Unanswered questions in Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a big, big game, and you'd expect that its big questions would keep players busy for months, if not years. Well, you'd be wrong. After millions of players picked up Rockstar's open-world western during launch weekend, its various mysteries started dropping like flies. The truth behind that suicide cult? It's all about a UFO. The identity of Red Dead Redemption 2's serial killer? Already solved.

But not every question that Red Dead Redemption 2 raises has a clear solution, and despite how much detail Rockstar has packed into the game's digital Wild West, some information has proven very hard to come by. These are the biggest unanswered questions still lurking in Red Dead Redemption 2, and so far, their answers remain elusive. Strap on your saddle, sharpen your spurs, and start hunting. The truth is out there. You're just going to have to work extra hard to find it.

Whose bones are those?

By now, you've probably heard the news: there's a sasquatch hidden in Red Dead Redemption 2. That's hardly a surprise. Bigfoot has appeared in every major Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead title since Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas hit PlayStation 2. Players expected to see him in Red Dead Redemption 2 based on tradition alone. Now, so far, you don't actually get to witness the sasquatch yourself — you simply talk with him about his dating woes through a stone barrier — but between the references to his size, his appetite, and how he has to choose between loneliness and death, well, it's pretty clear who you're speaking with.

But there's another mysterious creature hidden in Red Dead Redemption 2 as well — or, at least, its skeleton — and its identity isn't quite so obvious. It's hard to discern the monster's identity from its bones alone. Here's what we do know: the pile of bones can be found on Mount Shann, a key location in many of Red Dead Redemption 2's weirdest mysteries. Whatever the creature was, it was absolutely massive. It probably wasn't human. In his journal, Arthur wonders "how big the man was, or if he was a man at all."

Those could be sasquatch remains. It could also be a giant, an alien, a mutant, or something else entirely. Where did it come from?  How did it die? Are there more of them lurking in Red Dead Redemption 2's mountain ranges? So far, Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn't say — and we expect Rockstar to keep the secret for a while.

What went down at the Emerald Ranch?

The Emerald Ranch is a minor but important location in the early stages of Red Dead Redemption 2's campaign. It's where you'll find one of the debtors who owes money to the Van der Linde gang's resident loan shark, Leopold Strauss. It's where you'll meet up with Hosea Matthews and Seamus to steal a stagecoach. It's also the site of something so unspeakably horrific that nobody involved will discuss exactly what happened, depriving the rest of us of the answers that we desperately crave.

At first, Emerald Ranch seems like a normal, functioning New Hanover farmstead. Stick around for a little while, however, and you'll notice that things seem off. The people who work at Emerald Ranch all know it. Explore a little, and you will too. The ranch's old saloon has been abandoned. Inside, you'll find bloodstains and bullet holes everywhere. Approach the ranch owner at his home and he'll make it very clear that he doesn't appreciate visitors. The owner's daughter used to be a regular sight around the ranch. Now, she stays inside all day and all night and never emerges.

She's still there, though. You can see her on the second floor of the ranch house (if you're having trouble seeing her, try stopping by at night and use binoculars), where she can be found peeking through the windows, watching the world she's abandoned pass her by. As of right now, we don't know why the young woman decided to retreat from public life. All we can say for sure is that, whatever it was, it probably wasn't very nice.

Was Bosco Lopez falsely accused or has he returned to feast from beyond the grave?

Saint Denis has bigger problems than train robbers, bandits, and gunslingers. There's a vampire feeding on the city's residents, too. Seriously. As you explore the city's cobblestone streets, you'll run across a series of cryptic messages, most of which have to do with drinking blood, Nosferatu, and Dominica (home of the vampire-like soucouyant of Caribbean folklore). If you find all six pieces of writing, the killer actually appears in an alleyway. He's feasting on a corpse. So, yeah, vampire. No doubt about it.

According to a newspaper clipping, however, there's more to the story. As it turns out, Saint Denis' resident bloodsucker has been at this for a while. Years before Red Dead Redemption 2, bodies started appearing around Saint Denis sporting animal-like bite marks. Near the carcasses, the killer left messages written in blood. You can understand why Saint Denis' citizens are alarmed that the entire cycle is repeating again.

They're also probably pretty surprised, given that they arrested and executed a man for the killings the first time around. As the newspaper explains, a former Argentinian named Bosco Lopez was hanged for the first set of murders. Was Bosco a vampire, or was he killed for crimes he didn't commit? If Bosco was undead, has he returned for another helping, or is this a new creature of the night? If he wasn't, why did authorities think he was guilty, and why did the real vampire decide to lay low? Even in a world filled with stories, Bosco Lopez's is remarkably compelling and, sadly, still untold.

