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Red Dead Redemption myths that turned out to be true

The Wild West is a big place. There is plenty of room for an unsolved mystery or two in the expansive world of the Red Dead Redemption series, and that's exactly what players have found over the the years. Rockstar has a kind of penchant for sprinkling in hidden stories and legends into their maps, as evidenced in the many strange finds throughout Los Santos in Grand Theft Auto 5. The devs stay quiet and allow fans to find them for themselves and, with the power of the internet hive mind, solve them. 

Since the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, conspiracy theorists and eagle-eyed gamers have been untangling what amounts to virtual urban legends: players happen upon some strange things and turn to their fellow players to parse out if this is a real nugget of environmental storytelling or just a glitch. We've assembled some of the most pervasive myths found in the Red Dead series that have been proven to be the real deal: Rockstar doing its thing, and doing it well.

Cowboys and aliens

Don your tinfoil hats, because it looks like aliens have invaded the Wild West. We've been well aware of the presence of little grey men in Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto for years. In Los Santos, there is an area where you can actually spot an unidentified, no-longer-flying object wrecked beneath a bridge, complete with the corpse of its apparent occupant. These extraterrestrials have been around since the olden times, apparently, because players have spotted them in Red Dead Redemption 2

At first, the talk about aliens started as any urban legend might: rumors on Twitter. But then players were able to come forward with some very compelling video evidence of flying saucers. One showed a player in a creepy, skeleton-strewn cabin. Seen through the drafty rafters was a green, glowing flying saucer making out of this world noises. The moment the player stepped outside (after doing the sensible thing and shooting at it a few times), the UFO was gone. Another UFO was spotted at a different point in the map, spinning and much smaller than the first. Rockstar hasn't said anything about these intergalactic invaders ... but we know the truth!

The ghost train whistles for you

At the beginning, not everyone was all aboard this myth. But it wound up being real, and for some, real scary. Not too long after the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, some fans were reporting sightings of an apparent ghost train. It turned out that this apparition was real enough to spook players' horses. The ghost train continues to surprise unsuspecting players to this day. 

The ghost train isn't hard to find. Spotting this spectral locomotive is all about timing. On the map, players can find the haunted railroad in Lemoyne, smack in the middle of Scarlett Meadows. A good landmark to look for, and wait by, is an in-game sign welcoming you to Lemoyne. To see the ghost train for yourself, you have to park yourself here until 3 a.m., the witching hour. Then you'll hear the phantom whistle and see the smoky white vision of the ghost train. If you happen to miss it, it makes regular trips at 3 a.m., as punctual as any real train. Riding alongside the train will spook your horse, but other than that, this apparition is harmless.

Vampires are real

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game big enough for aliens, ghosts, and also vampires as it turns out. Not the handsome, alluring type from contemporary literature; rather, the vampire that strikes fear in the hearts of the good folk of Saint Denis looks remarkably similar to one of the first vampires of the silver screen, Nosferatu, all bald-headed and pointy-eared. He's no Edward Cullen

To hunt this vampire, if you dare, you'll first have to find some mysterious writings scattered around Saint Denis. This vampire is both a poet and a graffiti artist. Once you have found all five of his pieces of prose, you will be able to find the vampire feeding on the neck of a victim in an alley. This creature of the night will warn the player off, leaving you unharmed if you walk away and pretend you didn't see anything. If you choose to fight, however, not to worry. Vampires aren't really immortal, apparently; they're just as susceptible to bullets as any breathing human is. The vampire carries an ornate dagger if you want a souvenir from your time playing as a Wild West Van Helsing.

The original X-Man myth: there's a mutant

Science wasn't exactly the precise method we know it as today back in the days of cowboys and outlaws. In the past, any old quack could claim to be a doctor and do what he liked with his, uh, subjects. This horrifying historical fact is showcased in one point of interest on the Red Dead Redemption 2 map, tucked away in an abandoned mansion in New Hanover. 

