions… it seemed like they were trying to encircle the thing,” Betty says. An adequate explanation for this sighting has never surfaced; most people assume it was a military test aircraft gone awry.
Several Air Force Project Blue Book files document sightings throughout the State, including one in Austin at Mansfield Dam on June 24th, 1967 (the twentieth anniversary of the Kenneth Arnold sighting and the birth of the “Modern UFO Era”). The witness was none other than psychic-sensitive ufo-researcher contactee-artist Ray Stanford.
Ray Stanford pioneered one of the world’s most interesting and instrumented approaches to civilian UFO research ever with his historic Project Starlight International. Armed with radar, cameras, magnetometers, lasers, computers and other equipment, Ray and company documented several interesting sightings just outside of Austin. In one incident an orange ball of light appeared while they had a very special terrestrial visitor on the property; Charles Hickson of the Hickson/Parker Pascagoula Mississippi Abduction. Ray Stanford has since disbanded this research lab and now uses his psychic intuition to find a wealth of rare dinosaur fossils up in the North East United States.
So next time you’re ready to dismiss Texas as just another boring state, take a trip to Marfa to see the Mystery Lights dance or visit the Capitol Building in downtown Austin and peruse the Freemasonic symbolism. Look at the anomalous right above you in the Austin sky, or consider that anyone you pass by on the street could be one of the numerous contactees, researchers, and paranormalists that make this place a lot more interesting than most people would suspect.
-Southern Crypto Conference
-Texas Bigfoot Research Center & the 2nd Annual
Texas Bigfoot Conference
-Rob Rigg’s Mysterious Dimension
-Austin’s Boggy Creek Monster
-Lone Star Spirits
-North Texas Paranormal Investigation and Research Studies
Dallas and Surrounding Areas
-South Texas Paranormal Society Corpus Christi
-Paranormal Research Society of Texas
-Capital City Ghost Research Society
-Institute of Paranormal Investigations
-Remote Viewing Instructional Services
-Austin’s Airship Sightings
–The Great Texas Airship Mystery by Wallace O. Chariton