There will never truly be a way to explain this without sounding like a maniac rambling on about monsters and goblins. Never have I ever believed in ridiculous nonsense like that, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t know if I do now. But the overwhelming, soul-crushing terror I experienced that night in those decrepit old Pueblo ruins in a remote region in New Mexico, I know I will never forget until the day I die.
This all began when I was contacted by my friend to go with him to explore a lost, forbidden, and cursed Pueblo settlement which had a dark folklore surrounding it.
To be perfectly honest, with all due respect to my friend, I wish he’d chosen some other colleague of his. My theory is that he had chosen me due to our very close and age-old friendship. We both shared an interest in the ancient Americas ever since we were young.
We frequently got together and studied the cultures of the ancient Americas and the Northern American cultural groups prior to European contact. Eventually, this led us to becoming historians and scholars in these fields and we frequently discussed our research and data with each other.
My interest was in the ancient Mexican civilizations, specializing in the study of the Olmecs. While as my friend instead chose to focus his work on the Native-American groups of the Southwestern United States, particularly on the ancient Pueblo people noted for their advanced achievements and mysterious abandonment of their settlements.
He became fixated on that subject and he frequently visited the archaeological sites of the Pueblos. He excavated them and wrote numerous textbooks on the ruins. This is when he began emailing me and informing me of all the amazing discoveries he had made. He explained that not only did he excavate the sites; he also collected folklore from the local Pueblo people descended from the ancient folk.
The one bit of folklore that stood out to him the most was the Pueblo people’s own explanation as to why their forefathers had forsaken one of their ancient villages. My friend did not want me to know of this as he wanted to keep it as a sort of “scholarly surprise” to me. His plan was that he wanted to invite me over to his excavation site and learn about it myself. He did give me a brief explanation, though.
The Pueblo people avoid a certain “lost village”, located somewhere in Northwestern New Mexico, citing that a “great evil” arose from there and they wished not to disturb it. They claimed that, somehow, the original inhabitants had provoked the insatiable bloodlust of an ancient, unspeakable horror that dwelled there. Because of this, the Puebloan villagers had to flee it at once and never went back, leaving the settlement to wither away to whoever was or is unlucky enough to find it.
He was immediately intrigued and had a strong desire to explore it. Not only was this place not yet explored by modern anthropologists and archaeologists, but it had such an interesting lore surrounding it. He quickly devised plans to do some digging around the region.
Even though he was very excited to go along with his mission, it didn’t come without warnings and even a bit of hostility from the locals. As said earlier, they avoided this nameless evil village and strongly insisted that he and his excavation team should reconsider this immediately. This only fueled the curiosity of my friend.
I responded to him that I was indeed interested and would be more than pleased to join him in his excavation. He was very generous and even offered to pay for my ticket to New Mexico.
While flying there, we kept texting each other. He often sent me photos of various excavations and some of the incredibly-built adobe buildings that still stood after countless centuries. He also showed me dark, strange caverns and caves, many of them dotted with mysterious pools of blue-green water.
In one of the texts, he told me that his excavation team discovered that some of the adobe homes had moderately-sized catacombs buried underneath them.
Although “catacomb” might be an inaccurate term since it wasn’t structured at all like a usual catacomb would be. Instead, he said that human bones were tossed around with strange markings and pictograms that had never been documented before along the grotto walls. They seemed to represent not so much a language, but a scene of disturbing events that took place. He described this to me, but he didn’t want to ruin it. Instead, he wanted to show me in person.
Additionally, he also sent me photos of towering, monolithic canyons, snow-peaked mountains looming like titans in the distance, and various other lonely gorges and dark ravines that were shaded a bright orange from the desert sun.
It’s a bit difficult for me to explain, but although they were just photos, there was a haunting aura about the images presented to me. The canyons, mountains, and crevices all appeared to have a sort of spectral quality to them, as if they had not been bothered for centuries until my friend and his fellow archaeologists came around and disturbed the old quietness of the land.
When I finally arrived, my friend happily greeted me. He was glad to have both a respected anthropologist and historian with him and a long-time friend. He gave me an extensive tour of the sites and of the beautifully-archaic adobe complexes created by the ancient Puebloans.
