Let me say this right off the bat: I like strange stories. No, check that; I love strange stories. Fake stories, too. Creepypastas; frickin’ love ‘em.
But I prefer true stories, because they’re so much freakier/stranger/cooler/scarier because they actually happened. So, I’ll be doing a bunch of these Debunker Files, using my horribly uninformed opinion to judge: did this shit really go down?
This one: the Gadianton Canyon Incident, still one of my favorite stories. I’ll post a link to the story in whole at the bottom, but let me get some excerpts in here:
“One of the strangest Highway Space Warp (HSW) cases took place in southeastern Utah near the railroad crossing of Modena, on the edge of the Escalante Desert.
Janna North had the wheel of her father’s 1971 Chevrolet Nova, and Carol Abbott was in the passenger seat. Sitting in the back seat were Lisa Rochefort and Bethany Gordon. It was after 10 p.m. when the girls crossed the Utah-Nevada state line nine miles (14 kilometers) east of Modena. And they were anxious to get back to the campus before their housemother, Mrs. Mortensen, locked the dorm doors.
That stretch of Utah Highway 56 is pretty desolate, all sand and sagebrush and ocotillo and Spanish bayonet, with the red sandstone bluffs on the northern horizon. So the girls were pretty happy when they finally spotted the Union Pacific railroad crossing at Modena. But just past the rails, Janna noticed something strange. Two sets of blacktop highway headed off into the desert–one veered sharply to the southeast, the other shooting northeast toward the canyon country further north. As the girls approached the Union Pacific rail line, the road leading off Highway 56 looked inviting. It seemed to be a more direct route back to their dorm. Their landlady, a stickler on curfews, always locked the doors by midnight and it was already half past ten. None of the girls relished the thought of arriving late and being forced to sleep in the car. The opportunity to take what seemed a short-cut strongly appealed to them.
The mysterious road curved sharply away from the main road towards the direction of the ominous Gadianton Canyon in the distance.
“Which one do we take?” asked Carol.
“Left,” Janna said. She knew that Cedar City was 46 miles (73 kilometers) to the northeast, and she guessed that the canyon road would bring them home much sooner. Despite the stories of the canyon, the girls agreed to take the road. They chatted happily about the day’s events as the car wound its way deeper into the foreboding canyon. As they drove, the dark rock walls inched ever closer to the crumbling edge of the thin ribbon of asphalt.
Five minutes later, the Chevy entered the red-rock canyon. Janna, who had been chatting with her friends, suddenly noticed that the car’s headlights were shining more brightly on the pavement. Looking closer, she let out a gasp. The white centerline was gone. Instead of black asphalt, they were driving on white cement…
“Janna, up ahead!” Carol exclaimed.
Abruptly, one of the girls shrieked, “Look out!” The road suddenly ended at a towering rock wall. They were boxed in by the canyon and had no choice but to turn around and go back the way they’d come.
The three girls moaned and complained to the driver. Now they’d all have to sleep in the car. They’d never make it back to the dorm in time because the “short-cut” cost them at least a wasted half hour of driving.
Impossibly, the landscape had completely changed.
Janna gasped. The highway ended abruptly at a rocky cliff face. Janna stepped down hard on the brake pedal. Fishtailing slightly, the Chevy screeched to a stop in front of the cliff.
“Oh, great! A dead end!” Putting the gear into reverse, Janna swung the car’s nose around. “You’d think they’d put up a few warning signs.”
“Now we’ve got to go all the way back to Modena,” Bethany complained.
“We’re never going to make curfew,” Lisa said.
“We’ll make good time once we’re back on the state highway,” Janna assured them.
Tense minutes passed. Janna began to feel uneasy. They were still rolling along, hemmed in by red canyon walls. But they should have been back out in the open desert by this time.
The canyon gradually gave way to open country. The girls gasped. Instead of moonlit desert, they saw grain fields on the right and a large dike, with stands of ponderosa pine, on the left. What was desolate, wind-swept desert sand, dotted with dry sagebrush, stubby ocotillo and gnarled Spanish bayonet, was now lush fields of ripening wheat under a clear, moonlit sky. In the distance, the water of a large lake shimmered, silvery under a bright moon.
