The Lover’s Lane Phenomenon: Vortexes for Forteana?
From Australia to England, and throughout virtually all parts of the United States, there are secretive, secluded pull-offs in rural areas that are referred to popularly as “lover’s lanes.” The term itself hardly needs explanation–young couples go to these sorts of locations when clandestine “alone time” wouldn’t present itself otherwise. But perhaps there is one angle to this mystery that is deserving of deeper prodding, and in order to understand the mystery fully, it may require us to go a little further beyond “first base,” if you’ll pardon the pun.
Indeed, by examining reports of strange phenomenon throughout the decades, it becomes apparent that a number of famous reports with strange beings, hideous monsters, and weird alien creeps have transpired while young couples sought their sensual refuges at lover’s lanes. But exactly what is it about these areas that attracts such phenomenon? Are Fortean oddities drawn there for reasons similar to that of the young couples they end up terrorizing, or is there something more to all this?
The most obvious explanation, if we are to first look at the mystery on the simplistic basis that these creatures are a) monsters or other strange beings, and that they b) are physical in the same sense as you and I, would suggest that creeps of this sort are drawn to such locations because of their seclusion. This provides an easy way to lure or capture a young couple like little sardines in a massive tin-can (hence why we may hear so many reports of hairy monsters emerging from the brush and pounding on the hood of cars in such circumstances).
This is precisely what occurred during the summer of 1969 in the vicinity of Lake Worth, Texas, where reports of a large creature, variously described as a large white ape or something manlike that resembled a “goat with scales” terrorized residents. Some reports claimed that up to forty witnesses at a time had seen the beast, with stories claiming encounters with young couples parked around Lake Worth attracting the attention of local press. In fact, the Fort Worth Star Telegram even featured one front page story that read, “Fishy Man-Goat Terrifies Couples Parked at Lake Worth.” Indeed, the earliest report of the beast involved its sudden appearance by the parked vehicle of Mr. and Mrs. John Reichart, who claimed that on the evening of July 10, 1969 the beast leaped onto the hood of their car at around midnight. Others who were present with the couple joined them when they subsequently visited the police station to file their report later that evening. This story bears some similarity to the earliest credible report of the Mothman creature of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, during which five witnesses, Roger and Linda Scarberry, Steve and Mary Mallette, and Lonnie Button, the Mallette’s cousin, reported a similar encounter while traveling together at night near the infamous abandoned TNT factory in the area.
If we were to consider the possibility that some of these incidents might be hoaxes, again the lover’s lane parallel seems to crop up. Arguably, young couples would make good targets for eager friends who, knowing the likely appearances of their compatriots at such locations, might seek to make them the object of a practical joke. But even removing the friendly aspect from the equation, it has long been supposed that urban legends such as “The Hook,” which also transpires famously at a lover’s lane, might stem from real stories of crazies and perverts sneaking around parked cars at night, hoping to catch naughty glimpses of young lovers in the act.
Taking this a bit further still into the realm of psychokinetic phenomenon, there could be even more to this strange mystery. Popular reports of so-called “SLIder phenomenon” (this denotes street light interference, for which the acronym “SLI” is used) detail how individuals who are in a particularly distressed or otherwise “heightened” states of awareness sometimes claim to be able to “knock out” streetlights in urban areas by merely walking beneath them (I’ve even experienced this myself a number of times, and for an excellent primer on the subject, see Hilary Evans’ book SLIders: The Enigma of Streetlight Interference). Interestingly, Evans notes at least a few instances in his book where individuals in aroused or amorous states experienced the phenomenon (one gent described having visited his girlfriend on a number of occasions, and while walking home from her house afterward, would repeatedly affect streetlights he walked under). Could the similar state of mind present among couples at lover’s lanes create a strange sort of “vortex” for Forteana, much the same way that Evans suggests may be occurring with SLI? Even British occultist Aleister Crowley considered human sexuality–and more importantly, couples engaging in the act–as a powerful impetus for opening rents in space-time, allowing discourse with denizens of other dimensions.
In fact, an entire volume based solely on the study of how human sexuality comes into play with regard to various supernatural phenomenon could be produced as a result of such meanderings of the mind, though it would be slightly beyond the scope of this article. However, I must leave you on a rather interesting, and slightly personal note with regard to the bizarre consistency of Forteana and general weirdness being associated with “Lover’s Lanes.” While composing this article, I took a moment to chat with my girlfriend about the subject (granted, she isn’t one who follows the unexplained quite to the degree I would). When I mentioned some of the odd occurrences that have transpired at lover’s lanes over the years, my girlfriend suddenly asked if any of these reports had occurred somewhere in the state of New York, since apparently she had known a woman in her sixties a few years ago who shared a remarkably similar story with her. Back during her teenage years, the gal in question had apparently lived in New York, and while visiting a popular lover’s lane in her area, she said she and her friends had been astonished to see a group of what she could only describe as “aliens” appear nearby! The witness had given no further details, other than the assurance that she hadn’t consumed any hallucinogens or other illicit substances prior to the strange experience.
It’s a strange notion indeed, but the prevalence among reports simply can’t be denied. Is there something more to the encounters with strange beings a lover’s lanes, or is this merely one more piece to the odd tidbits of folklore that tend to surround such reports of the strange and unusual?