Oregon Lakes, Nature August 31, 2017
The Sinister Story Behind This Popular Oregon Lake Will Give You Chills
There are a large number of locations that are reportedly haunted in Oregon. In fact, some of America’s creepiest haunts can be found in this state, particularly in Southern Oregon, Portland, and on the Oregon Coast. However, not many people would think to include the ever beautiful Crater Lake on this list. Located in Klamath County, within the Cascade Range of Southwest Oregon, Crater Lake is steeped in mysterious legends. Despite its serene surface, the lake has a dark history filled with strange phenomena and chilling stories.
Crater Lake covers 21 square miles and measures up to 1,949 feet in depth. This makes it the deepest lake in the United States and the 3rd deepest in the world. The lake is so deep, that it was long rumored to be bottomless.
The prehistoric lake was formed by the collapse of the volcano Mt. Mazama sometime between 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. Over time, the caldera filled with rain and snowmelt, eventually forming Crater Lake.
There are two islands in Crater Lake. Wizard Island is a volcanic cinder cone at the west end of the lake.
Phantom Ship Island is named for its unique shape. It is situated on the southeast end of the lake.
The area surrounding Crater Lake has long been home to members of the Native Klamath tribes, including the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin. Tribe members recognize Crater Lake as a site of power and danger, and fear the dangerous beings that are believed to live inside the lake.
According to legend, the lake was a sort of doorway or crossroads between the darkness of the Below-World, or Hell. The Klamath also believed that if a person stared too long at the lake's surface, they would be unable to look away. It was thought that the lake had the power to mesmerize and trap people, and even lure them in towards their death.
There are many chilling stories of early settlers in the region. In 1853, three explorers went searching through uncharted wilderness for a miner who had gone missing. It was believed that this miner knew the location of a secret gold mine. One of the explorers, a man named John Hillman, claimed that he had found the miner. While Hillman was leading the group to this location, his horse lost its footing, dragging Hillman over the edge of the cliff to his death. The location of the lost miner and secret gold mine remains undiscovered.
There are also a large number of unexplained deaths and disappearances that have occurred around Crater Lake. Photographer Charles McCullar went missing in 1975, after going out to take winter photos of Crater Lake. Even with extensive search efforts, his body was not discovered until the following year. Strangely, his toe and shin bones were the only body parts found. One ranger described it as if the man had simply melted away.
Additionally, there have been many bizarre cases of aircraft fatalities and disappearances in the area. One of the strangest incidents occurred in the spring of 1944. Two Grumman Torpedo planes were flying in formation when one of the pilots turned and saw that the other plane had simply vanished. It was later determined that the plane had crashed into the lake and sunk to the bottom, even though the weather had been completely clear. It was as if the lake had snatched the aircraft from the sky.
Many sightings of Sasquatch have been documented in the area. In one memorable encounter, park rangers reportedly followed a massive, shaggy, and bipedal beast into the forest. They had to turn back when the creature started to violently throw pine cones at them.
Then, there's the eerie smoke that is said to be seen from Wizard Island at night. Natives claim that these are the spirits of the island. Multiple people have reported seeing dragon-like lake monsters looming beneath the water's surface around the island. As if things could get any weirder, there have even been UFOs spotted above Crater Lake. Witnesses claim that UFOs flit in and out of the water.
Regardless of its mysterious past, Crater Lake remains one of the most stunning areas in all of Oregon.
Crater Lake is open all year round. Visitors can drive around the lake and stop at numerous breathtaking vistas, or take the guided trolley tour around the rim. There’s also a boat tour to Wizard Island. Just make sure to watch out for the lake monsters!
Have you paid a visit to the majestic Crater Lake? Did you witness any strange phenomena? Share your experiences with us below.