Article published by: Angelica Leicht, Planet Jackson Hole.
The seasoned truck driver was heading east along I-25 at approximately 2:30 a.m. on October 19 when it happened.
Even with Casper a mere 15 minutes to the east, he knew he was smack dab in the middle of nothing, and if he’d had a moment to think — just 11 seconds or so — he would have done things differently. He would have stopped. He would have taken it. Or, at the very least, he would have gotten video.
Wyoming is a desolate state, the least populated in the nation, clocking in around 500,000 residents. The roads are long and the stretches between towns can seem to take an eternity, even for a seasoned road warrior. The black of night can rattle even the hardest of bones.
It wasn’t the black of night or the shadows that caused the hairs on the arms of the truck driver to stand up this night, though. It was something much greyer.
As he drove, he chatted on the radio with his co-worker in South Dakota and took a sip of his Pepsi. He looked up from the cup and saw what resembled a human standing on the road, in between the yellow line and the edge of pavement.
The figure stood up straight after bending at the waist, and the trucker initially only saw the back and the right side.
It wasn’t phased as he passed, he said, not like deer or antelope are, which was concerning. Animals have a pattern, an innate response built in, and this one wasn’t following it.
As the trucker sped by, he saw that the creature was “all grey, flat, medium, dull grey,” he said.
The initial thought that shot through his head was that it was a person on stilts. It was close to Halloween, after all.
What the trucker reported to his coworker, and later the National UFO Reporting Center, would have been a tough stunt for even a seasoned Halloween fanatic to pull off, though, especially in the middle of nowhere.
He said in his report to NUFORC the creature was tall—very tall—and he saw the left hand and arm shoot up into the air as he drove by. It appeared to be holding something, but it was hard to tell what. The hand looked, well, clumpy and blurry from the speed.
“I got the worst hair raising chills ever, in my life,” he said. “They were pulsing and in waves with every hair on my body standing up for about ten minutes. And that’s just not me. I pray for zombies, but this scared the crap out of me.”
This may sound, well, odd, but all happened in a matter of seconds, the trucker said, and he’d briefly pondered turning around to take the creature, but his coworker talked some sense into him. After all, the company he works for only allows them to carry knives. If he’d been able to think ahead, he would have recorded it. It all happened way too quickly, though.
“I did not see any overturned cars in the median or off to any side that night or the following nights, as this is my current nightly route,” he said.
He had noticed, though, that there were quite a few more dead animals than normal within the two miles both ways on the lanes where he saw the “grey” than normal, but it is hi-tins session, after all. Maybe that had caused it.
Or perhaps not. Even as the least populous state in the country, there are an astronomical amount of reports that come out of Wyoming, detailing strange sightings, strange obsessions and strange phenomenons.
From the state’s obsession with the mythical jackalope to the creaking, singing sounds emitted from the skies across the state, Wyoming is nothing if not a place of wonder — of eerie, weird wonder.
Hulett, Wyoming and beyond
The trucker’s report from late October is hardly the only report of alien-like sightings to occur in Wyoming. The state has a long, well-reported history of UFOs, and not surprisingly, a lot of them have occurred at the state’s natural landmarks.
One of the strangest landmarks in Wyoming is Devil’s Tower, a solid laccolithic butte of igneous rock standing a remarkable 867 feet from summit to base.
Marked with deep, unexplained striations that run along its sides, Devil’s Tower sits in the Bear Lodge Mountains near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, just above the Belle Fourche River.
The tower been a source of wonder for many reasons, not the least of which is the UFO activity that has been reported to happen around the tower for decades.
Tribes like the Lakota, Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lakota and Shoshone have long considered Devil’s Mountain to be a sacred place, and there are numerous legends about how the tower—which they refer to as “Bear Lodge”—came to be.
