Monsters of the Southwest – The Dulce Base

Okay, it could be argued that this is really an extension of my post about the Greys since the rumors about Dulce center around rumors about the Greys but it makes for an interesting story in and of itself so bear with me on this one.  We’re about to cross through the looking glass folks.

UFOs use unleaded.  I'm not supposed to tell you that, but there you go.

UFOs use unleaded. I’m not supposed to tell you that, but there you go.

Back in 1979 an Albuquerque man by the name of Paul Bennewitz was a part-time UFO investigator, full time business owner.  He and another investigator by the name of Leo Sparkle were doing hypnotic regression on a woman named Myrna Hansen.  Since those crafty aliens are so good at hiding their tracks hypnotic regression was, and laregely still is, the number one way to prove alien abduction.  Under hypnosis Myrna revealed she had been witnessed cattle mutilations (those still happen around here from time to time) and was taken to a secret underground base.  Bennewitz thought there might a link between Myrna’s story and the strange lights around the Manzano Nuclear Weapons Storage Facility (which, by the way, is nowhere near Dulce).

Paul Bennewitz ultimately built a device to decode alien transmissions and those transmissions led him to discover a secret underground base shared by aliens and government agents.  That base, he determined, was located near Dulce, NM in the Archuleta Mesa.  This was an odd enough situation but got even stranger when a man name Phillip Schneider came forward claiming to have worked as a contractor at the base.  During an expansion Schneider and his team accidentally opened a hole to cavern where the Greys had their own secret base.  This sparked a conflict between the human and alien operators that nearly devolved into a full-blown war before it was contained.

Schneider was later found strangled with a catheter hose.

Underground tunnels, referenced in Arise

Underground tunnels, referenced in Arise

To make things even more interesting, another man named Tomas Costello – who claimed to have been a security guard at the base – claims to have seen horrific experiments carried out by the Greys on unwilling human subjects.  If the rumor mill is to be believed, the Greys were trying to create human/alien hybrids (see this was around long before the X-Files came along).  The friction between the aliens and the humans over the treatment of human subjects again sparked a conflict before it was contained.

Costello fell off the face of the Earth after telling his tale.

So what’s going on in Dulce now?  Who knows, but I doubt they’re up to much good.

Now, onto how I wove all this into the gripping final sequences of Arise.  Again, this takes a bit of time, so make sure you’ve got a full drink handy.

At the end of World War II, with the Nazis in full-on retreat mode, the Allied powers recognized there was a huge amount of high-tech Nazi equipment lying around and set out to capture as much of it as possible.  The United States, Great Brittain, and the Soviet Union all descended on formerly Nazi controlled areas and sucked up whatever the could find.  Among other things, the Allies captured Nazi scientists and kidnapped them (they were Nazis, don’t feel too sorry for them).  Under Operation Paperclip almost 1500 Nazi scientists were extracted to the US to not only expand American technology but deny that information to the Soviets and Great Brittain.  The Soviets also captured a huge amount of Nazis to help with their own technological growth spurt.

Among other things reported to have been captured was a strange machine known as Die Glocke (the bell), something that could apparently do all sorts of thing that weren’t good.  The Bell was a wunderwaffe, something that was intended to single-handedly win the war for Hitler; a thing that might even be able to control a god (that’s my take on it, anyway).

Yep, it's a bell

Yep, it’s a bell

Ostensibly, all the captured scientists were engineers, technicians, and the like, but the Nazis were also experts at biological and chemical warfare and had their own long history of experimenting on unwilling subjects.  Again, if you follow the rumor mill, it’s not too hard a leap to make to wonder if some of those guys came back, too.  The United States was technically harboring war criminals so adding a few more to the mix wouldn’t have been too big a deal.  The Nazis also had a large occult group running around, some of whom would have undoubtedly fallen under US control.

Alien/human hybrids

Alien/human hybrids

Take all those things and add in the rumors of Dulce and you’ve got a recipe for good action.  It’s not much of a leap to think those same Nazis could easily have wound up at Dulce, with or without alien assistance.  Now, the Nazis were viscious bastards, but they were smart and tenacious viscious bastards who would have looked at alien/human hybrid experimentation as a perfect chance to continue their work on the master race.

Hence the apes in Arise; strong, easily controlled, not very smart, but paired with a genetically enhanced superman they would make an impressive army for a group that would have grown used to working in the shadows.  Over time they would have created something terrible; only the fickle caresses of fate stopped their plans.

