Graveyard Shift
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Creepy Legends And True-Life Stories From Yellowstone National Park

Updated August 29, 2019 631.4k views12 items

​​​​​Headless brides. Drowned men. Malevolent sirens. They're all rumored to be haunting the confines of Yellowstone National Park. And they aren't the only things out to get you in the wilderness - fatalities in this park have been caused by everything from falls and geysers to poisonous gas and rampaging bears. Yellowstone has been the site of hundreds of deaths. It's not surprising that there are so many Yellowstone myths, cautionary tales, and downright creepy stories.

These Yellowstone legends and ghost stories are enough to send a chill down the spine of even the most hardened survivalist. What would you do if you saw a waterfall suddenly turn red, as if stained with blood? And how would you react to a herd of stampeding bison? These spooky tales and gruesome true stories about Yellowstone remind you to stay aware as you take in the beauty of nature.

  • A Ghostly Drowned Man Appears On Stevenson Island

    Photo: National Archives and Records / via Wikimedia Commons / PD1

    One Yellowstone ghost story from the 1920s concerns an employee who was told by his supervisor to go inspect the wrecked E.C. Waters steamboat on Stevenson Island. Supposedly there were party-goers aboard it the night before, but the man encountered much more than floating beer bottles or hung-over trespassers. A storm began to swell just as he came across a body in soaked clothing that resembled the fashions of an earlier century. The man had no pulse, his eyes were bulging, and his face was blue. However, as suddenly as the employee had come across the body, it vanished - as did the impending storm.

  • A Rampaging Bear Killed A Man In A Tent

    Photo: Truman Ward Ingersoll / via Wikimedia Commons / PD1

    An estimated eight people have been killed by bears in Yellowstone National Park's history from 1872 to 2015. However, an attack that occurred in 2010 was one of the most shocking ever recorded. Kevin Kammer of Michigan was pulled out of his tent and dragged 25 feet to his death. Deb Freele of Ontario and an unidentified man were also attacked by the same bear, and were hospitalized for severe bite injuries in Wyoming.

    Park warden Capt. Sam Sheppard stated that the attacks of three different people asleep in different tents was "highly unusual."

  • A Spirit Has Made Itself At Home In Roosevelt's Lodge

    Photo: Albert Brewer Guptill / via Wikimedia Commons / PD1

    77-year-old John F. Yancey met President Roosevelt during the dedication of the Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner, MT in 1903. But he caught a cold at the event and died of pneumonia soon after.

    Park employees claim that Yancey's ghost took up residence in Yellowstone's Roosevelt Lodge and that he can be a bit of a nuisance. Sometimes they'll hear a tin cup banging on the walls of the employee quarters in the early hours of morning. Other times, things will be hidden before reappearing in random places. Yancey's ghost is also said to be notorious for unsaddling horses - particularly if they've been previously ridden by pretty girls.

  • Natural Gases Have Claimed The Lives Of Unsuspecting People

    Photo: Schlundt, Herman / via Wikimedia Commons / PD1

    Bill Nelson became a park employee in 1939. While assisting in digging a 26-foot deep pit, Nelson's co-worker fell ill. The man had been overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas in the pit. Nelson, along with another employee, immediately tried to pull the man up. Instead, Nelson fell head-first into the pit and was overcome by the gas himself. Nelson was rescued, but never recovered.