Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Southwestern Oddities

We watched an indie movie on DVD the other night, The Wicksboro Incident. It's one of the genre often labelled "found footage", documentary style but purely fictional. The film's theme: Wicksboro, in far south-western Texas (fictional small town) disappeared with its inhabitants sometime in the early 1950s. One survivor emerges from hiding decades later to tell his story to two amateur film-makers. His story involves ...aliens. 'Nuf said. Someone who happens across this blog at some point might wish to see the movie, I don't want to spoil it. It's a short film, only about 70 mins, it starts slowly but builds. There's lots of shaky camera work, dark, almost blank screens with voices only to reassure us the DVD hasn't stuck in its groove (or whatever).

The film set me thinking how an area of south-western United States, New Mexico, part of southern Colorado, and south-western Texas have developed mysterious connections to strange happenings, modern legends, the weird and the would-be wonderful. On our trips, over the years around these areas, we've visited a few locations of mysterious reputation. Roswell, New Mexico always comes to mind first.

We first visited Roswell, New Mexico in 2006, the UFO Museum and Research Center was then situated in the main street, in what appeared to be an old movie theater. A new center for the museum was under construction further down the road.

We read many of the numerous exhibits: newspaper articles, sworn affidavits and other printed material displayed around the walls. The main part of the museum deals, unsurprisingly, with the reported UFO crash near Roswell in 1947. There are, among many other things, reports and signed statements from witnesses who saw evidence of the crash and collected wreckage. Evidence of a request for "child size coffins". In several of the statements, witnesses reported seeing purple colored symbols, hieroglyphic-like, on a strip among the wreckage. There's a statement by a woman medical officer, detailed to take notes at an autopsy of bodies following the crash. She was later sent to England, and subsequently is said to have disappeared - or has not been heard from again.


Who can say how genuine any of the material is, after 60 years have passed? And yet, why would ordinary, everyday people have fabricated such a story, back in 1947 on a summer evening just before midnight, without reason? In those days there were few, if any TV programmes about extra-terrestrial phenomena to ignite the imagination. There were few sci-fi movies. What else but "a happening" could have sparked reports of such a bizarre occurrence as this? We discussed our feelings about the whole Roswell story later, after our museum visit, came to the conclusion that "something" did happen on that night in 1947. The "something" was covered up by lies from those in authority at the time. Lies from government downward are not unknown, even in current history, which fact inclined us to believe at least some of the stories told by witnesses.


On a 2005 trip to see Anasazi cave dwellings at Mesa Verde, Colorado we happened across a UFO Watchtower in the San Luis Valley, near Hooper. The site was run by a friendly lady who told us tales of strange sightings she and others had experienced. She also told us that some Native American tribes believe that their ancestors came from "the stars".





On a later trip, 2011, celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary, in the far north of New Mexico, we intended to see what we could find relating to some strange legends surrounding a tiny town called Dulce, on the border of Colorado and New Mexico, close to the Continental Divide, where altitude reaches 7 to 8 thousand ft at various points. Google search "Dulce, New Mexico" for numerous tales of varying incredibility about Dulce and what lies beneath Archuleta Mesa! We, unfortunately, decided to turn around and head home just before we reached Dulce, due to unexpected wintry weather, altitude (7,871ft), and a few uncomfortable health issues.

One particular little village on Highway 64, Dulce, was going to fascinate yours truly because of stories of UFOs, aliens and a massive 7-layered underground government facility said to be nearby - under a huge mesa. There are also stories/legends of a UFO crash near Aztec village in this area. Again, there's a ton of information, comment from locals and researchers online. Some, if even half-true would be hair-raising. It involves bio-tech experiments (which I can believe), mutilated cattle found regularly around the area (documented), alien cooperation following a firefight between government troops and aliens or "grays" (which I can't believe).

I'd guess that there really is, or was, some kind of underground facility in this area dating from 1950s through 1970s. The fear of nuclear war was fierce then.
The US government, paranoia-filled as usual, could easily have decided to experiment, attempting to plan for all eventualities: mutations, radiation effects, etc. etc. Where better than this wilderness area with plentiful natural underground caverns, easily extended and modified, for use without much chance of discovery? That part of the stories isn't hard to believe, given the atmosphere of those times.

