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The Legacy of Bob Girard – An Interview with SMiles Lewis

“My dream was to have one business in which the entire worlds literature on these subjects was all under one roof”  – Bob Girard to Clas Svahn, April 19th 1987

Bob Girard. Photo Credit: Clas Svahn / AFU.

The following interview first appeared in the Winter 2015 Issue of

Steamshovel Press (Available Here)

The Legacy of Bob Girard – An Interview with SMiles Lewis


About the Bob Girard Collection

We are proud to announce our latest acquisition: the personal collection of rare book seller and proprietor of the long-running Arcturus Books service, Robert C. Girard.

Explain who Bob Girard was, what he did and why he is remembered.

“He saw his Arcturus [Book Service] … as a way to connect to people, strange and wonderful people that he would never had been able to find without his book list.” 
Clas Svahn, Journalist and Vice Chairman of the Archives for the unexplained

“Bob Girard is an American institution”
Colin Bennett, Fortean and flying saucer historian, 2004

“The Marcel Proust of the UFO phenomenon” … “The proprietor of Arcturus Books–arguably the biggest and best UFO bookstore in the world.”
John Chambers, Paranormal journalist, 2004

“The greatest national bookseller of used books ranging from cryptozoology to Forteana, from ufology to parapsychology”
Loren Coleman, Cryptozoologist, 2011

“Robert C. Girard… ran what was probably the world’s premier Fortean mail-order book service”
Ronan Coghlan, Fortean zoologist, 2011

Bob Girard (1942-2011) was a legendary collector and seller of rare books, specializing in UFO literature and related fringe subject matter. In today’s age of internet ubiquity, instant gratification, and declining print media outlets, Robert Girard’s name is not widely known among UFO believers nor paranormal enthusiasts. His name is, however, remembered among many long-time UFO researchers, paranormal writers, and the DIY self-publishers of the 1980s and ’90s alt-media “Zine Scene.” He is remembered as the brutally frank bibliophile who published his incisive insights in concise micro-reviews, monthly, distributed world-wide across six continents. Despite his contribution of a handful of small books (The Revolt of the Free and Futureman to name only two) and over 30 years of service to the book-hungry global network of para-cultural knowledge seekers, he has yet to be acknowledged by the history books. Though in fact, he and his Arcturus Books service are mentioned in several UFO books including within the source citations of academic (and scholar of new religious movement studies) author James R. Lewis’ The Gods Have Landed.

Before becoming “the Marcel Proust of the UFO phenomenon” (John Chambers, 2004) Robert was an enlisted man in the United States Air Force, serving from 1964 to 1968 at Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey and Wichita Falls, Texas, until he received an honorable discharge at the rank of sergeant. In 1978 he and his family moved to Ecuador where they lived for two years before returning home to Scotia, New York, where Robert had spent his high school and college years. It was there that he began pursuing his dream of starting his own rare book business with a niche focus on the most esoteric and Occult books within the UFO and paranormal milieus.

In 1980 he launched his book business with a monthly CataZine (combination catalog and magazine) featuring his own short reviews of every new book and zine that crossed his path. His no-nonsense reviews were infamous and for some it was a badge of honor to get even a bad review from Mr. Girard. Despite these gruff aspects of Bob’s character, his perspectives on these strange phenomena were considered as valuable as the rare books he was commenting upon.

