Subliminal Techniques Media Uses to Manipulate Your Thoughts

In the late 1970s, during university journalism classes, I first studied how movies, television, news and politics purposefully used manipulation techniques to control our thoughts.

It was then that I realized I was one of millions of moviegoers who unknowingly sensed the power of sublimation.

When director William Friedkin’s The Exorcist opened in 1973, it quickly became one of the most critically acclaimed and financially successful horror films of all time.

Local newscasts reported viewers fainting, vomiting, and fleeing the theater, shaken by the film’s explicit depiction of a young girl named Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) possessed by demons and exhibiting blasphemous behavior.

But what we didn’t know was just how unsettled we became because of Friedkin’s insertion into the film surreptitiously—a frightening, subliminal image that was funneled straight into the audience’s subconscious.

Unbeknownst to us, there was a white-faced demon briefly flashed onscreen at 45 minutes and one second into the film.

At one hour, 43 minutes, and 13 seconds in, there is another 1/8 of a second flashes cuts in:

The micro shots were part of Friedkin’s strategy to unnerve moviegoers using both visuals and sounds that he felt stood the best chance of creating an uneasy atmosphere. The face was intended to represent one of the demons inhabiting Regan. Here is another:

The subliminal techniques worked. As of September 2022, the movie has garnered $441,306,145 in worldwide earnings.

The idea for manipulating the masses came from print media. In this day of internet advertising, propaganda and politics, “social influencers” are called in to impact purchases, choices and cultural norms. Let’s look at celebrity influencers of yesteryear:


Advertisers and bloggers know that most people will not spend much time looking at print advertisements or reading long articles. That’s where pictures and images come in.

WHISKEY A LA MODE

Here is a classic example of how hidden (subliminal) ideas, imagery, and words can be placed in print advertisements without immediate detection.


On average, people look at a print ad for no more than two seconds.  In the following case the advertiser had two seconds in which to convey a message.


With this in mind, look closely at this advertisement and see if you notice anything interesting:

This is not a photograph of a glass of whiskey, this is a piece of artwork.



Take a look at this area of the print advertisement.  Do you see the image of a dead wasp?

Here is a comparison of the image of the dead wasp with a darkened image of the dead wasp:

Below is a comparison of the image of the dead wasp with a picture of a wasp:

Notice that the colors black and yellow are prominent in this advertisement, the same colors of a wasp.


There are three subliminal images of birds in this advertisement.


BIRD #1:
Above the image of the dead wasp is another image.  Do you see the image of a vulture above the dead wasp?

This image is a cartoon rendition of a vulture.  The vulture is hovering over the image of the dead wasp:

Here is a comparison of the image of the vulture with both another cartoon rendition and a photograph of a vulture:

BIRD #2:
Take a look at this section of the print advertisement.  Do you see the image of a dead white bird?

Here is a comparison of the image of the dead white bird next to a picture of a white bird:

BIRD #3:
Take a look at this section of the print advertisement.  Do you see the image of a Red-tailed Hawk?

Here is a comparison of the image of the Red-tailed Hawk’s head with a picture of a Red-tailed Hawk’s head.

The image of the Red-tailed Hawk looks like it is about to take flight due to the positioning of the wings:

COLOR PSYCHOLOGY
There are three predominant colors in this advertisement:  yellow, black, and gold.
As mentioned previously, the colors yellow and black relate to the colors of a wasp.


Gold is another color of this advertisement which is the color of the whiskey in the glass.


To an addicted heavy consumer of alcohol, whiskey is as good as gold.


SUBJECTIVE ANALYSIS
Subliminal images of a wasp and birds in this Calvert whiskey ad have been revealed.


Through subliminal imagery and symbolic meanings, it appears that this ad is portraying an addicted heavy drinker’s life coming to an end.


🔹It is important to understand that the subconscious mind operates with symbols, pictures and images.

🔹They convey far more information than words. They reach us on an intuitive level. We understand images by making associations with them.


WASP SYMBOLISM:
In this advertisement, the wasp is a symbol of whiskey because both the wasp and the whiskey are known for their ability to sting.

🔹This stinging of the alcohol can cause some rawness and discomfort in the short-term, and in the long-term it may have other consequences. 


🔹A wasp can sting multiple times without harm to itself.   Wasps do not die after stinging their victims.


🔹Since the wasp in this advertisement is dead, it has lost it’s power to sting.


🔹The whiskey (wasp) loses it’s power to sting after an addicted heavy consumer of alcohol dies.


VULTURE SYMBOLISM:
In the ad above, the image of a vulture–a universal symbol of death–is hovering over the dead wasp.

🔹Death is inevitably approaching any heavy drinker.


