Tales of the Wild West.
It’s incredibly easy to miss out on Red Dead Redemption 2‘s most interesting side-events and secret encounters. With the involved main story taking well over 50 hours to complete, it can often be challenging to pull yourself away from the plot to venture off to places that house strange and fascinating side events. In addition to many callbacks to the original game, featuring the return of key locations and characters, several of these moments showcase Red Dead 2’s weird and morbid side.
In this feature, we’ve rounded up a number of side events, Easter eggs, and references that speak to the amount of diversity and sheer attention to detail that Red Dead Redemption 2 has hidden in its world. A word of warning, however: Given that some time has passed since the release of the game, we’ve decided to include things from later part of the story–particularly some events of the epilogue. Spoilers follow.
Whether it’s chance meetings with ghosts, a UFO, or even a vampire, the open world Western always tries to keep things interesting for those that want to dive a bit deeper. If you want to know more about what you can find in the world of Red Dead Redemption 2, including many of the hidden weapons and the legendary animals, or if you just want to hear more of our thoughts on the finer details of the game, be sure to check out our continuing coverage–which includes our weekly show Quickdraw, highlighting many of Red Dead 2’s important details and features.
In one of the more short encounters, you can stumble upon the aftermath of small meteorite impact. Located just northeast of Roanoke Valley and Annesburg, you’ll find an isolated home with smoke seeping out of a hole in its roof. Once inside the house, you’ll find a group of corpses near a small crater in the center of the room. Approaching the crater will allow you to pick up a meteorite, which evidently killed the unsuspecting people inside. After leaving the home, Arthur will make a note of the event in his journal. While you’re free to hang onto this rock from outer space, you can also sell it for cash.
The Ghosts of Lemoyne
While each region has its own fair share of oddities, the area of Lemoyne is particularly rife with supernatural activity–which you can witness when walking around in the late hours of the night. In the western part of Bluewater Marsh at approximately 2 AM, you’ll hear hysterical ravings from a person in the wild. As you venture deeper in, you’ll see a glowing figure wearing a white gown off in the distance. This ghost will relive her last moments alive, shouting out into the darkness for help. If you try approaching the ghost, she’ll vanish into thin air. With three different stages, each encounter will become progressively more morbid, revealing how she died and why she continues to haunt the area.
In addition to the wandering ghost, there’s also a runaway phantom train that haunts the tracks in the early morning. While exploring the area around the tracks just northwest of Scarlett Meadows at around 3 AM, you can hear the faint sound of a train echo through the night. But instead of an actual train, you’ll see the ghostly image of one racing through the dark. Unlike the other ghost, this train can be approached, and you can even ride through it on your horse. The train won’t stay around for long, however. After riding on the tracks for some time, the phantom train will disappear before your eyes.
The UFO And The Cult
There is a ruined chapel located in the eastern section of New Hanover. If you enter around 2 AM, you’ll find a morbid scene with several dead members of a cult. Together, they sought to commune with an otherworldly being who only showed at night. After reading the diary of the cult leader, you’re given some hints on how you can trigger one of the game’s most bizarre events, which manages to push Red Dead 2’s weirdness up by several degrees.
You can learn more details on where you can find the church, and how you can trigger this close encounter by checking out our video on this particular event.
The Plague Town
To the northwest of the Lagras swamp, you can find an abandoned town named Pleasance. With some callbacks to Tumbleweed in Red Dead Redemption 1 and to the viral horror in Undead Nightmare, Pleasance is a town with a lot of history behind it, but we’re left with only minor details to piece together what happened in this tucked-away town. On the doors of the town barn, you’ll find a large message stating “Stay Out, Plague.” Nearby, you can also find the town graveyard, offering up some details on the lives of the former residents. Aside from a note shedding some light on the town’s past, there isn’t much else to uncover–leaving the rest to your imagination.
The Elusive Bigfoot
As something of a running joke from previous open-world Rockstar games, encountering Bigfoot has been something that many fans have expected since the first hoax in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Though Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare DLC finally offered a chance to meet the fabled creature, it didn’t end particularly well for the Sasquatch, resulting in one of the more tragic missions in the game. However, Red Dead Redemption 2 features some nods to those encounters, leading up to a surprisingly bittersweet moment. Though you can find several sets of Giant bones throughout the world which strongly resemble the fabled creature, it’s possible to meet with one of the last remaining Sasquatch.
In order to have a meeting with Bigfoot, make sure you have examined over 30 animals, which you can check in your compendium. After that’s done, head to the Calumet Ravine, located just east of the Wapiti Reservation. On the west side of the ravine, you’ll see a flock of birds near the water. They’ll immediately fly off in unison after you get close enough, and you’ll need to follow them as best you can. Eventually, they’ll take you to a remote cave to the east. Once you arrive, you’ll hear voice echo out from a nearby cave which is inaccessible to you.
While conversing with the cave-dweller, who is no doubt the reclusive Bigfoot, you’ll learn more about why they’re in isolation. After finishing your chat, you can return several days later to check up on him and pick up where things left off. You’ll never actually see Bigfoot in-game, though it is refreshing to have a surprisingly human chat with the Sasquatch, who just longs for friendship.