According to the Lakota and Kiowa legends, the tower came to be after a bear chased two young girls up the side of a mountain. The girls fell to their knees and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them from the bear, and the mountain rose up, causing the bear to leave deep scratches in the rock as he fought unsuccessfully to reach the girls. The girls were lifted so high by the rock that they reached the sky and became stars, and the scratch marks—i.e. the deep striations seen on the exterior of the rock today—were left in place, according to the legend.
Other theories credit erosion for the deep marks in the walls of Devil’s Tower, which sits 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River near Sundance.
But whatever caused the tower to form, one thing is for sure: It has for decades been a place of mystery, intrigue and strange sightings.
The tower’s mysterious draw even helped earn it a prominent spot in the 1977 Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But long before its cameo in Spielberg’s film, the tower had been associated with UFO sightings and mystical, other-worldly connotations.
According to author Brad Olson’s “Sacred Places North America: 108 Destinations,” the area around Devil’s Tower has long been the source of reports about strange lights and other odd phenomena in the vicinity of the towers.
Volcanic areas have a well-known association with UFO sightings, according to Olson—and that igneous rock that makes up Devil’s Tower is certainly of the volcanic variety.
A well of reports are available about the sightings around Devil’s Tower, including one made to the National UFO Reporting Center in October 2011 about a “bright silver object with silver trail traveling at high rate of speed.”
According to the report, the observer was “12 miles NW of Hulett, WY on Friday, Oct. 21, 2011 at approximately 7:30 p.m. I observed a bright silver object traveling from west to east. The object was traveling at a high rate of speed, much faster than jet aircraft. The object was in the distance by several miles but very bright and behind the object was a silver trail. The sky was dark, clear, no clouds or moon and stars were visible. I observed the object for approximately 10 to 12 seconds as it traveled at a high rate of speed heading east and then it simply blinked and was gone. I continued to observe the sky in all directions but never saw the object again.”
In August 2013, a report was made to NUFORC about “multiple green orbs of light moved randomly on a hillside.”
“A friend and I were driving away from Devil’s Tower NP approaching Devil’s Tower Junction. It was very dark with no other sources of light or other cars nearby,” the report said. “At the same time, we both saw multiple orbs of green light frantically moving around in a seemingly random fashion on an embankment on the opposite side of the road, just a few feet from us.
My friend who was not driving saw them for about ten seconds, while I only got a few 1 or 2 second glances. We turned around and searched the area and did not find anything at all unusual.”
Another report from July 2014 was made by a man and his girlfriend, who had visited Devil’s Tower while on vacation.
According to the report, the man “took several photos with my IPad. The photos were taken one right after another, within seconds,” reads the report.
When they looked at the photos, though, they saw something hovering above the tower.
“Later we were looking and saw this,” the report said. “I have no idea what the thing is above the tower. I have tried to blow the pic up to see if it was a bird or what the heck.”
UFO sightings in Wyoming are hardly limited to Devil’s Tower, though. There are reports of UFO activity happening all over the state, from Rock Springs to Cheyenne and beyond.
One of the more famous reports occurred in 1982, after many people spotted a UFO hovering over downtown Cheyenne.
One of those witnesses was a Cheyenne Police Department officer, who reported seeing the twinkling lights and asked other officers to help identify what it was. Over the last two decades, those sightings have continued.
Countless reports of UFO sightings in Cheyenne dot the page of NUFORC, at times with several sightings reported in a single month. The reports of UFOs in Cheyenne go as far back as June 1952 in NUFORC’s databases.
In June 2015, a witness reported to NUFORC seeing an “object made up of like six little lights, so bright it lit up everything.”
At first it looked like a cluster of stars,” the report reads. “But once we really looked, it was like six little lights, all floating really close together. Way too bright to be stars. We live on south House, and it was so bright it lit up the whole backyard.”
Back in 2011, officials at F.E. Warren Base were accused of not being completely truthful about a communication outage at a missile site after six former Air Force officers and enlisted men stated that they’d seen or had directly been involved with sighting U.F.O.’s near missile sites from the beginning of the cold war through the 1970’s.
