BACK IN THE DAY: THE PECAN CREEK MONSTER HUNT

by Alyssa Stevenson

By Shaun Treat

One of the more unusual stories we've run across in our archival research into Denton is that of the 1963 Prairie Street Monster hunt. In July of 1963, two frightened boys reported walking upon a towering hairy “monster” stomping along a creek bed at the easternmost parts of Prairie Street, causing one terrified boy to freeze in horror while the other ran away screaming. A week later, The Denton Record-Chronicle relayed Denton County Sheriff, Andy Anderson’s, dismissal of the event as a mere prank, yet it also alludes to other reports of a black-gray “hairy eight-foot thing” lurking under bridges or around thickets and vacant houses in East Denton that had been “freezing people in fear.” Also noted was a farmer southwest of Prosper who had a run-in with a large “very scary looking” beast the month prior that had mutilated several of his cattle.

What is known for absolute certain, however, is that the very same evening the story broke, an armed mob of around 150 people began sweeping the thickets southeast of the Square, which prompted Sheriff Anderson’s intervention to confiscate weapons after panicked shots were fired at something moving through the thick brush of Pecan Creek. In response to this public hysteria and a deluge of curious voyeurs now swarming upon the area, Anderson and 16 reserve deputies launched a thorough search of a 3-mile area in East Denton the following day. “If he was out there,” the Sheriff reassured the DRC, “we scared him out.” Over the next week, newspapers reported that the creature had been spotted in Lewisville, a Sanger farmer blamed the monster for mutilating six of his hogs, then later peering into the window of a Krum farmhouse. Despite the Denton Sheriff’s dismissiveness, something clearly had a good number of residents spooked enough to mobilize their own Monster Hunt with seasoned hunters shooting wildly into the brush at… some thing.

The Pecan Creek Monster was never again reported in the city of Denton, although a few short years later the Lake Worth Monster would rattle citizens of Ft. Worth. There have also been several Bigfoot sightings over the years since around Denton County and Lake Ray Roberts, while encounters at Caddo Lake, TX go back to some of the earliest written records in Texas. Could this hulking monster still roam the rural thickets and wooded corridors of North Texas?

Denton Sheriff Andy Anderson hunted monsters AND helped out Santa. True story. Photo courtesy of UNT Libraries

Denton Sheriff Andy Anderson hunted monsters AND helped out Santa. True story. Photo courtesy of UNT Libraries

Reckon these alligator hunters ever doubled as Bigfoot hunters?  Photo courtesy of UNT Libraries

Reckon these alligator hunters ever doubled as Bigfoot hunters?  Photo courtesy of UNT Libraries

Since the DRC ran a story on The Campus Theater’s mischievous manager Mr. Harrison in this Halloween’s edition, I figured we’d share a rather humorous “Letter to the Editor” in reply to Nita Thurman’s article that ran in the August 6th, 2007 edition of the Denton Record-Chronicle, from former officer Dwight Crawford of Sanger. Crawford recalls how Denton Co. Sheriff’s deputies helped keep the legend alive with kids leaving the Theater Row of our Downtown Denton Square late at night during the 70s. Explains Officer Crawford:

“Jim Tom and I would drive up in our police car. We would strike up a conversation and tell them that they should not dally around and they should head straight home. We would tell them that ‘Wolf Man’ had been seen out tonight and he was on the prowl. Then we would elaborate on his evil deeds and what he looked like.

They all would usually laugh and walk off shaking their heads in disbelief. Jim Tom and I would drive off then intercept their route. We would find a wooded area, hide the police car, turn off the lights, and turn on the outside speaker.

When we saw the group approaching, one of us would howl like a wolf over the mike. They would scatter like a covey of quail. Our official police cruiser could run 140mph any day of the week, but they’d be home, in bed, with the lights out before we could get there.
Those were the days when police offices were your friend, and used their common sense to prevent crime.”

