I’ve been neglecting this blog for a little while now, and I’m sorry. But it’s all because of Red Dead Redemption 2. Yes, it’s that good of a game. Even if you don’t like Westerns, or cowboys, you need to play this game if you’re a video game fan. I mainly stick to space and fantasy stuff, but after playing the original Red Dead Redemption, I have been looking forward to this sequel for 8 years. And it did not disappoint.
But you’re not here for a video game review, are you? You’re probably here because of your interest in the paranormal. Well, RDR2 does not disappoint there, either. Like many open world games in recent years (the Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Grand Theft Auto series), Red Dead Redemption 2 includes little paranormal Easter Eggs. The game has been lauded for its realism and attention to detail, and rightfully so. Every location, every cabin, every tree, every blade of grass seems to have been individually constructed to be unique. The voice acting and sound effects are phenomenal. One reviewer (I forget who) said that the game is more a world you live in, rather than a game you play, and that is largely true. It is relaxing yet exciting, somber yet hilarious. There are emotional ups and downs, brutal gunfights and drunken nights on the town, celebrations at camp, and funerals for friends lost. It’s an intricately detailed world. And just like the real world, if you look hard enough, stand still for a moment to listen and look around, you will find some truly weird, spooky things going on. Minor spoilers ahead for side missions, so be warned.
Something is Not Right
Going into Red Dead Redemption 2, my main concern wasn’t the paranormal. Quite the opposite, really. I was just looking forward to reuniting with old friends in the game, characters and a world I’d gotten to know and love, and shooting bandits and robbing banks. I purposefully avoided spoilers and had no idea whether or not paranormal content would be in the game, or released later as a DLC (which is what the original Red Dead Redemption did). So, with no expectations, I started the game, and very early on, I came across something odd. A small, deserted cabin deep in the woods. Inside there were skeletons, people who were not murdered, but appeared to have killed themselves in some sort of cult (or occult) ritual many months prior. A note found on the cult leader while looting the cabin didn’t offer many clues, just some vague ramblings about galaxies and saviors, and as we’ll get to later, Mount Shann. But it does mention “the second hour after the half moon,” or 2am, specifically. If you return to the cabin at around that time of night, you will see exactly who these cult followers worshiped and died for: a green, glowing UFO will come down and hover over the cabin. And no, I haven’t tried shooting it down yet. I heard rumors that another flying saucer can be spotted on the top of Mt. Shann, but I have yet to confirm that. The cabin is located near a lake that is north of the “N” and “O” in “Hanover” on the map.
Big Head…Big Arms…Big Hand…Bigfoot?
The second odd thing I found in the game, again pretty early on and quite unexpectedly, was a set of bones in the appropriately named Big Valley. While riding though a narrow mountain pass towards Mt. Shann (back when I was still unaware of the Mt. Shann connection to the UFO), I came across some large bones under a rocky overhang. At first, I thought it was a fossilized mammoth or other large mammal. But upon closer inspection, the bones were very human-like. Just much, much bigger. Your character even notes in his log that the bones appear to be those of a “massive” man, “if he was a man at all.” Not a living, breathing Bigfoot, but definitely an interesting hint that perhaps there might be something big and hairy out there in the woods with your character. Not sure if this is related or not, but I have, at night, heard some very unusual howls in the game. Maybe just owls or coyotes, but some of them have been very creepy. To find the Sasquatch skeleton, travel the northern most dotted path, directly due south of the letters “L” and “E” in Big Valley. You can’t miss it.
Who Said That?
The other night, my wife was watching me play, and as she does, she asked for the controller. She is like level 177 or something now in Fallout 4, and her affection for that game started much in the same way, so I’m a little nervous she will try to take my RDR2 discs, too. Anyway, as she was exploring, she came across a little house northeast of the town of Valentine. While poking around the property, we heard people talking. It was hard to hear what they were saying, but they were definitely talking, and it sounded like it was inside the cabin. Further investigation showed that nobody was in the cabin, or even nearby, and the voices suddenly stopped. Part of me wonders if this was just a game bug, a glitch that has yet to be patched. But I do know from stories on the internet that there are in fact ghosts in the game. However, the confirmed ghosts (so far) seem to be down in the southern swamps near St. Denis or Lemoyne, and not northeast of Valentine. Aside from the confirmed ghost of Alice Dowd in the swamps, there is also allegedly a ghost train in the game, also down in the swamps of Lemoyne. I’ve yet to track down these confirmed apparitions, as I’m really taking my time with the game, but head down south to the more swampy areas if you want to do some in-game ghost hunting. Just keep an eye out for gators.
Night Folk and Other Bad People
Red Dead Redemption 2 is set in 1903, in the old West and in the south, and as such, has plenty of historically accurate horrors in it. Inbred families and gangs like the Murfree Brood will shoot at you and horrify you with their physical deformities. Just last night I ran across a late night meeting of the Ku Klux Klan in the woods, burning cross and all. I shot as many of those fuckers as I could with my most damaging shotgun at point blank range. Quite satisfying. But the swamps are home to more than just ghosts. A group known as the Night Folk are known to roam the swamps, at night, fittingly enough. They are pale-skinned, don’t use guns, and seem to be either undead or just another inbred affront to God. I have yet to encounter these folks, but my son, who doesn’t even play the game, informed me about them. He isn’t into the game, but loves the paranormal and did his own bit of research for me. I love that kid.
While not paranormal, per se, there are still some bad people who are a bit mysterious running around the game. Southeast of Emerald Ranch is the Aberdeen Pig Farm, where you will come across a friendly (perhaps too friendly) husband and wife who invite you in for dinner. It quickly becomes apparent that these two are a little more than just husband and wife, and if you party too hard with them, you will discover another secret: they are pretty much serial killers. And none too bright at that. A fun and funny sidequest – pay attention to Arthur Morgan’s facial reactions.
If you’re looking for a more traditional and successful serial killer, keep your eyes open for dead, mutilated, and decapitated human bodies near the side of the road; they can be easy to miss. Closely examine the severed heads, and you will find notes and maps, giving you more clues from the elusive killer. Scrawled on the rocks nearby will be messages like “Do you see?” and “Look on my works.” I’ve only found two bodies so far, and am still in pursuit of the killer. Again, not supernatural or paranormal, but who doesn’t love a creepy mystery?
There is also apparently a vampire in the game. He can be found in Blackwater, which is a tough area to get to early in the game due to a heavy bounty on your head (so I haven’t really ventured there yet), but he sort of looks like Nosferatu, is found sucking blood from a corpse, is extremely hard to kill, and can’t be looted. But he can be skinned, like an animal, suggesting he is not human.
More Mysteries Yet to Be Found
I’m sure this list is far from comprehensive, and these are just things I’ve stumbled upon or heard about so far. I’m really trying to avoid spoilers myself, but I know some people appreciate knowing what’s in the game, so while I am sharing what I know, I also am purposefully keeping myself in the dark about anything else that may be in the game. I’ve heard that most players haven’t even finished 50% of the game yet, and even I am still only on Chapter 2 after playing for over a month now. I’m hoping there are many more mysteries to be discovered in Red Dead Redemption 2. And I’m sure there are.