Oddities

    The Parr Park Rock Art Trail and 21st century wonder

    If you’ve ever sought advice to combat writer’s block or to rediscover inspiration, you’ve likely stumbled upon the advice to go on a walk. And if you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I would amend that advice by recommending you take a walk on the Rock Art Tail in Grapevine’s Parr Park.

    The Parr Park Rock Art Trail is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a path lined with painted and decorated rocks. The rocks come in all sizes, shapes, and flavors.

    Unsurprisingly, many works professed the creator’s love of the Great State.

    A rock at the Parr Park Rock Art Trail with major Texas cities and regions

    Some rocks celebrated alma maters or cartoon and comic book characters. Some were pieces of larger works.

    Rocks at the Parr Park Rock Art Trail forming a rainbow

    Some rocks were products of their time. A rock at the Parr Park Rock Art Trail dedicated to someone who died of COVID-19

    A rock of a heart wearing a mask for COVID at the Parr Park Rock Art Trail

    Some rocks were intended to be inspirational.

    A rock at the Parr Park Rock Art Trail painted with “Broken is still beautiful”

    Some sought to give practical advice.

    A rock at the Parr Park Art Rock Trail painted with “don’t outsmart your common sense”

    And some were pure silliness.

    Pet rock cemetery at the Parr Park Rock Art Trail

    But collectively, the rocks filled me with wonder. I marveled at the work that went into creating some of the rock art. The effort to paint the scenes. The time spent to find the perfect rock. How many people poked out their chests as they boasted about their participation in a Guinness record?

    The trail served as a reminder of our desire to be a part of something, and a reminder that, regardless of what some people or outlets may make you believe, there are still beautiful somethings to be part of.

    The alien grave in Aurora, Texas

    When you hear about Texas, a few things may come to mind:

    • Cowboys
    • The Alamo
    • Salsa and cheese dip
    • Big AF state

    You likely don’t think of the state as possibly being home to America’s first UFO crash, which took place 50 years before the better-known Roswell incident. From my experience, most people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are unaware of the Aurora, Texas, UFO incident, even though it happened practically in their back yard.

    Long story short, way back in 1897–before the Wright brothers blasted their fly rides into the sky and made it cry–a cigar-shaped spaceship wrecked into a windmill on the judge’s property. The pilot, some tiny human-like creature, was buried in the local cemetery.

    The alien grave in Aurora, Texas The alien grave in Aurora, Texas

    Of course, any good alien story has to have some additional layers to it.

    Supposedly, some metal from the wreckage was thrown into the property’s water well and a future owner would claim that the well water gave him gout and so he closed the well in.

    When the locals buried the little alien man, they left a grave marker, which was supposedly later retrieved by the army. Truth ears have replaced the marker numerous times with some sort of rock or object over the decades. The cemetery will not allow anyone to exhume the alien, but according to the History Channel’s UFO Hunters, there is a collapsed and deteriorated grave at the alien’s plot.

    Perhaps this story isn’t better known because it has been nearly unanimously accepted as legend and was most likely a PR stunt by a local journalist to stir up interest in the dying town. But it’s one I like to tell when I get the chance.

    I do not believe in aliens insofar as little green men flying around in bubbly spaceships with strange lights and looking for people to abduct for the sake of a little probing action, but I do love the story behind the Aurora, Texas, UFO incident, so from time to time I go to visit the alien grave. And that’s what the LaCaze family did this past weekend, while following proper social distancing etiquette, of course.

    I’ve visited the grave a handful of times over the years, and I never know what to expect before arriving. Before my first visit, someone had stolen the marker for the grave, so I had to rely on blogs and other resources to locate the grave on my own. I would not be surprised if I wrongly identified the spot during my first visit.

    For my last few visits, rocks have served as a marker. People often leave little trinkets for the alien, and this past visit featured the most absurd collection I’ve yet to see.

    During my latest visit to the alien grave, I regretted not visiting Roswell during the five years I lived in West Texas. The drive would not have been terribly long, and I had plenty of free weekends to cross state lines and gawk at some hokey alien stuff and listen to “The Happening” by Pixies on repeat. I was also reminded of why I enjoy investigating local abandoned places and local ghost stories and such–the stories, man. The stories, which can often entertain while also revealing something deeper about us: our anxieties, our hopes, our pains, our desperation.

    My son was weirded out by the idea of an alien being buried in the Aurora cemetery. Even after I asked him how he could doubt it after seeing the grave, he held on to his skepticism. I was proud that he was not so easily swayed even by parental pressure, but I hope he was still able to enjoy the lore–the story– of it all.