Sightings At Twin Mounds


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Storeys from the Old Hotel

"'Sightings at Twin Mounds' was written last year as a sort of experiment -- when you turn from 'Beech Hill' to this story you will be passing across ninety-five percent of my career. From time to time, no reading gives me more pleasure than supposedly factual accounts of UFOs, black dogs, vanishing hitchhikers, and similar apparitions, although all such accounts are ultimately unsatisfactory. (I recommend Sasquatch: the Apes Among Us, by John Green, should you ever come across a copy.) It seems to me that a good, and indeed entirely satisfactory story could be written in that style. It is a framed story, if you like, in which the frame is the whole story; and if you like it, that makes two of us."


An unnamed first-person narrator conducts an investigation into a UFO sighting and related strange events at Twin Mounds, a Native American archaeological site. The sighting's witness disappears, but the account he left with a psychiatrist suggests a link to an ancient legend of the area.


  • It seems clear that Robakowski somehow travelled back in time and was the "wendigo" of the legend, rescuing the chief's daughter from the Iroquois.
  • Presumably where he heard her saying "Where'd he go?" she was actually calling "wendigo?" to try and re-attract his attention.
  • Presumably the "modern materials" contaminating the site were either left there by Robakowski during this trip back in time, or else he subsequently went back again (as the legend suggests) and died then.

Interpretation by Pickwick:

  • It seems likely that our unreliable narrator is himself a cannibal/werewolf/wendigo and is responsible for Robakowski's disappearance. Reconstructing a timeline for the story without the narrator's lies lends support to this theory:
    • Wednesday night/Thursday morning – Robakowski is found in the park and taken to St. Joseph's Hospital for treatment.
    • Thursday – Robakowski article appears in the Colbyville Courier (St. Joe’s day 1)
    • Sometime after Thursday – United Press Wire Service story is read by narrator (probably Friday because narrator is watching for these stories steadily looking for potential victims) (St. Joe’s day 2)
    • Saturday – Narrator goes to the library, requests “a week’s copies of the Colbyville Courier” (St. Joe’s day 3)
    • Monday? – "A few days later" – narrator receives the copies of the Colbyville Courier (St. Joe’s days 4 & 5?)
    • Late Monday/Early Tuesday – Robakowski is released from St. Joseph’s
    • Tuesday – Narrator drives to Colbyville, discovers Robakowski has been out of St. Joe's for “nearly twenty-four hours”, meeting with Robakowski arranged for that evening
    • Tuesday evening – Narrator finds Robakowski’s apartment, surreptitiously prevents the duplex entrance door from locking (it being unlocked in expectation of his arrival), then returns to his hotel, where he phones Robakowski with his false tale of not being able to find the address.
    • Tuesday night – Robakowski goes to sleep in anticipation of getting up for work at 7 a.m. the next day but . . .
    • Tuesday night/Wednesday morning – Narrator visits Robakowski’s apartment, slips in through the previously prepared entrance, kills Robakowski in the bedroom while he sleeps, drags him through the hall into the kitchen where he is prepared and eaten. The narrator keeps his inedible personal effects, such as clothes/jewelry, etc., visits the Twin Mounds, buries the inedible personal effects, which are later discovered as the modern contaminants by the archaeologist some two years later.
    • Wednesday – Narrator says that he visits the Twin Mounds and speaks with witnesses to the lights, but this is made up so that he can insert the erroneous report that no lights had been observed the previous two nights. His vehicle’s headlights were almost certainly observed by someone when he was burying Robakowski’s effects. The narrator includes the detail that the witnesses described the lights as being occasionally yellow to dissuade those who might have seen his headlights the night he buried Robakowski from contacting the police.
    • Wednesday evening – Narrator returns to Colbyville then proceeds to the coffee shop to have a leisurely cup of coffee before “discovering” the crime scene to establish an alibi. The narrator then later fills in the details of the door being ajar and his earlier seeing Robakowski’s shadow with an unknown paramour.
    • The narrator only felt safe enough to report the event more than two years later, after he had kept tabs on whether anyone had been arrested for the murder. In a final bid to mislead would-be investigators, he plants the idea that MIBs may have been involved.
    • The door to Robakowski’s apartment was open because Robakowski had been expecting the narrator who prevented the door from locking when he visited it the night he was “unable” to find the apartment.
    • The bloodstains were in the bedroom (where Robakowski was killed in his sleep), the hall (through which the lifeless body was dragged) and the kitchen (where Robakowski was …erm, prepared).
    • The narrator's interest was first attracted by the fact that there was an incoherent man found near a site of possible supernatural happenings. This opens the door to occult explanations for such a man's disappearance and the opportunity to feed without notice.
    • Not only are there apparently extraterrestrial/supernatural goings-on near an occult site, but there is an interesting legend attached to the area that the cannibal narrator can later appropriate and use to distract future investigators.
    • The narrator only feels sure that Robakowski was a "contactee", which is to say a potential meal, after gathering information about the occult nature of the event and confirming that Robakowski had been psychiatrically hospitalized at St. Joseph's for at least 5 days. (See timeline).

Unresolved Questions

  • Why /how did Robakowski travel back in time? What caused the UFO sighting? The easy answer to these is that there were genuine aliens (or similar) present with temporal displacement powers. But is that likely?
  • Were the "invisible beings" who made "real quiet noises" around Robakowski the Iroquois from the past, or the aliens?
  • If the "amorous silhouette" was Robakowski and the chief's daughter, how did she get back to him? And what then happened to them, and why were there bloodstains?


  • If the narrator is a cannibal and ate Robakowski, what did he do with the bones?

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