The area that houses the base is also a hotspot for UFO sightings, including one from September 2003 from an officer at F.E. Warren Base.
“I was serving at F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming,” the report said. “I was on duty in the Missile Field doing the night shift. I was actually at Romeo site which is an installation of F.E. Warren AFB. I went outside to smoke a cigarette and saw a extremely bright light in the sky. It wasn’t huge, It looked about the size of a plane you’d see in the air. The light moved around for about 20 seconds then all of the sudden it flew away very fast, leaving a white bright tail behind it. I thought I was going nuts or was just possibly sleep deprived, but when I told another flight mate of mine, he told me that himself as well as many others had seen the exact same thing over the skies of Wyoming late at night on numerous occasions. I had only seen it once but it I know for a fact that it wasn’t a plane and it wasn’t a blimp and no shooting stars moves around slowly for approximately 20 seconds and then just shoots off.”
In April 2015, another report came out of Chugwater, where F.E. Warren Base is located: “The family was on a bike ride we noticed a black object that was not moving. Hovering over a mountain outside between Chugwater, WY, and Wheatland, WY. To the west of I25. The object was hexagonal, hovered at a 45*angle with a black mist type looking trail (that never fell, never got bigger or smaller) that extended out about 1 and 1/2 times the length of the body of the object. It was stationary against a calm blue sky with minimal clouds. Sunset. We watched it approx. 7 mins. We saw it through binoculars, and with the naked eye. I looked away to help a child, and looked back it was gone. No sound No lights Nothing. Like it vanished.”
Whether the sightings are actually alien aircraft or just cases of mistaken (or overzealous) identity, it’s pretty clear that Wyoming is a hotbed for UFO sightings.
Greater Yellowstone Area, Wyoming
Yellowstone is an area filled with mystical wonders, from its awe-inspiring geysers to its vast subalpine forest and other amazing ecosystems. But one wonder—one eerie, unexplainable wonder—isn’t quite as well known, and it happens right on Yellowstone Lake.
The phenomenon—known widely as the Yellowstone Whispers—is reported as occurring as strange noises emerging from the calm of the park, and are described as everything from “bees,” “harp strumming,” “metal cables crashing against each other,” “ethereal organ music,” and “the sound of ducks in flight,” according to accounts documented over the last two centuries.
The sounds, often described as “humming” or “organ music,” happen right near Yellowstone and Shoshone Lakes, and were first reported by the Native Americans who inhabited the area, who considered them to be a sacred event. Early settlers and trappers in the Yellowstone and Shoshone Lake areas also reported them.
Reports of the sounds occur early in the morning and most often in winter, when skies are clear and windless.
The sound has been described as building in volume and intensity, and eventually becomes deafening before it suddenly halts and disappears altogether.
The noises aren’t usually described as welcoming, either. Rather, the crashing, deafening sound tends to, well, instill fear in park-goers, who presumably weren’t expecting to hear deafening metal crashing in the midst of the wilderness.
Reports stretch back to as early as 1890, and the phenomenon was even documented by engineer Hiram M. Chittenden in his 1895 book, “The Yellowstone National Park: Historical and Descriptive.”
“They seem to occur in the morning, and to last for only a moment,” Chittenden wrote. “They have an apparent motion through the air…They resemble the ringing of telegraph wires or the humming of a swarm of bees.”
Geologist Frank H. Bradley, a member of the 1871 Hayden Expedition, told of a story similar to Chettenden, in which he describes the sound as something between a whistle and a horse whine.
“While getting breakfast, we heard every few moments a curious sound, between a whistle and a horse whine,” he wrote. “The sound increased in force, and it now became evident that gusts of wind were passing through the air above us, though the pines did not as yet indicate the least motion in the lower atmosphere.”
Plenty of time has passed since the early reports, but one can really explain what the sounds are, although plenty of people hear them.
