My regular readers will know that I have an abiding interest in the Phantom Black Dogs most notably found in England but also ‘native’ to the Americas. It is logical, then, to assume that I would not be able to pass up commenting on this recent episode of Into The Fray where Clint Granberry tells his harrowing story of an encounter with an unknown canid creature in Arizona.
First of all, let’s clear up some geography issues here. The incident in question actually occurred not far from the exit for the aptly named Devil Dog Road along I-40 near Williams, Arizona. I-40 travels along the path of the old Route 66 but the road that was once designated Route 666 is now US 491 and travels roughly north/south, intersecting I-40 near Gallup, NM, almost a full state away from the site of this incident.
I strongly urge readers to listen to the interview linked above since it offers a rare opportunity to hear a phantom dog witness tell the story and hear the emotion in his voice as he does do. Mr. Granberry’s testimony is very matter of fact but I had the feeling that he was really struggling with himself on a more than one occasion, trying to describe an experience that is not easy to fathom. The witness’ description of the animal as reminiscent of a hyena contained shades of the witness descriptions of the Beast of Gevaudan. The fact that the impact with this creature damaged his vehicle but that no evidence of the beast could be found in the empty desert at the crash site, coupled with his detailed description of the animal, makes for compelling listening.
Now, the skepdebunkers will happily conclude that Mr. Granberry ran into a mis-identified calf or a deer or some such and conclude that the Arizona Highway Patrol simply did not put enough energy into finding the dead animal. Certainly, this is a possibility except that the witness got a good look at this creature and was very positive that it was not any animal he was familiar with. There is also the mysterious fact that he hit this creature dead on at approximately 80 m.p.h. and that the damage to his vehicle should have been more extensive and should have included more tissue and hair than he testified was found. I believe that Mr. Granberry had a close encounter of the spooky kind on that Arizona highway.
What really interests me about this case though is the beast’s kamikaze behavior. During the interview, it was suggested that this ‘critter’ might have been a skinwalker but I seriously doubt this. Skinwalkers are actually shape shifted human beings. The stories of skinwalkers all agree that if you injure a skinwalker in its animal form, that injury will appear on the human being. Given this, it is highly unlikely that a skinwalker would actually charge a car since any injury sustained would come back wth them to their human form. Remember that no remains, of any kind, animal or human were found. Skinwalkers are famous for chasing cars and scaring the beejesus out of people, not for running into them.
The same is true of most phantom dog sightings. The creature will appear, seemingly from nowhere, and walk/run alongside or behind a person or vehicle. Very seldom does one read of such a creature actually running an intercept pattern on a vehicle. In fact, the only devil dog / hell hound sightings that I can find where the creatures actually seemed to attack or charge vehicles occurred to the east on the infamous Route 666 mentioned in the title. There are several noted instances of these ‘dogs’ charging a car and shredding tires after being ‘hit’ with no evidence of the beast once the car had come to rest.
I find it very interesting that Mr. Granberry’s incident occurred directly after passing the exit for Devil Dog Road. I was not able to unearth any stories about the origins of that name but Fortean researchers have long noted the coincidence of high strangeness and place names beginning with or containing the word devil. I think that kamikaze hell hounds fall firmly into the realm of high strangeness and the damage to the Granberry car, which took three days to fix, certainly speaks to my thoughts about creatures being able to move from another plane to our plane and take on some physical form. This ‘dog’ was dense enough to do some damage but then disappear back to wherever it came from.
While the Route 666 in the title certainly seems to be a paranormal hotspot (at least to some), the area where this incident occurred is many miles away from this ‘haunted highway’. The section of I-40 past Williams is clear of Indian country and does not run near the other vaunted hotspot in Arizona, Sedona. As much as I would like to see a pattern here, I think that this incident had more to do with the percipient than the geographic location and that is a subject I will take up in my next post.