The year is 1940 and the winds of war are spreading across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Great Britain battles the Nazis for air supremacy over the own skies while their massive Navy faces off with the U-Boat Wolf pack in the North Atlantic. North Africa is a massive desert of death as numerous British Generals are out strategized by the “Desert Fox” Field Marshall Irwin Rommel.
In the Pacific the Japanese have been slaughtering Chinese civilians and armies since 1929 in Manchuria! Their designs are to take several Island chains to supply their need for oil to fuel their war effort while an unsuspecting US Navy maintains outposts from the Philippines to Guam unprepared for a two ocean war! The Axis Powers are ready to consolidate and declare war on America and her allies with ruthless abandon.
Unwilling to face the inevitable
Since Congress does not want to enter a European front war and they believe that the US Navy can handle itself as is with all its bases and outposts in the Pacific, President Roosevelt can only proceed gradually calling upon the US Army Air Corps to begin handing out specifications for wartime aircraft, legislating the Lend Lease Act to get supplies to Great Britain and Russia, and to ready US troops for war in the Pacific using jungle like topography in Louisiana.
A build up
Near Alexandria in Rapides Parish a number of camps and US Army bases are constructed for troop training and aircraft orientation. Camp Beauregard, Camp Claiborne, England Army Air Field, Pollock Army Air Field, Esler Field, and Camp Livingston are all erected in a hub around Alexandria along highways and roads normally used by bumper croppers. In anticipation of war thousands of soldiers are trained for combat in the Pacific. The air fields are quick to train raw recruits for war time piloting. In the months to come a major output of fighting men and aviators will emerge from this shadowy region filled with swamps, bayous, and thick vegetation as Cypress trees hang over the waterways. Snakes, alligators, and something else reside in these mysterious conditions, remote and unfamiliar.
After the ceasing of hostilities in World War II activity on the bases dies down as fighting men come home to find work and raise families. One by one the camps and bases begin closing down. With the exception of England Air Base the other facilities fall into disrepair or the buildings are uprooted for relocation with only concrete foundations and weeds left as reminders of the massive war effort once operated here in the remote jungle like Louisiana low lands.
Enter the unknown
From the late 1950’s to the early 1980’s strange incidents begin piling up as news stories of frightened high school kids being terrorized by UFO’s and monsters begin to emerge. Many a young lover is surprised by the pulsating nocturnal lights of an unknown object in the darkened sky! Other teens are sent off in a panic claiming that a monster chased them and their friends through the dense woods there! Who or what sends these hysterical young adults racing down winding two lane black top roads on Friday and Saturday nights back to the lights of the city of Alexandria?
Who or what?
In one incident a squirrel hunter standing on stump tries to retrieve his prey that he has just shot when suddenly he is gripped by a weird vibration that stuns him. He then sees an object hovering across the ground as big as a car. Overhead he sees an Air Force Fighter jet and wonders if the aircraft is trying to track the strange machine that’s drifting over the ground below! Unnerved by what he sees he quickly makes his way to his vehicle to exit the area.
In the wee hours of the morning three fishing buddies are out at the bayou with a skiff, lanterns, and frog gigging hooks. When they shine the light on a large frog the animal startled by the light remains motionless and they quickly hook him. The frog legs are like fried chicken when cooked. After a fruitless night and walking in the darkness to get back to their trucks they see high ground above them and lights flashing by. They climb the hill thinking the roadway will be there and they will simply walk along the paved surface to get to their vehicles, but when they get to the top of their climb there is nothing there, only flat field. Who or what made the phantom lights that flashed across the ground?
A young mother stops by a field of flowers pulling off to the side of the road near Fishville not too far from Alexandria. She gently lifts he three year old daughter out of the station wagon and takes her by the hand to collect the colorful wild flowers growing all over the landscape. After picking flowers for a while the little daughter points to something behind her mother’s back as she kneels facing her little girl. “Mommy, who is that big man all covered in hair?”
The mother quickly grabs her daughter dropping the flowers they’ve collected and runs for the station wagon never stopping to look back! As she drives away her little daughter gazes backward at the figure of a man standing where she and her mother had been collecting the blossoms. She later repeats her description of what she saw. For decades going back to the 1800’s reports by newspapers and local settlers have described “Wild Man” “Hairy Man” sightings. The term we use now “Bigfoot” was not used back then. Grants Parish sheriffs are called to investigate but find nothing.
That same night as the mother, her husband, and brothers are staying with an in-law of the family, a lady who lives off base and has an army career. She leases a country house where everyone is enjoying a get together for the Thanksgiving holiday. The family cooks, drinks, watches TV, and relaxes. As the evening drifts on everyone makes their bed on the couches or the guest bedroom and settle down for the evening. In the middle of the night the little girl wakes her Mom to take her to use the bathroom. They both quietly creep through the darkness not wanting to disturb anyone.
When they get to the bathroom to use the toilet a huge dark figure looms outside the bathroom window. Once again the little girl points at the creature peering at them through the curtain covered window cracked open in the middle. Although the daughter does not feel threatened the mother lets out a scream and whatever it is flees into the darkness! Her little daughter tells her mother that it was the same thing she saw out in the field of flowers! The entire house is awakened and the outside lights are turned on as everyone checks the windows to see if they can spot anything unusual, but the intruder has escaped into the night. The young woman with the US Army career says she has heard reports made by others living off base.
In another incident a few years later a soldier stationed in the same area is on base and sifting through files on his commanding officer’s desk searching for information he was ordered to review when he come across something weird. He inspects a manila folder with a report and several UFO photos. Apparently he is looking at a document involving the Roswell crash. Amazed, he surveys diagrams of an elliptical flying machine that looks nothing like human constructed jet fighter aircraft. Several black and white glossy photos show a debris field left on a crash site. Sadly, he can only scan the contents for a few minutes before putting the file back where he found it for fear of getting caught! Had he stumbled upon a top secret document?
It seems that the central Louisiana region has become some kind of paranormal triangle nestled in the midst of abandoned military camps and old bases. Among these aging structures is a mysterious canvass of Cajun wilderness where many unspoken things like Voodoo, witchcraft, lynchings, Klu Klux Klan ceremonies, UFO’s, ghost lights, and Bigfoot sightings seem common place. With a history of the forbidden practiced there stretching back to the Acadians who relocated from Canada and settled there in the swamps and shadowy river bottoms it seems bizarre incidents have haunted the land for ages.
Further south in the Atchafalaya River Basin is the rumored existence of Loup-Garou the legendary werewolf of Acadian superstition! It is here that once again the unknown infringes upon the human imagination and strikes fear in the hearts of the local people! For more than a century those living in the mysterious backdrop of the swamps report large standing wolfman creatures or as some have described as “Dogmen” who lurk in the dense thickets at night making people their prey. In the 1800’s at certain phases of the moon the French descendants would build huge bonfires and make sure they had loaded guns on hand waiting to encounter the unholy who are not supposed to walk the earth.