Walking up the stairs and venturing into the rooms they had built was like walking directly into the pages of a forgotten time period. The way I gazed out through the windows and staring at the vast terrain that was mountainous, forested, and arid was amazing. I wondered if the original owners of this property once stood just like I was staring at the distant cliffs and mountains as the sun rose and made the sand glitter orange and pale yellow.
As I made my way through the Pueblo village, my friend informed me of his special “surprise” for me. He took me directly to the location where the Pueblo people indicated the horror drove the people away from their homes was.
It was within the mouth of an enormous, dark cavern that was located behind some gigantic boulders that were on the side of the tallest cliff in the region. When I peered into that cave, it resembled something more like an eternal abyss than a cave.
Again, I’m not sure how to explain it, but the feeling of me gazing into those pictures that my friend had sent me earlier returned. I felt like I had heard some sort of strange, discordant noises echoing out of there very faintly. It almost sounded eerily like the cries of a human-like howl.
But in other ways, it sounded like a very bizarre musical piping from an instrument I’ve never heard before. I felt a chill crawl down my spine and a sudden fear began to grow inside of me. I can’t say whether or not I agreed with the Pueblo folks who warned us to stay away, but there was indeed something here that was very unusual.
I wasn’t sure if my friend heard the same noises as I did. I saw him still studying the edges of the entrance of the cavern with a fascinated look on his face as he just continued talking, almost mechanically.
I didn’t even realize that the sun was beginning to set. The pleasant, azure desert sky began to darken into a mysterious purplish color. I have seen the sky at sunset turn into a myriad of beautiful colors splashed onto it, but I don’t think I had seen this shade of color before.
This purple seemed darker, as if the color of the sky were changing to a darker tone on its own rather than because of the sun setting.
What made me become afraid was that, while I began to notice this, I heard the strange sounds emitting from the depths of the strange cavern beginning to grow louder, more excited, more menacing. I suppose I had a visible reaction to it, as I saw my friend suddenly turn to me with a concerned look on his face and ask, “Are you alright?”
I just stared blankly and nervously into the darkness, and I didn’t respond to him. I listened intently to the maddening and horrible noises I heard screeching and howling from within the cave. With a great force, I shook myself out of that bone-chilling trance and I turned to my friend.
“Yes, I’m fine,” I lied, pretending that I was perfectly normal despite what I was just hearing.
He wasn’t fooled as I could see him staring at me with a perplexed look on his face. He pretended to ignore it (but I still could see the worried expression on his face) and he explained that he was going to explore this cave with a handful of his team tomorrow and he wanted me to come along.
I believe that, for the first time, I felt afraid and hesitant to enter that other-worldly cave. I was convinced that there was something beyond the laws of nature in this village, or more likely, this entire region. And whatever this particular something was, it was a menacing, terrible force.
Regardless of this, I gathered up the courage to tell him that I would go with him. He nodded and explained to me that we’d be exploring around 9AM in the morning, but it is best to awaken a little early to grab some breakfast. We both then headed back to our campsite.
It was here that I felt the true essence of the horror of this place. It’s difficult to say whether or not this was happening, or if this was just my imagination running wild.
As I walked along beside him, I began to notice how dark and lonely this land was. The cliffs and mountains in the distance no longer appeared majestic and beautiful as before.
Now they appeared like towering, hideous monsters silhouetted against the bizarre purple sky. The jagged rocks jutting out from various cliffs appeared like giant, clawed devils hands reaching out from the ground.
The shadowy parts of inside large cracks and gorges within the cliffs gave me the impression that glowing eyes of fiendish creatures not of this earth were dwelling inside, staring at us hungrily within.
At one point, the voice of my friend was drowned out by my paranoid and fear-stricken thoughts. I began to feel a sort of horrible sensation overtaking me. The shunning of this place by the Pueblo people started to make sense.
The unusual sky began to glitter with thousands of stars, but it didn’t bring me any comfort. Instead, the endless sky and the countless stars made me feel small and helpless against the titans and monsters that surrounded me. The stars, which I had found beautiful to gaze at in childhood, now became hideous and I didn’t want to look at them. It was as if they were mocking me in my state of terror.
By the time I reached camp, I immediately dove straight into my bed and pulled my sheets up to my chin, my eyes widened with nervousness, too afraid to shut them with those grotesque noises ringing inside my ears.
But at the same time, I didn’t want to look into the darkness around me. This may sound foolish, but I was absolutely terrified of the idea of seeing some sort of rotting, living corpse standing at the foot of my bed and reaching out to grab with an atrocious decaying grin on its face. It was a puerile, childish fear.