Everyone from Popular Science magazine — which in 1930 suggested “mild earthquakes, their sounds possibly magnified in underground caverns” and a temperature inversion above the lake were causing it—to Ranger Naturalist Neil Miner—who theorized that the sounds could be caused by “horizontally moving whirlpools of air”—has taken a stab at solving the phantom organ mystery, but so far, no one has succeeded.
The sounds still continue to play—or crash, or quack, depending on your descriptors—though, to this day, hundreds of years after they were first reported.
So while no one knows why the sounds happen at Yellowstone, what is clear that the sound phenomenon is real, and is still puzzling to everyone who happens upon it.
Cheyamie Mystery Sounds
Oddly enough, Yellowstone isn’t the only area in Wyoming where unexplained sound phenomenon is happening. Strange noises—siren-like sounds—have been reported en masse by residents of Laramie and Cheyenne, who say the siren-like sounds are coming from the sky and certainly not the ground.
While the phenomenon has been reported on and off for decades, it really came to light in the summer of 2015, when not one, but hundreds of Cheyenne residents reported hearing the sirens screeching during the night over a period of several weeks.
Curious residents hypothesized that the noises could have come from the Union Pacific rail line, a theory that was backed up by Laramie County Emergency Management Director Rob Cleveland, who told media outlets that his office had gotten numerous calls over a span of a few weeks about a sound that is “like a siren, but not a siren.”
Cleveland told the outlets that the emergency siren system hadn’t been activated, nor had any other local siren system that he was aware of, and that the high amount of precipitation in the area may have caused unusual braking or whistling sounds from the trains, but he wasn’t really sure.
The sounds were heard around the same time by residents in Laramie, too. They lasted a few days, according to local reports, but as with the sounds in Yellowstone and otherwise, eventually halted and then disappeared without a trace.
Lest you think we’re pulling your tail, a simple search will yield video after video of curious listeners who have documented the sounds, which do indeed sound like sirens screeching from unknown locations.
As with the sounds emitted from Yellowstone and Shoshone Lakes, there has been no explanation for the noises in Cheyenne and Laramie, either. The world may never know.
Perhaps Wyoming’s obsession with the jackalope is harmless — a simple marketing gimmick to draw kitsch-seeking travelers to more remote locations in search of the killer bunny — but perhaps it’s not.
Take a drive through Douglas and it would be easy to buy that jackalopes — a supposed cross between a pygmy deer and killer-rabbit — are a real, tried and true animal native to Wyoming. Signs declaring jackalope hunting, or warning tourists to “watch out for the jackalope” are everywhere.
The first story about jackalopes was traced back to John Colter, was one of the first white men to enter Wyoming.
Colter cemented his mark in the state’s history with the help of a tale about finding an antlered species of rabbit, which he said was brownish in color, weighed between three and five pounds, and moved with lighting speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.
According to legend, the jackalope, which we remind you are horned bunnies who run really, really fast, also allegedly possess the ability to mimic human sounds, which they use to evade capture, just in case their horns aren’t enough.
No one really knows, though, whether the jackalope ever existed, or was simply a tall tale dredged up by Colter, which then led to an idea capitalized by a Wyoming resident named Douglas Herrick in 1939, which cemented the idea.
The story of Douglas Herrick’s part in the jackalope phenomenon goes a little somethin’ like this: Douglas and his brother Ralph, both residents of Douglas, Wyoming, returned from hunting one day, and Ralph threw a dead jackrabbit on the floor of the shop.
The bunny slid against a pair of deer horns, causing Ralph declared that “it looked like a rabbit with horns on it.”
Douglas, a taxidermist, decided to mount it, and the mounted jackalope was born.
The brothers realized a marketing ploy when they saw one, and began selling jackalopes to anyone who was buyin’.
