Crater Lake in Oregon is considered to be one of the most breathtaking places in the United States. It is the deepest lake in the nation, and its waters are described as unnaturally blue and crystal clear. But despite the beauty of the lake and surrounding park, there are several creepy Crater Lake tales floating around, involving everything from ghosts, UFOs, Bigfoot, and a giant lake monster to unsettling accounts of disappearances and murders.
Here are 12 of the weird things that have happened at Crater Lake.
Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, reportedly lives in many areas around the US, but the Pacific Northwest region, especially in Oregon, reports more Bigfoot sightings each year than any other state. Crater Lake is, of course, no exception. Week in Weird writer Cody Meyocks states, "Bigfoot himself is known to show up here from time to time. Rangers once reported following a large, dark, putrid-smelling creature through the woods until it started throwing pinecones at them."
Crater Lake is also the spot for two supposed Bigfoot deaths - one by car, though the body was whisked away by government agents (no word on whether Mulder and/or Scully were among them); the other by train. In the latter case, the incident was not reported at the time because the men responsible were apparently drinking on the job.
An incident from 1947: "A Park visitor, Mr. Cornelius suddenly hands his startled wife his billfold and watch as he sits down on a snow chute near the old Lake Trail, and slides to the Lake attempting suicide. Since the fall only broke his leg, Cornelius crawls to the water’s edge and drowns himself."
No other information on this Mr. Cornelius could be found online. Just what was it that inspired him to take his life in such a grisly and painful fashion?
Dubbed the Old Man of the Lake, this tree stump, most likely a hemlock, has been floating vertically in Crater Lake since 1896. Now sun-bleached and bone-white, the Old Man has confounded park officials all these years, as it not only bobs in the water but is capable of traveling four miles in one day and is also buoyant enough to support the weight of a person standing on top of it.
However, John Salinas offered up a reasonable explanation for the Old Man's physics-defying ways in 1996:
Some have suggested that when the Old Man slipped into the lake, he had rocks bound within his roots. This might naturally make him float vertically, though no rocks appear to still be there. At any rate, the submerged end could become heavier over time through being waterlogged. Acting like the wick on a candle, the shorter upper portion of the Old Man remains dry and light. This apparent equilibrium allows the log to be very stable in the water.
According to park ranger Jan Kirwan, she and other officials have witnessed spontaneous campfires on the lake's Wizard Island that seem to ignite out of nowhere.
She details one such instance, as told by National Parks Traveler writer "haunted hiker":
One evening Ranger Kirwan was patrolling the roads below the rim when she spotted ten people standing around a roaring fire, camping illegally in the forest far from the designated campground. The ranger parked her car and entered the woods to contact the illegal campers, but when she reached the site, she could find no people and no campfire. Somewhat distressed by the campers’ furtive behavior, the ranger got behind a tree and called for backup. The two rangers searched all over, but they still couldn’t find any sign of the 'roaring campfire' or the ten campers Ranger Kirwan had seen just moments before.