There, someone fancied themselves as a sort of Dr. Frankenstein, stitching together parts from various animals to create a gruesome chimera hung up on the wall. This freak is part pig, bear, vulture, and who knows what else. Why was such a creature created? A poster at r/reddeadmysteries posited that this makeshift lab might belong to Thomas Downes, due to the stack of pamphlets for The Charitable Organization Society of New Hanover in a desk there. Downes could be found in New Hanover passing out these handbills. Could this charity be funding his mad science? That, we don't know, but we do know that this man-made mutant is no myth.

Is that cave hermit the Devil?

The Devil himself lives in West Elizabeth, sitting in a cave and generally minding his own business. That's the way the myth goes anyway. There is a lot of truth to this tale: there is indeed a hermit with a horn-like hairdo hanging out in a cave in the Hidden Tunnel northwest of Pronghorn Ranch. However, fans that have taken the time to seek out this stranger have confirmed that while this old man isn't actually the Devil himself ... he wants to be

Upon disturbing him, the man will beg the player to leave, complaining of the modern era. He speaks as if he's been alive for centuries, nostalgic for "the time of kings." There is no apparent way to reach the cave hermit's hideout — it's an opening high above the player's head. This hasn't stopped determined sleuths from figuring out how to parkour their way up to the stranger's lair. Once in the cave, it was discovered that Rockstar probably didn't expect players to want to get so up close and personal with this antisocial jerk. He stays unblinkingly still. And he'll die if you want to kill him, by the way, proving that there's nothing supernatural about this cave hermit.

Is the Strange Man in RDR2?

This man is so strange, he's a stranger to himself. In the first game, this curious character claims that he can't recall his own name when John Marston demands it. The Strange Man, as he came to be called, knew a whole lot about John: his name and his past actions for starters. This man has been around for a long time, apparently, appearing in the form of rumors and apparitions in Red Dead Redemption 2

The stuff of myth, you can actually find the place that the Strange Man calls home. At first, players didn't know what to make of the eerie cabin found in Bayall Edge, Lemoyne. There was writing all over the walls, literally: cryptic poems displayed alongside the artwork. Further study into this mystery unveiled that, yes, the Strange Man is indeed in the game. Sort of. Repeatedly visiting the cabin as John Marston will allow for players to witness the progress of a portrait, the smudgy oil paint eventually unveiling the image of the Strange Man. What's more, and more haunting, is that players discovered that the Man is in the mirror behind John upon viewing the finished painting: a phantom and nothing more.

The Vikings didn't visit ... but someone else did

We don't know the exact location of the expansive Red Dead Redemption 2 map, but we do know some history of the region. Before Manifest Destiny became the gospel of the 19th century, before Lewis and Clark even, it appears that other explorers "discovered" the west, at least according to Rockstar.

Reddit is apparently a great resource when it comes to translating ancient text in video games. When fans started noticing a rock covered in runes in Roanoke Ridge, sleuths swept in to solve the mystery. Apparently the lettering is Phoenician, a translation by Redditor FromBirthToOmega roughly reading, "We arrived by boat. Beautiful land. Gracious people. So we left them to live in peace."

The mystery of the petroglyphs is solved: the Phoenicians managed to make it to America. They're not Vikings, as it so happens, but rather a seafaring civilization from biblical times, having built an empire long before Rome. Here Rockstar got us all excited about Vikings, when it was actually a different ancient people who penned the Old World Scripts. Put away your horned helmets, guys. Rockstar pulled the wool over our eyes on this one.

Dare the peacemakers: yes, that's a nod to Undead Nightmare

Fans of Red Dead Redemption 2 have their collective eyes peeled for any kind of indication that Rockstar will fulfill their dreams and give players a whole new Undead Nightmare. The zombie-themed DLC was an absolute hit in the first game, and various theories about its apparent second coming have been floating around the internet. While most of these just amount to unconfirmed myths, there is one fact that we can confirm: RDR2 acknowledges the ancient goddess at the center of the zombie apocalypse. 