Yet the moon should not have been visible that night.
Later, they recalled at that moment they felt they’d driven into a different world. The events that followed proved them right.
Carol looked around in awe. “This sure ain’t Modena!”
“We must’ve gotten turned around back there,” Janna said, her gaze darting back and forth. “Where the hell are we?”
Now the girls were on edge. They had no idea where they were and wherever it was it didn’t look like either Utah or Nevada. Maybe someone could help point them in the right direction so they could get back onto Highway 56 and finally reach their dorm.
Approaching the light ahead of them, they discovered it came from a large building—some kind of roadhouse or restaurant. The place sat in the middle of a large parking lot and a blazing neon sign on the roof spelled out a message—at least that’s what the girls assumed the sign was for because they couldn’t read it; what should have been letters were brightly-lit squiggles and curlycues… The sign’s brilliantly glowing symbols were composed of strangely twisted lines creating of a mosaic of weird curves…a written language unknown to any of them.
Without warning, some very tall men came out of the building. Quite a number poured through the front door spilling into the parking lot. Later, the girls recalled the people from the roadhouse seemed shocked and frightened at the appearance of the Chevrolet driving into the parking lot.
Some of the roadhouse people seemed upset by the girls’ arrival. They waved their arms at the girls. Others shouted and pointed at the girls and the Nova.
“There are some guys,” Carol said.
Bethany let out a giggle. “Are they cute?”
“Let’s find out.” Lisa began rolling down the rear passenger window.
“Lisa! We don’t have time for this,” Janna said.
“Relax!” Hastily she touched up her lipstick. “I’m only going to ask them how to get back to the highway.”
As Janna slowed down, she noticed a good deal of consternation among the men. As if they’d been startled by some unknown animal. As the girls pulled into the lot, Lisa got a good look at the throng of people milling outside the building.
Sticking her head out the window, she said, “Hi! We’re–” And she let out a terrified scream.
“Lisa! What–!?” Janna turned in her seat.
“Get out of here!” the girl screamed, frantically rolling up the window. “Punch it, Jana!”
Bethany shrieked, “Step on it!”
Tires sitting sand, the Chevy zoomed away from the building. Janna stepped down hard on the gas pedal. The lake flew by on her left.
As they raced through the forbidding night on a strange road passing the strange lake, intense lights lit up their car from behind. The girls in the back saw the lights at the same time the driver saw them in her rear-view mirror.
“Oh, my God! They’re coming after us!”
“Go faster. Faster!”
“Oh, my God! They’re coming after us!” Bethany shouted. “Janna, faster!”
Janna glanced in her rear-view mirror, and what she saw turned her blood to ice. They were being chased, but not by any vehicle that had ever been built in Detroit.
Four queer-looking automobiles followed in their wake. Egg-shaped vehicles mounted on tricycle wheels. That is, with two large wheels in the front and a smaller wheel in the rear. A single bright white headlight shone from the front of each pursuing “car.” They made a strange whirring or buzzing sound as they rolled along, humming and whining loudly, closed in on the speeding Nova.
The Nova’s engine roared as its speed crept towards 80 miles per hour. Still the crazy egg-shaped cars pursued them.
“Janna, go faster! They’re gaining on us!”
Ahead the road led back into a red-rock canyon. Janna’s Chevy plunged into it at 80 miles per hour. The road was so narrow; it seemed to hem them in. The Chevy’s tires kicked up a billowing cloud of dust. They could no longer see their pursuers.
Then the girls were back into the canyon. The Nova’s roaring engine reverberated off the sheer rock walls. A rooster tail of dust rose up behind them and soon none of the girls could spot the whirring egg-shaped things anymore.
As they flew out of the canyon and into the desert, the road before them all but disappeared. The car bucked crazily over sagebrush and sand.
