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Tuesday, February 04, 2020

The Real Story of the Verde Valley 'Red Ghost'

I am an Arizona boy, born and raised, and have always loved the lore and mystery of my home state. Well here is a story from my hometown that by all appearances was true. I have found accounts of this occurrence in journals and papers.

The story takes place in the late 1890s and carried on into the early 1900s. The tale goes that many early settlers of the southern part of the Verde Valley encountered a horrific monster that stalked the wilds between Ft. Verde and Ft. McDowell on the Salt River (the phantom was known as 'the Red Ghost'). It was described either as a 10 ft tall skeleton carrying a lantern or a skeleton riding a horrific red demon monster that stood feet taller than any horse. After years of sightings one old lion hunter managed to shoot the beast, aiming for its monstrous mount intending to capture the specter alive to make his fortune from showing it in a traveling show.

He tracked his mysterious quarry for miles, following tracks of a size and shape he had never seen. Eventually his 45/70 caliber ball did its job and the beast collapsed, allowing the old hunter to close within a hundred yards at which point he fired again, ending the monsters violent thrashing. He was crestfallen to see that in the ruckus the specter seemed to have been killed as pieces of bone and cloth were scattered about the beast and there was no sign of its rider.

The old man approached a beast which he had never encountered before fitted with a saddle of a style he had never seen. However, much to his amazement, the leather straps of this strange rig that had been on the creature so long that they had worn deep bloody sores into its body were bedecked with brass fittings with a very familiar stamp; U.S. CAVALRY. And even more incredible, on the beasts rump the oh so familiar U.S. Cavalry brand. This old hunter had killed a lost cavalry camel from Ft. McDowell's failed cavalry camel experiment.

Flashback now to the late 1890s. The day of the delivery of the camels to the fort the young cavalry men were ordered to choose and begin training a mount. Many of the men were dubious of these foul smelling, large and lumbering, spitting creatures but apparently one young trooper's fear was so great that he wouldn't come within 20 yards of the camels. To correct his man the lieutenant ordered the young coward tied securely to his mounts back and set loose in a pen to overcome his phobia.

Well after a short time the camel took fright at a pistol shot and broke through the cedar posts that formed the corral, carrying his helpless passenger off into the desert and while an effort was made to track him later he could not be rescued in the moment as none of the men including the officers knew how to ride a camel to chase him down. This poor young trooper remained the passenger of the lost camel until he perished right there on it's back and began the slow process of desert mummification. Only to be freed from his strange resting place by an old lion hunter nearly a decade later. JJ

NOTE: Here's a link to an article about the Army Camel Corps. Lon


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Facebook event announcement: Ken Gerhard - Cryptozoologist - 'The Essential Guide to Bigfoot' - Arcane Radio

This week I welcome cryptozoologist, investigator and author Ken Gerhard to Arcane Radio. Ken is a widely recognized cryptozoologist and field investigator for The Centre for Fortean Zoology, as well as a fellow of the Pangea Institute and consultant for several research organizations. He has traveled the world searching for evidence of mysterious animals and legendary beasts. In addition to co-hosting the History Channel TV series 'Missing in Alaska,' Ken has appeared in three episodes of the television series 'MonsterQuest' and is featured in the History Channel special 'The Real Wolfman,' as well as other series including 'Ancient Aliens' (History Channel), 'True Monsters' (History Channel), 'Unexplained Files' (Science Channel), Monsters and Mysteries in America (Animal Planet), and many more. His credits include appearances on numerous news broadcasts and radio programs, and he has authored 5 well-received books, including his recent title 'The Essential Guide to Bigfoot.' Ken has traveled to twenty-six different countries on six continents and has visited virtually all of the United States. An avid adventurer, he has camped along the Amazon, explored the Galapagos, hiked the Australian Outback and has visited many ancient and mysterious sites, from Machu Pichu to Stonehenge. This will be an informative and entertaining show! Join us this Friday, January 7th at 9PM ET / 6PM PT on or the direct link at - Meet us in the chat room...just click the banner or go to

The Essential Guide to Bigfoot

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