Fall is the time to indulge in spooky stories, and at this year’s Boerne Book and Arts Festival you’ll certainly find some twisted tales. 

The festival will take place at Boerne’s Main Plaza at 100 N. Main Street on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featured authors include Sarah Bird, Carmen Tafolla, Andrew Sansom, and James Wade.

Fort Worth author E.R. Bills has gone about unearthing mysteries hiding in the cobwebby attic of history, dusting them off and presenting them as tales of intrigue. 

Among these tales is the story of a “fishy goat-man lake monster” believed to inhabit Lake Worth at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge. 

Known as the Lake Worth Monster, Bills said that in the summer of 1969, eyewitnesses claimed to see the creature running the edges of the park’s cliff.

“It scared some teenagers one night … and the next night people were driving around trying to find it,” said Bills. “Sheriff’s deputies were out there and they saw this thing on this cliff and said that it threw a tire at them!” 

Other tales documented by Bills include the Aurora spaceship crash of 1897 and the 1963 disappearance of the SS Marine Sulphur Queen.

“A molten sulphur tanker leaves out of Beaumont, and no one sees it ever again,” he said of the mystery. 

With 39 crew members, the ship melted into nothingness at the edge of the Bermuda Triangle. The Coast Guard conducted a formal investigation into the disappearance, but no conclusive explanation was found. “It was a voyage into oblivion,” Bills said.

Bills will be signing copies of his books at the festival, among them Texas Oblivion: Mysterious Disappearances, Escapes and Cover-Ups and Texas Obscurities: Stories of the Peculiar, Exceptional & Nefarious.

For those looking to be inspired rather than spooked, historian Jennifer Ross-Nazzal will present Making Space for Women: Stories from the Trailblazing Women of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The anthology, edited by Ross-Nazzal, brings together accounts written by women who worked at NASA, underscoring the important roles women played in launching complicated missions into space. 

Event organizer Caren Creech runs the Adult and Young Adult Services at Boerne’s Patrick Heath Public Library. She remarked that as Boerne grows, so does the festival.

“We’ve been fortunate to be able to draw some well-known authors to our festival,” she said. “We are a small festival, but we fill up the space at Main Plaza and are able to draw about 1,500 to the site each year.”  

For the younger crowd, poet laureate Carmen Tafolla will present her children’s books, I Will Always Come Back to You and The Last Butterfly. Tafolla said it’s important for her books to “reflect people of different races and genders in positive and realistic portrayals” and for them to be available in English and Spanish.

“I love writing children’s books that make kids feel good about themselves and others, that teach them respect for and wonder at the great diversity of people, creatures, and things in the world that surround us,” she said. 

Along with browsing books and hearing from authors, attendees can enjoy an 11 a.m. ballet performance from the Terpsichore-Zachary Dance Company. 

At 3:15 p.m., will be “Wine’d Down,” a free event in which novelist Sarah Bird will present wines from Bending Branch Winery. Cheesy G’s Grill food truck will offer eats. 

For a full schedule and lineup of authors visit the Boerne Book and Arts Festival website.

Berit Mason

Berit Mason is a multi-media journalist with experience reporting for WOAI 1200 AM News Radio, freelancing for Texas Public Radio in San Antonio, writing articles and taking photos for San Antonio Woman,...