Four National Park Ghost Stories

Devils Den National Park

Many nation­al parks are inher­ent­ly creepy result­ing from the vast open­ness, from deep weeds, and from the pres­ence of dead­ly crea­tures. Because of their grand nature, it’s easy to see how they might attract epic tragedies, and where there are great tragedies, there are also great ghosts. From a bare­foot­ed ghost to float­ing appari­tions, here are some of our favorite nation­al park hauntings.

Devil’s Den
It seems that most ghost sto­ries and haunt­ed places are found where ter­ri­ble tragedies occurred, which makes Get­tys­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia basi­cal­ly ghost Dis­ney­land. Devil’s Den is the name giv­en to a rocky out­crop­ping which was used by artillery and snipers. Count­less vis­i­tors to the park have report­ed see­ing a bare­foot­ed ghost, known as the “Ten­nessean” or “The Hip­pie”. He car­ries a rifle and speaks to vis­i­tors, fre­quent­ly point­ing and say­ing “What you’re look­ing for is over there.”

mammoth cave Mam­moth Cave
Haunt­ing a cave is a clas­sic ghost move and if you’re going to do it, you may as well choose a real­ly freak­ing huge one. Mam­moth Cave Nation­al Park receives thou­sands of vis­i­tors a year to explore its nev­er-end­ing cav­erns by guid­ed tour. It’s a prac­tice that has gone on for cen­turies, plen­ty of time to get some sol­id ghosts lined up. The most famous sight­ing is that of Stephen Bish­op, a slave who oper­at­ed as a guide for many years. Bish­op intend­ed to buy his own and his wife’s free­dom and move away, but it nev­er hap­pened. See­ing the great poten­tial for a haunt­ing, cave staff buried him direct­ly in front of the cave entrance. Per­fect. Now he shows up on tours, bring­ing many vis­i­tors with­in sec­onds of a stroke, blow­ing out lanterns and engag­ing in clas­sic ghost hijinks.

Grand Canyon

The remote North Rim of the Grand Canyon is the ide­al loca­tion to acci­den­tal­ly defe­cate out of pure fear. The most pop­u­lar haunt­ing sto­ry is that of La Llurona, the Wail­ing Woman. Guests and rangers have report­ed hear­ing a woman wail­ing in the night, only to find no one around. Some have even wit­nessed a glow­ing fig­ure dis­ap­pear­ing down canyon paths at night. Sup­pos­ed­ly, it is the ghost of an Indi­an woman who drowned her two chil­dren after her lover, and the father of her chil­dren mar­ried anoth­er woman. 

The-Stanley-HotelThe Stan­ley Hotel
While not tech­ni­cal­ly inside park bound­aries, the Stan­ley Hotel is adja­cent and sur­round­ed by Rocky Moun­tain Nation­al Park. More impor­tant­ly, it’s haunt­ing is said to be Stephen King’s inspi­ra­tion for The Shin­ing, pos­si­bly the great­est hor­ror movie ever made. The haunt­ings here are var­ied, from hear­ing sounds of a par­ty in the ball­room only to find it emp­ty to see­ing appari­tions float­ing over beds. It’s a ter­ri­fy­ing place to spend the night, but the views are great!