Red Gate is a location east of Deer Lodge.
Beginning in the 1950s and continuing to present, the area in the mountains is a favorite teenage parking spot. It came to be known as the Red Gate area because of an old wooden gate which bisected one of the only roads into the area. The gate at one time had been painted bright red but by the 1950s, only a few reddish streaks remained.
Today the gate still stands but there is no sign of the original red paint.
Linda Croonquist/Cowen who was originally from Deer Lodge, graduated in 1963, attended MSU for nursing, and moved away to Texas. Later, after painful surgery she started having flashbacks of strange childhood events. And she found out from family that they had some weird alien and UFO experiences in the valley, there are lots of stories apparently.
Linda stated that her brother Steve consciously remembers having a lot of encounters with aliens as a child, playing with them as a child. We didn't know anything about them growing up.
Steve not only confirmed the contact, but was actually shocked that Linda didnít fully remember the incident. You were there, he explains.
You talked with our little grey friends. I donít understand why you didn't remember this. At the time, Steve was 7 and Linda was 5.
As adults, they went through hypnosis to recover associated memories. Linda vividly described multiple trips aboard UFOs and her interaction with a variety of alien beings, including a kind and compassionate one that looked like a preying mantis. As there were no preying mantisís in Montana, Linda named this entity the Grasshopper Lady.
Steve described his visit to another world, one filled with canals under a dim sun.
Most events seem to have occurred in the 1960s, although Cowen said, We went back to Deer Lodge for two weeks and found out there were a lot of people with this experience, all the way from young high school kids to people in their 80s. Over the last twenty years, she said there had been hundreds of UFO sightings within a 150 mile radius of Deer Lodge.
Some of the events include:
Crop circle type marks at Sunnyside, near Anaconda, associated with UFO sightings by retired banker Louie Menicucci, as well as horse mutilations similar to more familiar cattle mutilations
Strange lights, sounds, and power outages
Gene G. Hughes, owner of D L Auto Supply in Deer Lodge, told how his aunt and uncle in the 1970s watched a huge brightly lit football shaped object land in a meadow near their mountain home. Hughesí wife Elaine related how a giant UFO landed in the road just ahead of a friend.
Cass Casquilho told of standing in the mountains and watching what appeared to be a comet stop still in the night sky more than twice before continuing on its way. The curious sight was witnessed by fellow hunters in the 1970s.
Verda Clawson and her friend Helen Schaffer told of a snowmobiling outing in the 1980s which ended when an eerie beeping sound chased the group off a mountain in the Red Gate area. A large dog with them became frightened and cowered. The two longtime Deer Lodge residents related the same details in separate interviews.
Josh Garrison & Brandon Kent, both in their early 20s, said they saw a bright light moving in a field in the Red Gate area. Thinking it was a farm harvester, with bright headlights, the young men approached to see if it was one of their friends. But as they approached, the light suddenly sped off and disappeared. This incident occurred in the summer of 2003.
Mark Denton, who knew Linda in high school, recalled chasing a solitary bright light through the mountains on more than one occasion back in the 1960s. It would appear to be right in front of us, he said. But just as you topped one hill, it would be over the next. We never did catch the thing.
Bill Kelley, another of Lindaís high school classmates, had quite the opposite experience. He told of one night in 1962 when he, his brother and another friend were driving home late after a dance in Deer Lodge.
We were all pretty tired, Bill recalled. Usually there was never anyone on the roads that late at night. But all of a sudden I looked in the rearview mirror and thereís a single bright light. I thought to myself, Hmmm, thatís interesting. I wonder who the hell is following us,í or something like that. This thing just kept getting brighter and brighter and pretty soon the inside of our car was bright. My brother looked at Kenny and just jumps into the back seat. Then Kenny followed him into the back seat. Well, Iím driving, so I canít jump in the back seat. It was bright all around us. But as fast as it got bright, it just went away again and my brother says: Aw, itís just the moon.í But we looked up and thereís the moon and I thought, ĎThereís not two moons that I know of.
Linda was not satisfied with Billís story. She felt there must have been more to it, so she asked Bill to undergo hypnosis. Bill agreed and more details of his late night encounter were revealed. While in a hypnotic state, Bill relived the incident with all its fear and intensity.
Iím not afraid, Iím not afraid, he kept mumbling to himself while describing how his brother Jack, and Kenny were yelling:
Go, Bill, go! We gotta get out of here! Itís getting closer!
Bill pushed the 1960 Pontiac sedan as fast as it would go on the twisting dark gravel road but the light kept coming. Despite the pleas of his passengers, Bill stopped the car. I gotta see, he muttered stepping from the vehicle. Awash in a brilliant light shining down on him, Bill stared upward and murmured in awe:
My God, look at the size of that thing, itís unbelievable.
But here his narration became confused and disjointed. He squirmed in the comfortable padded chair directly in front of the hypnotist.
Iím a little bit afraid, he acknowledged in a small quiet voice. This is not good. This is not good.
There was also an extensive account of a 1962 encounter by Dick Slater:
A friend & I double dated and we were in a place called Quake Lake, which was the result of an earthquake off of Yellowstone Park where a number of miners were buried some years ago. This was at night. We were parked on top of the slide area where there were still about 27 bodies that they never did recover.
