What follows is a transcribed portion of a telephone conversation between aunt Leona and a friend of hers. With our dictaphone we were able to record only Leona’s end of the conversation:

… So, I joined the group a little bit later than everybody else. The first assignment had been for each person to meditate in a quiet place and meet their spirit guide who was supposed to appear during this meditation. Dulwad had made contact with some beautiful Native American princess from the Winnemucca line. LeVar was going on cosmic adventures by an ancient Egyptian magician called Uk Muk Hakem or something – {pause} no, I’m totally serious. Fern was following a great wise wolf around the dark forests of her psyche and Perka was receiving transmissions from some highly advanced space alien that closely resembled Ryan O’Neal in his younger days – {pause} – yeah, I know … typical Perka. So anyway, first chance I got, I’d locked myself away in my walk-in closet. It was silent – the lights were out. I was relaxed and breathing deeply and slowly, keeping my mind clear … you know, keeping open to things. Eventually I realized something was there … the mists started to dissipate … and before me, in my mind’s eye, was a scene, clear as anything. A man was standing with his back to me. I waited for him to turn around and reveal himself and, you know, say something profound. He just stayed facing the other way. It took me a good couple minutes to catch on … DIS-GUST-ING! Oh gross! I just said, ‘No, I will not seek spiritual guidance from a mole on somebody’s neck!’ Big and black – with hairs! {pause} – oh, I know. I was so shocked and creeped out that I’d come out of my trance. I tried again and after a while I was back in the mists. This time the mist cleared and there in front of me was a plate of spaghetti – and not a tidy, freshly dished plate of spaghetti either. It looked as though somebody had already given it a good forking – tomato sauce was spilled over the edge and everything. It said, ‘Hello.’ I just sighed and said, ‘Hi.’ I didn’t want to piss off the cosmos and tempt it to send me a talking cat-butt or something like that. Oh, and get this – the name of my spirit guide turns out to be Alfredo – which shows you the absurd sense of humor I’m up against. {pause} – Stop laughing!

The cheerleading squad never saw it coming. They never saw it leaving either. Every ponytail snatched, cut off at the rubber band, not a single hair left behind. It all happened so quickly too. It was just a swish hiss sound, a breeze, and a sudden lighter feeling to the head. So I was told anyway. I’d been about half a block south on Main Street making my way to the City Center stop to catch a train. I could see and hear that the southbound platform was over run with a giggling gaggle of girlies. As I considered ways in how to avoid the squawking flock, the screaming started. And what an eruption! Panic, shrieking, tears, hugs—the works. I had to investigate, permagrinning the whole time. All that hair had truly vanished. Somebody really ought to have thought to warn all the out-of-town squads coming in for the GREAT BASIN CHEER OFF CHAMPIONSHIPS that no ponytail is safe on the streets of Salt Lake City.

This is a fairly recent phenomenon with the first cases reported only about seven months ago. It started with only a few scattered incidents. The authorities initially thought the victims might all be a band of prankster feminists or a bonkers religious group. It was even suggested that it might be a form of modern art. Evidence of this hair thievery can be seen all along the Wasatch Front, ex-ponytail headed women with hair short and spiked up in back while the sides and front are left longer.

The style has also become known as the Utah Duckbutt. No official statements have been made concerning whatever is going on, and the media doesn’t seem to want to touch it. Pure denial. But through word of mouth and so many people’s personal experience, there is probably not a single resident of the state who isn’t aware that something truly weird is going on. A good portion of the population believes it to be a sign of the times and the beginning of Armageddon. Food storage and emergency preparedness kits have become the local mania, overturning scrapbooking as the hobby of choice. Wilderness survival and endurance courses have seen a surge in popularity. The intermountain west is abuzz with repentance. The attacks have increased and they are not limited to bouncy young women either. Many a manly rough and grizzled biker sporting a frazzled and unconditioned tail suddenly finds himself with less wind resistance. It all seems to be centered around downtown and the surrounding residential areas, but occasionally unhappy squeaks will be heard from places like Sandy and West Valley. So far nothing about the culprits has surfaced aside from whispers of “the ponytail snatchers”, but the palpable unease can be felt throughout Utah.