Clearly this was my imagination running wild. But there was something about this place that leaves people with sensitive nerves, such as me, hallucinating and filling them with gripping fear.
I don’t know exactly when I had finally dozed off to sleep. All I can recall is the tormenting nightmare I suffered, undoubtedly fueled by the uneasiness that was embracing me.
I don’t remember feeling as if I had a physical body at all. I know it sounds peculiar for me to describe a dream like that, but I’ve read numerous articles detailing people controlling their dreams via lucid dreaming.
The dreams have a disturbingly vivid sensation and although the person is conscious that they’re dreaming, they can manipulate and alter it.
In this case, I felt as if I had absolutely no control over my dream despite me being aware that I was dreaming. I felt as my “dream-self” was being forcefully guided in the direction that some ethereal force wanted me to.
The nightmare began like this:
I was in the ancient Pueblo village with the massive shadowy cliffs and canyons looming all around me and the buildings. The sky appeared to me a strange shade of violet, but what’s even more bizarre was that there was a phenomenon that resembled the Northern Lights. Colorful, swirling, wave-like patterns twisted and turned menacingly in the sky for no apparent reason.
I heard hideous, terrified screaming and wails coming from all around me. As I gazed around, I could see the ghostly apparitions of human-like figures running and stumbling over themselves, as if to get away from something as fast as possible. I could see the phantasmal beings glancing backwards as if staring at something that was in pursuit of them.
My dream-self was then pulled towards the enormous cave where, when I was awake, I had listened to those unsettling, terrible howls.
As I gazed into the darkness, I saw a sight that still haunts my memories, whether awake or asleep. A pair of ominous, platinum eyes shined in the darkest recesses of the evil cave. The more I felt myself gazing at them, the more I developed this hideous, paralyzing fear growing inside of me.
Just as I felt that I was beginning to grow insane from staring at those cold, demonic eyes, I heard a hideous screeching that nearly shattered my ear-drums. It sounded like a human screeching, but at the same time, very otherworldly, like a musical instrument that was meant to incite fear or shivers to the listener.
It started out like a siren raising its pitch from lower to higher, then it quickly shifted to being more human-like, then lastly, like some kind of devilish combination of sobbing and screaming.
Never did I ever imagine that something as hideous as a sound like that could exist, not in dreams or reality.
As soon as I heard that horrible sound, I woke up.
I gazed around me sweating heavily. Perspiration had moistened my pillow and I felt myself shivering despite it being morning now and the temperature being a bit high. Just as I began to momentarily calm down, my friend suddenly pulled the flaps of the tent back, eagerly waiting to announce that we were leaving.
When my eyes spotted his face seemed eager and excited. A true archaeologist is always overjoyed to explore unearthed ruins and sites. Right when he caught a glimpse of my sweating and uneasy expression, his face suddenly showed concern.
Again, he asked me if I was alright. He claimed that I looked as if I had just seen a ghost and that my hands were still trembling. He was right, I couldn’t control it.
“Are you sure you want to come”, he asked. “You don’t look all that well. Maybe you should stay at camp.”
“No, no, I’m fine. Believe me, it was just a nightmare.”
“Yeah. Nothing really. Besides, we’re going to explore something that probably contains old treasures or a part of the Pueblo culture no one’s ever documented.”
Luckily, this was enough to convince him that I was well. Occasionally, during our breakfast, I did notice him shoot some curious glances at me, but I pretended to notice. Admittedly, I did feel something was wrong. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake it.
Despite the fact that I was traveling with a team and the sun being high in the sky, I still felt that foreboding feeling inside of me. Throughout the journey, my mind kept playing those horrid images from my dreams. The screams and cries continuously echoed in my ears.
As I walked, I carefully analyzed my surroundings. I was able to confirm that the dream I had resembled this very same area. That brought me chills. There was something very frightening about being somewhere while you’re awake where a grotesque nightmare took place. All the cliffs, mountains, ravines, crevices, and boulders were in place.
It was if reliving those blood-curdling sensations.
Finally, we spotted that dreaded cave that I saw in my nightmares and felt the sounds coming from the day before. I felt a hold hand slide down my spine as I saw it. All of my colleagues seemed happy and ready to explore it, but I felt so alone in my fear. There truly is something piteous when everyone around you is happy and as cheerful as can be while you’re the only one tormented and lonely in your terrible thoughts and you don’t want to speak up about it.