WHITE DEAD BIRD SYMBOLISM:
According to a Germanic superstition, the “omen most often associated with death was a white dove that would appear on the windowsill or in the room of the terminally ill and forewarn the family of the impending death.” 

🔹Although a white dove has been a symbol of peace and hope for thousands of years, in this advertisement the dead bird represents the situation where the addicted heavy drinker has lost peace and hope as the end of his life draws near.


HAWK SYMBOLISM:
In this advertisement, the hawk is at the top of the glass of whiskey and is poised to take flight.  The hawk’s back is towards the dead white bird, the vulture, and the dead wasp.


🔹Hawk symbolism is also associated with death, for the birds often act as the bearers of souls heavenward.

🔹The hawk’s swiftness of darting down and grasping its weakened prey also serves as a symbol of death, injustice, and violence.

Now here is what the advertisers knew about the demographics of their consumers at the time:


🔹The top 5% of drinkers of alcohol accounted for 42% of the United States total alcohol consumption. 


🔹About 17.6 million Americans abused or were dependent on alcohol. 


🔹In the United States, excessive alcohol use accounted for an estimated average of 80,000 deaths annually. 

On a global scale, the “harmful use of alcohol results in approximately 2.5 million deaths each year. 

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION

Think about how much information and statistics advertisers, propagandists, and social engineers had back then.

Now considering the enormous amount of spying via internet, cellphones, financial records, purchasing habits and locations you frequent, just how much more accessible are your customs, patterns and obsessions? How can these be used to not only track your existence, but manipulate your life?

Thank you for reading Part 2 of our Social Enginnering Manipulation series.

Read Part 1 Here

Part 3 Coming Soon

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

Texas Drug Store Cowboys Celebrating 50 Years as Dancehall & Venue Legends

50th Anniversary will be on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 at John T. Floores Country Store & Dance Hall in Helotes, Texas. 3-7 p.m.

Admired by fiercely loyal fans, The Drugstore Cowboys have brought their electric energy to venues throughout the US and Europe.

The south side of San Antonio, in the neighborhoods surrounding McCollum and Harlandale high schools, are the childhood homes of many notable people in Country, Funk, Soul and Tejano Music.

Legendary Country Music DJ Hall of Famer and everybody’s “Cousin” Jerry King went to Harlandale in the 1960s. I can remember when King, along with other DJs and musicians, played with the likes of Willie Nelson and George Jones at a charity basketball matchup at the McCollum gym in the late 1960s.

During the 1972-73 school year Nashville recording artist Johnny Bush played on stage at the McCollum Auditorium. Country.

Down on Harding Blvd., a talented local newspaper country music and entertainment writer, John Goodspeed, served as an early inspiration for me.

The late Emilio Navaira, from the McCollum Class of 1980, was a Mexican-American musician who performed country and Tejano music nationally. His classmate from the year ahead of him, Yolanda Saldívar, is the convicted murderer of Latin music superstar Selena, and is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison.

Especially in the late 70s and early 80s many of us would go watch Horizon perform. Southsiders Charlie, John, and Geoff Boggess joined classmate Freddy Carrillo and others (T-Bo Gonzalez, Bill Dudley, Larry Scott and Sahara Greer come to mind) and actually opened for the Commodores. The story goes they were offered to go on the road with Cool and the Gang but turned them down.

Through the years, southsider singers and musicians continued to play venues and dances as far away as Europe, on television and especially throughout the Lone Star State.

Some of the more enduring included Rex Allen McNeil, Walter “Tooter” Ripps, Ray Morris, Randy Potts, Lonnie Castleman, John Marsh, Leonard Wong, and the rockers, The Toman Brothers, Randy and Russell—and who could forget R

1972

In the fall of 1972, 17-year-old McCollum senior Dub Robinson had organized a country trio and began playing around a little bit. He went to go see Willie Nelson at the John T. Floore Country Store northwest of San Antonio in the foothills of the Hill Country town of Helotes.

Johnny Bush, Paul English, Willie Nelson

Nelson was to perform as a trio with drummer Paul English and Bee Spears on bass. The steel player didn’t show.

“I watched Willie play that gut string guitar and it didn’t lose anything,” Robinson remembers. Since age 12, Robinson had played professionally across South Texas, but on this night he was particularly inspired.

He called his drummer, Robert “Cotton” Payne, and his bassist, Tommy McKay the next day and proclaimed that if they could be a hundredth as good as Nelson was, they might have a chance.

They knew their taste in music was a blend of country, rock, and blues. McKay suggested the perfect name for their new band. It described the kind of “cowboy” who didn’t want to get his boots dirty.

