One last “Gray Ghost”

Can’t leave the “Gray Ghost” theme without a nod to Bryan Reinhardt, a Texan entrepreneur who invented a mechanical method to produce large, beautifully shaped “spear points” from slabs of Edwards Plateau Chert. Beginning shortly after WWII, Reinhardt sold thousands of these faux artifacts to souvenir stands, rock shops and tourist traps along Route 66 from Oklahoma to California.

Known as “gray ghosts” for the characteristic gray-brown color of the rock they were cut from, the points resemble genuine archaic finds. The illusion of age was created by lightly buffing the surface and adding a coating of dirt. Reinhardt sold his creations in gross lots and there’s no evidence he ever intended to mislead his wholesale customers as to their provenance. But a great many unwary tourists doubtless purchased the blades at inflated prices under the impression they were acquiring a genuine prehistoric artifact, and Reinhardt’s “ghosts” occupy a pride of place in arrowhead collections all over the country today.

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