 Common sense and few Andy Griffith-style shenanigans, it seems! Happy Halloween, y’all!


Shaun Treat is founder of the Denton Haunts historical ghost tour. Doc has written about numerous local places and personalities at his Denton Haunts blog and is forever indebted to the great work of the fine folks with the Denton County Office of History & Culture and local keepers of history like Mike Cochran and Laura Douglas at the Emily Fowler Library for their tireless work in helping preserve Denton’s ever intriguing past.

 

 

 

INNOVATION GREENHOUSE: GET YOUR SHOWCASE ON

by Alyssa Stevenson

By Danielle Longueville

Last weekend we ventured over to UNT campus for a late afternoon of music, art, waffles and fun courtesy of Innovation Greenhouse. Read on and see how it all went down.

The UNT Acoustic Garden, a highly understated outdoors venue located on central campus, plays host to local performers and vendors for passerby’s to enjoy. Every Third Friday of the month, Innovation Greenhouse pools five bands, an artist and a couple of food trucks from the DFW area for an opportunity to do just as the title reads: showcase their hard work and talent to an untapped potential fan base. This month featured local musicians such as electro rock group Space Goose and The (Sunsets), even some out-of-towners including Diamond Kings and The Space In Between. Pablo Gibbs of Gibbsgood art featured his vibrant prints and newly released sticker line as well. We asked a few audience members their thoughts on the Showcase and Innovation Greenhouse itself.

The Diamond Kings

The Diamond Kings

Freshman art student, Michael Wood said, “ For me, the Music and Art Showcase is a monthly exposure to the life and culture of Denton." He went on to mention how the Innovation Greenhouse not only teaches students what tools they need to become a successful innovator, but also does a great job of giving them access to those tools to give them a chance to actually create and create well. 

Adam Hasley, Innovation Greenhouse employee, discussed the fact that the organization also also does a great job of providing entertainment to UNT students and the citizens of Denton, in general. "Seeing students dancing side by side with Denton residents young and old reminds me why I work for the Greenhouse. It's all about giving back to the students and the surrounding community," Hasley said. The Greenhouse puts on shows with local bands, artists, and more. 

With support like this from a community such as ours, we can only hope that this event will continue to grow and serve our creative culture from grass root to harvest so that we may all enjoy the fruits of their labor.

 

 

DENTON DAY OF THE DEAD 2014 IN PHOTOS

by will milne

...and here you have it. We had so many photos and tagged photos from Saturday's Day of the Dead festival that we decided it deserved its own post. Below, you'll find photos from the coffin races, live music, parade, and a whole bunch of awesome street-level people watching images shot by We Denton Do It and our readers. 

Click on the Instagram photos (those are the ones that are square, y'all) to be led back to that photographer's Instagram account. 

Is it too soon to start counting the days until next year's Day of the Dead festival? 

Photo by Will Milne. 

Photo by Will Milne

Photo by Will Milne. 

Photo by Will Milne

Photo by Will Milne. 

Photo by Will Milne

Photo by Will Milne. 

Photo by Will Milne

WHAT WE DID: OCTOBER 27TH 2014

by will milne

This weekend was one for the books. There was so much stuff going on downtown, you couldn't throw a rock without hitting someone upside the head and getting arrested for throwing a rock at someone. When you're stressed out that it isn't physically possible for you to make it to all of the different events you wanna hit up in a single day, you've got an okay problem on your hands. 

As always, thanks for sharing your week with us in picture form. Tag those 'grams with #WDDI over the next seven days and then check back here next Monday for another round of photos! Click on the photos below to be linked back to the photographer's Instagram account so you can follow and like all of their beautiful pictures and make new friends and stuff. 

This weekend was Denton's Day of the Dead festival. It is the time of year that Denton shines possibly more than any other. We watched coffins race, got our faces painted, watched a parade, and took in some live music. We'll have some more photos from those scenes later on today because there were so many good ones, we had to give them their own post. More on that later. 