What happened to the missing princess?

Princess Isabeau Katharina Zinsmeister was only a child when she went missing. Her family, a group of Luxembourg royals, were visiting the United States on a hunting trip when young Isabeau, a mere five-year-old, disappeared from the lodge where they were staying. She was never found. Some posit that the girl was kidnapped, although there wasn't a ransom note. Others theorize that wild animals ate her, although no body has ever been discovered.

Now, 15 years later, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is offering a $1,000 prize for any information that leads to Isabeau, and they're making sure that everyone knows about it. One of Red Dead Redemption 2's newspapers carries Isabeau's story. So do missing person posters scattered around the eastern part of the map. If you've played Red Dead Redemption 2, then you know that $1,000 is a lot of in-game cash, and players are eagerly scouring the map for Isabeau in hopes of scoring the reward.

So far, they haven't found her, although a few players think they've tracked down a couple of clues. In the Van Horn trading post, there's a suitcase decorated with the initials IKZ and the Luxembourg royal crest. Unfortunately, the trading post's second floor is inaccessible. If Isabeau is up there, she'll be waiting for a while. If she's not, well, she could be anywhere. Start looking now. Finding her is going to take some time.

Who (or what) is the Donkey-Lady?

The Donkey-Lady started as a glitch. Back in 2010, when the original Red Dead Redemption was only a few months old, YouTube user WhereDaBootz posted a short video featuring a woman who had merged with a donkey, and who hero John Marston could jump on top of and ride around. It's just as funny as it is horrific, and the donkey-faced lady quickly became one of Red Dead Redemption's most popular and enduring memes.

Well, she's back in Red Dead Redemption 2, and now she's canon. As Games Radar reports, Rockstar has put the Donkey-Lady in its latest Wild West adventure, sparking a whole new mystery in the process. By traveling to Two Crows, you can find the Donkey-Lady tied to a mill — or what's left of her, anyway. The clothes and face are a match, but this Donkey-Lady has been dead for a long time.

But is she actually half-woman, half-donkey? Rockstar's playing coy. When Arthur Morgan encounters the Donkey-Lady's remains, he writes, "What was this poor thing?" in his journal, while a local newspaper casts further doubt on the Donkey-Lady's ancestry. According to the paper, some experts believe that the skeleton is actually the remains of two separate animals, which were killed and mixed together by wild beasts. If that's the case, however, who dressed the bodies up in clothing and tethered them to a mill? Allegedly, a Yale-based paleontologist is on the case. It looks like we'll have to wait until he's finished investigating to find out more.

Who made the man-made mutant?

Not all of Red Dead Redemption 2's horrors occur naturally. Some of them are man-made. By traveling west from the Van Horne Trading Post, you can find an old, abandoned house. Its doors are locked and most of its windows boarded up. Someone clearly doesn't want you getting inside. You can defy their wishes, however, by scaling the building and entering a second-story window.

You'll quickly discover that nobody is home. Nobody human, that is. While the house's occupants are long gone, their work, the so-called "man-made mutant," remains. You'll find the grotesque beast tied to one of the research laboratory's walls, notes regarding the creation scattered around the room, and a blood-covered operating table in the middle of the room to complete the grisly tableau. The creature, which was seemingly stitched together by a mad scientist, has the heart and head of a boar, a bear's body, part of a human skull, and a vulture's wings. It is horrifying.

It also, thankfully, doesn't seem to be alive, at least not yet. Unfortunately, that's everything we know about it. Did the mutant's unknown creator ever flip the switch, or are they still waiting for the right moment to bring their dark progeny to life? Has he left his work behind for good, or will he return to finish the job? And what was the plan here, anyway? The mysteries remain, but you know what? The man-made mutant is one secret that we're happy to keep dead and buried.

What's in the cauldron?

When you find an unidentified liquid in a cauldron in the middle of the woods, it's probably not a good idea to put it in your mouth. That goes double, double if the cauldron is surrounded by animal bones and other sinister trinkets. But while Arthur Morgan might be a top-tier outlaw, he's not always that smart. If you want, you can make Arthur go ahead and drink from the cauldron anyway, common sense be damned.

