Intrinsic to any mystery is the simple fact we don’t have all the facts – often we are left with just enough information to leave us scratching our heads and wondering what possibly could of happened.
Take this wonderful old clipping from the San Francisco Call of July, 31 1903:
“Desert Grave Hides Mystery
IMPERIAL, July 30.— A mystery has developed at the abandoned Carlssa Creek oil well, twenty-five miles west of Imperial, one of the least frequented spots of the Colorado desert. Persons returning from there say they saw a grave three hundred feet from the well – on which a headboard had been placed bearing the words “Horse Thief Killed, May Second.” An old man, whose name is not known and who has been staying at the well some months, was not to be found. The grave was not opened and no investigation has been made.”
So much for an answer! A simple grave and headboard, although with the info that an old man had disappeared. Was he the occupant of the grave? Caught stealing a horse and dispatched without fanfare? Or was he possibly the one who killed the horse thief and now had fled back into the desert to escape the law?
A simple little desert mystery with just enough information to tantalize us. I love it!
Did a UFO crash in the Badwater area of Death Valley in the summer of 1949? Two prospectors swore that not only did a “flying saucer” crash near their mine, they also encountered the Alien pilots!
Now I suppose you would automatically think of the Roswell “incident”, but in this case, there is also actual documentation in the form of a sworn statement before the justice of the peace that the two men dictated and signed about the whole thing! What would drive otherwise sane and upstanding prospectors to rush into the nearest town and report to the authorities that they had witnessed a UFO crash, something that would surely get one branded as “nuts”. Back in those days, there wasn’t much money to be made with such claims.
So what drove them?
And what ACTUALLY did they say transpired? See for yourself in this favorite Mojave Mysteries episode-
Watch the story on YouTube as Author M.L. Behrman explores the strange tale of a desert UFO crash that happened over two years after the famously reported Roswell incident of 1947. It remains of the most under-reported of numerous Death Valley mysteries and one that is exclusive to my channel.
The late 1940’s seemed to be a perilous time for UFO pilots!
Deep within Joshua Tree National Park you will find a curious walled-up “cave” (actually a enclosure built around a large boulder) that has an interesting legend attached to it.
Some think it was where a local rancher kept his dynamite, others think it was where rustlers or gold thieves (there are lots of old gold claims in the area) kept their loot. It is one of Joshua Tree’s most enduring urban legends.
But as I detailed in my book, Mojave Mysteries, there is an odd tale also told of the strange place:
“Now there is another story about the door, and it is one I have heard more than a few times surrounding other such odd constructions all over the west, but it contains all the ingredients for a good mystery and I share it here. The tale goes that a local family had a horribly disfigured and mentally impaired son, huge and monstrous who they hid away from sight and society by locking him up in this rock and iron dungeon. The father would bring him food and sustenance but the poor creature spent his days and nights a virtual prisoner in this lonely cell.
Until one day when the father came to the place and found the door open and his deformed son gone!
In some versions of the story the son then goes on a Frankenstein-like rampage across the countryside, but in others he is never seen again and like all good monster stories told around a desert campfire “might still be out there waiting for an unwary traveler”. I myself used the theme of this campfire myth as the seed for one of my western horror novellas entitled The Charred Man (available on Amazon) but as far as I know, nobody was ever kept in the Joshua Tree iron door cave. At least, I hope not! Being out in that searing heat locked in a cave would truly be a vision of hell…”
If you enjoy true Mojave desert mysteries, this is one you won’t want to miss!
If you’ve read my book, Mojave Mysteries , you know that there are many stories of strange and bizarre animals in the desert. Some of the most sensational came from the 1800’s when explorers (read: white men) first started penetrating and documenting the great Mojave. And even then people were posting photographic “proof” that things as crazy as living dinosaurs and giant flying reptiles still survived.
Many times these would be posted on a saloon wall and the lore of the Mojave is rife with stories by old cowboys who’ve claimed to have seen “the varmint” with their own eyes. But could the vast desert still hold cryptids and unknown animals? Most certainly – but I would realistically expect them to be of the insect and small reptile variety. But who knows? I’ve gathered stories of everything from living sauropods to giant tarantulas in my book from people in all walks of life – right up to the present.
Another reason I find the Mojave Desert such a fascinating place!
Many people have claimed a sighting, yet other than a few photographs of large unidentified footprints, not much has been seen lately from the giant hairy hominid said to inhabit the more remote portions of the vast Mojave Desert.
That is unless you talk to some of the rock climbing guides that work the boulders and peaks of Joshua Tree National Park. Reports have reached us that recently two climbers saw the large beast while prepping for a climb in the Wonderland of Rocks section of the park, an area already known for previous sightings. There is also a long history of Native American lore about the “giant hairy man” said to dwell deep within the boulder strewn wilderness, along with several pieces of original rock art reputed to show his shaggy form and figure.
The “Yucca Man” as he is known locally, is also said to be endowed with the power to read minds and “throw his voice” so that anyone pursuing him will become lost or disoriented. A talent that no doubt has allowed him (or her) to remain undiscovered in such a rapidly narrowing and technologically advanced world.
In my book, Mojave Mysteries, I cover several people’s personal accounts of encountering the beast throughout the Mojave from Joshua Tree to the end of Death Valley. If you would like to read more and in depth about the desert apeman, I invite you to grab a copy. What lives (and lurks) in the great desert might just surprise you!