Of course, there was at least one perfect man left at the end of the story…

More info about Dulce

Wiki on Dulce

Monsters of the Southwest: Skinwalkers

“Grandad always refused to talk about yee naaldlooshii at night.  He said the Skinwalkers could hear their names and would come speeding through the brush to take their vengeance.  ‘Be wary of yee naaldlooshii,’ he would say.  ‘You think you’re tough and safe with your technology, but great Mother Earth will always be stronger than you.’  I always thought he was a tired old fool and his superstitions sickened me.  So we gathered at night in the hogan, lit the fire and told the stories.  We all had a good laugh until I opened the door and found him staring at us with cold, evil eyes.  You could look at him and see both the man and the wolf together.”

No, not the Wolfman

No, not the Wolfman

It actually wasn’t all the uncommon growing up in Farmington to hear people telling stories about Skinwalkers.  We were located right next to the Navajo reservation and little bits of information would pass through the porous membrane that separated the two cultures.  It wasn’t an every day occurrence by any stretch of the imagination, but as kids we like to talk about monsters; especially when we were safe and sound in the middle of the city.  Bright lights have a way of washing away the mysticisms and worries.  Get out of town, especially toward or on the reservation, at night and the world was a completely different place.  Suddenly that fun time in the boonies got a wee bit scarier and the skinwalker legend looked frightfully real.  I never saw one, but I can see how you could imagine all kinds of things in the dark, flat expanses of Northwestern New Mexico.  Places like that at night let you see all kinds of things lurking in the darkness and it’s probably one of the reasons UFO sightings are pretty common in the area.

Like most of the monsters I’ve covered so far (Coco, La Llorona, El Chupacabra, the Greys), Skinwalkers are very real to the people who live in their hunting grounds and if someone says “Be careful, skinwalkers are out tonight,” it’s quite possible they’re being serious.

To understand the Skinwalkers you need to have some understanding of Navajo religion.  Mine is shaky at best, but should suffice for our purposes.  Yee naaldlooshii, (the Navajo term for Skinwalkers – literally “with it, he goes on all fours”)  are powerful magicians who have turned their backs on the Blessing Way and embraced the Witchery Way.  The Blessing Way, unless you had any doubts, is the way of generally being good.  The Witchery Way is the antithesis of the Blessing Way.  To put it in anglo terms; think of the Jedi and the Sith, although the concepts of the Blessing Way and the Witchery Way predate Star Wars by at least a couple millenia.  When the Navajo refer to the Witchery Way as being evil they’re not joking around.  The Witchery Way revolves around the use of ’áńt’į or corpse powder and it’s use in curses.  Corpse powder is, no kidding, made from corpses and the best corpses to use are from kids, preferably ones you killed yourself.  The corpse powder, when used in a rite and directed at a victim causes the victim to waste away to nothing.  In order for an initiate to finish the journey to the Witchery Way one must perform some truly heinous feat, such as the murder of a close relative, necrophilia, cannibalism, and so on.  Once a person has completed that journey one of the rewards is the ability to transform into an animal.

Skinwalker - Zahadolzhaacute

It used to be that in order to transform, a Skinwalker would have to carry around the pelt of the animal they wished to transform into but this doesn’t seem to be a requirement anymore.  In this day and age it’s sufficient to go through the trivial tasks of murdering your brother and turning your back on all that’s fine and good in the world.

There are various descriptions of Skinwalkers out there ranging from “that rabbit looked at me funny, it must be a Skinwalker,” to “the beast was huge and vaguely man-shaped and it tore apart the village like it was made of tissue paper.”  It’s also said if you lock eyes with a Skinwalker, the Skinwalker will be able to take over your body.  They’re supposedly extremely fast, quick to attack and kill, very tough, and impossible to catch.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, they’re usually powerful magicians as well.

I didn’t make use of the Skinwalkers in either Henchmen or Arise for a couple reasons.  The first is Skinwalkers are native to Northwestern New Mexico and they’re not commonly seen in Albuquerque.  The other reason is Skinwalkers have been written about by much better authors than myself and I doubt I could add anything to the stories Tony Hillerman has already told.  (True story: I met him once at Page One Too back when the place was still open; he was extremely nice.  I hope if I ever get famous I can keep the down-to-Earth feel he had.)

Skinwalker - 6518532_orig

They may not have the wide-spread popularity of creatures like Coco (or the Greys), but Skinwalkers are well known and feared in parts of New Mexico.


