Turkey Tales


I was going to tell you the story about the Haunting at Cave Creek, Arizona. It is a story dating back to 1873.  A guy named Henry Doyle had a pet turkey.  Toby the Turkey, actually.  They went everywhere together.  Most turkeys are typically not so smart.  But Toby was the exception.

Oh heck, I’m telling the story.  I may as well continue… as I was probably just going to end up writing some lame & sappy Thanksgiving wish like everyone else does.  And that would have been disappointing.

So.  Okay, back to Cave Creek.   Henry noticed the bird on the family farm. The rest of the turkeys would just do their turkey kind of things. But Toby seemed to be a  bit curious.  About everything.  About the cows, the chickens, the goats… the whole lot of the farm.  But especially, Toby seemed curious about people, and he took to following Henry.  They became fast friends, and before long, Henry and Toby were pretty much inseparable.

In about his fourth year (getting up there for Turkeys, really)…. Henry,  Toby, and another of Henry’s friend (Percy McGriffen) decided to go camping up in the mountains there at Cave Creek. It was fall, and the Canyon colors were spectacular at that time of year.  A golden light would shine like no other time of year.

Anyway.  The were up on Rushton Peak, and hiking along just before dusk. They had set up camp not far from this site.  It was a beautiful, still canyon night.  But suddenly they heard a shot. It spooked Toby and he began to run in circles.  Seeing the progression of events, Henry leaned toward Toby… to try to calm him.  Just as he did, the edge of the cliff gave way, and Henry began to fall.  He grabbed on to a tree root, at the cliff’s edge.

Matter got worse quickly.  Toby…. that loyal turkey….. sensed the severity of the situation.  Toby ran over the cliff to help.  As he began to fall, Henry grabbed him.  Now… both bird and man, dangled from the edge, and Henry’s grip was failing.

Trying not to get too close to the edge, and make matters worse,  Percy edged toward his friend, as far as he could.  Seeing that Henry was certain to fall, Percy called out to him. “Flip me the bird.  C’mon Henry. Flip me the bird.”  So, Henry did his best to toss Toby up to Percy McGriffen.

Now here was Percy’s big mistake.  He thought turkeys could fly.  He made no effort to catch Toby.

Toby began to plunge through the air, a look of terror in his eyes.  Henry could not let this happen.  He let go of the tree root, and he too, dropped through the air.  Together.

In a state of disbelief, Percy watched, as both Henry, and his pet turkey Toby, fell down into Cave Creek Canyon, to their certain death.

Of course I must state the obvious.  This is where the term “flipping the bird” is said to have originated.  But that is not the story.

To this day, the residents of Cave Creek will not go up to Rushton Peak.  They say it is haunted.  Since 1873…. 24 people have fallen to their death from that site.  And just at dusk, they say you can hear the screams, of man and turkey, falling to their death.  That’s it.  They died.  Sadly.

I told you there would be no sappy good wishes, like all the other blogs in the world.  This ain’t Pintrest Baby.

So.  Happy  Thanksgiving.  Try not to flip anyone the bird today.