It's considered one of the most beautiful, breathtaking places in the United States, if not the world. But while the Grand Canyon has been the go-to destination for uncountable vacationing tourists (and thus the subject of far too many boring family gathering slide show presentations), the national park has its share of dark secrets. Grand Canyon legends abound, and include everything from ghost stories to Bigfoot encounters to a horrific slaying (or several).
Furthermore, the Hopi people have numerous Grand Canyon myths in their folklore, including the belief that the valleys and caves hide the entrance to the afterworld.
Let's take a look at some of the wildest, most interesting, and downright chilling Grand Canyon creepy stories...
A Man Ended His Own Life By Leaping Out Of A Helicopter
Timothy Clam ended his own life in June 2004 by booking a flight on a scenic helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.
After enjoying the breathtaking views, on the way back to the landing spot, Clam forced his way out of the cockpit and leapt into the canyon. He fell 4,000 feet.
A Terrible Plane Disaster Occurred Over The Canyon In 1956
Two airplanes collided in the air over the Grand Canyon in 1956. It is believed that the pilots of both planes had flown off course to give their passengers a view of the canyon. While many of the bodies were recovered, there is a mass grave within the canyon for some of the passengers.
But that's not all. According to author Michael P. Ghiglieri, plane crashes are the number one cause of fatalities in the area.
A Man Once Met His End By Pretending To Fall
Greg Austin Gingrich met his end after falling off a Grand Canyon guardrail in 1992. He jumped onto the rail and began to frantically windmill his arms, as though he were losing his balance, all in an effort to scare his daughter.
To really sell the joke, he even jumped off the guardrail onto a small slope just beyond the edge, likely believing he could land on the ridge safely before falling even further. However, Gingrich underestimated the steepness of the ridge. He slipped off the incline and plummeted 400 feet into the canyon.
The Jordan-Kinkaid Egyptian Artifact Controversy
On April 5, 1909, the Arizona Gazette ran a multi-page story on Smithsonian archaeologists S.A. Jordan and G.E. Kinkaid, who had unearthed a secret tunnel containing numerous Egyptian artifacts, including mummified humans. Asian-influenced items were also discovered, including a statue of a sitting figure not unlike Buddha.
The thing is, the Smithsonian Institute fully denies not only the existence of such artifacts, but also the existence of the supposed archaeologists, Jordan and Kinkaid. While it is highly likely the Gazette merely published a late April Fool's Day hoax, conspiracy theorists theorize that the Smithsonian is covering up evidence of ancient civilizations not in line with our current accepted history, and that aliens and/or lizard people are likely involved.