The radio was on. It was a warm evening, in late June if I remember and all of a sudden the radio went off, the music went off. I didnít pay much attention to it. But the friend that was with me was a pretty good mechanic, so we got out, popped the hood and took a look. Nothing looked out of order. We didnít know if maybe the battery had gone dead or whatever, so we got back in the car and tried to decide what to do since it was in such a remote area. Then all of a sudden the radio came back on. So we started the car, the lights turned on and everything. We didnít think too much about it and turned the engine back off.
Within a period of about 10 minutes, the radio went off again. As soon as the radio went off, the thing I most remember about this, the thing that made it so unique to me, was the stillness, the absence of noise, the vacuum, around us. I noticed the pine needles in the nearby trees were moving yet there was no breeze. There was nothing. It was just completely still. We all sat observing this and were actually scared. We just sat there. It lasted for probably, as best I can remember, a couple or three minutes, maybe a little longer. Then the radio came back on and we started the car and left.
Shaken by the bizarre incident, Slater vowed never to visit the area again. But just about two weeks later, he was driving within a few miles of the place and remembered the incident.
It was 2:00 a.m., and I was whipping right along and my memory went back to the incident and I thought:
Man, this would be a terrible place for your car to quit.
I was going quite fast because I was anxious about this for whatever reason and wanted to get by there. Then right at the junction to Quake Lake the car quit. The radio went off, the lights went off and I coasted about half a mile, then the lights came back on and I started the car and went on. I had power brakes and power steering on this old 1958 Pontiac and it was tough to steer. I never tried to stop. I wasnít interested in stopping the car. In fact, I would have liked to have gone as far away from that place as I could.
I am a former resident of Deer Lodge, and I witnessed firsthand the weirdness of Red Gate. The first time was so bizzare and scary that all I want to say is that there as something that is more than extraterrestial, that is right out of the Twilight Zone. And that was only the first time.
My first encounter with Red Gate was really twisted, as some friends and I pulled up to the gate we all noticed that there was a note attached. As I was riding shotgun it was naturally my job to check it out. I walked over and took the note as I stood there in the blistering cold of a clear December night, what I read and saw was beyond anything that can be explained by reasonable people anywhere. The note was adressed to me, on paper that was old & brown from years of aging and brittle as a dried leaf. All I ever want to say is that it was from my best friend who had been out of state for some time and that it was a warning to stay away from there.
As we drove on we came to a cattle guard and turned around there. we all then noticed two people walking across a field to an old rotting house, what was strangest, besides the fact that they were walking in the middle of nowhere in below zero tempatures on December 4, 1994, was thier color. I didn't notice at first but after the people with me began to panic and scream, yelling to get in the car and carrying on.
I was told by this kid that they weren't human beings I was looking at. I looked agian and it dawned on me that they were the weirdest things I had ever seen, they were glowing in a strange blue light that was like the color of the moon, but it was coming from within them, and so like the dumbass that I was back then I yelled at them:
Hey, are you people O.K.?
Well they weren't O.K., and neither have I been since, when I think about this.
They turned towards me and began moving in what I can only describe as flashes. In about two seconds they covered about 50 yards or more and were about halfway to me. What I saw I never thought I would tell anyone other than my closest friends, but here goes.
They had no faces. only black holes were thier eyes belonged. they were pale and glowed in the weirdest way. we jumped into the car and raced away as I looked back in the rear window I saw that they were standing behind our car which was moving very fast, and that whatever they were they were dead.
So what is really going on at Red Gate?
Ok so I am a 17 year old teenager living in Deer Lodge and I can confirm there are aliens here. Last night I saw them for the first time. Me and a friend went up to Lower Rock Creek which is west out towards the prison instead of east towards Red Gate. We were parked in a dirt parking lot and my friend said that he has seen them hundreds of times up there so we got out and he whistled. He told me to look for star like lights that moved in every direction. Sure as shit in about 5 minutes we saw one hover down into a tree about 20' away from us. At first I could only see the light then I saw the tiny spaceship. They are everywhere out there man I don't know what they are doing but something is going to happen.
Their little ships have this camoflauge that blends them in with whatever is behind them but I could see the clear outline of the ship. I found out the the light is from the top of the ship, which is the only thing you can see until it gets closer. Then when we were driving back we got out and saw it again this time it came closer until it was about 10 feet from us then it just zoomed away. Now he told me he has seen them before up there and we are going to try and figure out just what is going on, they are real alien spaceships I am no troll or liar. Then when I got home I saw them in my yard, 3 of the ships were hovering outside my window so I closed it, I dont know how but one of them came into my room and got right in my face, I tried to swat at it to feel if it was solid but my hand just shimmered right through it. After that they must have known I was getting on to them because they went away for the night, this was last night I am still shook up a little. So I will give you a description of their ships.
They appear to be a star or comet or satellite in the sky at first, but then when they move closer to you you can barely if your lucky see the outline of their ship its about 2' wide and 1' tall, they look just like a textbook UFO with the saucer type bottom and the dome top.
This is not a joke heed my warning, do not go in the hills of the deer lodge valley at night alone.
So Deer Lodge seems to have a lot of strange things associated with it, including Red Gate and UFOs, the haunted Old Montana Prison, and the sacred site which was called the Deer's Lodge, a volcanic vent that was shaped like a lodge, an appearance reinforced by the steam rising from it like smoke in the winter, the warm ground melted deep winter snows and attracted deer in the winter because of the green grass there. And of course the mental institution there, called Warm Springs Hospital. Part of the old hospital is abandoned and stories circulate about its supposedly haunted ruins.