01 Feb Gods in the Mountain
I’ve been chasing ghost stories since I was a kid. I like to examine them from a historical angle rather than simply speculate, researching the history of the haunting and the history of the site (or the person/family) and then trying to unravel the story behind the haunting.
Sometimes this reveals a hoax. In fact, I have more hoax stories than I do genuine ghost stories.
Sometimes it reveals a hidden truth lurking in the bones and roots of a property, or in the heart of the person who seems most affected by the haunting.
I’ll share a bunch of my experiences and my stories here, but not this time. This time I wanted to tell you about the most amazing of my stories and it has nothing to do with ghosts. This is the story of my first encounter with extra-terrestrial life and the event that convinced me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that alien life not only exists but is visiting this planet of ours. I have no idea why. I just know that it is!
I was 26 and travelling in Peru, staying with a Peruvian family and teaching locals English. I was staying with a cool guy called Naz who was actually the son of the family whose home I was living in. Naz was (and still is) a keen mountaineer and liked nothing better than to head out in his rusty pickup, drive into the mountains and spend a few days climbing, trekking and generally exploring.
I’d never climbed, but Naz’s love for the sport was infectious and as I love to camp and to travel and explore I agreed one day to go with him.
We went on a number of trips, Naz and I. And it was great fun.
The events of this story occurred as we were approaching an area which Naz told me, before we even set off, is surrounded by lots of superstition and ghost stories. Naturally, given my love for such things, I was really keen to go there!
Naz told me that locals believe one of the mountains contains the ruins of an ancient ziggurat of the kind that can be found all over Peru. They claimed this vast pyramid was home to a race of ancient gods who, even today, came and went in their ‘chariots of the sky’, flying into secret doors in the side of the mountain in gleaming silver ships.
I was less interested in these stories than in those surrounding the El Chupacabra, a name I’m sure you’ve heard before and a creature who really requires no introduction.
The Chupacabra was supposed to be highly active in the area we were heading to and had been sighted both at night and by day. It was blamed for numerous livestock deaths in the mountains and, Naz told me, locals were absolutely terrified of it.
I’d always thought of the legend of Chupacabra as a fascinating but probably fictional story, paranormal in origin and therefore of great interest to me. But the people of the place where we were heading were living in genuine fear of the thing and that made me sit up and take notice.
I was excited on the day of the trip, but didn’t honestly expect to see anything. Naz told me he had camped in that area before now and seen inexplicable lights in the sky and so my interest was definitely piqued and I was hopeful I would see something, but I never imagined for a second we would see anything near as mind blowing as we did.
I think, in fact, that this is my favourite brush with the paranormal precisely because it was not one I had deliberately sought out or been asked to investigate. It was purely chance. Anyone could have seen what Naz and I saw that day, but it just so happened to be me. And for that I have always been infinitely grateful. To who – I don’t know. I’m just grateful.
We were driving along a mountain road, the radio blasting out our favorite music and our windows down. The mountain Naz identified as being the fabled ‘ziggurat under the hills’ was visible on the horizon.
I had to admit, it did look unnaturally triangular, with terraced edges that were similar to the ziggurat ruins I’d already visited in Peru (with Naz) in my capacity as a wide-eyed tourist. I would have loved to investigate more closely and Naz promised that we would, at some point during our trip there.
We were approaching a sharp bend in the narrow road, close now to the village/town which Naz had told me was being terrorized by El Chupacabra, when Naz suddenly became excited and started pointing into the sky above the mountain-tops, jabbing his finger and bouncing in his seat (he was driving, so this was somewhat disconcerting). I followed his pointing finger and saw something silvery in the sky. Quick as a flash I took out my camera and snapped off a picture.
It was moving at incredible speed and I was using a shittier camera than you can get these days (no smart phones back then), nevertheless I managed to get a good picture.
It zig zagged wildly through the sky above the mountain then suddenly zipped forward so that it became much larger and I realized this was because it had come closer. It stopped dead, hovering above the nearest mountain-top and Naz stopped the car so we could watch and I could take more pictures.
In the above picture the UFO is hovering above the closest mountain to us. It was silvery, like chrome, and spinning rapidly in a clockwise direction relative to us, reflecting the mountain beneath in its underside as perfectly as if it was a mirror.