I’ve followed Dub and other fellow McCollum Cowboys classmates over the years. He continues to be a favorite.

At a ten year class reunion in 1983 at the downtown El Tropicano Hotel Ballroom, Dub and his band honored his classmates as we danced in memories of “old times.” I was particularly honored. I knew the band was good, but when I was called over during a break, he asked me what Elvis song I was going to sing later that evening.

I suggested “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Hearbreak Hotel,” and “Hound Dog.”

He grinned, and with guitar in hand, said, “Okay. Let me hear you sing them.”

1983 McCollum 10 Yr Reunion. Dub (guitar) was the ultra-professional. What an honor for me.

I only had to belt out a sentence or a few words of each. He immediately knew what key and chords to play.

Later, when some of our classmates were literally pulling my pants off while singing, I looked back at Dub. He was grinning big time. He and his band never missed a lick. I tried my best not to also. It remains a fun and wonderful memory in my heart.

In 2011, while interviewing George Strait and Ray Benson at a fundraiser for wounded veterans at Tapatio Springs outside of Boerne, Texas, Strait said something that reminded me of Dub.

“When everyone thinks of Asleep at the Wheel, they think of Ray.”

That’s exactly how I feel about the Drug Store Cowboys. When I think of them, I think of Dub Robinson.

The Drugstore Cowboys with Gary Stewart: Dub Robinson (left), Stewart, Randy Toman and Robert "Cotton" Payne.
Dub Robinson on the left.

Dub just announced the band will be celebrating their 50th anniversary with a new CD. What are his thoughts?

In his own creative words, the songwriter, musician and singer posted:

Originally, McKay lasted about a year and a half and Randy Toman, (who now performs with his brother Russell), became the bassist for 13 years.

They became the touring band for country stars Gary Stewart and Stoney Edwards. The Drugstore Cowboys also backed Johnny Rodriguez, Freddy Fender, Johnny Bush and Gene Watson.

Other artists they shared the stage with or even backed up include Nelson, Merle Haggard, Mel Tillis, Frenchy Burke, Greg Allman, David Allen Cole, Charlie Daniels, the Mavericks, Jerry Jeff Walker, and even Asleep At The Wheel.

“They joined Stewart, who was known for such hits as “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles),” when his backing band could not make a gig at the old Kicker’s Palace,” Goodspeed once reported. “The owner told Stewart they knew all his songs and he gave them a try. Stewart hired them and they toured coast to coast. Robinson quit after four years.”

“I didn’t want to be somebody’s backup band the rest of my life,” he said. “I’m a songwriter first and wanted to do my own thing.”

In 50 years, at least that many musicians have played in The Drugstore Cowboys.

Some of the members went on to play for the Bellamy Brothers, Janie Fricke, Bill Anderson, and Judas Priest.

“I believe it’s all about the song. It’s a lot of work running a band, but I do it just to play my music the way I want to hear it,” Dub said.

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

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Politics, Entertainment & History: Can You Identify Them by Their Mugshots?

Can you identify these historic, political and entertainment figures by their arrested mugshots and photographs?

Answers at the bottom.

POLITICS & HISTORY

Politics, News and History: John Hinkley, Shepherd Smith, Bill Gates, John Edwards, Bernard Madoff, Lee Harvey Oswald, Rod Blagojevich, Rosa Parks, Billy Carter, Roger Clinton, James Earl Ray, Jack Ruby, Charles Manson

Entertainment: Harvey Weinstein, Jane Fonda, O.J. Simpson, Nick Nolte, Heather Locklear, Jussie Smollett, Paul Reubens

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

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Austin City Slicker Goes Into a Bandera Bar


A city slicker from Austin rode his horse into Bandera, the Cowboy Capital of the World, and stopped at a saloon for a drink. Unfortunately, the local wranglers always had a habit of picking on strangers, especially from Austin. When he finished his drink, he found his horse had been stolen.

He goes back into the bar, handily flips his gun into the air, catches it above his head without even looking and fires a shot into the ceiling.

“WHICH ONE OF YOU SIDEWINDERS STOLE MY HORSE?” he yelled with surprising forcefulness. No one answered.

“ALL RIGHT, I’M GONNA HAVE ANOTHER BEER, AND IF MY HOSS AIN’T BACK OUTSIDE BY THE TIME I FINNISH, I’M GONNA DO WHAT I DUN IN SAN MARCOS! AND I DON’T LIKE TO HAVE TO DO WHAT I DUN IN SAN MARCOS!”

Some of the locals shifted restlessly. He had another beer, walked outside, and his horse is back! He saddles-up and starts to ride out of town. The bartender wanders out of the bar and asks, “Say partner, before you go…what happened in San Marcos?”