Size: Varies according to chosen form

Speed: Crazy fast

Attack: Can vary according to chosen animal; corpse powder; black magic

Special Abilities: Can change into an animal, kill you from afar with black magic

Armor: Probably none

Environment: Navajo reservation, Northwestern New Mexico

Alignment: Definitely evil

Monsters of the Southwest: El Chupacabra

“It was just after dusk when we saw them; a half dozen figures hopping across the plains like a bunch of kangaroos straight out of the depth of Hell.  They were too far away to make out the details but the fading light glinted off their eyes.  The red glowing eyes were unmistakable; chupacabras, probably a hunting party out for blood.  They looked like they’d steer clear of our ranch, but we watched them warily.  A single goat sucker is bad news, a full hunting party was dangerous to man and goat alike.

Looks like they’re headed West, my buddy said.

Yeah, straight toward Taylor’s ranch.  Better get on the horn and let him know he’s got a group of Hell’s hoppers coming for him.”

-The Ballad of Jake Colton


El Chupacabra, the legendary goat sucker, was first reported in Puerto Rico back in 1995.  Like every good cryptid, it’s made its way from the goats of the Puerto Rican outback to various locations around the world.  Even the Russians have claimed sightings, but they like to one-up the Americans so their credibility is somewhat lacking.  The creature is part of popular culture and has been immortalized in such classic films as Cupacabra vs. The Alamo and Chupacabra Terror starring no less than John Rhys-Davies.  That’s right, this guy:

Chubacabras.  Very dangerous.  You go first.

Chubacabras. Very dangerous. You go first.

was in this movie:

The Never Back Down of monster movies.

The Never Back Down of monster movies.

So what is the goat sucker?  Simply put El Chupacabra is a cryptid from Latin America that is renown for an unquenchable thirst for goat blood.  The earliest reports came from farmers finding their goats dead.  The forensics report, such as it was, discovered the goats were drained of blood and had three strange puncture marks on their chests.  The goat suckers have since moved through Mexico and into Texas, leaving a spate of drained goat corpses in their wake, like a kind of vampire for goats.

Goats are one thing, but what about human attacks?  According to most sources chupacabra attacks on humans are rare but not unheard of.  Fortunately, WikiHowl has an article on how to survive a chupacabra attack.  Bear in mind, these are pretty small creatures.  Most reports describe them as no more than three to four feet tall, so an adult human would be tough prey for your average chupacabra.

The government, of course, denies the existence of the Chupacabra threat, much like they deny the existence of the Greys.


Did someone say GOATS?

There are a couple different descriptions of chupacabras out there but more people tend to follow the description of the “classic” goat sucker; three to four feet tale, covered in leathery or scaly skin (no one gets close enough to check).  They have a row of spines down their backs and travel by hopping like kangaroos.  Other description include a quadruped predator about the size of a small dog and larger, heavier creature the size of a small bear.  Chupacabras may or may not have wings and there are scattered reports of larger “classic” chupacabras that approach the size of adult humans and only eat large goats.


Would make a nice pair of boots. Someone call Jack T. Colton

Some say El Chupacabra was a naturally occurring cryptid that was squeezed out of its normal lands and discovered a taste for goat blood, others claim the goat suckers were pets of extraterrestrials that somehow got free and spread like a reptilian wild fire.  It’s also entirely possible they were pets of other monsters, such as the Tall Man.  At any rate, they’re the bane of goat existence and would make a great DLC element for Goat Simulator.

Always curb your chupacabra.

Always curb your chupacabra.

Chupacabras don’t play a part in either Henchmen or Arise, but I can see a story about some secretive group that captures one, extracts the DNA, mixes it with humans, and creates a warrior race of chupacabras; somewhat similar to the alien/ape hybrids in Arise.

As usual, some stats and basic facts.


Size: Three to four feet tall, probably pretty strong to take down a full-grown goat.

Speed: Fast to very fast.

Attack: Teeth, claws.

Special Abilities: Can drain a goat of sweet, sweet blood in seconds.

Armor: Scaly or leathery skin provides some natural defense against goat horns.

Environment: Anywhere there are goats.

Alignment: Unknown.

Que es esto, Chupacabra?

Wiki Article on El Chupacabra

Monsters of the Southwest: The Greys

“He awoke with alarm bells ringing in his head and cold dread oozing down his spine.  The room felt dark and quiet but the reptile part of his mind was terrified beyond belief.  The paralysis of sleep took a Herculean effort to overcome, something adrenaline and terror should have overridden.  Finally, after an eternity of struggle, he managed to roll over in bed and collapsed against his pillow from the effort.  His tired eyes locked on three small figures next to his bed.  In the dark he couldn’t make out their color but they looked like stick figures with big heads and huge, black eyes.

One of the figures pointed something at him, a rod or some sort of tube.  There was a flash of light and then … nothing.