Jackalopes were soon found in not only Douglas, but across Wyoming, and jackalope postcards became one of the most popular Western souvenirs to sell to tourists.
The jackalopes became so popular that by the late 1940’s, the town of Douglas had cemented their title as the “Jackalope Capital of the World,” which is still in place today.
These days, the jackalope—which no one ever confirmed was real to begin with—is rumored to be extinct, despite Douglas’ clear obsession with the fabled horned bunny.
Still, sightings of this rare—presumably mythical—creature, sometimes called the “warrior rabbit” due to its vicious nature, occur.
And really, all you have to do is ask around in Douglas and you’ll find there are plenty of Wyoming-bred stories to make one question whether there might be some truth to the stories of these faster-than-lightning horned rabbits.
Whatever your take on the jackalope is, you have to admit: A town in the middle of Wyoming that has built a tourism industry on the jackalope is a pretty weird thing indeed.
Whistling Dixie Sand Dunes
Red Desert, Wyoming
Some of Wyoming’s strange phenomena is perhaps easily explained, but no less eerie than, say, the tall “grey” spotted by the trucker earlier this month.
Just north of Rock Springs in the Red Deserts sits the Killpecker Sand Dunes, one of the oddest natural landscapes in Wyoming.
The sprawling dunes seem out of place in southwest Wyoming, an area known more for its thick forests and mountain ranges than its sand dunes.
Killpecker Dunes are made even more curious by the appearance of Boar’s Tusk, the core of an ancient volcano, which rises straight out of the ground to guard the dunes.
Killpecker is the second largest active dune field in the world, and while that may be enough to make them unusual, there’s more:These dunes are one of only seven in the world that sing.
Yes, you read that right. Sing.
Not only are Killpecker Dunes a sandy desert in the middle of Wyoming, but they’re also unique because of the distinctive roaring or whistling sounds emitted by the state landmark.
Unlike the strange sounds happening in other parts of Wyoming, though, it’s pretty clear why Killpecker Dunes make noise.
According to scientists who’ve studied the area, the sand grains at Killpecker are rounder and more polished than the grains of non-booming dunes. What this means is that as the wind—a common feature in all of Wyoming but especially in the area around Rock Springs—passes over the dunes, or even when visitors to the area walk on the grains, it causes the smooth sand to slip and slide down the hills, producing the strange singing sounds.
It’s common for 50 to 60 mph gusts to advance the dunes across the martian landscape of the Red Desert, causing an eerie, desolate feeling to the sandbox, especially when it’s accompanied by the dunes’ singing.
Green River, Wyoming
Only in Wyoming would a library be built on top of an old city cemetery—one where remains were found long after they should have been.
The Sweetwater County Library in Green River, Wyoming, was built on the site of what was once the city cemetery. When the library was built, it was presumed that all of the remains housed in the cemetery had been relocated, but it turns out that wasn’t the case.
Here’s how that happened. The site, located at 300 North 1st East, was first established as the Green River city cemetery in 1892.
A federal project in 1926 moved the bodies and old grave markers to another cemetery—Riverview Cemetery—just up the hill from the old one, and a couple of years later, the site was turned into a city park.
As veterans began to return from war in the ’40s, though, the site was designated as a place to build their housing. During the construction in 1944, several unknown remains were found and moved to Riverview Cemetery.
Once the need for veteran housing dwindled around 1978, the city began the construction of a library. As with the prior construction projects, more unknown graves—12 this time—were found.
That wasn’t the last of them, though. Things got even stranger during a landscaping project in 1983, when even more graves and remains were revealed, renewing a fear of the historic epidemic of smallpox and a potential for the disease.
Smallpox luckily wasn’t reintroduced into Green River by the discovery, but it looks from the reports of strange occurrences at the library that something else may have been.
Since the doors opened at the library, there have been reports of unexplained occurrences, including lights flickering on and off for no reason and flapping sounds being heard throughout the building at night.
