Thank You For Visiting Sedona Legend-
The Jack And Helen Frye Story!
Sedona's Celebrity Love Story!
This is the official, not to mention only, web portal in the world
dedicated exclusively to the legacy of Jack and Helen Frye!
The Frye Legacy-
a Lifetime of Accomplishment!
By Randall Reynolds
The Sedona Legend Web Site is a copyrighted historical photo enhanced narrative presented for
educational and entertainment purposes. Some materials may be displayed in regard to the
United States Fair Use Act. This web portal is totally non-profit and generates no income nor
does it seek or has it ever accepted a single donation. It is an independent venture.
Sedona Legend was envisioned and created to provide Red Rock State Park visitors a
comprehensive historic overview for Jack and Helen Frye and their Deer-Lick and Smoke Trail
Ranches. This effort is now officially cited by R.R.S.P. as an indepth historical venue
representing Jack and Helen Frye.
Sedona Legend is encouraged by the many friends of Jack and Helen Frye. A gracious thank
you to the Frye and Varner families for invaluable support and Red Rock State Park staff and
volunteers for their enthusiasm.
Sedona Legend Helen Frye a.k.a. the Jack and Helen Frye Story
A Decade of Research and Presentation- Created By Randall D. Reynolds
Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved
Journey Into Spirit
An Odyssey Of Evaluation
Helen Frye and the Hopi - Navajo Nation
"It was during the construction of the Apache Fires house that Helen had her first major
encounter with a rattlesnake. Prior to that, any rattlesnake that crossed her path were as good
as dead. However, after this encounter, she felt differently. As she reviewed house plans in her
basement (1947) she heard a sound like rustling wind. She looked down to find a rattlesnake
coiled up, just at her feet, but it did not strike. She was very grateful to that snake and felt it
had been sent to her for a purpose. After this, she felt, as did her native friends, that the
rattlesnake were sacred and she became rabid about protecting them, often lecturing people she
met to leave them alone.
Helen became friends with her native workmen employed at her ranch and was fascinated by
their stories. In her visits to the reservation she became acquainted with a renowned
Hopi-Navajo Medicine Man whom she called 'Grandfather.' He was so taken by her healing
talents that he invited her to become his apprentice. But, by this time, her health was so bad
she felt she wouldn't survive the primitive conditions the experience would entail. She did
continue to visit him from time to time, as well as, with other Indians. From her native friends
she also learned many cooking recipes and methods which she often shared with the frequent
guests in her home. Helen was a fabulous and creative cook.
Because of her relationship with the Indians, Helen was frequently invited to attend their
scared ceremonies and dances, from which outsiders were generally excluded. As Helen's
friend, I was also allowed to attend these ceremonies, even the young women's initiation dance.
The snake dance was another of these ceremonies we attended. Once, when a native friend of
Helen's died, the tradition was followed of burning his Hogan with all the family possessions.
This was necessary to remove the evil spirit which had caused his disease. Helen saw the need
of his family; however, and took her pick-up truck around to friends soliciting donations of
household goods. The man's family was so grateful that they had a special dance of thanks and
celebration in Flagstaff to honor Helen Frye and those who had helped.
Many times I tried to convince her to write her life story!
I think most people that knew Helen would agree she was a unique 'character.' She was
warm-hearted and generous- sometimes to her own detriment. She also was a master
story-teller. Helen Frye was a good friend of mine to whom I am indebted. I am grateful that
you asked me for my recollections, as I feel, Helen deserves to be honored and respected for
the unique human being she was."
(Ms. Strong served as a private secretary to Helen Frye in the mid-1970's and was asked to
share her remembrances by Red Rock State Park personnel (early 1980's.)
Photos of Helen visiting the Navajo-Hopi Land Fall of 1960
The Frye Sedona Ranch was often visited by Southwestern Native Americans Indians. Many
recognized the ranch as a sacred place. One group of Hopi Elders told Helen that her Sedona
property was known as an old sacred healing ground. This brings us to the mystical Blue Light
that has been reported at the property back to at least 1945. This light would flash like a mirage
from peak to peak often spooking the cattle and horses (according to a ranch foreman of the
day). The mysterious light (which many say is more of a glowing orb) seems to have become
quite elusive (currently) but Helen herself would often see the specter throughout the 40-years
she resided at the ranch and felt (in council with Hopi Elders) that it was a sign of the "Ancient
Ones" and their eternal presence at the ranch. When I was staying at the ranch in 2008 we
decided to hike the ranch one summer night at midnight seeking anomalies and orb photos.
Amid singing frogs and crickets along Oak Creek we hiked Kisva Trail in total darkness. Every
once and a while we would turn out our flashlights and take a photo. We saw nothing unusual,
not even a skunk, yet the camera revealed a different story. What is my feeling about so called
"orbs" which people catch on cameras? Frankly, I'm very much a sceptic. Digital cameras are
notorious for creating what look like orbs when a flash is used at night; however, sometimes
one can identify unusual anomalies that are not typical. On that summer night I ended up with
a lot of orbs among the trees and along Oak Creek. This makes sense as these are the areas
where the ancients walked and camped for thousands of years. Below, I have attached a few
images of unusual orbs (whether authentic or not). A blue orb did seem to appear often for us
that night. The first image below (left) is what I would call a real orb (indigo blue) and more
round. The others look like typical digital camera reflective-orbs but are still unique like the
orange orb (on the right). Please click for large images.