This weekend was Denton's Day of the Dead festival. It is the time of year that Denton shines possibly more than any other. We watched coffins race, got our faces painted, watched a parade, and took in some live music. We'll have some more photos from those scenes later on today because there were so many good ones, we had to give them their own post. More on that later. 

Alton Brown reppin' Hypnotic Donuts. 

Alton Brown reppin' Hypnotic Donuts. 

Denton Vegan Co-op apparently makes a rad burger.

Denton Vegan Co-op apparently makes a rad burger.

Audacity Brew House opened to the public last Friday. 

Audacity Brew House opened to the public last Friday. 

We checked out the space and had a great time. 

We checked out the space and had a great time. 

Campus Theatre by Denton Camera Exchange. 

Campus Theatre by Denton Camera Exchange. 

@jadewintersee getting caffeinated. 

@jadewintersee getting caffeinated. 

Total eclipse of the courthouse by Michael Leza. 

Total eclipse of the courthouse by Michael Leza. 

The sun sets behind Wells Fargo. 

The sun sets behind Wells Fargo. 

The first of many barista competitions at Cultivar Coffee. 

The first of many barista competitions at Cultivar Coffee. 

Halloween decor > Christmas decor > Thanksgiving decor. 

Halloween decor > Christmas decor > Thanksgiving decor. 

All the Armadillo Ale Works money can buy. 

All the Armadillo Ale Works money can buy. 

Keep Denton Beautiful (KDB) gave away free trees again last Saturday. We got this Little Gem Magnolia that we dubbed "Groot."

Keep Denton Beautiful (KDB) gave away free trees again last Saturday. We got this Little Gem Magnolia that we dubbed "Groot."

The Pastrana's have that moody look down, y'all. 

The Pastrana's have that moody look down, y'all. 

Fog and reflections by @ThePaigels. 

Fog and reflections by @ThePaigels. 

Did you? 

Did you? 

The truck at Denton Camera Exchange. 

The truck at Denton Camera Exchange. 

...and finally...tacos. El Taco Rico by Shaina Sheaff. 

...and finally...tacos. El Taco Rico by Shaina Sheaff. 

CANDY CORN ON THE MACABRE

by will milne

by Sara Button

Photo: Ed Steele Photography LLC”

Photo: Ed Steele Photography LLC”

Y’all, the circus is back in town. The cool air is welcoming our warm faces, leafs are changing colors, and it seems like everyone is getting in to the feel of fall. We can’t complain – fall is our fav, too. Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival is upon us this weekend, which means it is time to kick Halloween-themed-everything in to full gear. Macabre-mastermind David Pierce walks us through his inspiration and excitement for this year’s performances of Cirque du Horror. 

Marking its sixth year anniversary, Cirque du Horror will roll out its Big Top by welcoming back-to-back performances this Saturday, October 25th at Dan's Silverleaf. We talked to the leader of the troupe, David Pierce, in 2011  about the act after its sophomore performance.

Cirque du Horror is a family-friendly Denton tradition for all ages. Pierce and company deliver a vaudeville-like experience with equal parts sugary-sweet and spooky. Accompanied by a plethora of talented musicians, dancers, actors and artists, ”the show is not meant to appear over-produced” Pierce shares. The raw, lo-fi, simplistic aesthetic is meant to keep your interest piqued and remove you from your daily life, letting you travel through a world full of bone-chilling stories and spooky surprises. The show is equally stimulating for both parents and children, alike.

Pierce’s creative compositions were influenced by a gathering of poems and stories written for him by his uncle. He has collected a crew of talented individuals who have helped put his music and words to life with choreography, props, and an overall love for all things frightening and fun. This year the show will have two new songs as well as a couple of revamped numbers from their first year.

Cirque’s motley crew is greater and more ghastly than the years past. Fight Boy Theatre’s Kevin Wickersham is leading this year’s cast as the Creative Director and there are approximately 7 cast leads, 7 dancers, a handful of crew and musicians in the live orchestra.

