How many of us remember the old commercial from forever ago about highway litterers?
When you see that – if you’re the appropriate age – your brain should immediately conjure up the image of an old Native American man standing by the side of a freeway, watching as people throw trash out of their moving cars.
Updated 2/10/2020 – At the penultimate moment before the guilt punchline, you should see the closeup of his face, with the single solitary tear rolling down his cheek.
This particular ad campaign from the 1970’s featuring Chief Iron Eyes Cody (actually a Sicilian actor made to look like a chief, but who’s counting?) strikes close to the same image as what some people have described seeing on Lost Lake Road in Blythe, California.
Why does he wander Blythe’s Lost Lake Road?
What is he waiting for?
The motivation may be somewhat different though, because if local legends and eyewitness accounts are to be believed, the old chieftain is actually a ghost.
No one seems to know just when he started appearing on the side of the road, but for at least a decade now, people have been reporting an old man in tribal garb wandering around near where Lost Lake Road intersects with the 95.
He is alternately described as being very old or completely unidentifiable in terms of age – this seems to depend on who is seeing him and what time of day the encounter happens.
Almost everyone agrees, however, that as soon as you see him, he sees you – and then he disappears into thin air.
“I seriously thought that I was having flashbacks from the psilocybin mushrooms I did in college,” says Randy M., a New Mexican-turned-Californian by way of matriculation into the state’s fertile film editing industry.”
“We were just driving by there in the middle of the night, and all of a sudden there’s this Native American guy standing on the side of the road.
“When I got a good look at him, he just up and disappeared.”
“I told the guy I was with to stop, and we got out to investigate.
“We never found any sign of him, so I decided that I would come back by and keep doing it until I got a chance to see the guy again.”
Some spirits are a little more shy than others…
“Sure enough, we came back a week later and there he was.
“And once again, as soon as he saw that I had seen him, he just disappeared into thin air.”
Did you give up on him then?
“Hell no! I’ve been back twenty-seven times so far, and out of that I’ve seen him twenty-three of those times.
“He’s become like a drug to me, almost.
What do you hope to gain out of this?
“His trust, dude.
I want the old guy to come and speak to me, to tell me why he’s haunting this one little stretch of road.”
And what if he isn’t friendly? What if he’s hostile?
“That’s a risk I’m willing to take,” says Randy with a smile.
“Besides, how bad could he be? He’s really old.”
Hopefully, for his sake, he’s right.