Long-time UFO and paranormal researcher Antonio Huneeus summed up the appeal of Mr. Girard’s writing while also touching upon Bob’s “rough side” that was expressed in both Bob’s published writings and personal interactions:

“He was deeply knowledgeable of ufology and Forteana and wrote caustic reviews of most of the books he sold in his monthly or bimonthly Arcturus Books Catalogue, which he used to mail to his clients. His reviews were widely read because of their unique, no-holds-barred style. You knew Bob was an honest person in that he gave bad—sometimes awful—reviews to half the books he sold. He cared more for the integrity of the field than the almighty buck. … Bob Girard had a rough side to his personality and could be often rude with his own clients but… once you got accustomed to Bob’s gruffy side, you got to like him just the way he was.” (Huneeus,, 2011)

From the ArcStarBooks website we have Bob’s own words from his very first catalog in June of 1980:

“…We don’t have to describe the thrills to be found in reading UFO literature; we feel sure that you already know many of them. We have noticed this, however, in our own 25 years plus interest in UFOs and their literature: that as one’s interest in UFOs deepens, one is led into other fascinating areas of study through the study of Ufolit. To adopt a truly panoramic understanding of flying saucers, one must study such allied areas as Astroarchaeology, Astronomy, History, Mythology, Parapsychology and Religion. Through Ufolit, one’s personal vision can expand in many ways, and the entire course of one’s life may be changed—for the better.” (, “Never Cease from Exploration…,” June 2013)

The Anomaly Archives recently received a donation of 80 boxes of approximately 1,300 titles from his widow, Monica A. Williams-Girard. Among the yet to be cataloged works are books covering topics ranging from UFOs to Atlantis, El Dorado to Ancient Astronauts, Ancient Britain, the Celts and Stonehenge, Pre-Columbian America to Ancient America, Lost Civilizations and Inner Earth Mythology, Alchemy and the Occult, Gnosticism and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Apocrypha and Hermetica, Crystal Skulls, Greek and Roman Classics, World History and the History of Christianity, Minerals and Gemstones, Radio to Railroads, to Hitler and the Nazis.

There are a number of rare editions of classic flying saucer contactee books, several autographed by their authors. Bob had a special interest in the Contactees and at one time came into possession of George Hunt Williamson’s personal files, most of which were later sold to researcher Michael Swords for archival preservation. Bob’s interest in the Contactees went so far that he published “a reproduction of fifties contactee Truman Bethurum’s own scrapbook” (Ignacio Darnaude). We’ve just scratched the surface of his donated collection and I’m very excited to catalog these invaluable pieces of Fortean / Ufological history.

Did you know Bob?

I didn’t know Bob personally but had interacted with him on a business level in the mid 1990s when I briefly published my own print zine which he sold through his service. My zine wouldn’t have reached as many people as it did if not for him. This is an important aspect of his relevance to the history of our search for knowledge about these strange phenomena: Bob Girard played a critical role in helping people worldwide connect with each other through his network of clients and his publicizing each of their individual localized efforts at Do-It-Yourself research and publishing.

Bob Girard reviewed, bought, and sold the many different esoteric self-published zines that were, in a sense, the precursors to the explosion of alternative media websites populating the internet in the late 1990s. These DIY zines were emerging from the handmade photocopier Samizdat screeds of the 1980s and becoming increasingly well-produced with the advent of easily accessible desktop publishing software. Zines like your own Steamshovel Press (which Bob said, “feed that dark feeling in the pit of your gut”), Wes Nations’ Crash Collusion, and so many others, helped propel these topics from the printed page into the internet age.

Scott Corrales of Inexplicata and the Institute of Hispanic Ufology says that Bob helped him distribute his earliest books on the chupacabras and that his “encouragement made possible the distribution of our initial publication, Samizdat (1992-1998).” UFO and paranormal author and researcher Kenneth W. Behrendt says in one of his books (The New Science of the UFO) that he “was fortunate to obtain the help of” Bob’s book service which led him to publish his own quarterly UFO research journal called AURA (Annals of Ufological Research Advances) that was sold exclusively through Arcturus.

Within one of the few boxes of donated materials that I have unpacked I came across an 1986 issue of Critique (A Journal of Conspiracies & Metaphysics) in which the magazine’s publisher included a promotional sheet with a personal note stating, “how about an ad exchange … haven’t seen a catalog in a while” which provides a typical example of the kind of networking and supportiveness in which Bob frequently engaged.

