Until you really begin to dig deep into a subject, you have no idea just how much more there is to uncover. That’s definitely been the case since we started researching our ‘Find Your Adventure’ series celebrating the 100th anniversary of our National Park Service.
Here’s just one example: Who knew there were such things as haunted national parks? Not us. And yet, as we looked into the idea with an eye toward Halloween, we discovered there are more spooky sites in our parks than we’d ever imagined.
To illustrate our paranormal point, here are five national parks guaranteed to send a shiver up your spine:
When you stop to think about it, it’s not surprising that a battlefield would have its share of ghosts. In addition to hearing phantom gunshots and drum rolls throughout the park, visitors and staff have reported seeing sharpshooters at Devil’s Den, a headless horseman at Little Round Top and assorted soldiers that clearly weren’t there.
Though it seems antithetical to a spot where wide-open spaces are the chief attraction, several places in the park have seen reports of paranormal activity. Topping that list is the apparition known as The Wandering Woman who apparently still searches in vain for her husband and son who were lost in a hiking accident. Eerie lights are also said to pop up in Crash Canyon where two passenger planes collided in 1956.
Mammoth Cave National Park
The spirits of Native Americans who died in the cave are sometimes spotted, as is the spirit of early cave explorer Floyd Collins who perished after being trapped 55 feet underground in nearby Sand Cave in 1925. The ghost of early guide and slave Stephen Bishop is also said to put in regular appearances in the flickering light of the park’s Violet City Lantern Tours.
Venture into the swamps and pine forests here in southern New Jersey and you may come face-to-face with the so-called Jersey Devil. Sightings of the legendary beast, which has been described as having cloven hooves, a kangaroolike body, bat wings and a forked tail, date as far back as the 1700s and continue to this day.
Located in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, visitors to America’s tallest sand dunes and the surrounding area have reported more than 60 UFO sightings since the year 2000. Add supposedly unexplained cattle mutilations in the area and “vortexes” some believe may be the portal to another universe and you have a park that may make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.