Photo of Helen Frye taken at a Native American village in Northern Arizona (1960). Helen
visited these regions often, alone and with friends, stating she felt a deep sense of belonging
and peace with these ancient lands and the Native Americans who lived there.
Quite brave and unusual for the time, Helen Frye would load her station wagon up with camping
supplies and Sedona friends and head for the Mesas of Northern Arizona to experience the
essence and signature of the Hopi Navajo Lands. Helen was always a pioneer and explorer, in
her life she desired experience, craved interaction, and immersed herself totally, whether it was
Europe, the "Paris of the East", or the outback of Arizona- the arid region which fed her soul.
One of the last images of Helen Frye- Smoke Trail Ranch
The Frye Ranch @ Sedona- Place of Mystery
Yes, the Frye Smoke Trail Ranch is shrouded
in mystery, not only were Jack and Helen Frye
both very special loving caretakers of this
property but the ranch itself was very ancient
and steeped in Native American Indian
intrigue and lore. From the ancient trails
along Oak Creek, worn down into the red rock
by the moccasins of ancient travelers (as
evidenced by their age old camp fires), to cliffs
with mysterious writings left by ancient
visitors, to the puzzling ancient petroglyph
rock found on the ranch in the 1960's, the
ranch is shrouded by the shadows of time and
those that visited it. Because of an association
of Helen Frye and the Hopi (and their
reverence for the ranch) the mystery rock
came to be associated with them. At the end of
Helen's life she gave it to this ancient people.
The rock is now (back) on loan to the Arizona
State Park Service for display. There were
once two pieces but one is lost, likely centuries
ago. It may have split off from freezing and
thawing and eventually washed into the soft
loam. Only the one piece was found and is
seen aside. The 1500-year-old rock likely
pre-dates a Hopi association and cannot be
deciphered. Yet no doubt it served as a
marker to those who were wise enough to
translate it. Describing, perhaps, the
sacredness of this beloved river valley and the
associations thereof. Resting on a rise above a
well-known trail, it served as a portent or
marker to those that came later, as to the
mystic association by the ancients, and a
"knowing" now lost forever by modern man.
Living The Sedona Dream- Editorial
Jean C. Strong relates her memories of Helen Frye and Helen's
deep love for the Native American culture- especially the Hopi
(Right) Helen Frye and Mildred Reynolds
(sister) at the Wings of the Wind. Photo taken
in October 1979 (Helen died December 1979).
Behind Helen is the sacred Hopi Rock now on
display at Red Rock State Park Visitor Center.
Helen's Love Affair With Arizona Native Americans Starts in 1932
(Helen was on board a Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railroad train heading out to Reno for a
divorce in 1932. On this journey she is haunted by an unusual dream.)
The next morning, Helen found her way to the busy dining room car where she sat down at a
table of refinement, complete with starched white linens. The dining car china had pictures of
American Indians in a Wild West style. A waiter came up and took her order, "Cream of
Wheat, please, with coffee and cream." “Would you like some toast too, Miss?” “Yes, that
would be nice,” said Helen. As he walked away, Helen was struck by what a kind man he was,
but could sense a fear in his interaction with her. This saddened her as she didn't believe in non-
equality. He was black, yes, but he was no different than the rest of her peers, why should he be
nervous in his duties and feel subservient? Helen hoped this would change in her lifetime, she
always went out of her way to be kind to all those who crossed her path in life.
Helen finished her generous breakfast and went into the parlor car where she found a quiet
seat. The car was empty except for six men in a corner playing cards. They hardly looked up as
she settled into a window seat with a little table. The countryside had changed from green and
lush, to the wide open prairies of the Midwest, past lonely farmhouses and cattle, winding
through a world Helen had only read about! "The vistas are so vast out here," thought Helen, “I
can see forever, no trees and shrubs to block my views!” The steady lurching of the car with the
occasional whistle of the steam engine was hypnotic. Helen soon dozed off.…
In a clearing Helen was surrounded by dancing Indians their chanting foreign to her yet
beautiful. She sat nearby, listening, so at peace, so moved by the music, another life it seemed.
She looked around to see the most beautiful stream adjoined by towering pinnacles of red rocks
made out of sandstone all complemented by large trees, their canopies a lush umbrella over a
burbling creek. The chanting grew louder and louder as the dream begin to fade....
Helen awoke to the loud clicking and screeching of the train as it jolted on to a siding so a
speeding freight train could rush past. As her sleepy eyes took in the scene outside the club car
window her mind wandered back to the unusual dream, her body electrified with the vision, like
it was somehow a real place! Yet she felt a loneliness unimaginable when her dream was
snatched away.… “There couldn't possibly be a place that looked like that.... so beautiful and
mystical,” reflected Helen. Soon, she lost herself in her penny novel.
(Helen was to have visions her entire life- this one reflected the place she would call home for
40-years, the Frye Ranch at Sedona. A mystical vista that was already a part of her destiny. a
destiny which would rise up to meet her on her path within 9-short years.)
