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Trust and blood

HBO / Parliament of Owls
Dets. Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) and Roland West (Stephen Dorff) look at the nuclear power plant near Russellville, Ark. in Season 3 of "True Detective."
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OKLAHOMA CITY – As I noted last month in my review of Terry Lovelace’s shocking book Incident at Devils Den, the spooky Arkansas state park which is the center of evildoing in the current season of True Detective, is near Fayetteville and not Russellville, as Lovelace suggests.

I assume Lovelace was simply confused about the name of the city, and Russellville came up, for whatever reason, even though it’s about an hour away from Devil’s Den State Park, located there along the 94th meridian.

I mention it because I was stunned to see the Arkansas One nuclear power plant cooling tower featured in a scene in the latest episode of True Detective.

This is a landmark I know well. In fact, it loomed largely in April 1983, when things in my life began to get seriously (siriusly?) influenced by The Stilwell Enigma, or the draw of the 94th meridian.

I was on a boy’s choir trip from Little Rock, Arkansas to Topeka, Kansas. Our private school choir group of 10 and 11-year old boys had been invited to sing in the Kansas State Capitol building, a trip that seemed nice at the time but never made a whole hell of a lot of sense in retrospect. Along the way, outside Kansas City, Missouri, I saw a crashed airplane near the side of the highway. A small plane ... on fire. And no one could later tell me what that was about. I even asked my great aunt, a Kansas City denizen, if she had heard anything about. Nada. Even stranger, I can only remember staying at some guy's house in Topeka and watching Trapper John, M.D. The rest is a blank. (BTW, this episode of Trapper John, MD, which aired a few weeks before my trip, was called "Blue Genes" and was about a secret medical research project that may have spiraled out of control.)

The trip would take us to Siloam Springs, Arkansas the first night (where I would end up attending college years later, oddly enough) and the next day arriving in Topeka, not far from Lawrence, Kansas where I had wanted to go to college, years later. Funny how life works out.

Anyway, as we were driving along Interstate 40, near Russellville, I noticed a swirl of white-colored smoke rising into the air as we rounded a bend. It startled me. Was it a tornado, perhaps? But as we approached, I discovered I was looking at the Arkansas One Unit Two cooling tower releasing steam clouds into the air. Nothing to worry about, right?

Well, having grown up in Arkansas between 1977 and 1986, concerns about nuclear war, the 1980 Titan II Missile Silo accident at Damascus, Ark., and the presence of this nuclear power plant put some deep-seated anxiety in my young mind, something I’ve never quite shaken and something that led me to become anti-nuke over the years. (Check out my 2013 artcle "Nuclear power and the proverbial 'wrench in the works.'")  

And so seeing that looming nuke plant in the uneasy spring of ’83, as we raced toward our destination, I never quite forgot it. After all, a few months earlier, in December 1982, a tornado struck my neighborhood in Little Rock and left a path of destruction.

So, what about Russellville? Well, I found it interesting in the latest episode of True Detective titled “Hunters in the Dark,” that the girl missing in 1980 may have made a phone call to police in 1990, from a pay phone at a convenience store near Russellville and in sight of the Arkansas One nuclear power plant.

Just as I doubt Robert Zemeckis consciously realized he was weaving predictions of the 9/11 attacks in his film Back to the Future, I doubt that True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto realized some of the synchromystic clues he was inserting into the remarkable Season 3 he has created, which jumps between the initial kidnapping/death in 1980, the reopening of the case in 1990 and the memories recalled in 2015 (hey, Back to the Future fans ... take note of that year!)

What is strange is that the Russellville area (Pope County) has been syncing with me quite a bit of late. As I noted, Terry Lovelace mistakes Russellville for Fayetteville (at least that is my interpretation) and before his Devil's Den abduction (just as the kids in True Detective were abducted, seemingly by a conspiracy originating at the fictional Hoyt Foods chicken processing plant and the wealthy sickos who run it), Lovelace had witnessed a UFO over a missile silo at Whiteman AFB south of Kansas City, not far from where I saw that airplane on fire near the highway back in 1983.

Note the link between nukes and UFOs, something we have written about before in a review of Robert Salas' book on the subject, one he is very familiar with.

What is all so eerie about this new season of True Detective is how the odd inclusion of Russellville and the scene with the nuclear power plant in the background (note how the smoke makes a mushroom cloud-like shape). I sense that on one of my many camping and canoeing trips as a kid in the Ozark Mountains, north of Russellville, that I witnessed ... something very unusual. I think that is why the odd Russellville reference caught my attention. And speaking of plane crashes, 10 years ago this month the series Heroes featured an episode involving a plane crash in ... Russellville, Arkansas. The episode was titled "Trust and Blood."

This coming weekend I will be investigating some areas along the 94th meridian, on the Oklahoma side. I am sensing there is more there than I ever realized. 

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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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