The cowboy turned back and said, “I had to walk home.”

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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Are We in Jeopardy? Things Only Baby Boomers Understand

Here are the same guys with the exact same car 50 years later:

Only Baby Boomers understand.

In the 1970s, I changed the oil, set the timing, cleaned the carburetor and installed Jenssen speakers for the 8-track player (also self installed) in my car.

This was my first car.

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QUIZ–What Do These Photos Have in Common?

What began in 1893 became a huge tradition reflecting the hopes and wishes of many Americans.

Spanning the years 1910 through 1994, photos from this collection consisted of seasonal influence and tradition.

Baby Boomers will be more apt to guess what these pictures all have in common. Can you?

Long before there was an Amazon or Etsy or even a dot.com, America had a Sears catalogue…or “Wish Book.”

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These Funny Photos Will Make You Feel Better Than You Do Right Now

.

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Texas Rancher Sells to ‘Build Back Better’ Truck Salesman

While President Donald J. Trump was in office and things were going well for farmers and ranchers, legendary calf roper Tex Kent decided it was finally time for a new truck.

The 20-year-old truck he had patched and repaired for the past 10 years was so well used that his sweet wife finally refused to ride in it with him to town.  Since it had been some time since he had bought a truck, the rancher contacted a friend, of a friend, of a friend that worked at a big city dealership.

Kent called the truck dealer to find out he could get a basic new truck for around $30,000.  He deciphered his return on investment and payment amounts with his banker and decided he would drive in to the city the next week to select a new pickup that his sweet wife would be proud to ride in.

Kent arrived at the dealership to meet the salesman that was refered to him by his friends’, friend’s, friend. 

So what type of truck do you need?” the dealer asked as he shook his hand.

Kent replied, “Just a basic ranch truck, nothing too fancy.” 

The salesman then started asking some questions, “Do you need four-wheel-drive?  Do you need a 3/4 ton truck to pull your trailer?  Do you want an automatic transmission?  Do you want air-conditioning?  Do you need a towing package and a grill guard?  Do you want oversized trailer mirrors?  Do you need a tool-box for your tools?  Do you need floor mats for your muddy feet?  Do you want a king-cab so you can keep your records, receipts, and coat clean and dry? 

Kent pulled out his red bandana, wiped his brow, then blowed his nose and interrupted, “Sir these are all things a rancher needs on a basic ranch work truck!

The salesman replied, “Well they may be standard to you, but they aren’t to Ford Motor Company.”

Their discussion about what was needed on a basic ranch truck went on for several more minutes and finally the salesman said, “I have three trucks on the lot that are just what you need.  Do you want a white one, a blue one, or a brown one?” 

Cowboy Kent replied, “I don’t really care that much, but I don’t think I want brown, and the white one will show all of the mud and dirt, so I will go with the red one.” 

The salesman said,  “Ok Let’s take it for a test drive.”

While out on the test drive the salesman said, “You know I would really like to have 10 or 12 cows myself.  What does a basic cow sell for these days?’ 

Kent scratched his head and replied well cows are sort of like trucks, an average cow, or the basic model as you might call them, sells for around $1,000.”

Kent really enjoyed the test drive and the visit with his new acquaintance.  Everything was fine until they got back to the dealership to fill out the paperwork.  He started signing sheet after sheet and finally asked, “So what is the total cost of this truck? 

The sales man replied, “$44,860

What?” Kent pulled out his bandana again, wiped his brow but didn’t bother with his nose, “I thought the basic truck sold for around $30,000?” 

The salesman replied, “Well we added considerable extras to the basic model, 4×4, automatic transmission, air-conditioning, 3/4 ton suspension, heavy-duty breaks and cooling, extra-large mirrors, toolbox, heavy duty towing package, and floor mats.” 

Well, Kent was not at all happy.  He felt that he had been mislead, but he had already invested a day, really liked the truck, and wanted to please his wife, so he bought it.

About a year later, after Biden had swindled his way into office and the price of gas, ranching, and food had skyrocketed, the salesman called Kent up to see how he liked his truck, and then asked if he had any cows for sale? 

Kent pulled his MAGA cap off, wiped his brow and got a twinkle in his eye.  It was payback time.  He replied, “Sure I have some cows for sale.  Come take a look at them later this week.

The salesman really enjoyed riding through the pasture with Kent in his nice truck looking at various cows.  He was as tickled as he had finally saved up enough to live out his childhood dream of being a real cowboy.  He told Kent, “I’ll take 10 of them!” 

Kent, had noticed the car dealer was wearing a blue “Build Back Better” cap and figured this city slicker was a Democrat. He looked the liberal in the eye and said,”Ok that will be $44,860!” 

