Thursday, April 20, 2017

Weird Texas: A Book Review, Sort of


I am fascinated by strange or unusual places, occurrences and historical mysteries, as well as untapped powers of the human mind. That’s why I feature psychic characters in my novels and why I love reading about mythology and legends. It’s no surprise then, that when I spotted a book titled Weird Texas while browsing a local Buc-ee’s (a huge gas station, food stop and souvenir hunter’s paradise) I had to have it.

This book is a treasure trove of spooky tales and oddities from the Lone Star State, including some ancient not-so-natural sites. One is “Enchanted Rock,” a pink granite dome more than one billion years old. Encompassing 640 acres in the Hill Country of central Texas, some twenty miles north of Fredericksburg, the rock reaches 400 feet above the surrounding land. The huge batholith (an igneous rock formation exposed by erosion) is the second largest in the United States, the first being Stone Mountain in Georgia. It’s also one of the oldest in the world.

The name Enchanted Rock stems from Native American beliefs that it is haunted, so the story goes. Both the Tonkawa and Comanche feared and revered the rock, possibly offering sacrifices at its base. The Apache believed it was inhabited by mountain spirits. Since many Indians avoided the rock, white settlers sometimes sought refuge there from raiding parties.

One legend says the rock is haunted by a band of warriors who fought to the death against enemy attackers. Their wailing spirits supposedly wander over the rock. Modern scientists suggest the Indians saw how the rock glitters at night after a heavy rain and thought the glittering lights were spirits. Likewise, they mistook the creaking sounds the rock makes when the surface chills after a warm day, for ghostly wails.

The book's authors say, "Such theories do not credit the Indians with having much sense, and assume that they were a superstitious bunch, ignorant in the ways of nature. Much of this attitude may result from our own ignorance of the forces of nature, of which the Indians were very much aware."

Members of the Weird Texas team have camped near Enchanted Rock and other granite rocks in the area. They report hearing strange noises coming from the giant rock, particularly during solstices, that sound like the hum of a high-voltage power line, even though there are such lines anywhere near. The authors speculate that the lights and sounds come from energy within the granite, and go on to say shamanistic cultures have long held such sites sacred.

This is just a small taste of the interesting legends -- and facts -- I found in this thoroughly entertaining book. If you'd like to add it to your library, it's available on  Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Weird-Texas-Travel-Legends-Secrets/dp/1402766874 

You can also find all of my books on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/Lyn-Horner/e/B004CY506Y

11 comments:

  1. I, too, love the odd and weird and little known facts about Texas. For instance..did you know Texas was under more than six flags? It's first name was New Phillipines..named after some king.
    One book in my keeper bookscase is "Tales from Out Yonder."
    I know all about Enchanted Rock, not bein too terribly far from it. I climbed it with a group of high school kids when I was their biology teacher. And our DIL and son and 3 grandsons have climbed it three times..as the boys grew up.
    Thanks!

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    1. Celia, all I can say is lucky you! I would love to climb Enchanted Rock if I could. The next time hubby and I drive south to visit friends in the Hill Country, I hope to at least drive by the rock.

      There are so many great tales in Weird Texas. I'm sure you would love it.

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  2. I also love the odd stuff. It seems most states have their interesting "tidbits" of history that don't make it into the history books.

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    1. Yup, the things that don't make it into history books are often the most fun. Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth.

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  3. I bought that book for my brother, Lyn ... and I almost kept it instead of giving it to him. After all, he'd never know :-)

    I've been past Enchanted Rock many times but never closer than the highway. I understand the scientific explanation for the sounds, etc., but the Indian myths are sure more fun.

    Thanks!
    Nancy

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    1. Hi Nancy. Did your brother like the book? I bet he did. what's not to like, right?

      I have never seen the rock in person but, as I mentioned above, I now intend to one of these days.

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  4. I loved this post about weird and legendary things. I knew nothing about the "Enchanted Rock" until I read this article.
    A wonderful post, Lyn.

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    1. Thank you, Sarah. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. The weirder the subject, the more I love to read about it or watch it on TV. It fires my imagination. I'm sure you know what I mean.

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  5. Lyn, I missed that book at Buckee's (I also love that place). I'll have to get my own copy. I remember touring Enchanted Rock. My husband and daughters climbed to the top, but I waited in the shade--as usual. It is very impressive, isn't it?

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    1. Caroline, I'd be sitting right next to you. Hiking of any sort is beyond my ability. You definitely should get the book. You'd love it.

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  6. Thank you, for sharing this book. Since my books always feature the paranormal, this is perfect. Best to you, and lots of sales!

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