Copyrighted Excerpt from the Helen Frye Story-
The Legend of the Blue Light (Orb)
The unusual sounds on the webpage were recorded after midnight at the Frye Ranch (Red Rock
State Park) down along the creek. I titled the sound bite "the Sacred Guardians of Smoke Trail
Ranch". The screaming creatures are actually Oak Creek frogs. I think you will find the
cacophony quite interesting. The ranch on summer nights is alive with exotic sounds.
Above is a blue orb in the trees near the creek (this is not a planetary object) and to the right is
an orb in the master bedroom fireplace of the Apache Fires House (right corner).
Helen Frye also believed in UFO's and saw them often along with many others at Sedona. Helen
even stated once that she and Jack Frye had seen UFO's in flight on their private planes. Helen
used to sit in the right seat with Jack who flew around the country on TWA business as the
pilot. These were night and day flights, on occasion, without other passengers. Helen never
elaborated and Jack was never heard to speak of what he observed. Before you become sceptical
let me tell you many pilots have seen UFO's but often do not talk about such incidents because
of ridicule. It comes as no surprise that Jack, being a high profile aviation leader, was mum too.
Helen, at one time, desired to turn the Apache Fires house into an Art Center and a venue for
the study of UFO's. Needless to say, in (then) conservative Sedona, the idea was unsuccessful.
Sedona a Hot Spot for UFO's
As an example, one day when hiking with friends on Doe Mountain near Sedona, we were
de-grouping at the parking lot when I saw two military choppers flying overhead. Being an
aviation enthusiast, I quickly snapped 2 photos. Later, when I got home I noticed an anomaly
that did not appear in the other images. I checked the lens and found it to be clean. The
anomaly appears to be, no less than a cylindrical shaped UFO, which was flying a path with and
shadowing the choppers- at about 40 thousand feet above them! The shadow of the sun on the
choppers (and object) is the same and this leads me to believe whatever it was, indeed was real!
This is the first (probable) UFO I have ever photographed and I am not one to seek out such.
I would be remiss in my work if I didn’t mention Helen Frye’s odyssey into spirit, my focus
being primarily on her earlier social life and that of the association of aviator Jack Frye. But
Mrs. Frye was always deeply spiritual from early on. Just not in a conventional way.
In the 1930’s Helen traveled the mystical-orient in search spiritual truths not found in man’s
manufactured religions, even living for a time at Shanghai, known then as the "Paris of the
East". Toward the end of her life, at the quiet and conducive atmosphere of her Sedona Ranch,
Helen truly came full circle and was able to totally embrace her inner yearnings of spirit
developed throughout her life and journeys.
This website focuses on the elements a majority of people can digest, “the mainstream public
lives of the Jack and Helen Frye”. For instance this work is highly reflective of who Jack Frye
was to many as essentially “an icon of TWA”. It is hard to write about the nuances of a man “in
depth” when he is seen as a revered corporate father figure, in spite of the fact that Jack Frye
was much more than a TWA figurehead. This representation is just the public persona and only
one faucet of this remarkable man. I think the Fryes can truly be understood from the Sedona
perspective for this is the place they came together as a couple and experienced their innermost
yearnings. Their marriage was also a time when TWA truly blossomed as a trans-continental
and trans-world airline. This era, called the 'Camelot Years of TWA', was certainly aided by the
Frye influence and could never have been accomplished without Frye's association!
Jack and Helen were truly two of the very first celebrities to call Sedona home. From the
beginning they desired to build a residence and eventually retire at their newly purchased red
rock ranch. They also made efforts to improve and be a part of the neighboring Sedona
community. Their business commitments kept them from totally embracing what they found in
Sedona throughout the years, but they escaped here whenever they could to commune with
nature and mix with like-minded individuals.
I feel the Fryes and other Sedona residents who found their way to early Sedona were truly
living life on the cusp of the “New Age” as we deem it today, way back in the early 1940’s! All
their local intimates were either early Sedona artists or bohemian types, people who truly
appreciated the expressions which were being explored in early 1940’s Sedona. The Fryes lived
the essence of "early modernism” as I would categorize it. They were uninhibited and free in
their personal lives with few boundaries. They were soul-mates and enjoyed, what at the time,
was a typical celebrity marriage, very modern.
In an interview with a darling lady (Hazel York) who worked for the Fryes and lived at the Frye
Ranch for several years in the early 1940’s I learned the following sentiments. Hazel stated to
me that her husband thought the Fryes and their many friends who came to the ranch were
“kinky”. That “word” made me wince somewhat but then she explained that her husband was a
local who had never been exposed to the “World of Frye” in his rustic and conventional life.
This perspective would have been shared by many Sedona locals. These kinky friends were the
likes of Howard Hughes, Marlene Dietrich, and many other celebrities (names now lost) and
various artists of the day. This man and his wife Hazel both came to love Jack and Helen Frye
and all their many multi-faceted friends some even gay. This, in a day when gay people could
only circulate comfortably within the most sophisticated circles of our society. This is just an
example of how open-minded and free the Fryes and their Sedona contemporaries were.