He awoke to the sound of birds chirping and sunlight streaming through the windows of his room.  A splitting headache and blood on his pillow were all that remained of the mysterious visitors.”

UFO sightings have happened all over the world.  From Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, at some point or another every place on the planet has had a UFO sighting of some sort or another, so how come I feel like I can refer to the Greys as a Southwestern monsters?  Well, it’s simple, really.  The Southwestern United States can lay claim to a couple of the largest mysteries in the UFO realm.  We’ve got Roswell and Area 51 in our court.  Of lesser renown but still important in these circles is the infamous Archuleta Mesa in Dulce, NM.  England has the crop circles but we’ve got the crashed UFOs and at least a handful of the little dudes safely behind bars in the desert.


I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens.

By the way, here’s a fun fact about both Henchmen and Arise: the cover designs were inspired by crop circles.  See, you learn something every day.

Now, for this installment of the fabulously popular Monsters of the Southwest, we’ll be focusing on the occupants of the UFOs, those little guys with huge black eyes and a penchant for playing hide the pellet.  Growing up in New Mexico I spent a lot of my life hearing about aliens and, if you read my author bio on Amazon you’ll find that I talk about roaming around the hills looking for buried treasure and UFOs.  I wasn’t joking.  That was called weekends when I was growing up.  As far as finding things, well, let’s just say I’m not 100% convinced it’s all bull.

Which makes this kind of an interesting installment in this series.  Coco and La Llorona are both pretty much considered to be just stories; a way of keeping kids in line and warning people about their egos.  The Greys are a different story altogether and while you’re unlikely to come across someone who says, “Yes!  I have met Coco!” or “La Llorona?  She’s right over there, might wanna leave your kids here, though,” there are plenty of people of sound mind and body who will swear on a stack of Bibles (or in my case a stack of Mad Magazines) that the aliens are very real.  Folks from all walks of life, from the rum soaked burnout living in the hills to retired military generals have claimed – publicly, no less – that the Greys are the real deal.

Mr. Grey will see you now.

Mr. Grey will see you now.

I’m not here to debate that.  I don’t have any evidence one way or the other to present about the veracity of extraterrestrial life.  It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility.  Of course, I guess if you want to get technical; if you assume the Greys are a possibility then it stands to reason that other strange things could be a possibility, too.  Then you’re stuck, painted into a corner by your own logic and having to swallow the fact that maybe, just maybe, Coco and La Llorona are either real or based on real events.

Since it’s estimated that a full 25% of the Internet(1) is devoted to stories of the Greys, I won’t belabor the point and try to discuss every single theory out there.  You can read up on the history of the alien stories anywhere.  Rather I’d like to discuss how they relate to the events of Henchmen and Arise.  While these guys don’t actively show up in either story they’re very much in the background of both books and serve, to a certain extent, to generate some plot elements and show an interesting side to Eve.

The Greys are referenced a few times throughout the story arc of Henchmen and Arise.  In Henchmen, as Eve and Steven are searching for the correct door to open they come across a kind of map describing what projects are being carried out behind each door.  The basic breakdown – in government project speak – is like this:

  1. The Hole
  2. Angels Above
  3. The Sleeper

(Spoiler alert: they find out what’s behind door number 3)

During the process of figuring it out, our hero Steven (who already has knowledge of the creatures) tries to explain to Eve (who is fascinated with the idea of aliens) how the Greys are of limited use.

“What do you think “Angels Above” is?”  Eve asks.  “Think it could be aliens?”

“Possible,” I tell her.  “They’re not that exciting, though.  Their weapons aren’t all that spectacular and we can’t recreate their power supply, so they’re basically useless to us.”

“Wait a minute.  There are actually aliens on Earth, and you know about them? And you never said anything?” she asks.

I look at her for a moment.  This is the one of a very few times I’ve ever seen Eve excited, and she’s giddy as a schoolgirl.  I never pegged her as the type to get excited over aliens.

“I’m sorry,” I say.  “It honestly never came up, and I don’t think too much about it anymore.”

“They’re real?” She asks.

“Yeah.  Great big eyes and everything.  They have a deep and abiding love of black licorice.”

“Why are they here?”

“They sent out ships in every direction, one of them stumbled across us.  Pure accident,” I say.

“Do they know anything?”

“They know they’re tired of deep space and they like black licorice.  Other than that, they’re basically long-haul truckers who’ve found a truck stop and though we’d be an easy conquest.”

I look her in the eyes and she looks crushed.

