For all of the everyday things you’ll see in Red Dead 2’s take on the Wild West, you can also find some things that are definitely out of place. Ghosts. Vampires. Mutants. They’re all here — if you know where to look. Below, we’ll tell you all about them. But be warned: there are definitely some spoilers ahead.
It’s no big secret that Red Dead Redemption 2 is really good.
Rockstar spent eight years working on the next game in the Red Dead franchise, building a huge open world full of plain-spoken folk, rich magnates, dusty towns, burgeoning cities, and a 40+ hour campaign with more side missions than you can shake a gun at. And the attention to detail in Red Dead 2 is unparalleled. With so much time to get the game ready, Rockstar made sure everything in Red Dead 2’s world felt alive. With so much to do and see, and with so many variables at play, it’s certain that no two people will ever go through the game and have the same exact experience.
You can, however, seek out some of the scarier things others have discovered in Red Dead Redemption 2.
The Strange Man’s shack
If you’ve played the original Red Dead Redemption, the portrait above might look familiar. It’s of the Strange Man, a mysterious figure who regularly crossed paths with John Marston in the first game. He’s very much present in Red Dead Redemption 2, but not in the way you might expect. You don’t converse with him. In fact, you don’t see him out in the open world.
Instead, you learn of the Strange Man by coming across his shack in Lemyone’s Bayou West.
When you first enter the shack, you’ll see a barely started portrait and not much else. But with subsequent visits to the shack, the you’ll find the painting begins to fill out. When you finally enter the shack and see the finished portrait, things really get interesting. You can walk over to a nearby mirror, look into it — and see the Strange Man himself in the reflection, as though he’s standing behind you.
Of course, when you turn around, he’s gone.
You’ll never cross paths with the Strange Man again, at least not in Red Dead Redemption 2. But seeing as RDR2 is a prequel to the first game, his story does indeed go on.
Let’s take stock of when exactly Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place. The story starts in 1899, and you’ll find a lot of the turn-of-the-century Old West everywhere you look. There are still horses, buggies, and steam trains. The people of RDR2 still do their business in outhouses. It all seems so plain that, when Rockstar inevitably throws something out-of-period at you, it has a far bigger impact.
Take the UFOs, for example.
Hit a cabin north of Emerald Ranch and you’ll find a small cabin with a letter inside — an apparent suicide note from a cult leader which speaks of “the second hour under the half moon.” If you happen to visit that same cabin at 2 a.m. on a half-moon evening, you’ll see something that definitely doesn’t belong in Red Dead Redemption 2’s Old West: an unidentified flying object, hovering brightly in the sky.
Imagine being Arthur in that situation! You have enough to worry about, with the law after you and your gang struggling to get by in whatever camp you happen to be in. And now there’s this scary alien stuff, too?
Unfortunately for Arthur, he can potentially find some things that are a lot more creepy.
The time traveler
Arthur Morgan can only get around on his horse, or, if he’s lucky, via a carriage or a train. Yet there’s a weird man in Red Dead Redemption 2 who can travel through time?
Allow us to explain.
Northwest of Strawberry, you’ll find a small cabin inhabited by a man with a strange birthmark named Francis Sinclair. The early-20th Century jargon that Francis uses should alert you instantly that something is amiss. But still, he has a quest for you to take up if you’re willing. All you have to do is search the world for some rock carvings that Mr. Sinclair is hunting. Find them and the job is done. Sounds easy, right?
It is — until you return to the cabin. There, you’ll find a woman with a baby. She explains that her husband has passed, so it’s just her and her child. And then you see the child. It has the same strange birthmark as Mr. Sinclair, the man you were finding the carvings for. And then she tells you his name: Francis.
Talk about having your mind blown.
The ghost train
If you happen to find yourself in Scarlett Meadows in the middle of the night, you could have quite the frightful sight in store. All you have to do is hover around the Lemoyne welcome sign until the clock strikes 3 a.m. When it does, start trotting over toward the train tracks — and make sure you have a clean pair of pants on.
Arthur’s horse will start to act disturbed, whinnying and bucking. And then you’ll see it: a real, bona fide ghost train, chugging translucently across the tracks.