We didn't reach Dulce though. We stayed overnight in Chama, a village 25 miles to the east. The temperature was frigid up there in the mountains, some of what we'd assumed was remnants of the winter's snow remained in the fields and forests over the highest parts of the route.

Neither of us slept a wink that night though. The altitude was probably getting to us both. My husband, restless, decided to get up and play on the laptop. I experienced a severe attack of allergic sneezing which brought on a sharp sinus headache and it simply wouldn't let up. In addition I had developed a troublesome sore on my ankle. We both wondered aloud whether to carry on west or head back to Oklahoma next morning. When we looked outside at about 7 AM we decided at once! Snow had coated the car, and it was still snowing. Probably not at all a surprising find to the locals but a bit disconcerting to southerners like us, spoiled by an unusually warm spring. I hadn't packed any warm clothes. We had to layer up with what we had. It was Sunday, no shops were open to buy warmer clothing - there were no shops around anyway! I'd also managed, somehow, to get myself multi-bitten by an insect (goodness knows what insect would be around in those temps!) I still have 3 itchy bites on my left earlobe, several down the left side of my neck and a cluster of bites on my chest. And they ain't love bites!! We headed home on Sunday morning.

A trip to the Big Bend area of southern Texas in 2012 threw up yet another oddity. In the village of Marfa stories of "the Marfa lights" or "ghost lights" are common. Stange lights, with no logical explanation, have frequently been observed near U.S. Route 67 on Mitchell Flat east of the village. These have gained fame due to some observers having theorised a connection to paranormal phenomena....UFOs, ghostly apparitions etc.
A half-hour drive west of Alpine found us in Marfa, a tiny town made famous by some mysterious lights which appear, intermittently, in the vicinity - Wikipedia explains.


Interestingly the fictional Wicksboro Incident, mentioned at the top of this post, took place in the same general area as Marfa - possibly chosen by its creators because of "the lights"?

I shall remain among the "don't knows" on the topics of UFOs, ghosts, and strange goings-on in general - until I actually experience something to fully convince me otherwise. The experience mentioned below was getting there, it did bring goose bumps. It was an incident unrelated to UFOs and aliens, but still strange. In Santa Fe, New Mexico some years ago, celebrating either my birthday or my husband's.
We had wandered into a hotel lobby thinking it to be the entrance to an arcade of stores. We noticed a bar, still early evening quiet, decided to have a birthday drink there. I considered taking the seat near the wall at the end of the old copper lined bar, but decided it looked rather dark.
I pulled out the next stool along, then felt guilty for leaving a single stool empty, in case a couple might want seats later on - but still, it somehow didn't feel right to move to the end stool. Later in the evening, when some live entertainment was about to begin, it was announced that a beloved regular in this bar, a lady well known in Santa Fe (local singer or musician) had died of cancer a couple of days ago. The seat at the end of the bar had been her usual place to sit. The barman brought her usual drink and placed it there, in her memory. The hairs on the back of my neck began to prickle !

6 comments:

♥ Sonny ♥ said...


I always thought the " Twilight Zone " existed. now I KNOW it does:)

mike said...

It seems that you and anyjazz have the makings for your very own shockumentary production. Horror fans seem to eat-up the crude video effects that you describe for "Wicksboro"...I don't think it would take much to master the techniques.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Maybe the whole USA is it's very own "Twilight Zone", on reading the news each day, it does sometimes feel like it. ;-)

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Now there's an idea! ;-)

LB said...

Thanks for the movie recommendation - sounds kind of intriguing. I also loved the story you shared in your last paragraph, Twilight, and how your intuition was validated. It's a reminder how, as Shakespeare once wrote:

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
- Hamlet

Life is much fuller when we learn to embrace the mystery.:)

Twilight said...

LB ~ The film is an oddity in itself.
:-)
My strange experience was one I'll not forget - haven't had many of them, when one does occur it tends to leave a mark.