The closer I got, the more my dream repeatedly flashed in my mind. Whenever I stared at one of the peculiar but magnificent buildings that the ancient Puebloeans had designed, I saw it shift to those strange colors as in my dreams before it changed back to normal.
I tried to convince myself that it was my mind playing tricks on me. I couldn’t have this keep happening to me. It was becoming psychological torture. I raised a distressed hand to my face and wiped away the forming sweat on my forehead with my palm.
At last, we reached the mouth of the cave.
When we all entered, we turned on our flashlights and lugged in with our equipment. I went along with the anthropological crew who entered. I suppose it was to conquer my fear and not let it control me. It wasn’t even for learning’s sake anymore. It was just to suppress my nervousness and convince myself that there was nothing supernaturally evil about this place.
As soon as I entered, I saw that the cave was enormous.There were stalagmites and stalactites protruding from the floors and the roof, respectively. It was moist as we felt water dripping on us and the plopping sounds it made as we carefully walked over the terrain. The more we walked, the more I realized we were on a downward slope.
At first it was very faint, hardly noticeable. But then it became much more steep until the light of the entrance faded into a speck and the only sources of light were our flashlights.
We were heading deeper into the dark void that was the belly of the cave. Where it led to, I couldn’t imagine.
The cave was devoid of life. There was not even so much as a bat clinging to the ceiling. Our footsteps and the scraping of the soles of our boots sounded like a tremendous racket compared to the dead silence of this subterranean grotto. Then, the steepness stopped and it became flat.
We all then suddenly heard a sound emit from one of our teammates, as if it was both a pleasant and unpleasant surprise. We saw that he was shining a light at the walls of the cave on his right side, and we all did the same.
What we found filled us both with awe and horror.
All over the walls, we saw carvings. Thousands of them, on every corner. We studied it carefully, each of us deliberating and suggesting what it could be. My friend informed me that they were unlike the previous ones he had discovered beneath the homes of the ancient Puebloans. These were more detailed and seemed more like in the form of a narrative as opposed to the others, which just had strange and somewhat ghastly images carved.
They depicted something of a bloody and dark ritual they may have happened here. What we gathered, something reminiscent of an Aztec sacrifice would occur here daily. It appeared to be against their will, as it showed people being dragged under here from their families.
In one of the carvings, a figure appeared to be standing over a victim and brutally shoving a sharp object, possibly a knife, into the victim’s chest with other “ritual assistants” holding down his arms and legs. Another sequence showed numerous dead bodies piled up on against and on top of one another.
Another one showed a shaman or something similar offering hearts or organs to a sort of huge deity or something like that, while numerous other figures were behind him bowing down.
One final image depicted a group of noble-looking shamans or high priests standing outside the cave, raising their hands in a sort of incantation, as if sealing away something with unknown yet powerful magic that has remained hidden in this cave.
As the rays of our flashlights captured the entire cave, the whole cave was depicted with grotesque scenes of sacrificial rituals and death. As we moved forward, one of our teammates let out a horrified shriek while another let out a sickening gasp and fainted right on the spot (being caught by one of the other teammates). After a few moments, he recovered. He was a bit dazed, but he immediately began to explore the horrific discovery along with us.
We saw enormous piles of human bones and skulls on both sides of the cavern walls. In addition to that, there was a putrid smell of something old and decaying that hit us. I can’t truly describe what it was, but it burned fiercely into our nostrils. The skeletons appeared to be wrapped around each other, as if consoling themselves from some sort of evil thing from happening to them.
Many of them appeared horrified, with their empty jaws hanging open and tossed around as if screaming for their lives.
But what was most equally astonishing and terrifying was the giant statue that stood at the very end of this cave-like chamber.
A giant god-like being sat there, with its enormous claws resting on its knees and it was hunched over as if seated on an enormous throne. It resembled a gargoyle, with giant bat-like wings. It had a serpentine-like face, completely with its jaws hanging open revealing three bifid tongues as in frozen in movement. Its body was covered in spikes, similar to a species of ankylosaurus.
On its head was a sort of enormous headdress, both beautifully and grotesquely carved onto it. It appeared so hideously life-like. It filled us with dread just staring at it.
