The town of Coffinite Wyoming began as just a huddle of tents and wagons along a fork in the river. That river was much like a highway, way back when. The fork was an intersection for travelers who drifted by or wagons and riders as they came from different directions, following the water's flow.

The location was good for trade, and so it wasn't long before tents gave way to shacks which gave way to shops and homes. The townspeople threw a party for themselves when the church steeple was finished.

They were going to name the town Stone Rabbit. But after thinking of it they decided it sounded silly.

The name Stone Rabbit came from a story the first settler told. The old-timer said he saw a rabbit and decided to make it his dinner. For some strange reason, the furry little guy seemed oblivious to anything around it. It just stood there, perfectly still. He drew his rifle and took a shot at it. But the bullet just bounced off. He walked up to it and tapped it on the head with the but of his gun. It was like the rabbit was made of stone. Years later the old settled was asked what happened to that stone rabbit. "Really odd," said the old-timer. "It was as if he just faded away."

Paul Knightly
Paul Knightly

The town was named Coffinite after a geologist came through the area. He spent a couple of nights at the local hotel, above Jacobs Saloon. He spent most of his day poking around the soil and rocks of the town.

"Is this what you do for a living?" he was asked one day. "Don't seem like you produce much if you're just poking at rocks and dirt all the dang time."

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The geologist just smiled in retort. But then his expression changed to concern. "You folks might want to reconsider where you built this town," he said. "You're on a rather large bed of coffinite. It's concentrated more than I have ever seen."

How odd it was when settlers came after a long day of traveling that they would comment on how it seemed like the middle of the day in the center of town. But it was nearly nightfall just outside.

"Kind of warm this July," said the schoolmarm to a stranger.

"July? Ma'am, it's October, and the leaves outside of town are golden."

Alexander Supertramp via YouTube
Alexander Supertramp via YouTube

The letter from Cheyenne that arrived with an odd postmark that was two years out of date rather confused the shopkeeper and the General Store. He decided to ride down to the state capital and settle the issue in person.

Last week a friend of mine asked if I had seen that new stone statue of the horse and ridder out by the river fork. So the next time I was out that way I drove my jeep down the old trail that, I am told, had been originated by wagons, way back when.

My GPS lost signal before I got to the river fork. That worried me because I did not want to stay out too much longer. The Sun was setting.

Sure enough, there was that stone statue of the horse and rider. He looked so real. Who would put that so far out in the middle of nowhere?

Then, as the Sun dipped below the hills, for just a moment I thought I saw an old western town. Everyone in perfect period dress. No one moving. Like a mirage, it faded as did the last light.


No GPS, no light left. I decided just to make a camp for the night.

I woke thinking of the statue and decided to walk over and inspect it. But it, too, was gone. I know I saw it. Where did it go? Frustrated, I drove back to town to ask the friend who had told me about it.

"The cops are looking for you," he told me when I arrived at his house. "And there are missing person posters all over town."

My confused look must have been priceless.

"DEAR LORD GLENN," he yelled, frustrated with my lack of understanding, "you've been missing for two weeks."

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