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"This means something ..."

Columbia Pictures
Indiana railroad crossing where Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) has first close encounter with a UFO in 1977's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Shortly after I made a visit to the Kansas-Missouri borderlands near Nevada, Missouri and Pittsburg, Kansas – following the path of the Kansas City Southern Railroad for my forthcoming book The Stilwell Enigma – I came across a strange report from 2013 in The Kansas City Star involving the sighting of an unidentified “Bigfoot-like” creature near the KCS rail line right in the very area I had investigated.

It is true that this area has its fair share of unusual and paranormal activity. This report, in a large city newspaper, only helped to further confirm my findings and research.

And a few weeks later, there was another report out of Linn County, Kansas, near Mound City, of a reported “screaming Bigfoot” heard in that very area, not far from the same railroad. It seemed as though my recent visit investigating this very phenomena was followed by the appearance of said phenomena – cryptids, strange lights, eerie sounds and ghostly figures – all near the railroad first built by mystic and promoter Arthur E. Stilwell.

I thought of this as I rewatched Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and the early scene where Muncie, Indiana-based electrical lineman Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) is dispatched to check on the grid, which has been acting curiously amidst a UFO wave Neary was unfamiliar with. Of course Neary would alarm his family with his sudden and intense research into UFOs and astrology and making "mounds" out of mashed potatoes, muttering, "This means something." (I note Dreyfuss's character in my review of Ben Mezrich's book The 37th Parallel).

(As a side note, in January 2016, I ran into Richard Dreyfuss at a Carly Fiorina rally at a Hy-Vee grocery store in West Des Moines, Iowa. This just 10-12 hours after noting what a good actor Dreyfuss was in Jaws, which I watched on TV in the hotel room that night before - the Jaws theme is utilized, amusingly, in that final scene with the spaceship in CETK).

But what really hit me while watching this Steven Spielberg classic, one that had a big impact on me as a child of the saucer-haunted 70’s, was that when Neary is first chosen by the alien craft, he is parked right at a railroad crossing! In fact, as the light beams down on him and his electrical system goes awry and the magnetism in his truck goes wild, it is clear – albeit ever-so briefly – that the aliens communicated their “Devil’s Tower meeting place info” to him at that moment by the railroad tracks.

I was stunned by this! The main character, who is chosen by the aliens to join them on their journey across the universe, is essentially chosen by these higher beings at a railroad crossing!

And on top of that, Spielberg wrote the script with Roy Neary playing an electrical lineman. Why does this matter to me? Because of my recent visit to Clarksdale, Mississippi and my stumbling upon what some believe is the true crossroads where Delta bluesman Robert Johnson made his deal with the Devil.

I wrote about my experience on Oct. 11, 2018 in a Dust Devil Dreams post titled “Last train to Clarksdale.” The popping, crackling electrical lines overhead, there at the railroad crossing at MLK and Tallahatchie in a rough area of Clarksdale – one that lines up with a street called Sycamore, syncing with themes and names in David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks reboot of 2017, about which I’ve written quite a bit.

That experience then led me – via a dream of a close family member – back to the railroad tracks near the intersection of 33rd and Broadway Extension, close to home in Edmond, Oklahoma. This is an area known for UFO sightings and ancient, buried sites of unknown age and origin.

I wrote about it – and posted the piece, “Mystery train,” on Oct. 18, 2018, the same day paranormal researcher and writer Nick Redfern posted a remarkably-timely article at Mysterious Universe titled “Strange creatures on the railroads.” Redfern write about a 1964 incident in Turkey where a UFO hung in the air, proceeded to crash and burst into flames and then a great beastly creature emerged from the wreckage and approached a man and woman. The man was beaten unconscious by the “hairy monster” and then “flung (the man) in the direction of the railroad tracks,” before fleeing, leaving the woman shocked, but untouched.

Redfern also notes how railroad tracks seem to act as "liminal zones" that act as "spots literally or symbolically at the point of transition over a boundary," quoting the writings of Merrily Harpur in her 2006 book Mystery Big Cats.

 Now, did Steven Spielberg know about the connection between railroad tracks and paranormal activity when he wrote the script to Close Encounters of the Third Kind? I really don’t know. And why Muncie, Indiana? Of course Devils Tower is iconic and strange, out there in the northeastern Wyoming landscape. If I was captaining a spaceship, I might pick it as a natural spot to introduce myself to Earthlings.

But what I was interested in was the route Neary and others in eastern Indiana would have taken from Muncie to Devils Tower, Wyoming. The best and fastest route would be to wind up to Chicago and up into Wisconsin, picking up Interstate 90 and heading west through Minnesota, South Dakota and all the way to Moorcroft, Wyoming and to Devils Tower. And where is the halfway point on that 1,250-mile trip? In southern Minnesota roughly between that stretch of interstate between Austin and Blue Earth. That later town is on the mystical line of 94 degrees longitude. And syncing with Twin Peaks, goes through areas Lynch highlights in South Dakota (Yankton, Sioux Falls, Mount Rushmore) and right past the (fictional) town of Buckhorn (near Spearfish) where a key portal to the Black Lodge is located.

And recall that the “evil in the woods” of Twin Peaks would murder Laura Palmer in an abandoned train car in the original series (1990-91) and Laura’s friend, Ronette Pulaski, would be found by a railroad worker as she walked along the tracks, bloodied and in shock.

The connections between railroad lines, mounds, ley lines, portal and vortex sites seems to be coming together the more I put these geomantic-and-occult-like locations in a clearer light. 

There is more to come here at Dust Devil Dreams.

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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