Then, what I am about to describe next, I don’t know whether to say really happened or if we all lost our minds. The eyes of the menacing thing suddenly began to glow that eerie platinum color that I had seen in my nightmare. Then, numerous carved hieroglyphs then began to shine all over its arms, legs, claws, and vulture-like feet similar to its eyes. Movement was clearly visible in its slithering trio of tongues, and its wings began to expand and flap slowly.
A strange and loud humming noise began to resonate all around the underground death chamber. In horror, we witnessed that all the carvings began to glow luridly on the walls just like the ones on the monster-god’s body. They all did it as if life began to sweep across those carvings.
The adorned beast then arose from its stone throne with the entire cave shaking as if it there was an enormous earthquake going on. It opened its mouth and it let out a hideous, high-pitched crying and screeching, just like the terrible sounds I had heard in my nightmare.
The thing lunged for us. Huge thundering steps it took as small rocks began to crumble from the cave’s ceilings. We immediately whirled around, half-insane and sprinting up from the catacombs and hopefully towards the exit. It was here that the line between reality and illusion began to blur. I couldn’t tell if I were dreaming still or if this was some sort of madness I was beginning to experience. Had my fear suddenly gotten the best of me? I couldn’t tell. It didn’t matter. It had won. I was just its puppet.
As we fled from that horror, we could hear it still screeching hungrily and madly as it pursued us. We scrambled and stumbled constantly, not daring to look back at that glowing chamber and the monster that it contained.
As we passed the sloping, we were still running wildly, not thinking about anything except to get away. I don’t know if the others heard, but when we did so, I could hear a whooshing sound, the sound of colossal wings flapping slowly.
Daring to look back, I could see the nameless monster god hovering over the entrance to its lair, staring at us with its eyes and the markings on its body still glowing evilly. Letting out another terrible piercing cry, it glided towards us. Its deadly claws were outstretched towards us; its mouth opened widely revealing those repugnant tongues writhe madly in its mouth.
As I ran, I listened to one of our colleagues begin to pray out loud. He was becoming desperate and the fear was slowly beginning to consume him. I heard another excavator sobbing madly. All of this terror had turned him into a mewling little child weeping for his mother.
As if by some miracle, he began to see the glowing light at the end of this evil cavern of death. All of us, we dashed madly for the sunlight outside. We didn’t stop at all; we didn’t look back at the horrible monster chasing us or anything. We just kept running, running. We didn’t dare stop for anything.
Once we reached the campsite, we immediately hopped into our off-road vehicles and immediately sped off, leaving behind all of our belongings and never returning, hopefully to serve as a warning to all people, excavators, exploerers, or otherwise to simply leave it and never go back.
To this day, I’ll never know what it was we saw in those horrible caverns or what we encountered beneath it. There was never any sort of explanation and the abomination never followed us outside of those devil caves. The experience never left us. A few members of our team had to be checked into mental institutions.
The horror that overtook them was too much and we had no choice but to seek professional help for them. People believed them to be mad, babbling and screaming about a hideous monster that lurks in their dreams.
My friend retired from his research and took to writing books on his area of expertise and I took a similar path. I don’t know about him, but I’ve spent countless nights wide awake researching and taking notes on that unearthly happening, thinking over everything and just what all of it was, if indeed that wasn’t some sort of mass hypnosis that the place probably had over us (which, to my regret, I highly doubt).
I never truly recovered from my experience and I still have terrible nightmares that remind me of that old evil Pueblo village. Nightmares in which I wake up screaming and I wake up nearly everybody in my city.
After grueling study sessions at night analyzing and studying and reviewing my personal notes about what happened, I think I realized the lore of the Pueblo people and the dark legendry that surrounded that desolate and lonely place.
The ancient pictographs that were in that cave told a story:
Long ago, the ancient Puebloans fed some kind of hideous god-like being (perhaps Huitzilopochtli, or an unknown god) human flesh to suffice it and to keep it at bay. Eventually, the monster’s appetite grew too ravenous and it no longer wanted to simply be fed. It wanted to devour the entire village. The village elders learned a powerful spell that encased the monster deep within the caverns from where it lived and turned it into solid rock. Although the spell shackled the monster from never leaving the cave, it could be broken. If any sort of trespasser were to enter its cave and approach it, the monster would awaken from its slumber…