By Taylor Leonard
It turns out the number of unexplained events in Texas is a pretty long list. One post wasn’t enough to cover them all. Here are five more unsolved mysteries of the Lone Star State continuing to confound experts and investigators:
On January 8, 2008 nearly 30 citizens of the town of Stephenville, Texas reported seeing a mile-long, half-mile wide unidentified flying object in the sky. Several witnesses claimed the object was traveling at an incredible rate of speed, with one estimate clocking the object at 3,000 miles per hour. Others alleged to have seen fighter jets in pursuit of the UFO.
The mass sighting brought global attention to the sleepy burg of about 17,000 residents. After initially denying any activity in the area, the US Air Force admitted to conducting aerial exercises near Stephenville on the day in question, though no official explanation for the UFO was ever given.
The JFK Assassination
One of the most infamous days in United States history, November 22, 1963 was the date in which President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. The JFK assassination is synonymous with conspiracy theory due to numerous suspicious circumstances surrounding the murder of the president:
–The only suspect ever arrested in connection to the shooting – Lee Harvey Oswald – was himself murdered a few days later;
-Dozens of witnesses along the parade route through Dealey Plaza reported hearing shots coming from a grassy knoll in front of Kennedy, despite Oswald’s sniper’s perch being in a building behind the president;
-Footage of the assassination supports the idea of the kill shot coming from the front, not the rear of the president, as Kennedy’s head can be seen snapping “back and to the left” when struck by the lethal bullet.
The FBI and Warren Commission concluded Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. A later investigation conducted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations found evidence pointing to the high probability of a conspiracy behind the death of President John F. Kennedy, making this the greatest unsolved crime of American history, let alone one of Texas’s greatest unsolved mysteries.
Wild Man of the Navidad
Considered the first recorded sighting of Bigfoot in Texas, stories of the Wild Man of the Navidad go back to the mid-19th century. Folks living along the Navidad river near modern-day Sublime, Texas reported seeing a creature covered in short brown hair which moved more nimbly than any human could. The Wild Man was also referred to as “The Thing that Comes” due to the tendency of the creature to evade detection when entering dwellings to steal supplies, leaving only slight indications of his presence for inhabitants to find in the morning.
One account alleges the Wild Man was able to snag items of food stored behind sleeping guard dogs without waking them up. Although attempts were made to capture the creature, none proved successful, with the identity and exact nature of the Wild Man of the Navidad river remaining a mystery.
On the night of December 29 1980, Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, and Vickie’s seven-year-old grandson Colby were driving back to Dayton, Texas after grabbing a bite to eat. About halfway during their trip, the trio claimed to have encountered a diamond-shaped, brightly lit UFO being chased by over 20 helicopters. In the days after the incident, all three reported illness similar to radiation sickness. Vickie later alleged to have overheard a military helicopter pilot mention he was pursuing a UFO the same night of her close encounter and that after she related her experience to him he refused to speak further about the incident.
On the grounds that the US military was somehow involved in exposing them to an unknown source of radiation, Cash and Landrum sued the US government for $20 million. The case was eventually tossed out by a federal judge for lack of evidence connecting military activity to the helicopters observed that evening.
Texarkana Moonlight Murders
The spring of 1946 brought horror to the citizens of Texarkana, Texas when a serial killer began striking the town of about 15,000 people. Typically targeting couples seated in parked automobiles, the “Phantom Killer” or “Phantom Slayer” as he came to be known would fire several gunshots into the vehicles, aiming for the back of the victims’ heads. A total of five people were killed by the Phantom Killer, with three others lucky enough to survive their injuries.
One prime suspect was tracked to Georgia and arrested, but the primary evidence against him was the word of his wife who later refused to testify in court. While the police rounded up hundreds of other possible suspects, the identity of the person behind the Texarkana Moonlight Murders remains a mystery 70 years onward.
This list, in conjunction with the previous post on unsolved Texas mysteries, is likely to barely scratch the surface of unexplained ongoings in the Lone Star State. It’s simply too big, too wild, and too strange a place.