The full moon rises to its zenith and the mist rests heavily on the forest floor. As you walk along the path shaded by overgrown tree limbs, twigs snap beneath each step. Every hair stands on end and your heartbeat quickens. Off to the right, something crashes to the ground. Then, you hear footsteps coming towards you.
Encounters like these occur every day, inspiring awe, fear, and curiosity. I have always been fascinated by supernatural and ghastly tales. My family happens to love them too. When I started planning our summer vacation, I wanted to incorporate our love of the outdoors, exercise, and the paranormal. We decided on a RV-trip around the country to visit spooky places in nature. After taking the time to research many sources, I wanted to share them with everyone else!
1. Grouse Lake Yosemite National Park, CA
Native American folklore holds that the reported wailing at the lake comes from a young boy who drowned here ages ago. Legend also has it that if you get too close, he’ll drag you into the depths with him.
2. Ghost House Trail – Big Ridge State Park, TN
This house in these woods is so spooky that they named the trail after it. Many report hearing a panting dog throughout the forest, but one has never been seen. The eerie trail winds past the cemetery that’s haunted by the family who had once lived in the home.
3. Mammoth Cave – Mammoth Cave National Park, KY
Over 100 paranormal events have been reported at the world’s largest cave. However, be careful not to wander off the trail. The caves are over 400 miles long and haunted by the souls of those who couldn’t make it back to the light.
4. Norton Creek Trail – Great Smoky Mountains, SC
A myriad of ghosts are ever present on this particular hike in the ominous fog that hangs on these mountains. As the legend goes, a ghost called Spearfinger wanders the forest disguised as an old woman. There are also helpful ghosts who manifest as shining lights to guide lost hikers back to the trail.
5. Transept Trail – Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
According to hikers and park rangers, the Wailing Woman dressed in white and holding blue flowers haunts this North Rim trail, mourning the loss of her husband and son whom she had loss in a tragic hiking accident.
6. Batona Trail – Pinelands, NJ
Reports of Jersey Devil sightings date back to the early 1700s. Over the centuries, thousands of people have seen the winged creature with yellow eyes and a dog’s head near the Pinelands or heard its cries in the night.
7. Spruce Railroad Trail – Olympic National Park, WA
The Lady of the Lake is known to haunt the trail along these shores of Crescent Lake. Many believe she’s the ghost of Hallie Latham Illingworth, who went missing in late 1937. When fisherman came across her body floating on the surface in the summer of 1940. An autopsy concluded that she had been beaten, strangled, and hogtied before being tossed into the lake. Dental records helped prove who she was and her husband was later found guilty of second-degree murder in 1942.
8. Devil’s Den – Gettysburg National Park, PA
A young boy killed during this Civil War battle at Gettysburg haunts the boulders at Devil’s Den. They call him the Helpful Hippy for his long hair, baggy shirt, and floppy hat, and over 60 people have reported his assistance with their picture-taking. “What you’re looking for is over there,” he says, according to those who’ve encountered him. However, when visitors looked back to where he was standing, he had already disappeared.
9. Griffith Park – Los Angeles, CA
Silent film actress Peg Entwhistle committed suicide in Griffith Park by leaping to her death from the H of the Hollywood Sign in 1932. Hikers along the trails of the park have not only seen a woman who matches Entwhistle’s appearance and in clothing from that era, but also her spirit falling from the H, disappearing before reaching the rugged terrain of this famous hill.
10. Appalachian Trail – Bluff Mountain, VA
One day in November 1891, four-year-old Ottie Powell was sent into the forest by his schoolteacher to collect firewood with his classmates, but he strayed too far and never returned. His body was discovered the following spring, and his spirit has been seen on the mountain and in the one-room Tower Hill Schoolhouse from which had left.
I’m so excited to base our RV trip on visiting these trails this summer, and we’ll be heading to Gettysburg for our first stop. I’ll report back with any spooky experiences that we encounter!