I Wished I'd had an XM-L! (Help Me Solve a Mystery)

I couldn’t really think of the perfect title for this story, but it’s titled to reflect how I felt one crisp night in March of ’09. I’ve tried to condense the story, but when you can, read it all and give your input. This has been bugging me for years. It’s not a ghost story, but it is a mystery and I’d like to know more.

It was 4:16 am. I was sitting in the patrol car guarding a well-to-do upper-class neighborhood on San Antonio’s NE side. Until now, listening to crickets was the only activity on a night when the most active calls were to check on some girls playing in a ditch four hours earlier. I lock some gates, issue a ticket for an improperly parked vehicle, tell some skateboarders to get off the sidewalk, and shine the Walmart “1 million candlepower” halogen on some open areas.

But tonight would not be like other nights. I was on the phone with a friend hoping to pass the time when my supervisor, Sergeant Felix, a retired Deputy Sheriff from East Texas, pulled right up next to me. He looked a little spooked, which was not likely considering his experiences. He laid on me what had happened, that strange stuff was happening at one of our new properties. An older woman had called in someone throwing rocks at the windows. She thought it was kids. This was a new neighborhood. It was miles from the beaten path of I-10 (the developing properties right next to Sea World) and only 5 or 6 houses had been established. And yet someone was tossing stones at a three-story house that most of us only wish we could afford.

Felix raced over to the area. The police were also called as the lady was really scared, but the police arrived 15 minutes later than Felix. Felix knew the site and arrived to light up the house with a set of car lights on high and that same spotlight we were all given. In that time, another call had come in about the rocks thrown getting BIGGER—as in, basketball-sized rocks! The stones kept coming even after he arrived. The deep ravine behind the backyard made it impossible to see anything clearly for the brush landscaping. He called out and watched, but no one could be seen. PD arrives and same deal—the rocks - now getting fewer and further between - were still coming. One large one hit the front of the patrol car. The problem was, the cops could barely find the area. It was so new that it had the “estates” and “coming soon” sign at the access road. The streets weren’t even in the GPS’s yet!

The brush was too thick and there were no roads around the back of the house, so there was no continuing to explore (without tracking down a steep embankment with unwalk-ably thick brush. You’d need some good equipment). So after waiting and the police leaving (after speaking with the woman and determining that security staying around would be agreeable to her), he waits till she falls back to sleep. The lights go out and Felix comes and gets me. He told me plainly that he just wanted me to see it for myself. So, I jump into his car. We make the 15-minute drive over to the property.

First thing that stands out (I had never actually been here before, just knew about it), no street lights…at all…for miles and miles up a series of foot hills. The roads had just been flattened, most of them, making way for concrete to be poured, but there were no rails and no signs, either. You could go right off the road and be caught in bushes and trees and be there for quite a while waiting to be rescued.

Mom and dad live in Green Spring Valley where the upper-middle-class neighborhood has (surprisingly) no street lights. This makes a wonderful place to test out the newest LED toys, but when play becomes work and you are inundated by miles of no light at all, it is another matter. This place didn’t even have the city lights reflected off of the clouds like downtown SA or LA or any big city, just trees and dirt. About 7 miles east was Sea World, but getting to it would take a skilled and well-equipped hiker through unforgiven, wolf-roaming brush (you could hear the howls of the wolfs, of course). It would take a long time to get anywhere in there. There were construction worker vehicles - all of them abandoned - and all of them checked (by us) as we rushed back up to see what the hell this was.

Felix felt terrible about ever leaving the lady, but he was not afraid to admit he was afraid (unlike the useless police in this case!). And this dark terrain put a special love for high output lights (not a day goes by that I don’t tinker with the lights and recall this terrain and imagine how well the new powerhouses would do in it). I had only Maggie with me at the time, and as much as I love her (my stock 4-D Mag LED which Old Lumens most gracious brought back to life for me!), she was wholly inadequate for this job. It’s funny how enough darkness can actually suck up a light’s performance.

