4 Stories From Haunted National Parks to Tell Around the Campfire

Ghost Stories for Your Next Campfire

Know any good ghost stories? Many people enjoy a spooky yarn, and some don’t like them at all. And it always seems like the really scary ones are the stories that are true. Those tales are the most unsettling of all.

So if you’re the type who can never be scared, the person unaffected by nightmare fuel, read on.

Here are four tales from National Parks that might be worth telling around the campfire this summer – if you’re feeling brave.

The Fresno Nightcrawlers of Yosemite National Park

The epic wilderness of Yosemite National Park seems like the perfect place for a creepy myth or two. You have vast areas of forest, imposing mountains and dangerous wildlife. And, yes, there are plenty of legends from the Ahwahnechee and other indigenous American tribes in the area.

But the Fresno Nightcrawlers are a more recent curiosity. The mystery began in Fresno in 2010, when a man named Jose was alerted to an eerie creature by his barking dog. Creepier still, two were later sighted in Yosemite National Park, and caught on video. Holy smokes!

Many Yosemite National Park explorers have declared the large park to be haunted.
Many Yosemite National Park explorers have declared the large park to be haunted.

What in the name of Roger Patterson is that? What is that skinny, weird thing walking in the field? Why is there a second skinny, weird thing? Where are they going? Who shot this grainy video? How many times are we going to watch this?

This is either a hoax or very, very troubling. This video is strangely upsetting so let’s move on.

The Headless Bride of Yellowstone National Park

Everyone has heard of the Headless Horseman. But there’s another legendary figure far from Sleepy Hollow who is also missing something critical – the Headless Bride of Yellowstone National Park.

As the world's first National Park, Yellowstone is home to many spooky sightings.
As the world's first National Park, Yellowstone is home to many spooky sightings.

According to the story, a newlywed couple checked into the Old Faithful Inn. There were concerns about how nice of a guy the husband was and they turned out to be well-founded. The bride was soon discovered murdered and missing her head.

Ever since, there have been persistent reports of people coming in contact with a ghostly apparition carrying its own head at the stroke of midnight. Like Nearly Headless Nick, but less charming. Here you were afraid of grizzlies…

Crash Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park

Unfortunately, the region within Grand Canyon National Park known as Crash Canyon, has a fitting name. In 1956, two passenger planes collided there in mid-air, and 128 people died.

There’s a grave for the victims on the South Rim, not far from the Yavapai Overlook (this is the one time Yavapai Lodge’s proximity to the South Rim doesn’t sound ideal). As you might expect, a number of sightings of eerie lights and ghosts have been reported in the area.

There are Grand Canyon legends abound, including everything from ghost stories to Bigfoot encounters.
There are Grand Canyon legends abound, including everything from ghost stories to Bigfoot encounters.

And all this time you thought the scariest thing about the region was The Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon’s 15% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Cave of the Evil Spirit at Niagara Falls State Park

The Cave of the Evil Spirit in Devil’s Hole State Park makes a fitting final entry on our list. With a name like that, surely something bad went down there. And it did.

From natural wonders to the supernatural, Niagara Falls is home to an unearthly share of spooky spectacles.
From natural wonders to the supernatural, Niagara Falls is home to an unearthly share of spooky spectacles.

In 1763, 80 British soldiers were ambushed there and killed. Legend has it their souls were none too pleased about this, and that you may encounter them to this day. Just four miles from Niagara Falls State Park, disaster is foretold for anyone who dares to enter the cave. Like the biker bar in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Cave of the Evil Spirit does not seem like the kind of place most would want to spend time in. Especially after dark.

 

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Jeff Bucki is a copywriter for Delaware North’s Creative Studio, based in Buffalo, N.Y.