The Scientist and His Creation
Like in Red Dead Redemption 1, you’ll encounter peculiar individuals who toy with machines that inevitably lead to their downfall. Once you arrive in Saint Denis during Chapter 4, you’ll come across a character named Marko Dragic, a foreign inventor who seeks to master the forces of life and death through electricity. Starting up the Stranger mission The Bright Bouncing Boy, you’ll complete several tasks for him in the area before he returns to his lab located northwest of Annesburg. If you meet him there, he’ll give you another mission where you’ll have to help him harness lighting to give life to his ultimate creation–a walking, talking robot.
If you return later, you’ll find Dragic’s lab in shambles and the robot missing. In the lab, you’ll find an electric lantern, which will help you track the walking machine. In order to find the machine, return to Colter–the abandoned town from the opening chapter–and head up the mountains to the west. The lantern will glow orange when facing in the direction of the lost robot. Once you reach the top of the cliff overlooking Colter, you’ll find the the lost machine sitting alone–calling out for his “papa.”
The Vampire of Saint Denis
Saint Denis is an incredibly dense and populated town, offering up a lot of interesting opportunities to uncover in the back alleys. However, there’s one terrifying encounter that will take some work to find, leading to a surprising confrontation with a creature of the night. Throughout the city are clues written on the sides of structures. These clues will eventually point you towards the location of a vampire. Though this event may seem like it’s totally out of place in Red Dead 2, the build up to this moment, where you learn more about the location and the residents of Saint Denis, makes it an incredibly tense and satisfying event to see play out.
For more details, be sure to check out our guide on finding the vampire of Saint Denis.
The Shack in the Woods
Though this is a very brief encounter, this isolated shack in the woods has a very tragic history to it. Just west of Braithwaite Manor in Lemoyne, you’ll come across a small community near the water. While in the village, you’ll hear incensed ranting from someone in the nearby forest. Heading slightly south, you’ll come to a shack with chains wrapped around it. The voice inside becomes louder when you approach, and when you decide to examine it, a hand will reach out and try to grab Arthur.
If you take the time to listen to her dialogue, you’ll find out that she’s one of Braithwaite family’s long held secrets–they abandoned her due to her mental illness and physical deformities. Unfortunately, there’s no way to free her from her confinement. If you encountered the woman prior to the epilogue, returning again during the end-game will see the woman dead in the shack, long forgotten after the fall of the Braithwaite family.
The New Hanover Serial Killer
In the game’s most gruesome encounter, you’ll come face-to-face with one of Red Dead 2’s most ruthless villains. Just southeast of Valentine, you can find the first location of a ritualistic murder, displaying the mutilated corpse with the words “Look upon my works” written on the nearby rock. From here, you’ll be able to uncover other clues to uncover the identity of the serial killer roaming New Hanover and nearby regions. Solving the mystery eventually leads to a shocking confrontation with the murderer.
For a more in-depth guide on how to track and take down this Wild West serial killer, be sure to check out our guide.
The following slides include late-game spoilers. Proceed with caution.
[Spoilers] John Can’t Swim
Anyone who’s played through Red Dead Redemption 1 can attest to John Marston’s incompetence in large bodies of water. When he would get too deep, he’d die instantly. Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption 2, however, is a far more reliable swimmer, and he’s very quick to remind John of that while speaking with him. During some story missions and while hanging out at camp, Arthur and other gang members will tease John for his inability to swim.
While this can be seen as a subtle nod to the original game, there’s a bit more to it than just a throwaway joke. During the game’s Epilogue chapters, you’ll shift perspective to John Marston, and you’ll likely figure out during the worst possible time that John still can’t swim. If you ever find yourself in deep water, John’s stamina cores will drain instantly, putting him in immediate danger. Though this can come off as bit of a hassle, especially after many hours playing as Arthur Morgan, it is still a humorous–if cruel–reminder of a real danger from the first game.
[Spoilers] I Know You
Throughout Red Dead Redemption 2, you’ll see many callbacks to some memorable locations and people from the first game. Aside from the members of the Van der Linde gang, you can hear some characters speak about Landon Ricketts–the legendary gunslinger from RDR1–and even Bonnie MacFarlane, referenced in a letter found in Annesburg. Though New Austin and the town of Blackwater are barred off from the Van Der Linde gang for much of the game, you’ll eventually return during the Epilogue chapters when playing as John Marston. John and his family will get accustomed to living a normal life on their ranch at Beecher’s Hope. You can even visit many areas from the previous game to see just how different they were in the time before his next adventure.
While visiting the town of Armadillo in New Austin, you’ll be able to run into several characters whom you might know from Red Dead Redemption 1. In the general store, you’ll meet up with Herbert Moon, the abrasive and anti-semitic owner of the place. Behind him on the shelf is a picture of another familiar fellow, the Strange Man from Red Dead 1’s infamous “I Know You” side mission. John will even make a comment about knowing him, but can’t quite place exactly from where.