The Arcturus Books “weirdness by mail” service, in my opinion, was a definite facilitator for the rise in popularity of UFO and paranormal websites as the world-wide-web became increasingly accessible. Unfortunately, Bob was either unable or unwilling to adapt quickly enough to the changing digital landscape to successfully transition from the snail-mail world to that of the monolithic online sales giants like Amazon; though he did try.

How did you come into possession of his archive?

Retired Naval Officer, former NSA employee, and 25-year MUFON board member Tom Deuley acted as both mediator and facilitator of this donation to the Anomaly Archives including his personally paying for the shipping costs of moving the 80 boxes from Port St. Lucie, Florida to Austin, Texas. The source of funding for the collection was arranged through the UFO Research Coalition which is made up of CUFOS (Center for UFO Studies), FUFOR (Fund for UFO Research), and MUFON (Mutual UFO Network). FUFOR arranged the funding for the URC and Tom hopes to have MUFON continue requesting funds for the upkeep of the collection.

The Girard Collection is the latest and greatest donation of a personal book collection acquired by the Anomaly Archives. Some of our past collection donations have included books and paper files of:

  • Central Texas Fortean journalist and publisher Dennis Stacy (past writer for OMNI Magazine and editor of the MUFON UFO Journal and publisher of Anomalist Books)
  • Austin counter-cultural zine publisher Wes Nations of Crash Collusion magazine (now at
  • Local political activist Mike Hanson (author of Bohemian Grove: Cult of Conspiracy who accompanied Alex Jones into the grove)
  • Occult UFO researcher John Carter (author of Sex & Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons)

… as well as the Founder of the San Antonio Parapsychological Association, a local respected past-life regression therapist, and many more.

We hope that other researchers, authors, and knowledge seekers will consider donating their personal collections of books and paper files to the Anomaly Archives. There are too many collections which have already been lost to the mists of time.

What are your plans to make it researcher accessible?

First we’ll be cataloging the donated collection and processing the materials for public access and display within the Anomaly Archives physical location in Northwest Austin, Texas. The resulting catalog and relevant finding aids will be posted on our website, for all to see.

We currently have very limited public hours of operation but all of his materials will be available soon to view in-house. Researchers interested in perusing this or any of our collections are encouraged to email us at <>

We are developing several different plans for how best to utilize his collection, with an appreciation of his perspectives on the UFO phenomenon, as public awareness tools. So much of what he was interested in touches upon the many popular memes found within the wide array of UFO related esoteric themes (Atlantis and other ancient human civilizations, theories about ancient astronauts and alien abductions, etc.) that we are certain people of all paranormal stripes will find import in his legacy.

See also: Clas Svahn’s farewell to Bob Girard

Photo Credits: Clas Svahn / AFU

Bob Girard (1942-2011)


Rob Riggs and the Texas Bigfoot Enigma

Anomaly Archives presents Rob Riggs on Bigfoot

Saturday, July 26th, 2014  Free Event – Donations Welcomed!
Doors open at 6:30 pm – Lecture begins promptly at 7 pm CST.


Rob Riggs (Texas) is a twenty-five year veteran journalist, has authored the non-fiction book In the Big Thicket, and has contributed to another non-fiction book, Weird Texas (Sterling Press, 2005). He was a featured writer at the annual Texas Book Festival and has also done several television and radio appearances.


