Eerie Stories From US National Parks That Give Us Chills

By Jack Ripley | November 17, 2023

A Disappearance In The Chiricahua Mountains

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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(national parks service)

On January 13, 1980, ranger Paul Fugate went missing during a regular hike in Arizona's Chiricahua National Monument. Paul was someone who loved nature and his job as a ranger, but he had disagreements with his bosses and had even taken legal action against the government in the past.

Paul was last seen around 2:00 pm when he headed out to check a trail. However, he didn't come back as expected. His girlfriend became worried and alerted the authorities, who started searching for him. Initially, they thought he might have had an accident and gotten hurt or stuck in a remote area of the park.

As the search continued without finding any clues, suspicions grew. A park volunteer mentioned seeing Paul in a truck with two unfamiliar men. This led some people to wonder if Paul had been abducted. There were speculations that he might have encountered drug traffickers, who were starting to move into the region around that time. Maybe Paul accidentally stumbled upon their activities or was involved in something gone wrong. Some even suggested, much to the dismay of his loved ones, that he might have intentionally left his old life behind. Regardless of the theories, no evidence or trace of Paul Fugate has been found since that day in 1980.

The Unsolved Murders O Julianne Marie Williams and Laura Winans

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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.