Route 666: Highway to hell
Route 666 is a two hundred mile, lonely stretch of road in America, starting in Utah and ending in New Mexico with a murky history of unexplained phenomena. It’s the 6th branch of the existing highway Route 66, therefore gaining it’s more devilish extra six to make up the mark of the beast and helping it to the title of ‘Devil’s Highway’, due in part to numerous similar accounts of alleged strange, perhaps supernatural sightings and the fact statistics show this long North-South route has claimed an unusually high number of lives, especially along the New Mexico portion of road.
The highway was renamed US Route 491 in 2003 after petitions to the American Association of State Highway & Transport Officials and due to local pressure. People hoped that by changing the name of the road, people’s famously bad luck along this sinister stretch may just change as well.
Some of the strange activity witnessed is:
A Haunted truck – That plays chicken, and causes drivers to swerve sharply off the road. Some accounts talk of the truck being engulfed in flames as it speeds down the highway toward them vanishing at the very last moment.
The girl in the white dress – Countless sightings of a ghostly girl have been witnesses in all four of the route’s states. She’s known to get drivers to pull over and then vanishes into thin air when they approach her. Some motorists have had this happen twice on the same trip.
Weird lights – Bolts of light have been seen and also strange orbs floating along the road, usually in the quietest stretches of the road and when the driver is on their own.
Hell hounds – Packs of supernatural yellow eyed dogs that can run as fast as cars. They’re said to use their razor sharp teeth and claws to shred the tyres of any driver who’s foolish enough to pull over. So forget that pit stop.
Disappearing drivers – Some to journey the route have apparently vanished at one point in the highway only to appear at another point with no recollection of how they got there and no concept of the time that has passed.
The Skin Walkers – The Navajo indian believe that legends such as Skin Walkers, who are evil medicine men that can shape shift into animal forms, lurk around quiet parts of the road. They are said to appear from nowhere in front of traffic causing accidents. Or even more worryingly these Shaman pop up in the back seat of your car to take your soul!
Satan’s sedan – One tale of this road involves a black sedan that appears to charge individuals driving it’s route. In the dead of night many drivers have witnessed headlights suddenly appearing behind them, with the car speeding up to the back of them at high speed. Some pull over to see the vehicle dashing past them, whereas some see no vehicle at all. Spooky.
Lawyer and journalist Jonathan D. Rosenblum discussed Route 666 in his book Copper Crucible. Here’s how he described the Devil’s Highway…
Route 666 rides the rugged eastern seam of Arizona from the Petrified Forest, south, across the Zuni River, through the Apache National Forest, and into the mountain mining towns of Clifton and Morenci. Unlike the straightforward, gentle passage of retired Route 66 (“America’s Highway”), U.S. 666, its descendant, is tortuous, wild, and as strange as its name. In little more than one hundred miles, the surrounding altitude ranges from twenty-nine hundred feet to more than eleven thousand feet. With some four hundred twisting curves in one sixty-mile stretch, the road has sent more than its share of travellers crashing off cliffs. If, as Nat King Cole sang, drivers get their kicks on Route 66, they take their risks on 666.”
He goes on to mention that from the time the road was built residents living along the route, “worried over a possible connection between ancient symbolism and their modern fate.” And that at the opening of the road in the 1920s, “local Apaches reacted with curiosity to the white people’s numerology; they performed a ceremony called “the Devil’s Dance.”
Could this dance have left a curse on this fabled road? There certainly seems to be a troubling number of accidents and occurrences on this route to suggest that something strange is at work. They may have changed it’s name but regardless what the new signs might say, for many this devilish highway will always be the 666.