Haunted Devil's Postpile

Haunted Devil's Postpile
Visitors to the Mammoth Lakes area of California should definitely not miss Devil’s Postpile National Monument. Beautiful flora and fauna, crisp mountain air, and opportunities for exercise and reflection – it’s a gorgeous spot by day. At night, however, the area is said to be home to weird events and unusual psychic phenomena. Do you dare to venture out?

One visits Devil’s Postpile to explore the exceptional mountain ecosystem. Hexagonal arrangements of cooled lava stick up towards the sky in large arrays of columns. These geographical oddities are flanked by high altitude trees and bushes, providing a backdrop for mountain vistas. In addition, Rainbow Falls offers the highest water fall in the area. Meadows flank the San Joaquin River, which hosts four different species of trout. Hiking, mountain biking, wildlife watching, and horseback riding are all available during the summer months. In the fall and winter, however, things change dramatically.

At an elevation of 7,500 feet, the area sees its share of inclement weather. While the Forest Service endeavors to keep Devil’s Postpile open throughout the month of October, Mother Nature often has other plans. Snowfall and cold temperatures close the road to the monument as well as the campgrounds and facilities; however, intrepid athletes can ski or snowshoe in. Perhaps this isolation is part of the reason for the stories surrounding Red’s Meadow and the lava formations.

Legends tell of people who hike into the High Sierras but never return. What happens to them? Various campgrounds in the area reportedly host not only the living, but the ghosts of these hikers, who contact the living in an effort to be found. One story tells of a child named Ella who takes the hand of live hikers and walks with them before disappearing. Another story relates the discovery of butchered animal parts, seemingly crafted for use in some diabolical rite. Were these creatures slaughtered by the living or the dead? No one is quite sure.

Many of the campgrounds in the Mammoth Lakes area appear to be haunted; the area was originally settled by those coming West in one of the mining booms of the latter 1800’s. Bodie State Historic Park lies within an hour’s drive, as do the communities of June Lake and Bridgeport. All of these places offer sad tales of miners hurt in mysterious accidents, children abandoned by those facing starvation after getting lost in the snow, and mysterious lights and shadows appearing seemingly at random. The history of the area is rife with reasons for ghosts unable to leave the area, looking for comfort or revenge from the visitors they encounter.

If you’re interested in touring the area during the Hallowe’en season, be aware that the weather can and does change rapidly. Bring warm clothing and plenty of water to combat the effects of high elevation. Be sure to let people know where you’re gone and when you expect to return. And keep an eye or ear open for sightings of the supernatural.

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This content was written by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.