It is about the myths of Austin, Texas and whether they are true or not.
I spent a lot of time reading up on the history of Austin only to realize that it really doesn’t have any.
Well it’s no New York or Chicago, jeez!Nonetheless, I was able to scrounge up some interesting (?) myths about this fair city.
(And if I’m wrong with any of these…please let me know so I don’t make a huge ass of myself. PLEASE!?)
1.) Does Austin have a celebrity homeless person?
2.) Did Austin erect giant light towers over the city in the 1800’s due to a serial killer?
It’s commonly claimed that thirty-one, 165 feet “moonlight towers” were erected over the city due to the brutal murders of several young women in the late 1800’s. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case. In 1884 and 1885 a serial killer known as “The Servant Girl Annihilator” ran amok in Austin, brutally raping and killing seven victims (the link above states that the towers were erected because of the killer but IT’S WRONG…I think?). The moonlight towers, which each illuminated a 1500 feet radius, were constructed in 1894, already ten years after the first murder. The moonlight towers were simply built to help light the city and there is no hard proof that they were built in response to the grizzly killer. 17 moonlight towers still remain.
3.) Did festival-goers stand in sewage during the 2009 Austin City Limits Festival?
On Friday of the 2009 Austin City Limits Festival, festival-goers could not ask for a more perfect day at beautiful Zilker Park in downtown Austin. Fast forward to Sunday after uncharacteristic rain poured over the normally sweltering city, and you got yourself one giant mud fest. However, this wasn’t any old mud. Patrons started to notice the distinct smell of, for the lack of a better word, POOPIE!, emanating from the festival grounds. Though many didn’t know exactly what it was at the time, it was later discovered that the grounds had been treated with a special compost called “Dillo Dirt” that comprised of yard clippings and treated sewage. Either way, that didn’t stop festival-goers from rolling around in the “mud” and having a great time at the festival.
4.) Did a man poison the Treaty Oak because that is where he proposed to his girlfriend and she turned him down?
Many legends have circulated on why one man, Paul Cullen, decided to ritualistically poison a sacred and historical oak tree in the middle of Austin, Texas. Was it because he was in love with another man and was trying to fight his feelings? Was it because he was in love with his psychiatrist who didn’t return the love? Was it because he proposed to his girlfriend at that location and she turned him down? Nobody knows what went through Cullen’s head that day in 1989 when he poured heavy-duty plant killer on the last remaining Oak of the Council Oaks where in the 1800’s, local Native American tribes would hold sacred meetings. According to Texas Monthly Magazine, the mentally-unstable Cullen poisoned the tree “to entrap it’s spiritual energy to win the love of a woman or to ward off a rival.” Cullen was sentenced to nine years in prison and locals and nature lovers banded together to try and help the sickly tree (which included leaving cans of soup). Ross Perot even wrote a blank check to help fund efforts in saving the tree. In the late 1990’s, the tree began producing acorns again and though now somewhat crooked, she still stands strong to do this day.
5.) Are there hundreds of wild parakeets living in Austin?
It doesn’t take long for a one to spot the brightly colored Monk Parakeets roaming freely amongst the streets of Austin. These pretty birds have set up nests all over the city and it looks they are not going anywhere. But how did they get here? There is no conclusive evidence on exactly how the parakeets landed in Austin, but there are plenty of fun rumors spreading around. One myth refers to an accident at JFK airport in 1967 that supposedly first introduced Monk Parakeets to the United States. Another story points to local Janet Gilles who released 19 Monk Parakeets into the wild after she got sick of keeping them in the house. Either way, they have become a great addition to the uniqueness of the city.