Everyone was welcome to be themselves and to develop their own creativity at Sedona. The
Apache Fires house? The kitchen was designed by Helen Frye as aided by a two gay girls in the
late 1940’s, a couple who were friends of the Fryes and lived at the ranch for a short time
during the home’s construction. One of the girls (the partner of Jean Foster) was a prolific
early Sedona artist who painted a beautiful portrait of Helen (now lost) in the late 1940's.
These were the times, then and later, of Max Ernst, Dorothea Tanning, Lois Kellogg, Nick
Duncan, Zoe Mozert, Nassan Gobran, Cecil Lockhart-Smith, Gee Wright, and others who
escaped to Sedona to live the uninhibited life. They were all Greenwich Village-types, coming
here to “experience”. Many came to paint or sculpt and it was a true explosion of artistic
expression at Sedona. Helen’s own aunt-in-law from her previous marriage, Gertrude
Vanderbilt Whitney, a well-respected and very wealthy society matron, was in private a
bohemian and an enthusiastic artist (sculptor) and supporter of the arts. She founded the
famous Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. The reason I mention her is one,
I have always admired her moxie, and two, she is a good example of what society people were
forced to endure in those early times of convention, a public and a private persona.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that early Sedona residents Jack and Helen Frye were not bigots,
prejudiced, or narrow-minded people, and neither were their friends! I think this is a wonderful
association and legacy for the beloved community we call Sedona!
The Fryes saw Sedona as an utopia, an escape from the concrete corporate jungle. But even
though they were what we would now call “free-spirits” they did not come here for metaphysical
reasons as many did later in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The metaphysical essence of this couple was
already within them. They were just better able to experience it at Sedona. They came here
because they loved the great Southwest, at the time, unspoiled and pristine. They were looking
for seclusion, a place where they could maintain a ranch retreat from their harried very public
lives. They were both sun-worshippers and the ranch gave them the isolation from the outside
world where they could experience the freedom of this end beyond the prying eyes of reporters.
The Sedona Ranch they found, without which a private plane, they likely would never have
discovered. Such luxuries were on the cusp of what we take for granted today. In our current
day most people arrive in Sedona on a super-highway in the luxury of air-conditioned comfort.
But the Fryes in 1941 found access rugged and restricted. They didn’t have the time to trudge
through the rugged west to discover the region we now call Sedona but they did possess a
marvelous tool, a tool which many in America (then) had never experienced, the expediency of
flight. They utilized a private plane (owned by TWA). There were no airports and Sedona was
non-existent, even in name. It was then called “Oak Creek” or “Oak Creek Canyon” by the
media. The Frye method of discovery was with unheard opulence and certainly a rare an
exquisite entry to Sedona of 1941- on the wings of a 1937 Lockheed Electra Jr. 12A airliner!
When I first moved to Sedona myself in the mid-1980’s seeking spiritual awareness, I found a
potpourri of wondrous people and experiences. Some individuals even “far off the beam”
(known then as “woo-woo” people). Those were the days of many noted meta-physical
trailblazers, such as Mary Lou Keller, Page Bryant, Dick and Trenna Sutphen, Betty and
Wayne Greene, and (Helen's dear friend) Lois Kellogg. Initially, I had no idea who the Fryes
were, but soon I heard of the mysterious (late) Helen Frye said to have been married to Jack
Frye who had been president of TWA. A widow-type who lived at the Wings of the Wind and was
very metaphysical. Mostly unfounded rumors, though, spun by locals, many who never really
knew Helen, their stories founded in sensation and gossip. The stories were interesting but I
gave little thought to any of it for many years. The ranch was inaccessible at that time.
There was no Red Rock State Park, just a rugged red dirt road accessing isolated ranches, with
a multitude of 'No Trespassing' signs. Yes, there was talk locally about a “House of Apache
Fires”, but few locals had actually been out to see it, as it was quite isolated and not open to the
public. As a matter of fact it was (then) owned by one of Sedona’s early nefarious new age
groups (Eckankar) which at the end of Helen’s life she had befriended and was associated.
Many years later after the “park” opened I was able to tour the dark and silent Apache Fires
house (2001). I was awestruck at this silent “tomb of secrets”. In 2003, and again in 2008, I had
the honor of volunteering at the same State Park and actually residing at the former Frye
Ranch for about 6 months (each stint). You cannot live at the Frye Ranch (day and night)
without being affected by the essence of the Frye Story. Tragically, I realized at that time, the
Fryes and their Sedona experience was gradually being forgotten and buried by a new and more
modern Sedona. A community with little regard for the past and it’s many founder-pioneers,
and even (at one time) newcomers like the Fryes who helped build an early and quite different
community. This burgeoning early Sedona was a town intimate and unique, not the current
commercialized concrete jungle with little but greed and development as the worshipped end.
In my indoctrination of the Frye Ranch-Red Rock State Park I spent many hours of quite
reflection in the house which was built as the dream of Jack and Helen Frye. In these
reflections I felt great sadness that these two remarkable people had all but been forgotten as
associated with a property that was being promoted as a 'Nature Venue' by the State of Arizona
and not the historic TWA Frye Ranch. I made a silent vow to Jack and Helen Frye that I would
do whatever I could to make sure that their love for the property, their experience and essence,
would never ever be forgotten! This was the summer of 2003.