The headlights on high beam and that spotlight were all we had, and every time that spot left one area and lit up another, we were again wondering what was out there. So we arrive before we even adjust the car to point at the ravine behind the house when, “tink, tink…” a stone hits the window. We jump out of the car, carefully looking upward and a few more egg-sized stones that I can see with my own eyes are flying over the house—WAY OVER THE HOUSE! There was no one out there — no lights, no sound, only thick brush we couldn’t get into. The spotlight was stuck in the car (cig lighter activated), so all we could do as watch and lookout over the general area. We dared not get closer! Pretty soon, the stones just stopped.

The still air and dead silence was broken only by us. We just looked at each other, expressing how no human being could have hoisted those stones over a three-story house from a third of a football field’s way down a ravine! We were standing in the entrance to the driveway, initially, and the stones were landing right at our feet! I can remember feeling so scared! We dared not go any further!

When 6 am came and the sun was making its appearance (and no more stones were to be seen), we took off…with a story to tell. Along with how much more exhilarating this would have been with a Skyray King or STL-V2 (or TN31, you name it), all we had for illumination were limited tools. I have even dreamed about being back there with “the new gang” to better get a hold of things.


I have tried to narrow this down to kids from the house = but the woman was alone, hardly a prankster, and no one else was there. Or kids from some other area = but too far, way too far, for anyone to be playing jokes, and no one knew about this area. I’ve toyed with hikers, laborers from the daytime still messing around, but none of it fits. Any ideas of exactly what this was?

* I have a superstitious friend who is into New Age and she thinks this was done by the chupacabra! lol

Crazy stuff.

You would be surprised by how far one can hurl a good-sized stone/pumpkin/melon with a couple of lengths of latex tubing and a fabric pouch.

Three teens and such a device/slingshot could possibly have a 150+ yard range with practice.

You speak from the experience, no doubt? lol Was it you out there that night!? rofl

Honestly, it’s how far away this was that troubles me. There were no families, no kids.

I plead the fifth, as the statute of limitations may or may not have expired.

Here's one claiming a 400-yard range:


For rocks that large and at that range, you’re looking for a Trebuchet. Googling that + Irving, TX shows some hits, even a few in 2009. Likely someone building one or testing it out and didn’t see the house in the dark.

easily done with a slingshot like above (though what they were doing out there is an entirely different question)

we once spent the afternoon, from the roof of a four story brownstone in bostons south end, dropping water balloons on Blackstone park several hundred meters away with one of these. we managed to put one right on the windshield of the cruisers as they pulled up, they got out and drew their weapons! we would wait 15 minutes or so, drop 10 or 15 balloons, clear the park, wait another 30 minutes and repeat. no one ever looked up, completely baffled.

ah youth.

Trebuchet. And you’d want to test it well away from developed areas but still have a target. One person could easily pack a model sized version. Maybe along a gully that is more accessible from elsewhere. The sling seems more likely though.

You know, that doesn’t seem too implausible. And honestly, I hadn’t thought about it.

Cool story, I think I would have been at least as confused in that situation, as you were.

Its a matter of jurisdiction. Police are city, sheriffs are county, highway patrol is just highways.

Yeppers. And in security, a lot of law enforcement is hanging around looking to get overtime and rake in some extra cash. You’ll find cadets to sheriffs to, well, every rank. Unlike police work which has its respect, security not so much. And yet, it is connected at the hip, as it were, to law enforcement. But honestly, this would have been scary for anyone.

Police are the city’s; they work there warrants, patrol, criminal investigations and help the city jail which is used for temporary housing and tickets usually no more than a few days.
Sheriff’s dept runs county patrol, criminal investigation, warrants, extradictions, interagency task forces in the county like vice, auto theft. They also provide law enforcement for cities too small to carry out the task. Security for the misdemenor and felony courts along with inmate housing until prison housing that can be over 2 years.
State police cover major investigations, state standards, highway patrol, capital security, interagency task forces in and out of state and in some places game warden.

It sounds to me like there was a Bigfoot out there in the brush. They have been known to throw rocks before.

Off by about 55 million there, around 315 million in the US :wink: