Has Anyone Seen This Phantom Petroglyph?
A Possible Anasazi (or Later Native American) Phantom Petroglyph at 40 Mile Ridge Trailhead Coyote Gulch Entrance Descent, Escalante, Utah — 37.4167, -111.04 @ 4,131 ft @ 11:25am on 9/6/2017
During my recent vacation in Utah we happened across the petroglyph pictured in the three images below. It was only visible during our descent (from approximately 50% of the way down the steep rock slope and at the canyon bottom until the end of that section of canyon wall) into Coyote Gulch on Sept. 7 at approximately 10am. Upon our return it was totally invisible from any vantage point we could find. By definition a phantom petroglyph is only visible under certain very specific lighting conditions. These may only happen at certain times of year and/or times of day and/or from certain vantage points. I wish we had captured more photographs as a fairly thorough web search has not revealed any other available digital images of the “creature.” My first impression was of a large pterodactyl or other flying predator swooping down to attack the other visible “prey” bird that can be seen on the left side of the picture. Further study and reflection makes me question that however as legs/feet/claws may be present. The fauna of the area would suggest a mountain lion a likely suspect animal model. The scale is not very clear from the images but it was massive. I would estimate on the order of 60 feet high by 120 feet in length out to the tip of its wing/hair/headdress? which stretches out from left to right in the image. I have highlighted some other features with thoughts and questions. For reference the first picture is an unretouched version, the second has my guess on features highlighted with comments and questions, and in the third I have played with the contrast and brightness to try and bring out more details and features. Admittedly I am using very primitive photographic image modification software and have zero skills in this area. I would appreciate any contacts from persons who have seen this or know anyone who has. Also, any persons with expertise in Anasazi or native american imagery. Finally, anyone who wants to take a shot at “cleaning” up the picture more please do. All I ask is that you repost your modified version and keep me in the loop in the comments.
Authors note (Sept. 13–14, 2017): Further reflection and discussion with a number of others has caused me to revise my above speculation somewhat. I now believe the petroglyph to represent a hunting man on a horse. The man seems to be of some note as he wears a mask with long flowing feathers above and behind. All of the various mysterious or unexplained attributes of the object as an animal (mountain lion, horse, predator bird, or other) are accounted for when viewed in that manner. I also added an image 4 marked up as a “man on horse hunting.” I added a fifth image showing the view from up top. This gives a much better sense of the huge scale of the glyph. A sixth image with different emphasis was added and lastly I added the GPS coordinates of the glyph to the subtitle above.