So was born the Sedona Legend work! I never dreamed in a million years, when I initially
relocated to Sedona (1985-1987) that the culmination of that endeavor would be to represent the
Sedona Frye Story. This has all been executed with the tenacity of a bulldog over a period of
nearly 10 years. Thankfully I have had the time to devote myself to the work, even to the point
of renewing the website last year (a complete restructuring). My intention from the beginning
was to develop an electronic representation, not a dry paper rendition which would be quickly
shelved after it is read. I am a firm believer in the future of the Internet, as with this medium
a biography can be updated, enhanced, improved, corrected, and fine-tuned indefinitely. This is
the core of the Frye work and an expression Jack himself would have appreciated.
In closing I can truthfully say I feel I have been chosen by the Fryes to represent their 'Sedona
Experience'. For that, I am deeply honored and go forth with commitment and dedication until
the work is finished (whenever and wherever that leads me). This was my initial promise that
day in the Apache Fires House and this is the development ethic I hold true.
This work cannot cover every aspect of these truly remarkable people, who, as I said, were
truly free-spirits! Some aspects of their lives need not be public fodder. I have walked the fine
line of satisfying the interests of many, like the TWA audience (seeking glory and
prominence), Sedona residents (seeking their roots and history), and every day strangers (just
looking for a little glamour and stories of “lives well-lived”). All has been spun into a tapestry
of verbal threads for public consumption.
This, I can say without reservation, there are not two people, two early Sedona residents, two
American celebrities, who in my mind are not more deserving of this effort than Jack and
Helen Frye! I couldn’t have chosen a better topic or richer subject! It has enriched my life!
Welcome to the 'World of Frye".
Sedona Legend Editorial
To elaborate a bit on this “Hopi Rock” (as it has come to be known) I want to relate a bit more
background on it from my research. It was discovered not by Helen Frye but by her ranch
foreman and dear friend Water Duncan. Walter worked and lived at the ranch for nearly 30
years with his wife Betty. One day Walter and Helen were out on property when Walter led
Helen to a site where he showed her a rock he had discovered buried in the soft dirt and
obscured by brush. He had noticed the rock had faint writing on it (similar to other pictographs
found at the ranch). Helen even stated at the time that it was amazing to her that she and Jack
had walked and rode horses by the area many times and never even noticed the unusual rock
before. The discovery date is thought to have been in the mid-1960’s and my understanding is
the location the rock was found was the southwest of the current Red Rock State Park Visitor
Center. This region (a bluff) is strewn with rocks and artifacts and overlooks the creek, not
adjoining it (there is a trail below). The area even looks like at one time there may have been a
wash of boulders and rocks over the area perhaps from the ice age or floods. Helen and Walter
dug the rock out and transported it back to the Wings of the Wind House where it was cleaned
up and set on the back patio terrace. The rock is not of red rock sandstone but rather a
common hard basalt (river rock) which is found occasionally strewn about the region.
Even though Helen was friends with the Hopi people, and especially so a couple Hopi Elders, the
rock was never wholly accepted by the Hopi as being associated with their ancestors. This
sentiment is not shared by a couple Elders who did think the rock might be associated with their
ancestry. These were Elders who were friends of Helen and frequented her ranch property.
The rock was kept at the Wings of the Wind until shortly before Helen died. At that time
(late-1979) Helen, in knowing she was gravely ill, asked a friend to take the rock up to the Hopi
Reservation and see if they could provide a home for it. This was accomplished; however, after
the State of Arizona purchased Helen’s former ranch from Eckankar the rock was returned and
slated for display at the new visitor center since it was found on the former Frye ranch property.
This was done “on loan” and with an official agreement from the Hopi Nation.
It is my understanding that the Hopi accepted the rock from Helen as a courtesy to her but
never felt it was positively associated with them. The thought was the rock was, more so, likely
associated with an earlier indigenous people. The Hopi have retained ownership of the rock but
have felt the rock should remain at the State Park because of its unknown provenance and the
fact that it was discovered there (not on the reservation).
The rock has never been accurately deciphered. The “key” above by State Park personnel is a
general explanation of some of the symbols on the rock which are similar to the Hopi (but not
necessarily originating with the Hopi). There have been many meanings attributed to this
artifact which is certainly similar to many such writings found in and around the Sedona region.
There have been many indigenous peoples who have visited Sedona throughout the centuries.
Many rock writings in the red rock country have not been accurately interpreted and are
attributed to tribes back to, and before, the Anasazi.
This said, the rock was not part of an “alter” and it was not worshipped through the centuries.
If it was, it certainly was never officially notated or remembered. The rock in fact was lost for
perhaps thousands of years and only discovered by Helen’s ranch foreman. Secondly, the rock
should have never been taken to the Hopi Mesa. This was a mis-step by Helen Frye, it should
have been left where it was found, undisturbed, or at least returned there, before Helen died.
