[True Horror] Travertine Rock

by Robert Hamilton


I was assigned to the Salton City station in the 1980s. At the time, there were only two deputies assigned to the station, one for the day shift and one for the night shift. I was assigned to the night shift for Highway 86, which was referred to as the killer highway—many lives were lost there. Highway 86 starts just north of the border of Mexico, continues through Imperial County to the Riverside county line. It passes through several towns, including the towns Salton city, Salton Sea Beach, and Desert Shores.

Travertine Rock is shared by both Imperial County and Riverside County. The Imperial County side is popular with motorcycle and sand rail enthusiast. The Riverside County has grape vineyards in full operation. It’s like night and day.

One Saturday night, I drove north towards the Riverside County line, I pulled off the highway to monitoring the traffic flow. The traffic was bumper to bumper; however, it was consistent, meaning there were no accidents blocking the highway.

As I approached Travertine Rock, I saw a bright orange light above it. I saw several cars slow down and were looking towards the light. I found a place to pull my patrol car over and got out expecting to see a helicopter. Riverside County had just put a new helicopter into service. I tried to radio the dispatcher and advise them of my location, but I had to switch to another channel due to static.

Several things struck me as odd. The first was that I could see the object in the light. The second was that I could not hear any sound from the object. I watched the light hover over Travertine Rock, knowing in my gut that it was not an airplane or helicopter. As I watched the object, I noticed it had no red and green warning lights required on all aircraft to fly at night. The object started to slowly head toward the Salton Sea. I watched the glow for a few more minutes as it headed towards the Salton Sea and disappeared. I don’t know what I saw that night, except that it was not a helicopter.

Finally, I contacted the dispatcher and asked them if Riverside County had their helicopter in the area, although I knew better. The dispatcher said the helicopter was about fifty miles away. I don’t know what I saw that night, except that it was not a helicopter.


Robert Hamilton was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and grew up in a small village called Wappinger Falls. After his parents divorced, he moved to Florida before making Southern California home. There, he fulfilled his dream of becoming a Deputy Sheriff. Fifteen years later his career came to a crashing end after experiencing a job-related injury that caused him to be Honorably retired. As a Deputy, Robert saw and heard thing that were unexplained and without explanation: ghosts, evil, and just strange things. This was not new to him, as he had seen and heard things as a small child. Psychic? No, he’d be rich. Robert enjoys reading stories of the unexplained and flying his drone.