There have also been reports of books flying off the shelves, orbs wandering the art gallery, moving objects, electronics mysteriously turning on and off by themselves, and typewriters typing by themselves.
The strangest report by far, though, occurred after the interlibrary loan librarian turned away briefly from her computer—it was a dedicated Geac terminal—and looked back to find her name spelled out on the screen.
The occurrences led to the addition of a Ghost Log at the library in 1993, which is used to record the unusual happenings.
The log is still in use at the circulation desk.
Big Nose George’s Human Skin Shoes
Just off the beaten path (isn’t everything off the beaten path in Wyoming?), there sits a surreal, and slightly stomach churning, exhibit of Wyoming’s weird history.
Right inside The Carbon County Museum in Rawlins is a pair of shoes made from the skin — but not just any skin. They’re made of the human chest and thigh skin of a horse thief and train robber known as Big Nose George.
George Francis Warden, who was also known as George Parrot and “Big Nose George,” had quite the journey from robber to a pair of dress shoes. The story starts in Rawlins, Wyoming in 1878, when George and his gang killed a couple of Wyoming lawmen during a botched train robbery.
The gang fled to Montana, hoping to avoid any repercussions for their Wild West crimes. And Big Nose George and co. probably would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t big for his big fat mouth, which was apparently built just like his big fat nose.
George couldn’t help but to brag about his crimes, including murder, in a Montana bar, which eventually led to him being dragged back to Rawlins to face a trial, and subsequent hanging, for the crimes.
The Rawlins townsfolk wouldn’t wait for the proper hanging, though, choosing to lynch Big Nose George before a hanging could be held. George didn’t go down without a fight, and was reported as trying to cling to the telegraph pole to save his neck.
Gravity ain’t kind to train robbers, though, and George slid down, choking to death, the noose rubbing off his ears in the process.
Big Nose George’s journey wasn’t any easier post-death, either.
According to The Legend of Big Nose George, ”The nose of the dead man was so large that it interfered with the lid of the coffin and excess pressure had to be exerted to close it and nail it down.”
Things got even weirder from there, when Thomas Maghee and John Osborne, a couple of Rawlins doctors who wanted to study the brain of a criminal, stole George’s body and hid it in a whiskey barrel.
But that brain study wasn’t the only reason Dr. Osborne stole George’s body. According to historical reports about the case, Dr. Osborne had a beef with George because he was on a train when the robbers’ botched robbery took place, which delayed his travels.
Dr. Osborne reportedly missed a party because of the delay—apparently a huge deal, considering what happens next—and Osborne wanted revenge.
So after stealing George’s big-nosed corpse, Dr. Osborne and Dr. Maghee kept George’s dismembered body preserved in a whiskey barrel for over a year and used it for multi-faceted madness, which included peeling the skin off of George’s chest and thighs and using it to make a doctor’s bag, a coin purse, and a pair of shoes—which Dr. Osborne wore during his ascent into Rawlins royalty.
Dr. Osborne eventually became the first Democratic governor of the state of Wyoming, and—hold your stomachs—wore the shoes made from the skin of Big Nose George to his inauguration.
Osborne’s demented experiments were all but forgotten about until 1950, when the barrel full of ol’ Big Nose’s bones was discovered to be buried behind what used to be the doctors’ office.
And, because this is Wyoming, you can see for yourself that the legend of Big Nose George and the shoes is true at The Carbon County Museum, where the shoes sit prominently on display, alongside other morbid George-related tokens, including his death mask.
San Pedro Mountains, Wyoming
Even stranger still, are the cases where curious artifacts are found, corroborated as real, but still unexplained. During the height of Wyoming’s gold rush, two gold prospectors in the San Pedro Mountains came upon a treasure they never expected: The well-preserved, but long-forgotten, mummified remains of a tiny person later named Pedro.