However, we certainly can understand Helen’s motivation. She wanted the rock “secured” as
there were several “new agers” who had expressed a desire to abscond with the rock and she
desired it be safeguarded, permanently. Helen felt the rock was sacred. It is a shame that these
ancient artifacts can not be left intact at the location where the ancients left them. But
unfortunately modern man has little understanding of the sacredness of these ancient markers
or the locations they are discovered. So, unfortunately, sometimes, it becomes necessary to
secure such for posterity sake.
Indeed, after the park was opened to the public, an attempt to steal the rock was made by a
person who knew Helen at her death. This person tried to sneak the rock out the lower exit of
the Visitor Center. Thank goodness he was caught red handed! The rock is too heavy to be lifted
and he was caught maneuvering the wheeled case out the lower exit (which is out of sight of the
Park Manager’s office). A bold and brazen attempt!
I know for a fact how heavy the rock is as I have cleaned the case and around the artifact many
times with a vacuum. It would take several people to carry it up to the parking lot. The excuse
for the attempted theft? Helen had given this person a few personal items at her death and he
felt he was also entitled to the Hopi Rock. He was informed that the rock was offered to the
Hopi People by Helen herself, and it was on State Property “on loan” and under the protection
of the State of Arizona. This man was banned from Red Rock State Park property indefinitely.
In all the instances (1 year) I have been in the proximity of this ancient artifact (as volunteer
and cashier at the visitor center) I have never once seen any Hopi person pay homage to it, visit
it, or any other person for that matter pay much attention to it in any way. It is on display and
secured behind a plexiglass box at the bottom of the ramp to the lower area of the visitor center.
The rock does not emanate any vibration or magical aura (I have touched it while dusting it)
and I am very sensitive to such things. The rock does not glow at night. I feel the need to state
this, in regard to the recent interest in the rock, and the unfounded rumors stated about such,
from persons who have not bothered to document or research its origins. The former Frye ranch
property was sacred to the Hopi people. Indeed, all the land around Sedona and certainly many
other key sites are important to different Native American tribes. I, personally, have never
seen any Native Americans come to the park and worship the property or have any special
association with it. This was largely an end Helen encouraged when she was alive. That said,
Helen was never at odds with the Hopi Nation. Helen developed a bond with some of the Hopi
Elders, this is not to say that the entire Hopi Nation was connected with her. These Elders
respected Helen and she them. Her ranch, an ancient region frequented by many Native
Americans for centuries, was always welcoming to Native Americans visitors, and holy men.
The information above is based on interviews with park personnel and intimates of Helen Frye.
Helen did write a story about the rock. When I locate it in my files I will add more details.
Reaching Out to Those Beloved Ones
A little known fact in regard to this, is that Mrs. Jack Frye would drive up to Flagstaff and meet
the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway trains regularly which transported bundles of
clothes to a resale shop in downtown Flagstaff. Helen would sort through the bales after they
were unloaded on the dock, picking out only the most substantial garments. Mrs. Frye would
then purchase the warm woolen dresses and sweaters, etc., anything which would be durable
mesa clothing. Then, Helen would take the clothes up to the reservations herself, distributing
them to the Native Americans Indians, so they could stay warm in the cold Arizona winters.
Helen was always trying to help those who were neighbors and friends. This continued
throughout her years at the Wings of the Wind. At the Wings Mrs. Frye always kept a pot of
soup simmering on a back burner, as Native Americans would often knock on her door, asking
for a meal. Helen Frye was revered by the local Indians, especially, the Hopis, this seems
somewhat of a mystery, perhaps, but they sought her out with love, friendship, and communion,
and saw her as a mystic. The Frye Ranch and the Wings home was an “open door” for these
indigenous peoples. This “reaching out” trait of Helen is honorable and a fact the people of
Sedona could well be proud!
The Frye Apache Fires and Wings homes were decorated with rare and priceless Native
American art objects, some gifts from the Hopi People, to this remarkable woman which they
adored. Helen Frye was invited to attend many Native American ceremonies, many of which
were never open to the general public. In turn, the Hopi, Yavapai, and Navajo, were often
entertained at the Frye Ranch through the years, from 1941 to 1979.
My Remembrances of Helen Frye by Marc Slater
Sedona Legend Notation: Obvious is the reverence Marc has for Helen Frye each time I have
met with him. Even though his connection with Helen was in the early 70's, Marc remembers
the rich memories of Helen Frye and Smoke Trail Ranch as if it was just yesterday. Memories
of early youth always seem to be intense in my mind, and this is most evident with Marc. I am
honored to have connected with this kind and gracious soul, and needless to say, I am equally
honored to write about Jack and Helen Frye who left behind many admiring friends!
By the time of the image above (October of 1979) Helen Varner Frye was deathly ill, her time
remaining at her Sedona Smoke Trail Ranch was numbered in days, not years. Soon, she would
leave our earth and move on. People who knew Helen remember her as a Legend- unique and
rare, a person they were honored to know and commune with. This is Helen Frye's true legacy-
the imprint she left behind and the friends who loved her and miss her presence at Sedona.
Helen's essence will remain forever at her ranch, eternally, even after Sedona fades away!