This isn’t the first supernatural encounter that Arthur will have in Red Dead Redemption 2; at least, not if you’re dedicated to tracking down everything on this list. But if this is the first paranormal activity you experience in the game, it’s truly a sight to behold. You don’t get anything out of it — there isn’t an in-game item tied to finding the ghost train, for instance, nor will you unlock an achievement or trophy. But simply seeing the train is enough.
Like so many things you’ll come across in Red Dead Redemption 2’s otherwise simple Wild West, it just doesn’t belong.
Agnes Dowd’s ghost
If you’ve spent any time talking to the characters in your Red Dead Redemption 2 camp, you’ve probably gotten the impression that Reverend Swanson isn’t the most reliable storyteller. He’ll often tell tales around the camp fire, and few of your crew members ever take him seriously. Whether it’s just because he seems a bit off his rocker or because he’s rarely sober, few of Swanson’s stories are heralded as truth.
As some have learned, however, Reverand Swanson wasn’t lying about the ghost of Agnes Dowd.
Make your way down to the swamps of Lemoyne and make sure you do so when the time in-game is between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. If the moment is right, you’ll hear the cries of a woman somewhere in the area. Follow them, and you’ll happen upon an apparition in a white dress. That, ladies and gentlemen, is Agnes Dowd.
Stay back and you’ll see how Agnes Dowd lost her life. Get too close? Well, you’ll end the encounter, which means you’ll have to visit the swamps again sometime later to try and see Agnes Dowd’s ghost again.
The pagan ritual
Ready to see something really grisly? Jump on your horse and head west-northwest of Strawberry, toward the edge of the map. Among the tall trees, on the side of a hill, you’ll take in a sight that could’ve very well existed during the time of Red Dead Redemption 2, but is still unsettling to see.
It’s what remains of a pagan ritual, complete with half of a decomposing corpse on a spike.
Once you fight off the urge to vomit, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about what you’ve found. What religion is this, exactly? Who — or what — was this person sacrificed to? Is there more to this story? At this point in time, we’ve not really found any links between the pagan ritual here and any other unexplained occurrences in the game. If nothing else, though, the ritual site does serve as a reminder that Rockstar likes to throw you curveballs — if not in the stories the studio weaves, then in the environments you explore while playing.
The Devil’s Cave
Does the Devil truly exist? That’s a question you’ll be asking yourself when you first reach what’s not-so-affectionately called the Devil’s Cave in Red Dead Redemption 2. Head northwest of Mount Shann toward a C-shaped area at the edge of the map, and dismount once you find the ominous looking cave. Next, get your lantern out — it’s a little dark inside. Finally, head in and prepare to be creeped out.
Wind through the paths of the cave and you’ll eventually come upon areas that have their own lanterns, signaling that you’re clearly not alone here. Climb down a ladder and make your way toward a hole in the cave above you. And then wait for the voice.
“Why don’t you turn around and go back to the light?” the voice asks. “I’m the Devil. I’m the Devil. I’M THE DEVIL!”
After a few moments, the man appears and offers an unsurprising — yet still very twisted — admission.
“Okay, I’m not the Devil,” he says. “But I want to be. I want to be. And that’s even worse.”
It’s safe to say you’ll probably want to high-tail it out of there after that.
Emerald Ranch’s woman in the window
Some things can be unsettling even when they aren’t scary in the traditional sense. Sure, ghosts are always going to make your hair stand on end. A man you can see in a reflection that isn’t actually there? Also really disturbing. But some of the creepiest moments you’ll experience in Red Dead Redemption 2 are the ones you don’t fully understand. Like the girl you’ll see at Emerald Ranch in the evening.
Make your way to Emerald Ranch, and sometimes, you’ll catch a glimpse of a young woman staring straight out a second-story window, seemingly in your direction. Without the context of the related side missions, you’re bound to be a little shaken by the sight.