The tale of Pedro, the San Pedro mountain mummy, begins like this: In June 1934, Cecil Mayne and Frank Marr were just a couple of gold prospectors digging in the San Pedro Mountains, when they used some dynamite to blast into some thick mountain rock that a large vein of gold continued into.
When the dust settled, the prospectors found way more than they’d bargained for. Rather than gold, Mayne and Marr discovered that the blast had opened up a small room, approximately 4 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and about 15 ft deep, hidden within the mountain.
Sitting inside the room were the mummified remains of a very small human, measuring in at a height of 6.5 inches, with an estimated standing height of fourteen inches.
The find was immediately decried as a hoax—no mummified tiny human had ever been found in the mountains, although Native American tribes in the area had for centuries told the tales of the Nimirega, tiny people, or little spirits, who inhabited the area of the San Pedro mountains and had magical, healing powers.
To prove the find was not a hoax, numerous scientists were allowed to examine and test Pedro. They noted that Pedro had been mummified in a sitting position, cross-legged, on a small ledge within what appeared to be a man-made cave.
According to their reports, Pedro’s features included bulging eyes and a flattened cranium, but he was extremely well-preserved, and even his fingernails were still intact. His nose was flattened and surprisingly, Pedro also had a full set of teeth, a characteristic that presumably wouldn’t have been present had Pedro been mummified as a newborn, as has been hypothesized.
According to the reports, Pedro’s skin was brown and wrinkled, creating the appearance of an old man, and his head was covered in the gelatinous substance that had been used to preserve him.
Following the initial tests, scientists were allowed to conduct even more invasive testing, including X-rays.
According to reports from several of the anthropologists who examined Pedro, the remains were likely those of an infant born prematurely and died shortly after birth.
Other scientists who examined Pedro disagreed, stating that the mummified remains were from an adult somewhere between 16 and 65 years old. Reports stated that along with sharp teeth, the X-rays revealed food in Pedro’s stomach— likely raw meat — and showed that he’d suffered a pretty violent death, based on evidence that showed broken bones, a damaged spine and a damaged skull.
Pedro’s story hardly ends there, though.
Once they’d gone through the rounds of testing, Pedro’s mummified remains were put on display during in the 1940s at a drug store in Meatiest, Wyoming, where the mummy sat as a a way to sell postcards with its likeness for several years.
The remains were later purchased by a man named Ivan Goodman, a Casper car dealer who took the mummy on the rounds in a sideshow with posters proclaiming, “It’s Educational! It’s Scientific! It will amaze and thrill you. It’s a pygmy preserved as it actually lived!”
The whereabouts of Pedro post-Goodman are unclear: Some outlets reported that Pedro was passed on to a man named Leonard Waller after Goodman died a decade or so later, and others told the tale of Goodman losing Pedro in 1950 while in New York, likely at the hands of a con artist.
Either way, it’s unclear where the remains of Pedro went after Goodman passed away, and they have not been seen since, despite some hefty rewards being offered over the years for its return.
Fast forward to 1994, when a Cheyenne family sat down to watch a television show that was running a story about Pedro. As they watched, it clicked: Pedro may be missing, but he wasn’t alone. Enter Chiquita, Pedro’s mummy sister, who’d been sitting in a trunk in the family’s attic for decades.
The family’s grandfather had reportedly purchased the tiny mummy from a sheepherder in 1929, and had been kept in the trunk for many years since.
She was handed over for examination to University of Wyoming Professor George Gill shortly after the show about Pedro aired.
Gill was allowed to examine her only three times.
The exams showed that Chiquita, who was “hard as a rock,” was a baby born with anencephaly, according to a story published in the Casper Star Tribune in 2014.
Gill told the Star Tribune that Chiquita was similar to Pedro in many ways: She was wrapped sitting up, cross-legged, her arms wrapped around her body.
DNA testing showed the blonde-haired mummy was Native American, a surprise given her features, and she was dated back to about 1500.
