Arizona's Legend of the Red Camel Ghost

I am intrigued by the fact that the Southwestern US was forward-thinking enough in the 1800s to acquire camels for use by the army men. When the Civil War interrupted their charting of the Arizona territory, the army sold some at auction but let some loose into the desert. That is how the legend of the Red Camel came to be.

The legend says that in the 1880s a woman at a ranch went out to the well to get water. The woman inside the house heard a scream outside, the dog barked, and she looked out to see a huge reddish beast with a devilish creature strapped to its back. Later, the men came and found the frightened woman barricaded inside. They went out to find the other woman trampled to death and cloven footprints around here body. And, besides these, they found long reddish hairs.

Later, stories grew. Some saw the red camel killing a bear, perhaps disappearing into thin air. Years later, a rancher came across the camel and recognized what it was. When he got closer, he saw a human skeleton tied to its back. No one believed him, but later others saw it with something tied to its back and tried to shoot it. When the camel ran from the gunfire, something dropped from its back, a human skull.

A few days later, some campers were startled by screaming sounds and the men hid. Later, they found cloven hoofprints and red hairs.

About a year later, a cowboy in Phoenix saw the camel eating in a corral. The cowboy unsuccessfully tried to lasso the beast, but it charged him and ran off. The cowboy recognized a skeleton upon its back.

About nine years later, in 1893, the last reported sighting happened. A rancher found the animal grazing in his garden. He shot the beast and then found that there was a skeleton strapped tightly to its back, the straps cutting into his flesh.

No one knew why the body was tied to the camel. One story says that a young army recruit could not learn how to ride a camel, so they tied him down and smacked it on the rear and it bolted off into a nonstop gallop with the man tied to his back.

Some still report sightings of camels in the Arizona Desert including reports of the Red Camel Ghost with a screaming devilish ghost rider.