Tickets are still available here. I strongly suggest pre-ordering you tickets, as Dan’s will fill up fast. Show times are as follows,

·         Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 4:30pm – Dan’s Silverleaf Denton
·         Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 9:30pm – Dan’s Silverleaf Denton
·         Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 5:00pm – Dan’s Silverleaf Denton
·         Friday, October 31, 2014 at 7:30pm – Texas Theater Dallas

HEY WISEGUY: WHAT THE FRACK?

by will milne
wiseguy.jpg

It's been a while since we last opened up the Hey Wiseguy mailbag, but we figured we'd check the 'ole inbox in time for the election and we're glad we did. We had a reader write in asking a pretty dang good question. What the heck does being against a ban on fracking mean? Read on for more!


Hey Wiseguy, 

I've never thought of myself as a dumb individual, but I'm kinda rackin' my brain right now understanding this whole fracking ban thing. My actual opinion withheld, I'm not sure exactly how to vote. Is a vote for "yes" a vote to frack or a vote to ban fracking? Open my eyes please, goodsir. 

Yours Truly, 

Admiral Adama

 

Dear Admiral,

Man, do I know it. Politics can be confusing in general, but when the advertising for something is more confusing than the actual wording on the ballot, something's wrong. Speaking of the wording of the ballot, let's take a quick look at that. When voting, you will be presented with the following question (in all caps, of course): 

“SHALL AN ORDINANCE BE ENACTED PROHIBITING, WITHIN THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OF DENTON, TEXAS, HYDRAULIC FRACTURING, A WELL STIMULATION PROCESS INVOLVING THE USE OF WATER, SAND AND/OR CHEMICAL ADDITIVES PUMPED UNDER HIGH PRESSURE TO FRACTURE SUBSURFACE NON-POROUS ROCK FORMATIONS SUCH AS SHALE TO IMPROVE THE FLOW OF NATURAL GAS, OIL, OR OTHER HYDROCARBONS INTO THE WELL, WITH SUBSEQUENT HIGH RATE, EXTENDED FLOWBACK TO EXPEL FRACTURE FLUIDS AND SOLIDS?

FOR THE ORDINANCE                _______________

AGAINST THE ORDINANCE         ______________

The ordinance in this case, is for ban of hydraulic fracturing and whether you want it allowed in the Denton city limits or not. However, they've added a few extra nouns, pronouns, and hypernouns (are those a thing) to beef it up. Is there a minimum word count for propositions? Who writes these things, afterall? 

The way we see it, you're either against being for being against fracking in which case you would vote NO, or you're for being against being for fracking and would cast a YES vote. It really couldn't be simpler. 

In other words, putting your vote as "for the ordinance" would ban fracking in Denton and casting your vote as "against the ordinance" would be a vote to keep fracking. You're either "for" or "against" the ban. 

And, that's what much of the billboards, yard signs, online ads, mailers, infomercials, product placement, other mailers, blimps, skywriting, and face yellings (these are where people yell at your face how to vote) have tried to get across, albeit in a few more words. We've seen billboards that read, "Support responsible drilling," which a casual observer, with knowledge that there's a fracking ban on the line in Denton would be led to believe was actually an ad for "Frack Free Denton," but they would be wrong. On the side of that same billboard, you'll read, "Vote no [sic] drilling ban." Responsible drilling then meaning the drilling they've been doing in the city limits. 

So go vote no or yes on whether you'd like or not like for there to never be no fracking in Denton city limits and get one of them fancy little stickers people seem to like so much. 

 

ARTIST INTERVIEW: CAMILLE GREEN

by will milne

By Sara Button

Camille Green is a local visual artist, a longtime lover of Denton, a wife, an exceptional woman, and a soon to be mother. She's a lot of stuff, y'all. Green has been sharing her visual artwork with our beloved Dentonites for the last 15 years. Green brings something unique to the table, and I am not just referring to her preference of Banh Mi over street tacos. Her artwork is vibrant and distinctive and we are looking forward to seeing her at the Denton Day of the Dead Festival next weekend. We recently gabbed with the lady about her work, being "self-taught," and art in Denton. Read on for more!