And, like Pedro, Chiquita is no longer available to examine or test to find out any more about the mummy’s origins.
The family who’d had her tucked in the attic took her away from Gill after a couple of days and have not made her available for further testing, leaving more questions than answers.
So while Jackson Hole, China, may not be creepy, it is weird to know that there’s a clone of the mountain town on the other side of the world.
While one Jackson may be more than enough for its residents, it turns out one Jackson Hole isn’t enough for everyone else. Apparently people are so enamored with the little town smack dab in the middle of the mountains that they felt the need to replicate it in China.
Enter Jackson Hole, China, a “tiny town” in the suburbs of the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.
The town is—you guessed it—based on Jackson, Wyoming, and comes complete with faux-mountain amphitheaters, cowboys, a church and even a replica of Route 66, so you can get your Chinese and Jackson kicks.
Jackson Hole, China sits among some of the other world cities—Paris and its Eiffel Tower, London and its London Bridge, amongst others.
It seems, well, a bit odd that Jackson, Wyoming would be duplicated in China among cities like Paris, but there it sits, marked by a replica of Jackson Hole’s famous wooden sign in both English and Chinese.
“China’s copycat and ‘duplitecture’ enthusiasts have chosen a very specific range of styles and countries to copy. Among the options, there is no Cleveland town. The cities and landmarks we see copied over and over again in China are those associated with countries and cultures that oftentimes command a lot of influence and often a lot of wealth,” author Bianca Bosker told the television show “Nightline” in 2016. ”These ‘duplitecture’ developments have become so embedded in parts of Chinese culture that I was surprised to hear…this idea that the way to live best was to eat Chinese food, drive an American car and live in a British home.”
And there sure is a lot of wealth in Teton County, Wyoming—the county, which encapsulates Jackson and a few other mountain towns—has the highest average income in the United States, according to tax data complied by the IRS.
The average average annual income of the top one percent in Teton County is $28,163,786, according to data from Economic Policy Institute, which backs up the IRS’ data.
So if unique, slightly kitschy, scenic and rich are the boxes China looks to tick in their duplitecture, they sure got it right with Jackson Hole, China.
The Hole Obsession
And, on that note, people really do seem to be obsessed with Jackson, which is just so odd for a little town in Wyoming.
They’re so interested in the town, in fact, that Jackson Hole’s livestream from the corner of Cache Street and Broadway made headlines across the nation recently, because, well, thousands of people were watching and it’s weird.
Atlas Obscura recently reported on the phenomenon of thousands of people watching the Jackson Hole Town Square live YouTube stream, which at the time was “blowing up,” according to Atlas Obscura, with 2,191 people watching at the time of their report.
Why they were watching is another question. It’s kind of odd, you know, the idea of 2,000 or so people tuning in to watch what Atlas called “scenes of cars rolling through intersections, people crossing those same intersections, and traffic lights slowly changing from red to green to red again.”
There are certainly more interesting aspects to Jackson than the corner of Town Square, but people seem drawn to the weird livestream of the intersection nonetheless.
Even stranger still is the fact that at the time of Atlas’ report, none of the other competing Jackson Hole livestreams (yes, there are several) were nearly as popular.
“Other videos from See Jackson Hole, the tourism company that seems to run this one, are somewhat less popular—deep cut
“Jackson Town Square Cache Street” has a mere 114 viewers, while “Hoback River” has five,” Atlas wrote.
Why Jackson Hole Town Square has such a following is unclear. It’s also unclear as to why Jackson needs several livestreams for a town of 9,000, but whatever the reason, it’s happening, and people are watching.
From the mysterious “greys” to the peeping-camera-Toms and the phantom organ sounds in Yellowstone, Wyoming is a state unlike any other in the nation. And while the population of the state may be a mere fraction of what makes up a major metro area in another, it’s clear that the state’s natural beauty and unexplainable landmarks are a draw for people — and perhaps otherworldly visitors — from all over. PJH