What if there was someone or something waiting right next to you, perhaps silently looking right into your eyes as you read this, someone who has suffered a brutal life and death? Would they try to tell you all of the changes they’ve seen over time? Would they try to tell you their story? Would they try, somehow, to whisper into your ear how much you look like an old lover, or an old betrayer who ran a knife through their throats?
And could you sense the haunting? Could you know there was a human soul at your neck, or your ear? Could you know a human soul was existing parallel to you in an unknown dimension, staring silently, listening to the sound of your breath?
At the following campgrounds, unspeakable crimes have led to strange sightings and disturbing phenomena.
9. Big Moose Lake, Adirondacks, New York
Grace Brown was 20 years old when she packed up all of her things in preparation to be taken away by her handsome, worldly boyfriend, Chester Gillette. It’s unclear where exactly they were going, or why Chester decided to use a false name, or how exactly their boat ride on Big Moose ended with a capsized boat.
Perhaps it should be mentioned that Ms. Brown was pregnant, and begged Mr. Gillette (unsuccessfully) to marry her. The prospects for unwed mothers in the early 20th century were not promising. In one of her many love letters, Ms. Brown wrote: “If I die I hope then you can be happy. I hope I can die. The doctor says I will, and then you can do just as you like. . .”.
The prosecutors accused Mr. Gillette of murdering Ms. Brown by hitting her with a tennis racket, but no definitive evidence was ever found. On July 11, 1906, her lifeless body was spotted at the bottom of Big Moose. Mr. Gillette was eating dinner at a nearby hotel.
Eighty-two years later Rhonda Bousselot, an employee at a nearby lodge, felt the strange, inexplicable presence of another person as she reached out to switch on a cabin light. Upon returning outside, she was surprised to see three of her coworkers in a morbid state of excitement. They had all seen the same thing: the image a person, gliding very close to Ms. Bousselot. It was a strange image, like moving shadows, silent, coming closer…
8. Witch Dance of the Natchez Trace, Mississippi
In this spot along the Natchez Trace, a traveler can see bare, scorched areas in the earth where nothing grows. Even Andrew Jackson, traveling along the Natchez Trace, made a note of the phenomenon in his journal. Legend has it this area was settled by ancient Hoplite Indians who had escaped from Mexico carrying the bones of their ancestors. Witches began to gather for ceremonies on this spot, and to this day, nothing grows from the earth.
7. Braley’s Pond, George Washington National Park, Virginia
Braley’s pond is a delightful campground where visitors report being overcome by feelings of dread and darkness. Some have heard children’s voices and horses neighing.
The list of possible spirits is a long one, as the area has been the site of several grisly murders, the most recent of which occurred in 2003. In 2006, the Shenandoah Valley Paranormal Society decided to investigate Braley’s Pond. Upon returning from the investigation, one member of the society attempted suicide.
6. Crystal Lake Campgrounds, Angeles National Forest, California
In 1934, Stephen Major was a laborer on the Crystal Lake Amphitheater in the Crystal Lake Campgrounds in California. He worked and lived along with his wife and two children, Markus and Susan. One evening, Stephen and his wife left for a private stroll, only to return to find a giant grizzly bear atop the tent, clawing at their vulnerable babies still inside. Stephen tried to save his family but the bear went after him, disemboweled him and tore him to shreds. Then it went after his wife, and ripped her apart, and finally finished by mutilating the children. Rescuers found what was left of their flesh in a horrible pile of gore.
Today, visitors to Crystal Lake say they can see the two adults and two children roaming among the woods. But even the apparitions don’t explain one key point: the last grizzly bear in California was reportedly killed in 1922, twelve years before the attack on Major’s family. A large search party went out looking for the dangerous animal. No bear was ever found.
5. Malakoff Diggins State Park, North Bloomfield, California
Locals are convinced the schoolhouse in North Bloomfield is the most haunted part of this old ghost town, where an instructor heard one too many wrong answers and decided to slaughter a student and hang him up by the rafters.
There is a nearby picnic area…
4. Mount Madonna State Park, Gilroy, California
It was somewhat strange when Officer Eric Goodrich observed lights turning on by themselves in a locked and closed inn at the Mount Madonna State Park. There was no explanation for it. But on foggy evening some time later, perhaps Mr. Goodrich obtained a clue as to who was turning on the lights. You see, sometimes, within the rising clouds of fog, between the searching beams of car headlights and flashlights, officer Goodrich would hear the voice of a girl. The little girl would be screaming. She was asking for help.
Officer Goodrich never found the source of the voice. Perhaps the story of Sarah Miller, the young daughter of local landowner Henry Miller, could reveal some truth about the lights and the voices. Henry Miller was one of the most ambitious landowners in the United States in the 19th century and one of the richest as well. Unfortunately the health of his family could not be guaranteed, even with his all his money, and his first wife died in childbirth. Sarah Miller, his twelve-year-old daughter, died when she was thrown off her horse. The horse fell on top of her, crushing her body.
Other rumors and sightings persist in the area. A pair of friends eating dinner at a local restaurant recalled a story about a silent woman in a red dress that had been seen walking around the halls of that particular establishment. At this exact moment they noticed that during the entire time they had been eating, a woman in red had been quietly, patiently standing right behind them.
3. Lake Morena, Campo, California
Lake Morena is a hotbed of paranormal activity. Men have been seen levitating above the ground, a woman in a white dress has been seen all around the lake, and people have even heard footsteps outside of tents. One day, a local resident heard footsteps outside her house. As she looked outside to try and find the source, the footsteps quickened, and sounded as if they were getting closer. She looked outside and saw nothing. Then the footsteps suddenly stopped. The doorknob turned.
What could possibly be the source of these hauntings? Locals point to the area’s rich history in Indian folklore. But perhaps some more (relatively) recent history may be to blame. In 1916 the city of San Diego hired conman Charles Hatfield to produce enough rain to fill up the Morena Reservoir. Mr. Hatfield instituted his chemical compound, and to his good (or rather bad) luck, an incredible storm not only filled the reservoir, but flooded surrounding neighborhoods and killed at least fifty people. In a stunning repudiation of Mr. Hatfield’s expertise, the city deemed it an “act of God”.
2. Rib Lake, Wisconsin
Strange moans can be heard coming from the nearby cemetery. Figures appear and disappear. There are numerous rumors as to the reason for the haunting, one of which is the secret existence of mass graves.
1. Lewis Stringer Campsite, Golden Trout Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, California
In the early 20th century Sam Lewis used to own sheep and graze them along this part of the Inyo National Forest, but after his wife died in 1910, he had her ashes spread throughout the campground. Since at least the 1920s, campers have experienced strange phenomenon such as camp items being rearranged, strange lights, and the chilling vision of a lonesome woman dancing. The woman’s voice is a continual feature of the area, along with the vision had by one particular camper who woke up in the early dawn to see two shining blood red eyes staring right into his face.
This article was first published on The Ghost Diaries.
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