All in all, the potion's effects aren't that bad. After sipping the mystery concoction, Morgan blacks out and wakes up next to the shack, which can be found in the Grizzlies. A few hours have passed, but otherwise, Morgan seems unharmed. All in all, it's a cheaper way to get wasted than dropping cash in Red Dead Redemption 2's saloons, and it looks like the liquid leaves Arthur hangover-free, which is a nice bonus.

It doesn't explain, however, what's in the cauldron, or what the giant metal pot is doing in the woods in the first place. Given the iconography, it seems like witchcraft is a pretty solid bet, but so far that's just conjecture. Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn't offer any clues (at least not any that have been found quite yet), so use your imagination. As of this writing, it's the best that you've got.

Are the Nite Folk actually zombies?

Red Dead Redemption is no stranger to shambling living dead. The first game's one and only single-player expansion pack, Undead Nightmare, was full of 'em. But, in case you've forgotten, that adventure wasn't canon. Fans' best guess is that, as the name implies, it was one really bad dream. Heck, you couldn't even access Undead Nightmare from the main campaign. It was only available via a totally separate menu entry.

And yet, as you've seen, Red Dead Redemption 2 is full of supernatural, paranormal, and cryptozoological creatures. With all of the ghosts and vampires kicking around, zombies would fit right in. So, as you can imagine, fans weren't too surprised when a group of dirty, furious men came stumbling out of Bluewater Marsh, their clothes in tatters, and rushed Arthur Morgan.

But are these zombies, or just some really pissed off swamp people? It's hard to say. We know that the attackers are known as the Nite Folk, as explained on a note carried by one of their victims, but that doesn't say much about their origins. Now, Bluewater Marsh is part of Lemoyne, a region that's largely based on New Orleans. In real life, the city that has a healthy voodoo tradition, and voodoo and zombies go hand-in-hand. The marsh is haunted, too. On the other hand, there's no real indication that the Nite Folk are undead. It's an assumption based on their appearance and past precedent. And so, the debate continues.

Why is this one intersection cursed?

Red Dead Redemption 2 goes out of its way to make your horse feel important. If you don't brush it, it loses health. The more that you ride, the stronger the bond between you grows, and the more abilities it gains. There's a dedicated button for feeding your horse. There's another just to pet it.

As a result, it can be pretty traumatic when a horse dies. It's even worse when you're forced to watch a noble steed burn to death for absolutely no reason. And yet, that's exactly what's happening to players who happen to find themselves at an intersection just north of Rhodes, where horses (and other NPCs) spontaneously combust. Be warned: if you're an animal lover, the images involved can be pretty disturbing.

Now, realistically, these horse-fueled bonfires are probably a glitch, and no one would be surprised if it disappears after a patch sometime down the line. Given how weird Red Dead Redemption 2's world is, though, it's almost impossible to say for certain. If the fires of Hell really are spreading to Earth to wreak havoc on beasts and men, well, it'd just be one more entry in Red Dead Redemption 2's long line of unsolved mysteries.

Is Josiah Trelawny the Strange Man?

Eight years after launch, Red Dead Redemption's biggest mystery still hasn't been solved. While John Marston meets the Strange Man three times in his inaugural outing, the mustachioed, top-hat-wearing gentleman's true identity remains unknown. The Strange Man clearly isn't normal. He knows what Marston is going to do before he does it, and he hints that Marston's tragic death is a foregone conclusion. Is he God, Satan, death, the personification of Marston's troubled conscience, or something else entirely?

Many fans hoped that Read Dead Redemption 2 would provide answers. They're still hoping. Oh, the Strange Man absolutely shows up in Red Dead Redemption 2 — you can find his picture in Armadillo, although we'd advise against watching that video until you've finished the main campaign — but it's more of a cameo than a real appearance. Or is it? As many players have noticed, Josiah Trelawny, one of the more enigmatic members of the Van der Linde gang, looks an awful lot like the Strange Man. Is Trelawny the shadowy figure that's plagued Red Dead Redemption fans for the past eight years?

He could be. Trelawny, a magician, doesn't stay in camp with the rest of the gang, and seems to vanish when it's time to depart. In Red Dead Redemption, the Strange Man implies that he's met John Marston before. Despite their common acquaintances, Marston and Trelawny never really interact in Red Dead Redemption 2. Both Trelawny and the Strange Man are fixated on Heidi McCourt, one of the victims of the Van der Linde gang's botched Blackwater robbery. It's not a perfect fit — for one thing, the Strange Man and Trelawny don't sound alike — but if it were, it wouldn't be an unanswered question. Here's to speculating!