Rob Riggs and the Texas Bigfoot Enigma

The Anomaly Archives is proud to present for our fellow Austinites, Texas Bigfoot Researcher Rob Riggs. Rob is an anomaly within the cryptozoological world of bigfoot research. He leans away from the simple “blood and guts” interpretation of bigfoot as simply an elusive and undiscovered hominid of America’s wild-places. He tries to account for the stranger aspects of tales of encounters with the mysterious creatures by exploring the possible relevance of parapsychological research. He’s very well read across a wide range of related paranormal fields of study and has applied these far-flung areas of inquiry to the enigma of bigfoot. He believes the keys to unlocking the mystery likely involve a deeper understanding of aboriginal Native American cultures and their views on the psychic abilities of the creatures. He also feels that there may be clues to understanding these creatures through explorations of shape-shifting shamans, altered states of consciousness, and the mysterious energies associated with luminous ball-of-light phenomena known as Ghost Lights, which occur in both the dry desert West Texas region of Marfa to the humid swamp lands surrounding Bragg Road that runs through the Big Thicket in East Texas.

I first met Rob shortly after the 2001 publication of his fantastic book, In The Big Thicket: On The Trail of the Wild Man. In late 2002 I participated in an extensive interview with him that was published in two parts within the Austin Para Times news-magazine, and I was lucky to see him speak at a few bigfoot conferences and to accompany him (and another East Texas bigfoot researcher, Chester Moore Jr.) on an overnight investigation along a remote stretch of the Sabine river that was accessible only by boat.

We hope you will join us Saturday night, July 26th for Rob’s presentation.

In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy the following excerpts from my past commentaries on Rob Riggs and the Texas Bigfoot Research scene.

– SMiles Lewis


From my interview in WEIRD Magazine, March 2010…

Most people don’t think of Texas when they hear about bigfoot but I’ve said for years that any big discovery about these elusive creatures is very likely going to come from research done here in Texas. Our big state has a long history of bigfoot sightings with a wide variety of regional names associated with these creatures including Wild Man, Hairy Man, Swamp Ape / Skunk Ape, Wooly Booger, to name just a few. The Piney Woods of East Texas’ Big Thicket have apparently played home to a number of such human / bigfoot encounters as documented in Rob Riggs’ excellent book In the Big Thicket: On the Trail of the Wildman.

Texas has one of the best organized bigfoot investigation groups in the country: The TBRC – Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy is a non-profit outfit doing some of the best ongoing instrumented cryptozoology field research not just in Texas’ Big Thicket but also into the forests that spread from here into Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. They also have one of the best annual bigfoot conferences in the country, previously held in Jefferson and most recently in Tyler. In fact for a time, Texas was home to two annual bigfoot events, one put on by the TBRC and one hosted by another fantastic Texas bigfoot hunter named Chester Moore Jr., called the Southern Crypto Conference.

The Anomaly Archives has a sizable section of books and videos devoted to Cryptozoology and the hunt for bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti.

I realize that many people find it very difficult to believe in bigfoot, but consider this: legendary primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall even thinks there is good evidence for the existence of an undiscovered North American primate…

Dr. Goodall: Well now, you’ll be amazed when I tell you that I’m sure that they exist.
Ira Flatow: You are?
Dr. Goodall: Yeah. I’ve talked to so many Native Americans who all describe the same sounds, two who have seen them. I’ve probably got about, oh, thirty books that have come from different parts of the world, from China from, from all over the place, and there was a little tiny snippet in the newspaper just last week which says that British scientists have found what they believed to be a yeti hair and that the scientists in the Natural History Museum in London couldn’t identify it as any known animal.

National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation: Science Friday – 9/27/02

Folks should check out the recent film released in 2008, Wild Man of the Navidad. It’s a nicely done retro horror movie based on stories of bigfoot-like wild people from the Navidad region northwest of Victoria. And let’s not forget the Hairy Man Road legends in Round Rock which now has its own yearly festival.

WEIRD Magazine Interviews SMiles Lewis of the Austin Anomaly Archives

In June 2005, Rob Riggs helped sponsor the Texas Ghost Lights Conference with the Anomaly Archives. This phenomenal event featured such renowned researchers as Paul Devereux, Nick Redfern, and James Bunnell. Rob Riggs also presented and I MC’d the event. The day after this 6 hour conference we all went on a trip to Bragg Road in the heart of the Big Thicket. The photo below was taken by Nick Redfern during our trip to East Texas. In it, I appear to be imitating the lumbering gate of bigfoot’s most famous representative, “Patty,” from the Patterson Gimlin film footage.