The salesman said, “What?  I thought that cows sold for $1,000?” 

Kent replied, “That was for the basic model, these cows come with considerable extras!”  And he handed the salesman the following sheet that he had his sweet wife make up the night before on their home computer:

Basic Cow with Options

🔹Basic cow    $999

🔹Shipping and handling    $85

🔹Self-propelled, auto-steer forage finder   $969

🔹Extra-large capacity stomach  $379

🔹Genuine cowhide upholstery   $179

🔹Two tone exterior  $142

🔹Heavy duty forage choppers   $189

🔹Four spigot/high-output milk system $159

🔹Automatic fly-swatter  $88

🔹Automatic fertilizer attachment $139

🔹4 x 4 traction drive assembly $884

🔹Ranch brand leather-work  $69

🔹Rancher’s Suggested List Price   $4,286

🔹Ownership Transfer fee:   $200

Total Price: (Including options)$4,486

Legendary calf roper Texas Kent

.

“For ten basic cows,” Kent smiles. “That adds up to $44,860.”

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3 Thoughts on Amber Heard’s Reaction to the Johnny Depp Case

In September 2008, I attended the first ever performance of magician Criss Angel at his new residency show–Criss Angel BeLIEve–at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Our tickets were complementary (I was writing a review for AXS Entertainment’s blog which featured such reporting at the time), and our seats were center, on the back row of the front section.

I felt a bit sorry for the magician, because despite his good intentions for a “new” type of theater experience, there were several mishaps in queuing, lighting, music and even props.

Early in the production, Angel, trapped in a white straitjacket and spinning, suddenly disappeared as the theater went totally dark.

Music and sound effects stirred a puzzled and startling response of gasps in the audience. Spotlights suddenly appeared, shining on a point right above our heads.

Criss Angel was dropped out of the ceiling hanging by his bound ankles, struggling to escape the tightly strapped straitjacket. Just as he was a mere six feet over our heads, more overhead house lights were turned on to the delight of everyone while he “escaped” the confines of the jacket.

As everyone applauded, still hanging upside down, Angel was slowly lowered to a blonde lady right next to me. She stood up and he embraced her.

They kissed. We clapped.

As they reeled him back up through the trapped door in the ceiling, I leaned over and said to the woman, “Wow, how did you get so lucky to get that seat? I’m glad it wasn’t me seated there.”

“Oh, it is he that is the lucky one,” she replied.

After he returned back to the stage he took a moment to thank us for attending that night’s performance and being patient with the “mixups” of a new show and early jitters of the crew.

“I would also like to acknowledge and thank my girlfriend who you just saw me kiss while I was hanging upside down like Spiderman,” he pointed back to the blonde sitting on my left. “Miss Amber Heard, ladies and gentlemen.”

To this day, I don’t know if Heard was his actual girlfriend, because we thought he was dating Holly Madison at the time. But it’s Vegas. Who knows? What happens there is not the same as in Hollywood!

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Jump to 2022. I happily quit watching television—especially the news—years ago and have not been too much engaged with the entertainment world since.

Having a nice breakfast conversation at the ‘Table of Knowledge’ in one of my favorite Texas Hill Country restaurants one morning, a veteran police officer, the now retired Jim Harvey, mentioned he wanted to get home in time to watch the continuing saga of the Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard Trial.

He briefed the diners and morning coffee drinkers about the latest drama of the televised proceedings. It was intriguing, but I elected to wait until after it was basically over to watch some video of the court antics. 

All I knew about Heard was that I sat next to her for 90 minutes at the Criss Angel show while the magician was on record as dating Holly Madison in those days. The only other thing I was familar about Heard was that she was born and raised in “The San Francisco of Texas,” the Keep it Weird city of Austin. This explained, for me at least, some of her antics I witnessed on the video clips of the trial.

Following her loss in court, this was Heard’s official released statement:

Based on what I saw and heard, here are a few things to think about regarding her statement:

🔹The ‘mountain of evidence’ she presented was actually what helped her lose. She very clearly lied about several things and refused to take responsibility for any of the wrong she had done.

🔹This verdict could have set back the clock for women at least as much as the Hollywood starlets who participated in the #MeToo movement one moment, then followed by publically attacking Jeffrey Epstein accusers the next. Heard lying about abuse and trying to profit from it may have implications for years to come. People will find it harder to take someone at their word without thinking back to this trial. Will they wonder if the person is being truthful or making it up to hurt someone that they are mad at?

🔹Her and her attorneys trying to make this out to be a freedom of speech case is pathetic. Nobody took away her rights. The 1st amendment isn’t there for people to use it to lie and try to ruin people with false accusations. That’s why there are laws against that sort of thing.

