Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Newspaper Clipping of the Day
This little mystery has a special significance for me, as I was a small child when this story was in the news, and it so spooked me I have remembered it well ever since.
On August 7, 1973, the voice of a “very scared” seven-year-old boy who identified himself as “Larry” could be heard over a CB radio frequency in the foothills of central New Mexico. He told listeners that he and his father had been driving in a desolate area of the state hunting rabbits when there was an accident which overturned their truck. He said his father was dead, and he was left completely alone.
The boy’s increasingly weak and despairing broadcasts were heard over a period of several days, before dying out for good. Although it was believed the broadcasts were coming from somewhere in the vicinity of the Manzano Mountains, a massive search found nothing. CB signals of that period were prone to “skip”—the strength of the radio frequencies fluctuated greatly, making it impossible for would-be rescuers to pinpoint his exact location. What made matters worse was “Larry’s” panicky channel-switching on his radio. His broadcasts begging for help could be heard in a number of states across America, but it was anyone’s guess if it was because of the atmospheric conditions or if the publicity given the story was inspiring copycats.
The search was so poorly-organized and chaotic that even if “Larry” was in the area, there was no guarantee he would be found. After about a week, the search efforts were called off, and “Larry” fell into that historical quicksand known as “unresolved stories.” The stymied authorities finally pronounced that the whole thing had been a hoax. However, no proof of this was ever produced, and radio operators who talked to “Larry” were convinced that this was no act.
Did someone pull off a particularly convincing sick joke? Was there one initial genuine distress call, followed by various hoaxers? Were “Larry” and his father figments of someone’s warped imagination, or were they among the many travelers who have been lost, sometimes for good, in the remote regions of the West?