Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Ghosts and Legends of Highway 666

Growing up in New Mexico I have heard many stories about a lonely stretch of highway near Gallup within view of Shiprock called Highway 666. 

Many people over the years have been killed in accidents along this road. Christians feel the three 6’s represents what they refer to as the “Number of the Beast.” Because of the random number assigned to this highway it became known as the “Devil’s Highway” this name is part of the urban legend that surrounds it.

The Native Americans that live in the area call the ancient eroded volcano of Shiprock Tse Bi dahi meaning “Rock with Wings” this came from an old tale that describes how the rock was once an enormous bird that transported the ancestors of the Navajo to the land where they now live in northwestern New Mexico.

The Indians in this area believe in people who can transform into various animals. These people are called skinwalkers. A general term for this is shapeshifting. 

The Native Americans in the area believe that skinwalkers exist on Highway 666. They sometimes appear suddenly in front of oncoming traffic. These skinwalkers seem to warn them not to continue down the road. They believe if they don’t take heed, an evil shaman will appear and attempt to take their life to capture their soul.

This highway is also considered to be very haunted. For years, despite it majestic scenery many travelers have gone out of their way to avoid driving this road, especially after dark.

It is said a pale spirit of a young girl appears by the side of the road wearing a white gown. Her expression is one of great sadness which prompts the concern of individuals who have spotted her alone on this desolate desert road. 

She sometimes appears as a hitchhiker, and when people have stopped, she disappears. Others describe her as running right into the road in front of their cars and just as they are braking or about to hit her, she vanishes.

One urban legend that surrounds Highway 666 is about a ghost vehicle that is referred to by the name of “Satin’s Sedan.” This shadowy apparition appears after sunset, on nights when there is a full moon. It charges it’s innocent victim’s cars driving them right off the road. 

Another ghost vehicle is described as a semi truck driven by a crazed man who also tries to drive people off the road. 

Witness descriptions state their cars have either overheated or they have had a flat tire that forces them to pull over. Stranded on the side of the road, they claim this fast-moving truck has intentionally aimed for them. Several have had their cars hit by this angry driver.

These two black vehicles are also seen when their headlights are spotted in drivers’ rear-view mirrors. They start to tailgate their intended victims and then hit them repeatedly from behind.

Another urban legend is about ghost dogs. These vicious, threatening dogs are called the “Hounds of Hell.” Witnesses have seen them run so fast that they can keep up with cars regardless of how fast they are traveling. 

It is claimed these dogs have caused many accidents. They are said to have razor-sharp teeth that have shredded many car tires. There are also claims that they jump right into cars mauling the individuals inside.

Yet another urban legend connected to Highway 666 is people disappearing without explanation. Several times people’s cars have been found with no trace of the owner. 

Some disappear for long periods, and then they suddenly reappear hours or days later. The people who this has happened to state they were not aware they were gone, so they have no recollection of what happened to them during their absence. 

A similar phenomenon connected to this road is people who have stated that it took them a lot longer to travel it then they expected. They also are not able to explain this loss of time.

Parts of the original Highway 666 crossed Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. But it is the stretch near Gallup, New Mexico, within sight of Shiprock; that has experienced most of this strange phenomenon. 

Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico, fulfilled one of his campaign promises when he was first elected. He changed the name of Highway 666 to U.S. Route 491. 

He also spent thousands of dollars on improving the road. Since the name change, people say the road no longer lures the evil spirits it once did. The improvement to this highway has cut down the number of accidents that occur.

A side note to this is when people found out the highway’s name was to be changed every “Highway 666” sign was stolen—several of them were later sold on eBay.


Unknown said...

I wasn't sure where to share this experience; it was a strange experience indeed, but nothing I want to try to write a book about. If you want to use this you are welcome to, but please use only my first name and last initial. Beginning on April 20th of this year I drove from Albuquerque, NM to the Seattle, WA area. I drove on what I guess is at least in part known as Highway 666 or the devil's highway. I haven't studied it in great detail so I'm not sure what that exact route is. I drove through Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and into Washington. The drive was fine until I got to Cortez, Colorado. From there all the way up Highway 191/highway 6 in Utah until Provo, Utah I felt a horrible sense of forboding and a very heavy feeling all over and on top of me and my car. I never saw anything weird, but I felt horrified that whole stretch. I was having panic attacks quite often along that highway. I was constantly afraid that someone wanted to kill me. Then to make things worse I started having thoughts that I was going insane because I was so scared. I kept having visions of people running me off the road into the canyons. I spent a night at a motel in Green River, Utah and did not feel well there either. All of this creepy feeling didn't go away until I got to about Provo Utah, then it gradually subsided and by the time I got to Idaho it was gone. As I mentioned, I never saw anything weird or "supernatural," but I have driven a lot in my life and I never had anything like this happen before. Was it a supernatural occurance? I don't know and am not making any claims either way. But I do know I do NOT want to drive through Utah ever again. Never.

Virginia Lamkin said...

Your comment came in as "unknown" so don't worry I will not publish your name.:)

Unknown said...

Thank you. That was my comment. It's been a few years now, but I ended up on this site again to see if anyone else posted any odd occurrences. I spent a year in Albuquerque and it has such a stunning beauty. Amazing place. But when I see photos of the rock at Shiprock I get freaked out again.

Unknown said...

very strange dog that came out into the road motionless and stared directly at me