Minutes later, they roared out of the canyon, back into the familiar desert. All at once, the road vanished. The headlights showed nothing but sagebrush and ocotillo. The Chevy bucked and jostled like a wild bronco. Janna hit the brakes. Too late! Although it quickly slowed, the Nova skidded out of control sliding into an arroyo and crashing into the bottom.
The engine died.
Although badly shaken, none of the girls were seriously hurt. The car, however was undriveable; three of the tires were flat.
Shaking uncontrollably, the girls emerged from the car. Miraculously they were unhurt. The Chevy took the worst of it, with three flat tires, numerous dings in the front bumper and a missing hubcap. Jenna took one look and clapped both hands to her forehead. “Oh, no-no-no! My dad’s going to kill me!”
Lisa, however, was near-hysterical. She sat on the ground, hugging the knees of her bell- bottom blue jeans, weeping and moaning, She kept mumbling, “They-they weren’t human…”
The girls stayed with the car until sunrise. Then they walked a couple of miles due south. Boy, were they glad when they found the familiar blacktop of Highway 56. An hour later, they flagged down a cruiser of the Utah Highway Patrol and told their story.
The details of the report to the Utah Highway Patrol have been muddied over the years. Most versions of the incident list the trooper at the scene as a “Vic Lundquist.” But the officer was not a man, as many assumed, nor was the trooper’s name “Lundquist.”
As best as can be determined, Trooper Victoria “Vic” Lindquist took the report, and the details of the accident investigation make fascinating reading. They tend to support the girls’ testimony of what transpired that strange night off Highway 56 in the barren desert near Modena.
- There were no tire tracks showing where the Chevy had left Highway 56 in Modena.
- Tire tracks from the wrecked Chevy extended only 200 yards back into the desert and ended abruptly.
- No one could explain how the Chevy had gotten nearly two miles north of Highway 56 without leaving any physical trace of its passage through the rough desert terrain.
- Although volunteers searched diligently, no trace of the Chevy’s right front hubcap was ever found.”
Alright, I lied: that’s the entire story right there. BUT… did it happen?
I’m sorry to be the pooper of the party, but no, probably not.
For starters, Modena is literally a block wide at most.
First off; what were these chicks doing out that far in the desert? I mean, unless they live in Modena, which as stated is a block wide. And Cedar City, their destination, is an hour away, and the story starts at ten. So, sorry, ladies; you weren’t making it back to your campus before 11:00 interdimensional travel or not. Also, Cedar City is more to the southeast of Modena by fifty-three miles, but I’d allow those tiny errors on part of seeing inhuman monsters trying to eat your face off.
Now, looking on Google Earth, there is one divergence from Highway 56 into dirt road, which does lead through not one, but two canyons, although I can find no references to either of them being named Gadianton Canyon. If it helps and native Utahers (or Utahans?) the mountain the first canyon borders is called Silver Peak. The only place I can find any reference to Gadianton anything is in Mormon folklore, because we all know just how rock-solid, factual and not ridiculius the Mormon belief system to be.
And what sane streets department would build a highway through a slickrock canyon? Okay, maybe PennDOT would, but they’re always screwing things up! The “canyon” I mentioned before as existing looks to be a narrow valley at best! You know what happens in slickrock canyons?
Yeah, sure seems perfectly safe to me, Bob; let’s build a road through it…
But maybe Gadianton Canyon is one of those creepy-ass geographical locations that is there one day and then not there the next. Like in the Monkey’s Paw, but with fewer sadistic wishes and more canyons.
Then we jump into this parallel Earth, which I can’t really critique that well, because it’s not freaking on Google Earth (duh) but I can comment a bit, because I am the king of this damn blog! BWAHAHAHA!
So, assuming that they were still in Utah, and weren’t just transported to some other part of the planet, that means that Utah never became a desert, which means two things: one, Meteor Crater didn’t cause a minor extinction event in North America fifty-thousand years ago, and two, the frakkin’ Ice Age didn’t ever end. So, New York looks something like this:
This whole IRS scandal is making Lady Liberty a little… bitter. Ba-dum-chish!
