Several mysterious, not to say frightening, objects found in Two Moon Park could be evidence of extraterrestrial visitation, or possibly of the existence of devil worshippers, The Billings Gazette has learned.
It is possible, of course, that the artifacts in question are nothing more than highly imaginative, ad hoc public art projects created by park visitors under the powerful influence of the area's natural beauty. But this reporter sees no reason to pursue that humdrum possibility.
No, in the absence of any indication of what the objects are being used for, or who created them, it seems better to open the door to rampant speculation.
What exactly are these strange artifacts?
— One of them is a wall or fence about 12 feet long, made of sandstone and shale slabs, at the downstream end of Two Moon Park. The elaborately constructed wall, with a doorway in the middle, serves no apparent purpose and runs between the face of a steep cliff and a large concrete cylinder at the edge of the Yellowstone River.
— Another is a corral-like enclosure about 10 feet in diameter made of branches, each one carefully stripped of bark, fitted one into another by means of painstakingly bored holes and carved, tapered ends. There is no gate on the corral, just an opening topped by a wooden arch.
— Lastly, not far from the corral, in a shallow ravine thickly shrouded by Russian olive trees, is an abandoned GE washing machine, bent, battered and rusted, with a stout length of wood protruding up from it. On top of the piece of timber is a small plastic figure of Spider-Man, his arms and legs wound about with layers of tinfoil and duct tape.
There could well be more and even stranger artifacts in the park, the entrance to which is just beyond Centennial Arena, but these are the only ones to have come to light thus far. There is no evidence to suggest that these artifacts or installations are being used by groups of devil worshippers, and nothing that points to the involvement of extraterrestrial visitors.
Still, there is no conclusive evidence that the objects are not being used for devil worship.
Norm Schoenthal, the caretaker of Two Moon Park, was receptive to the possibility that the strange doings in Two Moon Park were somehow connected to people practicing Druidism, a possibility suggested by this reporter.
"It's got to be Druids," Schoenthal said. "That'd be perfect."
As for extraterrestrial visitors, "Chariots of the Gods?'' author Erich von Daniken long ago argued convincingly that most of the myths, arts and social organizations of ancient civilizations were introduced by astronauts from another world. Could these ancient astronauts be visiting our planet again?
Cal Cumin, administrator of the Yellowstone County Park Board, said he hadn't seen any of the artifacts and had not heard of any gatherings of strange folk in Two Moon Park. He did say, when told of the Spider-Man figure, "that's pretty strange."
He also revealed that when he was a boy, a young "hellion'' of his acquaintance had a hideout — a cave covered by a piece of plywood — in Two Moon Park. The young hellion, Cumin continued, also drove numerous railroad spikes into a tall cottonwood tree, which he would then climb in order to look out over the park.
It was unclear whether Cumin intended to imply that there was any connection between the hellion and the recent strange sightings.
Schoenthal, for his part, likewise claimed to have no knowledge of the stone wall, the wooden corral or the Spider-Man figure in the washing machine.
"I'll be damned,'' he said, when told of them. "I've got to get down there.''
As far as he knew, Schoenthal said, things have been quiet at Two Moon lately.
"We haven't had a good incident down there in a long time,'' he said.
The wooden corral is located about a quarter-mile from the Two Moon parking lot, just off the Dull Knife Trail, one of four marked paths running through the park. The corral — or the holding pen for victims of satanic sacrifice, as it may be — gives every evidence of prolonged and committed labor, and the observer is left to ponder, why? Why?
In the river silt all around the corral there are numerous tracks, some of them obviously left by human beings, some by dogs and some by creatures perhaps unknown to science.
As for the Spider-Man figure, the only other detail worth mentioning is that he is wearing a duct-tape garment around his waist, a kind of Sumo-wrestler-like diaper. The significance of the garment is not known.
Most intriguing of all is the stone wall at the downstream end of the park. The long, heavy slab used to form the opening in the wall looks too large to have been put there by human beings.
Similarly, just beyond the wall, forming a kind of walkway, are three or four extremely heavy slabs. One is tempted to conclude, as von Daniken did in the case of Stonehenge and the statues at Easter Island, that they were moved into place by alien visitors.
One side of the wall is flush against a huge concrete cylinder that Schoenthal said used to be the pump station for the old county poor farm, which drew its water from the river and sat on the bench just above the Yellowstone there.
Yellowstone County Sheriff Chuck Maxwell professed to have heard no reports of devil worship or ETs in the park.
He did sound surprised to hear about the unsettling objects discovered at Two Moon, however, and when asked whether he was prepared to state categorically that the objects had nothing to do with either aliens or followers of the Dark Lord, Maxwell said, and we quote:
"At this point I'm not ruling anything out.''