Slowly the orb started to descend, landing in the dense undergrowth and brush on the top of the mountain. At an estimate I’d say it was a good 20 to 25 feet wide and top to bottom.
Suddenly the radio died and the engine cut out. Naz turned the ignition and restarted the engine but it died immediately.
Both of us felt a strange buzzing sensation. The atmosphere in the car was electrified and whatever surface you touched you could feel a fur of static, like you can feel on the surface of a TV when it’s been on a while.
With this strange feeling came a sense of something intrusive and not altogether friendly. It was nothing empirical, but it was there and it was a horrible feeling. Naz started to panic and restarted the engine, but again it died.
I tried to get him to calm down but he wouldn’t and was now pumping the accelerator while turning the ignition. I was terrified he’d flood the engine and we’d be stranded but then the engine roared and Naz floored it before the starter motor could fail again.
We were back on the road and my eyes were back on the UFO, now nestling on the top of the mountain. Now that the strange feeling, the static and that weird sense of being examined had passed I realized how much of an opportunity I was wasting and got my camera ready again.
“Slow down Naz!” I begged, but he was really spooked and wanted to get to the town. Something about his nerves jangled my own, but I also wanted to get some pictures.
I snapped one off but my hand was shaking so much it came out as a blurry mess. Nothing to see.
Then Naz started to slow the car. “Shit. Oh shit. Oh shit oh shit oh shit.”
“What is it?” I asked and Naz pointed through the windscreen, reducing speed drastically.
There was some kind of layby up ahead and a broken down old building. The kind of thing you see by the road from time to time and wonder what purpose it serves.
But the building wasn’t what had caught Naz’s attention. Nor was it the first thing I noticed.
There was something there, next to the building. A creature, pale in colour and something like a cross between a squat kangaroo and some kind of miniature dinosaur. It was standing next to the end of the building and peering in over the window-sill of a window.
I took a picture, even as Naz was slowing the car almost to a stop. It’s a good picture, and I’ve sharpened it in the hope of revealing a bit more detail.
Suddenly, the radio came back on. We’d been blasting out music so it came on loud and startled us out of our skin! The creature turned its head sharply to look our way and saw us for the first time. It’s eyes met mine and I can honestly say that if I have ever been in any danger of soiling myself involuntarily, this was the moment I came closest.
Naz screamed and slammed his foot on the accelerator again. We burned rubber and I fumbled to get my camera.
“There’s another on the fucking roof!” Naz exclaimed. And as we raced past the building I saw it and snapped off a picture.
Both the creatures watched us with a kind of detached fascination as we roared past, our music blaring.
The creature I have since decided was closest in appearance to the Chupacabra was classic in every sense. It had that kangaroo, upright appearance with a face and head similar to a small pony, or maybe a dog – a Bull Terrier. But it wasn’t a dog. It’s hind legs were long and muscular while it’s fore-limbs were ridiculously short, like a T-Rex. The back of its skull flared outward into a hood, like a cobra, and its eyes were malevolent.
The thing on the roof, by comparison, matched pretty much every description I’ve ever heard of an alien grey. It had a large ovoid head with huge eyes and a tiny mouth. I saw no nose or ears. Its body was spindly and the whole thing was pale in colour.
As we drove away from the scene (Naz was not about to stop) I leaned back and took a parting shot of the thing on the roof.
It was leaping up on its hind legs and flinging its arms around. In my head I could hear a strange kind of bleating sound and the buzzing, static feeling surrounded my camera, but I held on and took that last picture.
When we got to the town Naz was in shock. His lips were white and he was trembling so badly the locals took him to the local tavern and gave him sour pisco (Peru’s national drink) until the color started returning to his face. They knew exactly what we had seen when I described it.
The gods from the mountain had blessed us with their presence.
We cancelled our trip into the mountains and I don’t think Naz was ever quite the same again afterwards. We took a different route home and after that I don’t remember Naz going on any other excursions, at least not into that part of Peru.
For my own part I couldn’t wait to get the pictures developed and have never forgotten the experience. The pictures occupy pride of place in my photo album of the bizarre and the paranormal and the story is one I never tire of retelling.