'Valley of the Screaming Frogs' -Background Sound Recorded
Red Rock State Park (Former Frye Ranch) Midnight- Mid-Summer
Another incident I experienced was most unusual, I was living in the Village on a ranch,
isolated from the community at large. This ranch was just about 5 miles east of the Frye Ranch
in the Sedona Red Rock Country. One summer evening, at dusk, a friend and I decided to go
for a walk in the surrounding neighborhood, something I did often. As we walked down the long
red dirt driveway of the ranch, my attention was distracted by what, I at first, thought was an
unusual 'night constellation' toward the northeast of Sedona, east of Bell Rock. What amazed
me though, after a moment, was that I noticed this 'constellation' was actually moving! “What
the hell?” I thought! Immediately I turned to my friend and excitedly pointed out the pattern of
'stars' which were slowly drifting our way. As the formation drew closer we were both stunned
by what looked like a group of stars but actually were a massive fleet of about 50 moving
objects. The ships made nary a sound and cruised at what could be estimated at somewhere
above 20,000 to maybe 80,000 feet? They looked like a constellation of stars, but were not.
The fascinating element to all this was that they were all defined by what appeared be red
perimeter lights or red lightning. Yes, the formation was highlighted by a very prominent array
of steady red lights, a fleet of aircraft moving in formation high above the evening vista of the
red rock country. The objects had no normal aircraft characteristics, except they steadily
progressed over our heads. They moved in total silence from horizon to horizon in perfect
formation for about 2 to 3 minutes. 'What was it,' we queried each other? A fleet of military
planes? They certainly weren’t civilian, we were both puzzled!
Years later, I thought, perhaps, the military was moving a secret fleet of stealth bombers out
west to a California air force base? But recently I have learned that the Stealth was not fully
developed at that time and the military didn’t use steady red running lights. My conclusion,
these 20-some years later, is that we likely witnessed a fleet of star-ships. Yes, perhaps UFO’s,
but I will obviously never know for sure “what” it really was? All I know is it was truly bizarre
and neither one of us were drinking. By the way, the "fleet" left our area and passed over the
Frye Ranch within minutes.
One can only imagine what Helen Frye witnessed out at the dark-sky Frye Ranch through the
years, an area isolated, with endless vistas of virgin Sedona night sky.
Fleet of UFO's Starships Cruise Over Sedona
1988- Village of Oak Creek- Sedona, Arizona
“I was privileged to have met Helen Frye in 1969 through mutual friends, Faye Crenshaw and
Ida Powell. I was a young man of 16 years old (on my own) living in Sedona with some friends.
I worked for Helen for a year. We became instant friends. I did not have a vehicle at the time
and I stayed at the Wings of the Wind House when I worked for her. Helen was very kind to
me and treated me like a son. She bought clothes and different things for me and we spent
many long hours talking about her life and many subjects. We both had a great love for
animals. We spent many happy hours driving around getting supplies for projects with her dogs.
We also rescued several dogs and nursed them back to health, then found homes for them.
Helen also had a great love for Native American Culture. I was privileged to accompany Helen
on several trips to the Hopi and the Navajo to go to dances and to purchase rugs, pottery, etc.,
for the house.
Helen was a great positive influence in my life. She encouraged me to follow my dreams and
she encouraged me to explore my creativity. I was privileged to be present when Helen and
Faye were together at the Wings for the Wind. They were like sisters, they had so much love
for each other, it was wonderful to see.
I was sad to hear of Helen's illness and her passing. I cherish the memories of my time with
Helen and I will always remember what a great soul she was and those happy carefree days I
spent with her as a youth.”
Further to this, Marc added the following in E-Mail:
“I recall several incidents in the year I spent with Helen when we were sitting outside on the
patio or we took an evening walk together. The blue light, like a sphere or orb, would appear
from 100 to 150 feet away at 5 to 10 feet off the ground. Once, I recall Helen talking to it and it
got brighter and closer in response to her. I also recall when I asked Helen what the blue light
was, she said, ‘it is the spirit of the Indians who had lived here in the past and they are the
keepers of the area protecting the holy sites and burial locations.’ I asked if she could summon
them. She said, ‘not always, but sometimes.’ I was present on several occasions when Helen did
call them in. You had asked how many times I had seen them with Helen and by myself.
I believe I saw them with Helen, probably 30-35 times, by myself, another 7-8 times, and with
Helen’s friends, or Faye, 3-4 times.”
Several times, Marc mentioned to me the mysterious chanting and drums he would hear in the
middle of the night when staying at the Wings house.
“I stayed in the guest bedroom and the first time it happened I came out of the room and I met
Helen in the hall. I said, ‘where is the chanting coming from?’ She smiled, and said, ‘you hear
it?’ I said, ‘yes, how can I miss it?’ She said, ‘they come often, this is a sacred place where they
did dances, only a few people hear it.’ Helen continued, ‘are you afraid?’ I responded, ‘no’. I
related to her my experience in Sycamore Canyon. Helen said, ‘you are an old Native soul come
back to help them and they are welcoming you.’ I was comforted from the chants and singing
and it became normal for me, so when it occurred I just enjoyed it as Helen did.”