The undead plague was caused by the theft of an Aztec mask from the altar of Ayauhtéotl. Around the town of Blackwater, players found lines of Aztec-like script that they then took to Reddit in order to decipher. Apparently the glyphs read roughly as follows: "Blessed are the peace makers, Ayauhteotl." While we're left scratching our heads as to the meaning of all this, the translation proves that no, Rockstar did not forget about the Undead Nightmare DLC when they made RDR2.

The ghosts of Roanoke

You can hear a lot of strange things at night. Your imagination might play tricks on you. But fans who ventured into the woods of Roanoke Valley weren't imagining the disturbing whispers of the dead, as it turns out. What started as just a myth has been confirmed with some haunting recordings. 

In the moonlit shadows, two voices can be heard whispering back and forth, their conversation unintelligible until an unseen, and indeed undead, woman asks, "What's that terrible noise?" The lines are taken straight from an old story played in the game's theaters called The Ghastly Serenade, telling the tale of a couple who gets lost in the woods and then attacked by ghost Redcoats. The boy, Eugene, is beheaded by the undead army, and his sweetheart Ethel is executed for witchcraft when she returns to the village with tales of the ghostly, ghastly English.

Fans were able to put together the story thanks to the spectral echo of Ethel saying, "You should be ashamed of yourself, Eugene Hutton," thus giving identity to the couple of ghosts left to wander the woods.

Witches are real too, by the way

Here's something that sounds so ridiculous that it must be just a fan-made myth: there is an ominous, bubbling witch's cauldron sitting out in the open that anyone can bravely (read: stupidly) drink out of. Turns out, this is actually a real thing that Rockstar thought was pertinent to include in the game. Aliens, vampires, zombies: why not witches? 

While we don't see any witches hanging around this very supernatural location in Grizzlies East region of the Ambarino territory, it's clear that magic is afoot. The little open air hovel looks like it belongs in Skyrim rather than the Wild West, with skulls, potion bottles, and candles scattered about. There is also a raven hanging out, watching the player's every move. The player can also force Arthur to take a sip of the bubbling black sludge inside the cauldron. A sip will make you faint and you'll wake up a small distance away no worse for wear ... we think. The potion has no effect other than eliciting a Skyrim-sounding chime when the player wakes from their stupor. What the potion does is a mystery, but its existence is no myth.

The Incredible Donkey Lady

It's no myth that Rockstar pays attention to its fans. There was no ignoring the infamous, hilarious glitch known as the "Incredible Donkey Lady" from the first Red Dead Redemption game. This video gone viral shows a player who has a ... strange steed. Rather than your standard horse, they are able to ride around on a female NPC with the head of a donkey. She runs fast and she brays just as well as any actual donkey. 

This is another myth that sounds too weird to be real: Rockstar nodded toward the glitch by featuring a macabre version of the donkey woman. Yoked to a mill outside of new Austin, players can happen upon the grisly sight of a decaying corpse: its head that of a donkey, and its body a skeletal woman. This might be one of the weirdest, eeriest sights in the game, a callback to what was otherwise a laugh out loud funny video.

Reach for the sky: fishing out an arm

Every open world game is required to feature fishing. That's what it seems like, anyway. In Red Dead Redemption 2, you can kick back on a shore and reel in a number of different fish ... and arms. Just one arm, actually. A player, with video proof, confirmed the myth that there is something more than just sturgeon in a pond near Saint Denis, shocking the whole of the r/reddeadmysteries community. 

As Arthur reels in what looks to be a green and grey branch, he says, "Aw not a fish after all." It's not driftwood either. Rather, he's reeled in an arm severed cleanly just above the elbow. This ghastly catch is withered and grey, as if it has been underwater for a good, long while. This suggests that it was a purposeful inclusion rather than a glitch, and further makes us wonder where the rest of the body is; perhaps waiting to be caught by unsuspecting fishermen, piece by grisly piece? We don't know for sure, but there's no denying the existence of this disappointing catch of the day.