We passed this going about 70 miles per hour–so the impression was fleeting…However, it reminded me of “No Face” from the anime “Spirited Away.”
These images from Atlas Obscura:
And this from the movie:
Haunting in any case.
Possible explanations from “Atlas Obscura”
No one seems to know the origin of the spirit totem nor exactly how long it’s been present on “Deadman Flats” and the edge of Navajo lands. Locals will tell you the totem has been around “a very long time” or “for as long as I remember.”
Wupatki National Monument, a place of ancient pueblos, is just east of the totem, as is the Navajo sacred place, Chezzhin Deez’d, Black Point or Black-Rock Point, an ancient basalt lava flow where the founders of the Western Water Clans journeyed eastward from the point of their creation on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, crossed the Little Colorado on their way from the San Francisco Peaks.
Travelers leave gifts and tokens in the totems but the reasons are unknown. Possibly it is for safe travels, maybe it is in respect to the ancients who travelled past years ago.
Know Before You Go
Located on the East side of US Hwy 89, just south of where the highway merges from north/south bound roads to a single highway, ~ 1/2 mile south of the Wupatki National Monument road. One can pull well off the highway onto a dirt pullout.