Graveyard Shift
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A Beautiful American Lake May Hide Countless, Eerily Preserved Corpses Beneath The Surface

Updated April 6, 2020 315.3k views10 items

Lake Tahoe is a beloved United States landmark, found in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, that is a destination for many travelers each year. However, for those who live near the lake, Lake Tahoe urban legends give the area a slightly more sinister atmosphere. Locals have long exchanged stories of the secret graveyard buried in the depths of Lake Tahoe. Are there bodies in Lake Tahoe? This is a hotly debated subject by scientists, locals, and visitors. Even Jacques Cousteau has something to say about it.

Rumors are fueled due to documented cases where bodies were found in Lake Tahoe. Bodies that had been underwater for years emerged shockingly well preserved. As rumors have long circulated that the lake is a dumping grounds for murder victims, some speculate the lake is the final resting place for many missing people. Bodies hidden in lakes are always spooky for the public, but people are particularly invested in Lake Tahoe bodies as they're seen as evidence of a full-on underwater graveyard. Read up on the facts and decide for yourself whether you think the lake is harboring hundreds of corpses. 

  • The Cold Temperature Prevents The Bodies From Floating

    If there are bodies in Lake Tahoe, why haven’t they floated to the surface yet? Lake Tahoe is a particularly cold lake, especially at its lowest depths. Upon passing, bacteria in the body immediately begin breaking things down in a process known as putrefaction. In warm temperatures, it’s easy for the bacteria to thrive. Cold temperatures, while they do not eliminate bacteria, make them largely inactive.

    The body fills with gas during the putrefaction process, allowing bodies to float. If gasses are not released, bodies are less likely to rise to the surface.

  • An Earthquake Could Push The Bodies To The Surface

    If there are corpses at the bottom of Lake Tahoe, could they potentially float to the surface eventually? Geologists theorize Lake Tahoe was likely formed by a massive earthquake that caused a block of land to collapse between two faults.

    If another earthquake occurs, this may disrupt the lake’s currents. This could hypothetically cause any corpses found deep underwater to rise to the surface.

  • The Rumors Gave The Lake A Dismal Nickname

    Many locals who live near Lake Tahoe believe the story. Due to the presence of many mobsters in the area, it’s widely believed the lake is a dumping ground for mafia victims.

    In fact, the stories are so widely believed local fishermen often colloquially refer to the lake as “the grave”.

  • Submarines And Sonar Technology Have Failed To Discover Evidence Of A Graveyard

    Researchers have searched for the alleged Lake Tahoe graveyard for years. Both sonar technology and mini-submarines have been used to map the bottom of the lake.

    No bodies have been discovered, which may mean the tales of an underwater graveyard have largely been exaggerated.