We have seen your artwork around town for some time now. How long have you been creating. 


CG: I've been creating for nearly 15 years now. I am a self-taught artist. I graduated with a degree n English Lit from TWU in 1998. I didn't start painting until 2000ish. My dad was a sign painter for a bit and as a little kid I remember watching with such intent and thinking, 'I could do that.' My mom is a creative lady too and introduced me to collaging. I always loved to color and draw, but never did an actual painting until my junior year of college. For one of my English Lit classes we had to show another form of artistic impression to accompany the assignment. I wrote and painted, painted and wrote - got positive feedback on the piece and was hooked; didn't pick it up seriously until 2000.

Walk us through a perfect Camille-Green-inspired day.

My perfect Denton day always includes catching a show and hanging out with good friends.

 

What is your preferred medium?

Acrylic with additives for texture.

 

Are you inspired by any artists?

Man am I lucky to live in a town with such talent that there are too many to list. Even the people in my life that aren't technically artists are inspiring.

 

Do you buy art supplies locally? If so, where?

I sure do miss me some HMS, but I like Voertman's and whoever else has stuff on sale.

 

Tell us about your studio and what tools you use the most.

My dining room is my studio, but we're planning to add one on to our house soon. And as far as tools I use the most, I acquired Toni LaSelle's art supplies around 2002 (my father-in-law, Bud Green, taught with her for years and years in the art department at TWU) and hands-down have loved using her things the most, especially her badass easel.

Street tacos or Banh Mi?

Banh Mi, duh.


Any advice or up and coming local artists?

Do what's unexpected. Keep an original piece from each series you complete and absolutely sign and date everything you do.


If we wanted to purchase a Camille Green original right now, where should we go?

Mr. Chopsticks on Scripture always has my art for sale and I'm C. Green Artwork on Facebook where you can see what I'm most currently working on and contact me if you're interested in commissioning an original. Also, I'm excited to be a vendor for a 4th year at Denton's Day of the Dead Festival Oct. 25, so look for me there, too.

Thanks, Camille!


Make sure to check out Green's work at Mr. Chopsticks or find her at the Day of the Dead festival this weekend and say "Hi!"



DENTON FIRST

by Alyssa Stevenson
Andy Odom of Denton First.

Andy Odom of Denton First.

On the evening of February 17th, 2014, Kevin Roden hosted an "Idea Meeting" at Rubber Gloves where he asked people to come prepared to give their elevator pitch on an idea that would improve our city. That evening, Andy Odom, hoisted a beer in his hand on the stage and asked the gathered crowd of citizens "Why don't we make Denton wet?" a question so many of us have asked as we drive 15 - 20 minutes down the road to the next city to purchase our libations. 

Denton First, a local organization with the goal of making Denton's liquor laws less restrictive, spent some time a few months ago acquiring over 7,000 votes in order to get this proposition on the ballot which you'll see when you go cast your vote. We asked Andy Odom, a Digital Marketing Manager, sometimes writer for the Dallas Observer, and all around good dude, to expound a little more about his thoughts on why Denton should go "wet." You can read his thoughts below and reply in the comments with your thoughts. 


We like to think of Denton is a thoroughly modern town. We have a vibrant arts community and a world-renowned music scene, a nightlife that rivals larger cities, and an emerging technology and start-up scene that gets national headlines. Denton is ready for the 21st Century. So, why do we allow Prohibition-era policies to dictate our liquor laws?

Beer and wine are available for sale within Denton city limits, but not liquor. That is, not unless you operate a “private club”. Have you ever wondered why you have to scan your license to attend a concert at Dan’s Silverleaf or a community event at Oak St. Drafthouse? It’s not to check your age it’s to register you as a member of that private club. That might be a strange inconvenience for us, but it’s actually much worse for these local businesses.

