If you have lived in Phoenix, AZ for any time at all you have driven Piestewa Peak Pkwy, previously Squaw Peak Pkwy, aka “the 51”, aka Dreamy Draw Pkwy. All these roads are one in the same, but as time marches on these names become a barometer of sorts and give away a person’s true place of origin when they try and pass themselves off as Phoenicians. Example. “Oh yeah, I can remember when we used to take Piestewa Pkwy to get to Legend City.” SAY WHAT?
How did a road get such a dreamy name you may ask. Was it the beautiful craggy peaks and rolling hills of the Phoenix mountain preserve? Perhaps the lush desert when in full bloom that runs along the draw? Maybe it’s those spectacular Arizona sunsets that play through the hills as your walking along trail 100? Nope. The answer is Mercury. Mercury poisoning to be exact.
In December 1916 Sam Hughes discovered Cinnabar in the area now known as Dreamy Draw, it became known as the Rico Mine. Cinnabar contains Mercury and is the only known source of the element. Being very rare in Arizona, it usually forms in small veins no bigger than your thumbnail and occurs mainly as points of translucent red, mainly in quartz when found at all. Due to its detrimental effects on the environment, the mining of Cinnabar has pretty much come to a halt. It is worth noting that rich veins of Cinnabar often times contain beads of pure mercury, and the mine at Dreamy Draw must have been such a mine.
The miners who worked there were in constant and direct contact with the Mercury during the mining as well as the refining process of the Cinnabar. This must have had significant effects on them because the townspeople of Phoenix (then 5 miles to the south) noticed that when the miners came into town they looked rather “dreamy”. Memory loss, mental confusion, and fatigue are just a few of the symptoms of Mercury poisoning. It was then that the area became known as Dreamy Draw.
Growing up I had friends who attended Mercury Mine Elementary, this school was built in 1976 and is actually located within the draw. No doubt as to where the name came from.
The UFO Crash
Now all that is interesting enough but its the UFO crash of 1947 that people are interested in when they mention Dreamy Draw today. A quick search on the net with the keywords “Dreamy Draw UFO” will bring up pages of hits as well as YouTube videos on this story, yet I’m always surprised as to how many people have never heard of this. It seems The Phoenix New Times, Weird AZ, and Roadside America have all done a piece on this one. But no matter your source, it seems that two accounts always define this story.
In October of 1947, not long after the infamous UFO incident in Roswell, NM something crashed on the north-west side of the Squaw Peak Mountains. Dreamy Draw to be exact. There is a corresponding story that goes along with this one as well stating that another UFO had crash-landed in a landfill 20 miles north in the town of cave creek, but some people believe it was the same one that hit dirt in Dreamy Draw, bouncing or skipping to its final resting place up north. (That’s one hell of a bounce.)
The first account of this story first made national attention when it came out in Frank Scully’s book “Behind the Flying Saucers”, published in 1950. And yes, a writer for the X-files by the name of Chris Carter picked the author’s name for the character of agent Dana Scully. This book is based on the testimony of two men, Silas Newton and a certain Dr. Gee, who was later discovered to be a man by the name of Leo Gebauer. Newton stated that he and Gebauer extracted two four and a half foot alien bodies from a saucer-shaped craft which crash landed in Dreamy Draw and put the bodies into a freezer until the Air Force arrived and removed them. Newton also claimed that Dr. Gee had an opportunity to examine the craft in some detail and that is how he came upon putting to use the technology from the craft into an instrument he had invented which could locate underground oil deposits using some form of electromagnetic energy. These instruments which he sold for around 18,500 of course. After the book was published these two became quite the pair. It was basically a new spin on an old scam. Salting a mine. In the old days, a crook would load some gold into a shotgun shell and shoot it into the side of a hill, later bringing an investor or buyer. He would pan out of the gold from the area where he shot into and “EUREKA”. He was rich.
Here’s how their scam worked. They would go off into the desert ahead of time and drill a hole, then pour a bunch of oil into it and cover it back up. Later they would bring investors, or other people interested in purchasing their claims or the machine itself and demonstrate for them how it could locate the oil deposits. The pair ended up netting around $400,000. Which in today’s sum is around 19 million. The two were finally arrested by the FBI found their day in a Denver district court, they were found guilty of conducting a confidence game, and conspiracy to commit a confidence game.
The second account comes from a man named Selman Graves, relayed in the book “Above Top Secret” written by Timothy Good, published in 1987. In this account, Mr. Graves states that on a hunting trip north of Phoenix he and his friends witnessed Air Force tents set up around a strange domed object in the desert which is now the Cave Creek area. Later after reading Scully’s book Graves puts together that what they must have seen was the crashed UFO that initially crashed in the Dreamy Draw area and that it must have bounced and landed there. Graves later states that a friend in the hunting party was ahead of the rest of the group and Graves surmised that he must have picked up the alien bodies and kept them in a freezer until the Air Force arrived and retrieved them. Years later he states that he noticed digging going on in the location where they saw the UFO and Air Force tents and that because of this Cave Creek road was moved.
Wow. I’m seeing some overlap here. Take from this what you will but to me, it’s obvious that the first account is totally bunk. The second does have some merit and doesn’t necessarily even have to rely on the first to be valid. The conjecture about alien bodies on Mr. Graves part being dismissed wholly, he states that he did witness some buzz around a strange metallic domed object in the desert north of Phoenix during a time in U.S. History when UFO sightings were abundant.
In any case, it is a 455-foot earthen dam which sits at the trailhead in Dreamy Draw Park just off “the 51” that many claim is the evidence behind the whole affair/cover-up. Officially the dam was constructed to divert mountain runoff from flooding local neighborhoods during the seasonal monsoon rains. However, those who believe that a UFO did crash here in 1947 say that the government built the unnecessary dam right on top of the crash site in order to hide it in plain sight. The only problem with this theory is that the dam wasn’t built until 1973. Here’s where I tell you that I actually grew up almost exactly two miles north of Dreamy Draw, and this was in no way in the middle of the desert in 1975 when my parents bought their house there. UFO parts didn’t lay around for 26 years before the Army Corp of Engineers decided to finally do something about it and throw a bunch of dirt on top of it.
I don’t believe I’ve mentioned the hum yet. There are a number of people who frequent Dreamy Draw Park who swears that there is a hum coming from under the earth there, emanating from beneath the dam to be exact. For those of you out there who don’t keep up on this sort of thing ultra-low-frequency hums have been and are being heard more frequently than ever all across the world these days, and people are reporting very low vibrations and coming from deep within the earth on a regular basis.
Is the dam strange? Heck yeah. It’s readily agreed upon by all locals that it is entirely unnecessary, as there is never any water behind it either before a monsoon storm or afterward. Whats more is there are tons of “NO TRESPASSING” signs all over this thing. I mean literally like every 50 feet or so. Threatening $1,000 fines and six months in jail among other federal action if one so much as places a boot on this thing. And finally, It’s also worth pointing out in case no one caught it yet, all these stories took place only a stone’s throw from Dreamy Draw Pkwy otherwise known as “The 51”. Area 51 anybody? Just Saying.