“Preparing to investigate the Big Thicket in 2005 (on the left) SMiles Lewis and (on the right) Paul Devereux (Nick Redfern)” [Photo from Monsters of Texas by Ken Gerhard & Nick Redfern]

Flashback to the Anomaly Archives eNews – June 2005 …


  • In The Big Thicket: On the Trail of the Wild Man – Exploring Nature’s Mysterious Dimension by Rob Riggs.


A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to go on my first Bigfoot Expedition with a couple of friends who are part of the cutting edge community of Texas bigfoot researchers. Rob Riggs and I teamed up with our expedition leader, Chester Moore, Jr. Chester hosts the annual Southern Crypto Conference in Conroe, Texas (see the Events section for info on this exciting conference happening in two weeks) and is a leading light in the hunt for cryptozoological critters around the State. Chester Moore, Junior and Senior, had staked out the likely stomping grounds of a family of bigfoot critters at a spot on the Sabine river accessible only by boat. Recent activity found by their investigations led them to believe we would find plenty of evidence for the existence of one of nature’s most elusive lost mammals. Though we didn’t ever see any bigfoot in the flesh, we did see a number of signs of their presence, including tracks that were cast by the Chesters.

But that’s one of the biggest mysteries about the possible existence of bigfoot – where is the flesh and blood? In fact, just as in UFOlogy where you have two main camps of belief, one described as the Nuts-And-Bolts camp and another that could be categorized as the Paranormal or MultiDimensional camp, so too in Bigfoot oriented CryptoZoology where there exists a Blood-And-Guts camp and a MultiDimensional camp. The Chesters are a very open-minded bunch of “Blood-And-Gutters;” while entertaining the ideas espoused by Rob Riggs, they still think we are dealing exclusively with an as yet formally accepted North American Hominid and has even founded the American Primate Conservation Alliance. Personally, I feel completely convinced by the incredibly respectable efforts of Chester Moore as well as the other Texas Bigfoot Researchers. I fully expect the next biggest Bigfoot discovery to come from East Texas. That said, I have always been equally drawn towards the more inclusive Anomalist approach to Bigfoot research. And Rob Riggs has written a powerful tome exploring these more multidimensional possibilities inherent in an understanding of the larger Bigfoot phenomena as it relates to those recurring Spook Lights (aka Ghost Lights) that seem to haunt the same regions as the strange Wild Man.

Rob Riggs’ book is titled In the Big Thicket, and though there is little in that title to give it away, this book covers the gamut of Fortean / Anomaly subjects. With East Texas’ Big Thicket as the locus and launching point Rob explores the subjects of Ghost Lights (BOLs or Balls Of Light said to “haunt” specific locales), Bigfoot and related legendary humanoids (like those from the book’s subtitle, On the Trail of the Wild Man). PLUS Rob covers the connections between strange electromagnetic effects and their implications for non-local consciousness and the paranormal powers it can manifest.

Rob Riggs expertly weaves together these seemingly disparate subjects relating personal accounts that are as much travelogue as journalistic investigation. In fact Rob’s background in radio and newspaper journalism facilitate his skillful ability to present his ideas in a straightforward and naturally flowing manner. This chronicling of his own encounters with luminous phenomena in the Big Thicket and elsewhere are presented alongside the experiences of other witnesses to the weird.

Rob’s conclusion combine the research of many fine investigators of these mysteries, however, his ideas about the ultimate nature of the phenomena are very unique. He suspects that the ghost lights might not only appear to be intelligent creatures with a connection to the wild man, bigfoot, and other lycanthrope type shape-shifters, but that that they are in fact the luminous disembodied consciousnesses of advanced human shamans like those in the folk traditions of voodoo, cajun folktales and the Haitian Society of “Flying Men” researched by Douchan Girsi.

