The United States National Park System has over 84 million acres of woods, mountains, deserts, and preserved wilderness, making it a prime place for mysterious happenings. Although people seek explanations, definitive conclusions have never been reached in a large number of these cases.
With hikers just vanishing into thin air, strange creatures being spotted among the trees, and whole groups disappearing without a trace, no other places carry quite the same eerie auras as the national parks.
The Devil’s Den
In 1946, Katherine Van Alst, an eight-year-old girl who was with her family at Devil’s Den State Park, disappeared from their camp and got lost. Six days later, she was found sitting in a cave approximately 48 kilometers (30 mi) away and 183 meters (600 ft) higher than the spot from which she had disappeared.
The thing that perplexed the search party was Katherine’s remarkable calmness when they found her. She was reported to have walked peacefully out of the cave and announced, “Here I am.”
How an eight-year-old girl wearing only a bathing suit managed to travel such a distance and show no signs of harm is still a mystery. Many suggest that something chased Katherine, which was why she strayed so far from the camp. While it likely wasn’t a lumbering, radioactive Bigfoot, it cannot be denied that it was indeed mysterious and that something sinister could be lurking in the Devil’s Den park.
The Haunted Battleground
Gettysburg National Military Park was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. During three days of brutal combat, casualties rose to over 50,000 and the creeks were said to have literally run red with blood. Today, hundreds of paranormal sightings are reported there every year. Many claim to have seen figures in Civil War uniforms, carrying old-looking weapons.
Civil War reenactor Ray Hock claimed that he and a friend were approached by a large haggard figure who handed them some cartridges. But when they looked up, he was gone. The cartridges were later confirmed to be genuine Civil War issue from 1863. Others claim to have found a figure, appearing to be a hazy mist lying facedown in a bush, shaking violently from the supposed pain he was in.
While these occurrences likely have rational explanations, they have not yet been solved. Perhaps we will never know if an army of the dead really roams the grounds of Gettysburg National Military Park.
Mount Shasta is located in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest of California and is a place shrouded by mysteries and legends. The tribes who lived on the mountain once thought of it as the center of creation and all life, while New Age believers see it as the Earth’s main point of spiritual energy.
In 1931, a huge forest fire swept across the mountain, only to be stopped by a strange fog that arose suddenly. It was later realized that the fog had stopped the fire directly in line with the Central Time Zone. This occurrence has never been explained scientifically.
The mountain is also said to be an entry point to the fifth dimension and an energy supply base for extraterrestrial craft, with local villages reporting large humanoid figures observing them from a distance. People also link these sightings to the Karuk legend of the “big people,” a race of superhuman individuals who fled their destroyed city of Lemuria and are responsible for the mysterious occurrences on the mountain.
Hopi Keeper Of Death
Grand Canyon National Park is perhaps one of the most famous parks in the world. With just under 5,000 square kilometers (1,930 mi2), the canyon is riddled with mysteries and folklore.
One of the tribes that inhabited the canyon was the Hopi, comprised of elders, workers, and hunters. They thrived there, with some writers speculating that the tribe had built an underground citadel within the canyon.
The Hopi believed in the god Maasaw, the supposed keeper of death. Maasaw is said to reside in a specific region of the canyon. If you see strange lights coming toward you from within the canyon at night or you hear a faint tapping of rocks, Maasaw is after you.
While this sounds like superstitious nonsense, many have experienced nausea and anxiety in the region shortly after hearing the rocks clanging. Although the area is level and not considered to be dangerous, a large number of accidents have occurred there.
Santa Fe National Forest has recently become plagued by unexplained wooden structures randomly appearing in the woods. Each structure is said to be made up of over 1,000 pieces of wood, with some over 6 meters (20 ft) tall and 4 meters (12 ft) in diameter.
Made of fallen trees and tree limbs, the structures have left forest officials at a loss. They complain that the wood could cause a forest fire and threaten that anyone caught building these cone-shaped designs could be fined $5,000 or spend six months in jail.
No one knows who is building these structures or why. But many have suggested that they are the work of a cult that uses the wooden frameworks for ritualistic purposes.