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

The Legendary Camels of Camp Verde, Texas

Nestled snugly in the Texas Hill Country, between Kerrville and the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” Bandera, is the delightful Camp Verde Store and Restaurant.

Today, near our home, Dodie and I enjoy passing through historical Bandera Pass to see bison, zebra and exotic wildlife on our way to dine at the site of the old fort, situated on Camp Verde Creek.

Known far and wide as Old Camp Verde, it was here, on July 8, 1856, the noted camel post was established by the U.S. government.

War Department records explained the camp was located “On the north bank of Rio Verde, or Verde Creek, a branch of the Guadalupe River, half a mile west of old Johnson Road, leading from San Antonio to Fort Terret; about four miles from Fort Ives; about 55 miles, direct course, northwest of San Antonio, but about 65 miles leading from San Antonio, through Fredericksburg to Forts Mason, McCavett, and Concho.”

When the camels first arrived from overseas, they entered in Indianola, Texas. The herd was driven to San Antonio grazing along the route, in about 14 days.

They were kept in the “headwaters of San Pedro” creek for a few days and then moved out to the ranch of Major Howard on the Medina River, twelve miles from San Antonio, where they were kept until they moved to their permanent home in Camp Verde on August 26 and 27, 1856.

Old Spanish maps identified this as “Verde Arroyo” (Green Creek). Before the thirty-three camels arrived in 1856, a sketch had been drawn of an Eastern caravansary in Asia Minor. This drawing was used to construct a detailed reproduction at Camp Verde.

The camels were used to transport supplies and dispatched to Forts Martin Scott, Concho, Griffen, Phantom Hill, Inge, Clark, Lancaster, Hudson, Stockton, Davis, Quitman, Bliss and other forts in West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

What was formerly the officers’ barracks is where the store and restaurant is. On March 26, 1910, the headquarters abode was destroyed by fire, which took the life of Tom Blair.

The camp was continuously garrisoned until March 7, 1861, when U.S. troops surrendered the post to the Confederates, and withdrew. After the Civil War, the post was reoccupied by Federal troops on November 30, 1866, and finally abandoned on November 30, 1869.

It was rebuilt by W.H. Bonnell as an exact replica using the stone structure that survived the fire.

History shows that camels roamed the Bandera hills and many pioneers in this area actually herded them.

🔹Amasa Clark, who died at his home near Bandera at age 102, herded camels. Among his possessions was a pair of pillows made from camel’s hair, which he sheared from the animals he tended.

🔹Jim Walker, who died in 1945, owned a bell worn by the lead camel at his time working there during the Civil War.

🔹Andy Jones, a pioneer citizen of Bandera who died in the mid 1940s, often saw droves of camels miles away from the old fort. When Camp Verde was handed back to the Federal Government after the Civil War, the original 32 camels had grown to a herd of over 100, under the care of the Confederate troops.

“When I was a boy on my father’s ranch, the government kept a lot of camels at Camp Verde,” Jones said. One day we hobbled three of our horses and turned them loose near the house, and fourteen of those old camels came lumbering along.”

“The horses took fright at the sight of them, and we did not see those horses for many days,” he continued. “My brother and I penned the camels, all of them being gentle except for one.”

“We roped the wild one, but never wanted to rope another,” he recalled. “For the old humpbacked villain slobbered all over us, and the slobber made us deathly sick. However, we had a jolly time with those camels, when we got rid of the foul, sickening slobber, and we often rode broncos and wild steers, we rode camels too…They could easily travel one hundred miles a day. The Indians seemed to be afraid of the camels, and of course never attempted to steal any of them.”

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

The Misguided Investment of Mark Twain’s Samuel Clemens

Like so many writers, one of my early literary influences was Samuel Clemens, the guy who successfully branded himself as Mark Twain and gained unprecedented worldwide recognition as an author.

So inspired by him, that on my only two visits to Connecticut, I made certain to visit The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford.

The museum was the author’s home, where his family lived from 1874 to 1891. Twain wrote his most important works during the years he lived there, including Adventures of Huckleberry FinnThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

One of my favorite bloggers, Phil Strawn from Granbury, Texas, who reminds me of a cross between Clemmons and the founder of Luchenbach, Texas, an old Hill Country storyteller of yesteryear that I met in the ’70s. Strawn’s observations in TALES FROM THE CACTUS PATCH have a Mark Twain from Baby Boomer Texas type feel to his posts.

Anyway, I digress. Clemmons was driven to financial dissolution in a bid to develop an efficient mechanical typesetting machine.