Wild ideas indeed. But Rob invokes the cherished research of such famous (and some infamous) luminaries as earth lights researchers Paul Devereux and David Clarke, tectonic strain theorist Michael Persinger, Fortean and Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, ParaCryptozUfologist Ted Holiday, guerilla ontologist Robert Anton Wilson, writer Jacques Bergier, journalist John Keel, contact artist Paul Laffoley, Cycles of Heaven author Guy Lyon Playfair, Douchan Girsi – author of Faces in the Smoke, and of course ufologist Jacques Vallee.

Some other researchers whose ideas fit into all this quite well, include Jenny Randles, Albert Budden and Dr. Greg Little. All three of these researchers have written multiple volumes explicating the intricate connections between these Spook Light phenomena and strange encounters with anomalous entities. While none of them goes so far as to suggest that the lights represent the wandering consciousness of yogis or shamans, each of them postulate that the lights interface with human consciousness in some way and that there may in fact be an Overmind such as the collective unconscious or indeed the Archetypes themselves from that same Jungian realm, at work in these multiple mysteries.

Anomaly Archives eNews – June 2005


Join us Saturday night, July 26th at the Austin Center for Spiritual Living.

Doors open at 6:30 pm – Lecture begins promptly at 7 pm CST.

Austin Center for Spiritual Living,

5555 North Lamar Boulevard, Building D, Suite 115,

Austin, Texas 78751-1073

Click Map Images Below For Location Detail…

Event Sponsored by Anomaly Archives – Scientific Anomaly Institute

Robert Powell on UFOs & Government

Anomaly Archives presents Robert Powell on UFOs & Govt

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Free Event – Donations Welcomed!

Robert Powell has been the Director of Research at MUFON since 2007 and is also the head of MUFON’s Science Review Board. He is an active Field Investigator in the state of Texas having completed over 120 investigations and is a MUFON Star Team member. He is one of two authors of the detailed radar/witness report on the Stephenville Lights. Robert is also a member of the Society for Scientific Exploration, the National Space Society, and the Académie d’Ufologie. Robert is active with FOIA requests to various government organizations to obtain information on historical cases and is a co-author of a book published in July 2012: UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry. Robert currently resides in Austin, Texas.
Robert has a BS in Chemistry and is a former collegiate debater. He has 28 years in engineering management in the semiconductor industry from 1978 to 2006. While working at Advanced Micro Devices he has taken numerous internal courses related to device physics, design of experiments, and statistical analysis. He helped Advanced Micro Devices develop its first flash memory technology that is used in today’s flash cards for cameras, PCs, video cameras, and other products. His experience includes managing a state-of-the-art chemistry laboratory and managing a Research and Development group that worked on nanotechnology using atomic force microscopes, near-field optical microscopy, and other techniques. Robert is also a co-holder of four patents related to nanotechnology.
Talk Synopsis: UFOs & Government: The Historical and Changing Role of Government over Time
Governments have been concerned about UFO sighting reports since WWII, but historians have never made a concerted attempt to understand their often contradictory responses to the phenomenon. How could something of such potential technological and national security consequence have left no visible trace in the history books? Whether it’s a conspiracy or not, the subject has been marginalized to such an extent that it’s as if the military never acted with alarm on the heels of a UFO sighting, as if the intelligence community never took up the issue behind closed doors, as if government research and development efforts never attempted to duplicate the phenomenon. But they have. Robert Powell will discuss how governments, especially the U.S. government, have dealt with the UFO phenomenon and will provide a hypothesis as to why the phenomenon took its roots during WWII.

Austin Center for Spiritual Living,

5555 North Lamar Boulevard, Building D, Suite 115,

Austin, Texas 78751-1073

Click Map Images Below For Location Detail…

Event Sponsored by Anomaly Archives – Scientific Anomaly Institute