State law dictates that these clubs must form a board and meet to “approve” new members of the club, taking valuable hours away from running the business. Banking and accounting are more expensive than normal businesses because each “club” has to form 2 separate companies to comply with TABC rules. Not only that, but each business pays up $20,000 in annual fees to the state PER “CLUB” for this privilege, in addition to renting extra equipment and paying a third party service to scan IDs. Finally, all that information they gather from your license must be kept on file for years. These laws are an undue burden on our local businesses.

But Denton First isn’t just about getting rid of these draconian fees and protecting your information. It’s about keeping our hard-earned dollars in our city. When Denton’s citizens choose to purchase alcohol, they have to do it in other cities. That means that tax revenue is also given away to other cities instead of staying at home in Denton. According to The Perryman Group, Denton gives up to $700,000 in tax revenue to other cities. By changing these laws and allowing liquor in the city limits, the city reclaims this extra revenue and could add up to 300 new jobs.

Cities all over Texas have recently modernized their liquor laws to the 21s century. Plano, Tyler, Lufkin, Longview, Lubbock, and many others have gone fully wet. They have enjoyed increased revenue for the city and new jobs, but a decrease in alcohol-related road incidents. That’s right, studies show that a wet city is safer than a dry city.

It’s time that Denton fully joins the 21 Century, casts off the state-imposed burden of a club status, and turns completely wet. Vote FOR the Local Option and the legal sale of all alcoholic beverages.

ON CIVIC DUTY: VOTING

by Alyssa Stevenson

By Alyssa Stevenson


I spend my days standing in front of 150 middle school students attempting to persuade them to become outstanding citizens. I teach Texas History. We learn about more than just the Alamo and Davey Crockett and Sam Houston, though. I teach my students to become engaged citizens. We have an ongoing lesson throughout the year on civic duty. It’s an odd little coupling of words, civic duty. The concept that citizens owe some allegiance to their government, and that the government in turn protects them is kinda crazy when you think about it. 

I think it’s interesting, of course, that we as a state make sure to include this in the long list of things to teach our students when so often we fail to engage in such activities on our own.

We need to take a look at the numbers that just don’t lie. In the last gubernatorial race, just 27% of citizens who are in the voting age population came out to vote. That’s it. That’s crazy. The governor’s race is not only an important race because of the role of the governor but because of the myriad of other things that grace the ballot in such an important election. We’re talking bond packages, proposed fracking bans, whether or not to keep our county dry… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Surely, we’ve raised our voter turnout since then, right? We haven’t. Across the board, Texas is always one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country. Just look at our last city election. These are the people who make decisions about the things nearest and dearest to us – bike lanes, zoning changes, city budgets, convention centers –the list goes on. Only 6% of our eligible voters came out to exercise their civic duty.

Now, I know that voting is not the only way to serve your country, state, or city. But it is definitely one of the most effective ways to make a difference. What you decide in the voting booth matters. Every vote counts. At the state level and below especially – your vote counts. Want to buy liquor within city limits and not have to slide your license every time you walk into a bar? Vote. Want to ban fracking? Vote. Want to keep fracking? Vote. Want to have better roads and traffic lights? Vote.

I can urge my 7th grade students to become great Texans, amazing Americans, and even actively engaged citizens in their local government. We can get excited about the issues and the candidates and the rhetoric and even caught up in discussions about what political ads are really saying and how we should approach the slant of different media outlets, but none of that matters if they don't turn into voters when they turn 18. The rhetoric only goes so far. The media tells us whatever we want to hear. Your voice has to be heard at some point for it to count. Voting is where that happens.

Make your voice heard. Don’t be in the majority of people who simply think it doesn’t matter. Somebody will win either way. Make sure your candidate wins. Get informed, grab your ID, check out where to vote, get to the voting booth and make it count.