Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Highway 666

US 491, formerly US 666, passes through each of the 4-corner states; AZ, NM, CO, UT area.  Although the number came about by usual highway number methods, many were frightened by the "sign of the beast" number 666. Tales began to circulate about it being the Devil's Highway and a higher than usual amount of deaths occurring there. Statistically it was found to be a little behind most US highways. And, as something is always forbidden, people were stealing the signs right and left. Renumbering the highway was in order. 

At the dedication of the new highway name, George Blue Horse, a Navajo medicine man, performed a ceremony to remove the curse from the highway. In the Navajo language he stated, "The road itself never ends. It goes on generation to generation. The new number is a good one. The new road will be a medicine."

From one of my favorite book series (you need to get the book for the USA or for your state) - Weird US, comes this -  

Linda Dunning, author of “Specters in Doorways: The History and Hauntings of Utah” tells of an experience her husband had on this treacherous road. He was driving alone on Route 666 one night when suddenly “he saw a truck that looked like it was on fire heading straight for him, right down the middle of the highway. The truck was going so fast that sparks were flying up off the wheels and flames were coming from the smokestack.” He estimated that the truck was traveling 130 miles an hour. He pulled off the road and fled into the desert until the imposing, flaming vehicle passed him by. 

According to Linda the mad trucker is not the only apparition one should be wary of while traversing this cursed ribbon of asphalt. She says “Packs of demon dogs have been seen on this highway as well. They attack at night with yellow eyes and sharp teeth; shredding the tires of those silly enough to stop along this highway at night. Then there is a beautiful, young and frail girl in a long nightgown that roams the road. People see her walking along the side of the road, all alone in the dark out in the middle of nowhere. They stop to help her and as they approach, she instantly vanishes. There are many other tales of people who either disappear along this route or suddenly appear out of nowhere. There are even tales of the same person, disappearing at one point along the highway and then reappearing at another location miles away, without having any recollection of where they have been or what they have been doing.

One legend of a ghost involves a little girl in a white gown with a sad look upon her face. She shows up along the roadside and drivers are compelled to stop. She apparently vanishes as soon as they approach.  Another legend involves "Satan's Sedan," a car that shows up on full moon at night. It appears to run right into the person's car, but vanishes, sometimes causing the driver to swerve off the roadway. Yet another involves a truck driver who apparently drives at stranded people and cars on the road, terrorizing them. The Hounds of Hell are often reported in this area, a group of wild angry dogs that apparently can keep up with even the fastest cars. Disappearances without explanations are also talked of in association with Highway 666. Even weirder, they are reported to show up in other states and places, hours, days, weeks later, not recalling what happened. The most talked about section of the highway is near Gallup, New Mexico in Shiprock.

Highway 666 might be relegated to the urban legend category. The reasoning behind the fear seems to stem from the number 666.  There is something in the paranormal world that is extremely prevalent - that belief colors perception; if you believe in demons, you can encounter them, if you believe in protection spells, they work. And, if you believe 666 is evil, evil things would happen there on the Devil's Highway.

There doesn't seem to be higher incidence of issues on that highway but it is a rather remote stretch of desert and that is likely to unsettle anyone not used to such gauntlets. There may not be any ghosts of Highway 666 other than the normal weirdness associated with places where few dare go and when they do go, they ride as fast and harried as they can get finish it without falling asleep.

Therein lies the issue - lack of sleep and monotomy.

I do hope to hit that highway and do a little documentary some time. I will definitely let you know what weirdness I encounter. I'm curious if it feels any different than the lonely roads in Arizona. For now, I'm very intrigued by the stories and the mystique. A haunted highway is, after all, a really creepy concept.

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