Gunning it out of a ghost town
It was in the middle of Arizona that my family and I discovered the strange town of Two Guns. Driving on Route 66, we had an experience not unlike the movie Duel. I started to notice a swerving semitrailer getting closer and closer to us. I hurriedly pulled over as it barrelled past us like a juggernaut.
Shaken, I decided to get off the road and took the next turn-off. That happened to be to the ghost town of Two Guns. We knew there was something strange about Two Guns the minute we arrived. In the middle of the cloudless Arizona summer, it started to rain. Within five minutes, it was hailing. It was as if the ghosts of Two Guns were telling us to leave.
And the town certainly has many ghosts. It was built in an area known as Canyon Diablo where an entire tribe of Apaches was burnt to death. In the late 1800s, a town was built. While most American cities have a Main Street, Canyon Diablo’s main street was named Hell Street. The street lived up to its reputation with 14 saloons, 10 gambling houses and four brothels.
Canyon Diablo’s first marshal was sworn in at 3pm and was buried at 8pm the same day. After the death of four more marshals, the army had to be called in.
The town is now known as Two Guns after Harry “Two Gun” Miller, a strange eccentric who set up a fort and private zoo in the 1920s and insisted that the town be renamed after him. Miller eventually ended up killing his business partner and skipping town. In 1971, what remained of the town was destroyed in a freak fire.
The only person living in Two Guns today is a man who calls himself Jesus and who allegedly shoots at passers-by. Luckily, we didn’t meet him. Stranger still, is the local rumour that Russell Crowe bought the town some years ago in order to film a remake of the 1973 sci-fi Western, Westworld (now remade as a TV series, without Crowe, and for release next year).
Five minutes out of Two Guns, the rain stopped and the dry Arizona summer returned. A few kilometres further down the road, we saw police lights flashing. The side of a large Winnebago had been ripped open and its contents were strewn everywhere. We then saw the semitrailer that had almost hit us, overturned in a ditch.
I put my foot down to get away from this cursed place. Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader: email@example.com. Columnists receive a set of men’s botanical skincare products from The Aromatherapy Company including face and body balm, natural soap bar, hair and body wash, face cream and shaving cream. $120.70. More: shop.davidjones.com.au.