Eerie Stories From US National Parks That Give Us Chills

By Jack Ripley | November 10, 2023

The Unsolved Murders O Julianne Marie Williams and Laura Winans

Beyond their breathtaking landscapes and tranquil vistas, the National Parks of the United States hold secrets that echo with chilling mysteries and unsolved crimes that continue to baffle both the curious and the courageous.

In these captivating stories we delve into a realm where reality and mystery intermingle, revealing stories that have transcended time and captivated the imaginations of those who dare to venture into the unknown. Some of you may already be acquainted with these haunting tales, whispered around campfires and discussed in hushed tones, while others may be embarking on a journey of eerie discovery for the first time.

From the depths of untamed wilderness to the heart of seemingly serene parklands, the stories you'll encounter here encompass a diverse array of the unexplained. We'll traverse the chilling trails of unsolved murders that have left investigators baffled, where darkness and danger overcame innocence and joy. Cryptid sightings that blur the lines between folklore and fact will beckon you into the realm of the uncharted. Ghostly echoes from the past will send shivers down your spine as you ponder the thin veil that separates the living from the lingering. The truth may be elusive, but the journey promises to be an unforgettable one. Your adventure begins now—click on, and immerse yourself in the enigma of US National Parks.

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The murders of Julianne Marie Williams and Laura “Lollie” Winans, which happened two decades ago in Shenandoah National Park, are still unresolved today. At one point, authorities believed they had identified the perpetrator. The two women, both in their twenties from New England, arrived at the park on May 19, planning to stay for the Memorial Day weekend. When they didn't show up for work on May 28, it was discovered they were missing. On June 1, their bodies were found at their secluded campsite, facing Stony Man Mountain. They were bound with duct tape and had their mouths covered, both unclothed with their throats slashed. Despite generating considerable attention and tips, the case remained unsolved.

A year later, Darrell David Rice was arrested and convicted of stalking and assaulting a woman biking on Skyline Drive, near Shenandoah National Park. Surveillance cameras placed him entering and leaving the park around the time of the murders. He was indicted in 2002 based on information from an inmate who claimed Rice spoke of killing a woman in the park.

However, charges against Rice were dropped two years later due to a lack of evidence. One potential witness identified Rice from a lineup photo, but with only around 65 to 70 percent certainty. Another witness reported seeing a strange man while camping in the park but provided uncertain details. DNA testing of a male hair found on the duct tape did not match Rice's DNA. Despite this, U.S. Attorney Thomas Bondurant still considered Rice a suspect.

A Severed Hand in Yosemite National Park

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In 1983, a family was exploring Summit Meadow near Glacier Road when one of their children found a severed hand and forearm. Despite thorough searches, investigators couldn't locate other body parts, and they couldn't identify the victim or make progress in solving the case. In 1988, a skull was discovered across the street from the original site, but authorities still couldn't figure out who the victim was.

Finally, in 2022, using DNA from the remains, the Park Service identified the victim as Patricia Hicks, a woman connected to a local cult leader who was accused of using LSD to exploit and disorient his victims. This man had been found guilty of assaulting women in the 1980s but disappeared before he could be imprisoned.

Investigators now believe that Hicks was actually murdered by the infamous serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, who confessed to hundreds of killings across the country. When Lucas was arrested, he shared specific details about the Summit Meadow crime scene that hadn't been publicly released. Still, the information Lucas provided regarding the incident and the victim's details were considered indirect, so the murder case remains unsolved.