It was called a Paige Compositor and was designed to eliminate the need for human intervention while typesetting.

The result? It was a debacle and the only working model with 18,000 separate parts. It ended up as a museum piece in the Twain House.

Clemens’ career included a stint as a journeyman printer and compositor. He clearly understood the potential of the machine. From the moment Clemens encountered the typesetting machine in James Paige’s workshop, he was dazzled by the possibilities and convinced that this revolutionary device represented a golden financial opportunity.

While the Paige Compositor was truly an engineering marvel, and could successfully and precisely set and distribute type, Paige was fixated on enhancing the machine so it could create justified lines of type.

His insistence on including this complex feature (that he could never get to work reliably) fatally delayed its release. A simpler machine from Linotype grabbed the market.

In the meantime, Clemens’ investments in the project topped $170,000 by the close of the 1880s, leaving him in deep financial straits, exacerbated by other bad investments.

To pay off creditors and restore his financial equilibrium, the 60-year old Clemens, his wife Olivia, and daughter Clara set off on a five-year tour, dubbed the “Round-the-World Comedy Tour” by author Richard Zacks, delivering stage performances to welcoming audiences in India, South Africa, Australia, and other countries.

The tour, however, was capped by tragedy upon the family’s return to London: the death of daughter Susy at the family home in Hartford, CT during their absence.

With long time friend John Lewis, who inspired “Jim” in Tom Sawyer

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Clemens recorded in his notebook, “The cloud is permanent now,” and Olivia, exhausted from the travel, was traumatized to the point that she would never return to their Hartford home and never fully regained her health.

Clemens did not forget the role Paige played in his misfortunes, and wrote in his autobiography: “Paige and I always meet on effusively affectionate terms; and yet he knows perfectly well that if I had his nuts in a steel-trap I would shut out all human succor and watch that trap till he died.”

With the proceeds from his round-the-world tour and the release of a book of his collected works, Clemens successfully turned the corner on his financial woes. He died, debt free, in Redding, Connecticut in 1910.

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Jack Dennis often reports on politics, crime, history, travel, nostalgia, entertainment, immigration, drugs, gang activities, and human trafficking. Please support our efforts to provide truth and news that corporate media will not. 🔹Dodie Dennis, retired RN and health instructor, writes about health, nutrition, Big Pharma, nature, travel and everyday hacks-tips-hints.

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‘Lady Lawman’ Movie: The Good, Bad and Ugly

We love and miss Westerns, so we invited friends to watch “Lady Lawman,” a fictitious movie based on the first real female marshal, Francis Miller, of the Indian Territory in the 1890s.

Jake Jecmenek, a friend from high school, was kind enough to give me a DVD of the movie he co-produced and starred in, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

To provide a fair review, I combined the ratings of all six of us, so as not to skew the results. (Dodie has known Jake since at least the 8th grade and we are both fond of him).

SEE LADY LAWMAN PREVIEW HERE

We had popcorn and tasty beverages for our guests to enjoy as we prepared to project the film outdoors like an old fashioned drive-in theater. The DVD cover and packaging is beautiful, but the first hint something might be amiss was when one of them read the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) movie description:

“A women (yes, plural instead of ‘woman’) is offered a job and because the Shieriff (yes, misspelled, rather than ‘Sheriff’) is short handed to a woman (yes, ‘short handed to a woman‘) whom lost her recent husband (instead of an older spouse?) to the same gang of outlaws as the tracker (so the tracker was in a gang of outlaws?).

Brett William Mauser is the executive producer, writer, director, editor and, among other responsibilities, an actor in the movie.

Here is the good, bad and the ugly with our ratings of Lady Lawman:

THE GOOD

The best acting into this 95 minute movie was by Ryan Jasso (Francis Miller) and Jake Jecmenek (Buck Johnson) who played the prime characters.

Other notable actors included Ernest Martinez (ditch the whiskey bottle in every other scene – you’re better than that), Carlos Leos and Kody Nace.

According to our small six-person audience, among the good features of the movie were:

🔹How a momentous pocket watch was weaved into the story.

🔹Dodie and her girlfriends all “liked the beautiful horses.”

🔹Everyone agreed the background music helped the movie.

🔹”My favorite were the gag shots in the Bonus Features” of the DVD, one said. “Especially when it showed someone actually wearing stiched-in red letters– ‘FLASH’–on black jockey underwear, the obvious rage in 1890s fashion I suppose.”

🔹”The acting and horses saved the movie,” Dodie exclaimed.

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THE BAD

Mauser may be an improved movie maker since his western, Bass Reeves. It was the only movie I reviewed of his, way back in 2010.

