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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Boldly Going Nowhere

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Haunted National Parks

Author Andrea Lankford has written a book titled Haunted Hikes: Spine-tingling Tales and Trails from North America's National Park System describing various National Parks that have a reputation for being haunted.

Yosemite National Park -- The Miwok Indians claim an evil wind called "Po-ho-no" has the power to entice people to Yosemite's towering waterfall and push them over the side. Needless to say, the National Park Service has installed fortified safety railings overlooking the falls, reducing the mighty Po-ho-no to a puff-puff.

New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve -- The New Jersey Devil, a yellow-eyed creature with bat wings and dragon breath, lurks in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. First encountered in 1735, this unidentified biological entity (UBE) has been seen by hundreds of people. Then again, lots of strange entities reside in New Jersey.

Virgin Islands National Park -- Jumby Beach is an idyllic place, unless you're a man and wander too close to Annaberg Sugar Mills Ruin. The historic sugar plantation is reportedly haunted by a female jumby (spirit) looking for love. Other female jumbies are also patrolling the same area. Hell hath no fury like a jumby scorned.

Mammoth Cave National Park -- Park rangers, using kerosene lanterns, have reported seeing apparitions on more than 150 occasions in this gigantic cave in Kentucky. Caves can be very spooky, especially on the inside.

Great Sand Dunes National Park -- Since 1950, visitors to this giant sandbox in Colorado have claimed to have seen UFOs (cigar-shaped red orbs, multicolored lights and black triangles) hovering above the dunes. But don't fret -- if you're unable to identify a flying object, Men in Black will show up at your door and explain it to you.

Oregon Caves National Monument -- In 2000, a psychologist spotted a Bigfoot watching his family. There is a substance within the cave called "moonmilk" which is said to be made by gnomes. And the Chateau is haunted by a jilted bride named Elizabeth. A Bigfoot, gnomes and a ghost -- there's a little something for everyone here.

Grand Canyon National Park -- A ghostly "Wailing Woman" in a white dress often floats along the north rim, moaning about the husband and son she lost to the canyon. On weekends, she works the information booth.

Blue Ridge Parkway -- In 1891, a 4-year-old boy vanished in the Virginia forest while fetching firewood and his body was found five months later. Hikers along the Appalachian Trail who spend the night inside a nearby shelter claim to have been "annoyed" by the boy's spirit. Indeed, spirits can be very annoying at times.

Big Bend National Park -- Multiple apparitions roam the Chisos Mountains of south Texas (Chisos means "ghosts"), including a troop of Spanish warriors, a renegade Indian chief and a steer seeking revenge on the cowboys who branded him. However, out of respect, ghosts never appear on John Wayne's birthday in Texas.

Chesapeake National Park -- In 1906, a miner was killed in an explosion near Potomac, Md. Two years later, a ghost with eyes of fire and a long tail was spotted crawling out of a shaft. Spirits known as "Tommy Knockers," not to be confused with Tammy Knockers, a stripper from Baltimore, have haunted the place ever since.

Our area also has its share of things that go bump in the night, and I'm not referring to the mice in the walls.

The Sturkie Turkey -- A phantom turkey with an earsplitting gobble haunts Fulton County every November.

The Moko Mojo Man -- A grey ghoul, looking much like Richard Nixon with all his blood drained, appears on Friday evenings near Moko and casts an evil spell on all the men in the area who don't have their Mojo working.

The Izard Lizard -- A giant reptile with bright red eyes and a long, orange tongue emerges from a cave in Izard County, near Jumbo, during the summer equinox and forages for food, mostly fat cats and skinny dogs.

The Camp Vamp -- During full moons, a purple vampire named Bob harasses redheaded women near Camp.

The Salem Salesman -- The spirit of a pesky vacuum cleaner salesman often visits citizens of Salem in their dreams and refuses to leave. When the person wakes up, they find a small pile of dirt on the floor next to the bed.

Ghosts are just like everyone else -- some are good, some are bad and some are in dire need of a makeover.

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Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels, which are available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at bret@centurytel.net.