Marc did spend a season living in Sycamore Canyon where he experienced an awakening of the
soul, as well as, many unusual spiritual experiences. His life path has indeed led him to help the
Native Americans, a people which he no doubt shared many deep and meaningful past life
Is the Wings haunted? Let’s just say, in my opinion, from what I have heard from people
associated with the house, perhaps. There certainly seems to be an abundance of Native
American medicine men spirits frequenting the knoll where it was built. Helen was a firm
believer in this and built on the site with their blessing and a full awareness and respect for this
sacred honor! She felt then, and feels now, the Wings of the Wind should be a spiritual center
for the Native Americans. This was her desire when she originally bestowed it to Eckankar,
even though this bequest was not honored. Helen felt similarly about the entire ranch and
especially the House of Apache Fires. Eventually, both, should be developed toward this end.
So, walk gently my friends when you visit Red Rock State Park, as you truly walk a path worn
by the moccasins of the ancients who considered the ranch hollowed ground!
A final observation by Marc was when he awoke one night at the Wings to the sound of soft
mournful weeping. He followed the sound from the guest room to the living room where he
found Helen crying, surrounded by dozens of photos of her and Jack. Obvious it is, that in the
wee hours of the morning, Helen would weep for the man she lost, the soul-mate who
abandoned her at Sedona with nothing more than memories and a broken heart to comfort her.
In vintage color home movies we can watch Helen in 'real life' as she entertained at her home
in Sedona and when she would visit the reservations. Please click on the following link for
Part 1 and Part 2 as seen on the YouTube Channel 'Sedona Legend'.
Vintage Sedona- Color Movies of Helen Varner Vanderbilt Frye
In the ethereal space between the physical and the other side they cruise with hands clasped,
the silver TWA Lockheed twin purring with a low throbbing rumble. “Oh Jack,” Helen declares
suddenly, “please, can we fly over his house, can we just be close to him one more time?” “Of
course, we can Helen,” Jack says, as he adjusts the controls for a descent into Santa Fe
airspace. In the misty evening sky, the TWA Lockheed twin drops down low over the SAF
airport, Helen looks out the co-pilot’s window, she says, “a lot has changed Jack since we
landed here so often some 80-years back.” “Yes, Helen, there wasn’t much here in 1941, just
our plane sitting on a dirt-pack runaway.” After a low pass, the sound of radial engines
reverberates in the evening sky; however, nothing is seen of the spectral source. Jack pulls up
and banks to the north, in no time, they make a pass over ‘his’ house. “He’s sleeping,” Helen
says tenderly. “But, he hears us,” says Jack, “he stirs in his dream.” “They are so happy,” says
Helen with misty eyes. “Yes, I’m so pleased he’s not alone.” “Our son,” declares Helen, “many
lifetimes as soul-family.” Jack looks over at Helen compassionately, they circle around again,
Helen holds a hanky to her eye, she is filled with emotion. Jack touches her shoulder gently,
“he remembers Helen, he never forgot we were once his parents, he is dreaming about us now,
and our plane.” With that he asks, “shall we continue?” Helen looks out below one more time,
and then over at the airport beacon just a across the valley. Helen looks back over at Jack, the
cockpit lights reflect in her azure blue eyes, “Yes, Jack, he will always be a part of our hearts,
he is safe and at peace, let’s continue to our Sedona.”
Upon arrival at Sedona, out of a shadowed mist shrouding the red rocks, a TWA Lockheed twin
punches out of the inky darkness, the brilliant retractable landing lights pierce the gloomy
night. “Let’s circle the ranch twice, just like the old days,” Helen exclaims with anticipation!
The plane approaches the ranch at about 500-feet, over the Wings of the Wing, at which point
Jacks banks to the southeast, and the plane completes a wide circle twice, just like they did, so
many times throughout the 1940’s. “Are you ready to see the house, Helen?” Jack inquires
softly. “Yes,” Helen replies, as she squeezes Jack’s hand tightly. Jack swings to the south, out
over the ranch, and down over Cup of Gold, then back around to the east. He keeps the plane
low along the river, just above the tree line, until they reach the house. Suddenly, the
Lockheed engines scream as the plane climbs up and over the house. Helen looks down, “there
it is Jack, our home! Oh, my goodness, they ‘are’ restoring it! Where is the roof?” “It’s all
wonderful Helen,” Jack says, “they have not forgotten us either.” “Oh Jack, please, another
pass,” says Helen with a trembling voice. “In the mist and inky darkness, the plane banks and
turns, finally, it drops in again, so low, the landing lights illuminate the entire House of Apache
Fires from above, resting on its promenade overlooking the Frye Ranch. By now, Helen is
sobbing, “it hurts Jack, I didn’t think it would hurt so much!” “It always hurts Helen-- when
you go back….” Looking over at Helen, who is crying gently, Jack pulls up and away with heavy
heart. The silver ship climbs, higher and higher, back to the eternal skyways of TWA. The
sound of the dual radial engines gradually fade away to silence, and the clearance lights twinkle
into the starry night, suddenly, the landing lights flash out. The skies above Sedona are silent
It’s over, Jack & Helen Frye fly back into history, returning to the skies of TWA, (until the
Copyright and Written by Randall Reynolds
Published by Sedona Legend
The Return- By Randall Reynolds
Jack & Helen's private Lockheed Electra Jr. twin shown parked near Sedona at Cottonwood
Airport in November 1942.