But the additional details make it even more strange. Through NPCs in the world, and by investigating a bloody, closed-down saloon and a tombstone, you’ll learn that Emerald Ranch is run by Eugene Wegner, who keeps his daughter, Miriam, locked away. Miriam once had a lover named Joshua who was killed, and sure enough, the name on the tombstone you find is Joshua Burgess. It’s believed that Eugene murdered his daughter’s lover in the saloon, and now keeps her as a prisoner in her own home.
Why is Miriam being held this way? Is Eugene innocent and now just being overprotective, or is there more to the tale than we’ve been able to glean? Sometimes it’s what you don’t know that scares you the most.
For all intents and purposes, the city of Saint Denis is meant to serve as a stand-in for the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The city has a decidedly Cajun flair, there are more than a few French speakers present, and if those weren’t quite on the nose enough, the city is located in an area called Bayou Nwa. You can visit Saint Denis and expect to see some of the stereotypical traits of New Orleans. That includes a taste of the otherworldly.
Arthur Morgan, Vampire Hunter? Why not.
It’s true: you can come face to face with a real-life vampire in Red Dead Redemption 2’s Saint Denis. But not without doing some legwork first. There are a few steps you’ll need to knock out to trigger his appearance, which include finding some mysterious wall writings and waiting for the right time. Should you meet the conditions, you’ll head into a small alleyway in Saint Denis and there he’ll be, finishing up a … snack.
You’ll have a small conversation with the vampire before he pulls a knife and tries to come in for his next kill. So be ready. Gun him down, and you’ve officially hunted your first-ever vampire in Red Dead 2.
The locked-up Braithwaite girl
When you enter the town of Rhodes for the very first time, you’ll get a little bit of backstory on the feud between the Braithwaite family and the Gray family, and you’ll likely come away thinking that the Braithwaite family sounds like a crappy bunch. Buddy, you don’t know the half of it. Make your way south of Rhodes toward Braithwaite Manor, and then head toward the southwest corner of the manor located on the shore. It’s there you’ll see something you won’t be able to unsee.
In a secluded area of the property, you’ll find a boarded-up, chained-up outhouse with a crying girl inside. Zoom in on this girl and, if the light hits the right way, you’ll catch a glimpse of why she might have been locked up by the Braithwaites: she’s horribly disfigured.
Unfortunately, you don’t get any hint as to who this girl might be. But if nothing else, it cements the fact that the Braithwaites definitely have some skeletons in their closets.
The Mutant House
At this point, you’ve probably seen enough to determine that nothing in the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is quite as it seems. What masquerades as a simulation of the dying Old West actually has more to it than meets the eye, with its ghosts, UFOs, and vampires. And now you can add a touch of unsanctioned scientific experimentation to the mix.
There’s a cabin to the west of Van Horn that is keeping quite the secret, should you be daring enough to explore it. Find the cabin and enter to discover a sort of laboratory setup, which alone might be interesting enough. But it’s awfully hard to ignore the horned flying pig in the room. Someone saw fit to meld a pig, some kind of horned creature, and a bird into a mutant hybrid that is sure to give you nightmares.
There are actually more animals that make up this mutant creature if you’re willing to take a closer look. But if you’re like most people, you’ll probably want to snap a quick screenshot on your console and be on your way. This horned flying pig might have friends, after all, and they might not be mounted on the wall like this one.
The Night Folk
Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn’t have an Undead Nightmare spin-off like the first game did — at least not yet — but you can get pretty darn close to it by visiting Bayou Nwa’s Lakay Swamp late at night. It’s here you’ll find what the Red Dead 2 community is calling the Night Folk — some inbred swamp residents that will have you hearing Deliverance banjos in no time.
Randomly encountering the Night Folk isn’t an experience all to itself, fortunately. You won’t be scaring yourself to death for nothing here. By coming across the Night Folk for the first time, you’ll actually unlock a brand new quest called “A Fine Night For it,” in which you’ll learn more about the Night Folk from an old man and, eventually, help him clear these terrors out of the area.
You’ll get some pretty good loot for your troubles, including a machete, a Perfect Muskrat Pelt, and a gold tooth. You can at least sell two of those for some coin. And the machete? Well, who knows what other creepy things you’ll come across as more is discovered in Red Dead Redemption 2. You’d better hold on to that.
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