“I’m sorry.  It’s just how it is.  They just kind of do what they do.  They’re not all that different than us – same motivations, similar weaknesses.  Their technology is more advanced, but that doesn’t mean the average individual is more advanced.  Humans can make some pretty amazing things, but that doesn’t mean your average sofa slob knows a damn thing about making circuit boards.”

After all the build-up most people have about aliens, it’s disappointing to find out they’re not magical or wise or uplifting.  I was just disappointed I wouldn’t be able to fly their ship.

I have to admit I love this little interchange between them.  It shows that Eve, who is the supervillain of the story, isn’t all-knowing and still has a sense of wonder even after her 1000+ years of life.  I also find it amusing that throughout most of the book she knows far more about what’s going on than Steven and doesn’t bat an eye at having to fight a monster to get where they need to go, but she gets first excited then disappointed when she learns the sad truth about the aliens.

They’re used a bit more in Arise, but are still background characters. (spoiler alert!)  It was a hybridization process performed at Archuleta Mesa that granted Wilford Saxton his strange ability to come back after being shot and blown up.  He was the first successful prototype of an alien/human hybrid.

Hipster alien: was into cattle mutilation and probing before it was cool.

Hipster alien hybrid: was into cattle mutilation and probing before it was cool.

The other thing we learn in Arise is Eve’s interest in the aliens (again, spoiler alert).  Bear in mind, she’s pretty old and the centuries have stacked up on her.  She’s looking for a way out of life but is stuck with that whole immortal thing that makes it difficult to die.  By her reckoning, if she can’t die normally she has two options: either find a way off this rock or find a way to kick off Ragnarök.  Eve’s story still hasn’t ended so we’ll just have to see what happens to her in the future.  A dream sequence seems to indicate she finds a way to end the world, but dreams without energy are just dreams.

In the world of Henchmen and Arise the Greys are considered something of a pathetic, dying race.  Their technology is so advanced it can’t effectively be copied.  The aliens themselves, while doubtless intelligent, are the specialists of their species and can’t really explain how their technology works and so, therefore, are of limited value outside of the biology.  They’re hardly the central part of the story as either protagonist or antagonist.  The mythology surround the Greys already pretty well established and I simply had trouble finding a way to expand on that other than looking at a quiet takeover and that would have changed the tone of the story significantly.


The reason for this is simple: the story of the aliens has been told by better authors than myself and told better than I could possibly do so anything I came up with would simply be derivative of other works.  The same can be said of UFOs and abductions.  I wanted to include the Greys in some way or another.  I am from New Mexico, after all.  In fact when I was first thinking about the end-game of Henchmen the first idea I came up with was the protagonist (Steven didn’t have a name at that point) breaking into a base and breaking an alien out.  The joke was on him, though.  They weren’t friendly or easy to deal with.  He runs into a small collective of the beings and their psychic presence nearly wipes him out.  It was only the leader’s (Eve didn’t have a name at that point, either) constant reminder over the radio to keep his mind about him.  He winds up shooting one of them and the rest scatter.

That scene never made it from my head onto – well, not paper, but you know what I mean.  I never wrote it even though I could see it in my head.  In the long run, the idea of a captured god was much more interesting, even if it’s not really all that different in the final analysis.

So, are the Greys real?  I can’t say for certain, but I’m not willing to dismiss their story entirely as the ramblings of drunken lunatics or broken minds.  Why anyone would cover the vast distances of empty space to mutilate cattle and probe humans is beyond me, but they are called aliens for a reason.  Humans have trouble understanding people from the other side of the planet, there’s no reason to expect we should be able to grok people from another world.  All I know is this:  Be happy the Greys are these guys


See, the moon landing wasn’t faked.

and not these guys


This is his happy face.

As usual, some stats and basic facts.


Size: Mostly described as between a couple to four feet or so.  Not terribly physically strong.

Speed: They’re not reported to be very physically strong or fast, but they’re not slow, either.  Some reports describe them as moving like kids in short, sharp bursts of speed.

Attack: Technologically advanced but you don’t hear much about their weaponry.  Many reports describe the ability to basically “shut down” and take over victims.  Whether this is because of fear, psychic power, or something else is unknown.

Special Abilities: Interstellar flight, tractor beams, ships seem to be able to show up on radar but human weapons appear to be ineffective.

Armor: Nothing specifically described, but missiles never hit them.

Environment: Most stories involving encounters take place far from large populations although they don’t seem to be averse to buzzing large population centers.  See the Phoenix UFOs and the vast amount of stories involving cars breaking down in the middle of nowhere.  It’s safe to assume they can be anywhere and everywhere.

Alignment: Unknown.