Also, the Moon is approximately one lunar cycle ahead or behind our world’s, as it was full in this universe and presumably new in ours at the time, since it “should not have been visible that night.”
Then, they come to a restaurant with a neon sign presumably in some foreign language of squiggles and curlicues. Well, maybe the letters were written in cursive and the girls were just really, really high on whatever drug was big in the seventies.
Yeah man, just like, huff some LSD-ijuana and it looks totally radical!
Well, at least these poor almost-people were at least as scared of a Nova as we were of them, right? Cause they seemed kind of shocked to see this revving monster sports car barreling towards them belting out Bee Gees, right?
Welcome to Earth!
They acted all around like any normal person would if they saw a flying saucer rambling down the street, pointing at it and shouting expletives in whatever godforsaken language they spoke.
So, Bethany is a total whore and wants to induce a Close Encounter of the Seventh Kind and get it on with some tall-ass ET’s. And her buddy Lisa was totally down with this, each going to spawn some hybrid hell-child that’ll eat its way out of their wombs if that were to happen.
Holy ZORK! Look at the size of those glands!
Then, Lisa starts talking to them all hot and heavy, but then reacts something like this:
WOULD SOMEBODY GET HER OUTTA HERE!?!?!?!?
They floor it out of there, but then these interdimensional guys pull a Gorman on her with their egg-mobiles.
Quick! To the eggmobile! VROOOOOOOOM!
Now, I can see some truth to that part of the story; I mean, that picture above is actually a proposed vehicle by the amazingly named Alan Gerardo Farias. So, I won’t call bullshit on that; it could happen. Unless somebody saw the above picture when making up this whole yarn, but I don’t think so; the story dates to 2007, the eggmobile to 2010.
Apparently, our vehicles are no match for theirs because they were still tailing smoothly when the Nova was thundering by at eighty miles an hour. They roared back into the canyon, and then their Nova was like “Guys, I’ve had enough; wake me when I can get a complete engine overhaul.”
Then, they were back! Back and better than ever, on planet Earth! Apparently Lisa was a hippy, because she was “hugging the knees of her bell-bottom blue jeans, weeping and moaning. She kept mumbling ‘They-they weren’t human…’”
Sounds like a bit of shock, maybe PTSD. It’s a moot point, though; anyone can fake that in writing. Hell, I’ve faked that in my own writing- I am an author, you see.
The story then attempts to cover one of the fallacies consistent in many others, mainly the one where the police are just like “meh” and don’t care that people are disappearing and being brutally killed left and right. They also make the story seem “muddled over the years” and make their “Vic Lundquist” a chick!
Here’s the next set of problems: unless they were burning rubber, how would the police be able to find tire tracks leaving Highway 56, although that part does lend to the theory that Gadianton Canyon can just appear and disappear on a whim.
So, there’s a few things lending credence to the slim possibility this story may have actually happened: one, the police didn’t just brush it off and got shit done. Two, those people that weren’t quite people at the squiggly-do roadhouse seemed just as scared of us as we were of them, much like I would imagine such an encounter would be- not them suddenly whupping out intergalactic chainsaws and trying to kill them. Three, the one girl seemed to have PTSD afterwards- but again, could’ve been faked. Four, eggmobiles aren’t so strange and far off as they are 2020’s premier vehicle. Five, Highway 56 does indeed veer off onto a Desert Mountain Road beside Silver Peak, which could be the basis for the canyon. And finally, Gadianton Canyon isn’t just some made up b.s. location, since it is featured in a religion, no matter how ridiculous it is. So, it’s not quite as ridiculous as, oh say, Slenderman or the Rake.
Oh, and the hubcap was missing in action, and the story hints that it might be “on display in a museum on that parallel Earth.”
Bullshit, man! They’re reverse engineering a Nova from that hubcap, just itching for Gadianton Canyon to reappear so they can use their massive army of eggmobiles to lay waste to Utah!
The end goal of the Eggmobilians…