In Bass Reeves, a film about the first Black U.S. deputy marshal, there were some good performances by actors James A. House and Craig Rainey, but audience members were distracted by things like 1970s style paneling and plastic light switches on interior walls during the times of the Old West.

In his latest offering, Mauser releases what could have been a more pleasing movie without two primary familiar disturbances:

1. lack of authenticity.

2. long drawn out dialogue that was sometimes difficult to understand.

🔹Practically every actor sported brand new cowboy hats, bejeweled with Route 66 type trading post or Buckee’s style ornaments and headbands. 1890s? No way.

🔹It’s significant enough as major diversions–as are the shiny new saddles on every horse; pristine and more modern day style shirts, jackets and attire–or replicas–on some of them.

Online ratings: 3 out of 5 stars, Amazon and 4.5 out of 10 on IMDb.

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🔹An asphalt road in front of a seamless metal-roofed house with a concrete sidewalk during the 1890s was way out of the time period. People notice that Brett!

(Asphalt first appeared in North America in the 1870s in Virginia and was used for the centennial of 1876 on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. It took years for cars and buggies to be driven on asphalt roads in Oklahoma or Texas.)

He could work his way towards something more exceptional if he would not still be making the same mistakes. You can’t blame it on budget restraints. Used and authentic can cost less! At the very least, change the camera angles to hide these errors.

Everyone in our small focus group agreed and used descriptives like “annoying,” “obvious,” “blaring” and–

🔹”I couldn’t concentrate, especially when the shine from Wal-Mart stainless bowls were laid out on the table.”

🔹”I couldn’t concentrate on the acting because the clothes looked like they came from Sears, K-Mart or Wal-Mart,” a husband and wife team explained as I took their notes.

🔹”This is a cowboy movie,” she said. “One guy looked like a Low Rider who should be driving a jumping ’65 Chevy.”

🔹”And what about so many of them wearing new outfitter clothes, complete with matching bandanas?” another asked. “I’m sorry, this would have been a fairly decent movie for theater release if they would get help with the dialogue writing, costuming and location help.”

🔹”Look, I enjoy westerns and watch the Western Channel all the time,” said a veteran cowboy western fan. “After awhile, I just tried to ignore all this, and tell myself ‘hey, give them a break, it’s independent greenhorn tenderfoot hour,’ and then was able to enjoy it better. It’s not High Noon or The Searchers after all. It’s some good people making a movie with what they’ve got. I’d give them at least a B for effort. For dialogue, not so much.”

🔹”I did the same,” the second man said. “Maybe it’s because we live around and raise horses, livestock, and goats, that I was being hard on them, but a movie shouldn’t have to make me give excuses for it. I did enjoy it alright, but it took some effort.”

Amazon ratings

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🔹”The rain scenes at night on the closeups looked like the drops were coming down superimposed on the screen,” he continued. “I wanted to concentrate on the struggle, but by this late in the movie I was trained to look at mistakes.”

THE UGLY

🔹”It seems like they went overboard with all the shooting and killing,” our first lady friend said. “The pocket watch part was good, but I kept wondering if they even had musical watches that played Fleur-de-lis in the 1800s. It’s not hard to think that way with so many other noticeable such instances.”

“Since it is in Bonus Feature we can laugh and be forgiving, but those red stiched lettering “FLASH” in the black underwear band was bad, but funny as hell,” her husband noted.

REVIEW RATINGS

By Jack Dennis

In a quirky sort of way, after the movie was over, guests had left and with alone time to reflect, I actually enjoyed Lady Lawman in a campy, nonsensical sort of fashion.

It reminded me of the same illogical, but fun emotions I experienced when my neighborhood pals and I would take the bus downtown to the (now defunct) Texas Theater in San Antonio to watch old 1950s Ed Wood horror and sci-fi movies. The props were ludicrous and the actors (an old Bela Lugosi, Doris Fuller, Vampirella and Tor Johnson) were baffling strange–only Lady Lawman had far, far better acting.

Mauser seems to be sticking to his formula, making independent low budget movies the best he can with what resources he has. Personally, I think he’s better than this. If he would accept writing, continuity and professional costuming help, rather than attempt to tackle as much of it as he can by himself, he could churn out some better products. He has some of the talent and much experience around him, but perhaps this is his comfortable niche.

Effort, B+

Acting, B overall.

Acting, Ryan Jasso and Jecmenek, A-

Production, C+

Writing, C+

Music, B+

Authenticity, C

Total Movie: B-

(Low) 1 to 10 (High) Scale, Five Person Composite

Effort = 8.2

Acting = 6.6

Production = 6.9

Music = 8.6

Authenticity = 5.2

Total Movie = 6.7

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