South Dakota is a state rich in culture, history, and urban legends. These legends range from the 1700s to today and are terrifying enough to bring you to your knees. Don’t read this if you get easily freaked out! These terrifying urban legends will have your stomach in knots.
1. The Legend of the Gitchi Manitou Murders
Gitchi Manitou is one of the places you always hear about but can never bring yourself to visit, at least not at night. While it is technically located in Iowa, the whispers of legends run rampant through Eastern South Dakota as well. In 1973, four Sioux Falls teens were murdered while camping at GItchi Manitou. If that isn’t enough reason to be wary of hauntings, add the fact that this park used to be an American Indian burial grounds. The park is technically closed after dark; but the brave still visit in hopes to prove the legends true.
2. The Legend of the Ghost in the Orpheum Theatre
The Orpheum Theatre in Sioux Falls is said to be haunted by a ghost named Larry. Legend has it that Larry is a man who was dancing with a woman whose husband was away fighting in a war. When the husband returned, it is said that he killed Larry, thus the ghost of Larry existing in the theatre to this day. Hearing Larry whistling “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” is considered a good luck charm on opening night of performances at the theatre.
3. The Legend of the 1880 Train Haunting
The 1880 Train that runs through Hill City, South Dakota is said to be haunted. While some of the train cars are used at the current tourist attraction, many remain abandoned. Some employees have specifically mentioned seeing a main standing in the back of the eating car, only to disappear seconds later.
4. The Legend of the "Little Devils" of Spirit Mound
Spirit Mound, located near Vermillion, has long been awed by Native Americans. It is said that when you try to hike up the mound, “little devils” with arrows will attack you. This legend was not documented until 1804 but seems to have existed since long before then.
5. The Legend of Jesse James at Devil's Gulch
One of South Dakota’s more famous urban legends, Devil’s Gulch is said to be the place where Jesse James and his horse jumped over a ravine that is 60 feet deep and 20 feet wide. You truly have to stand at the bottom of this chasm and look up at where Jesse jumped to understand the magnitude of a jump that this legend claims.
6. The Hauntings of The Hotel Alex Johnson
A hotel so surely haunted, they actually advertise it right on their website. Come take a tour or stay at this haunted mansion. One of the main ghosts claimed to be seen here is the hotel’s namesake, Alex Johnson himself. It is said that he comes around to make sure the hotel is still running well. Treat yourself to the Ghost Package and check this urban legend out for yourself: http://www.alexjohnson.com/about-us/hauntings
7. The Legend of Big Foot at Sica Hollow
Originally a hunting grounds for the Dakota Sioux Native Americans, Sica Hollow literally has evil in its name. The name “Sica” was assigned to the area by the first Native Americans to visit the location and sica means ‘bad’ or ‘evil’. It is thought that a “big foot” type man inhabits the woods, corroborated by the fact that, in the 1970s, some people went missing from the area. It exists as a reserve area today because historically, people have been to afraid to live in the area.
8. The Legend of Spook Road
The debate on which "Spook Road" is the real Spook Road has carried on for years. Though there is much evidence that Spook Road exists near Brandon, South Dakota. There are many theories about the road including one that claims if you drive away from town and count the number of turns, then drive back and count them, you will end up with different numbers. Many cars have been wrecked on this road. Yet, this particular legend is so near and dear to people's hearts. they have created a Facebook group to protect the road.
These terrifying urban legends are just a few of the many we uncovered in South Dakota. From unbelievable to unbearably frightening, they are some of the best stories around. Have you visited any of these spooky areas? Are the legends true?