The National Parks and Forests of the United States are beautiful, serene places that showcase the natural beauty of America. But among those vast, wild parks lies a dark, often untold secret: thousands of people have mysteriously gone missing within these areas and no official explanation has ever been given. Even worse, no official count is available, as the National Parks Services strangely doesn't keep track of missing persons. So what happened to the people who disappeared in National Parks?
Like any unexplained phenomena, everyone has their theory. The creepy stories from National Parks - though unsolved and mysterious - often have their patterns. And those patterns may suggest something paranormal. Spine-tingling, horrifying, and filled with the same sense of disbelief you'd feel if you were hearing an urban legend around a campfire. But just because the cases are unexplainable, doesn't mean people haven't tried to explain them.
The National Parks of the US were established partly to preserve the plants, animals, and ecology of certain regions, so it certainly makes sense that humans stepping into these untamed areas should be careful. Bears, mountain lions, buffalo, and other dangerous animals call the National Parks home - and they've been known to attack people.
But these animals that aren't the alleged cause of the National Park disappearances; rather, many pin the mystery on paranormal or cryptid creatures such as Bigfoot. Believers often claim the missing people could have been used as a food source for these creatures. This would explain why so few people - or their bodies - are ever found.
In the rare event that a missing person's body is found inside a National Park, it rarely ever sheds any light on what's going on. In fact, most of the autopsies from recovered bodies come back inconclusive, and pathologists aren't able to determine the cause of death.
Some people say this supports theories such as alien interference, paranormal abduction, or creatures that feed on people’s fear. After all, if there is no real cause of death, then what known event or creature could be killing these people?
If the body of a missing person does eventually turn up, the strange circumstances they’re found in generate more questions than answers. The missing are often found in patches of arid land where sniffer dogs can't perform their duties, or places ravaged by storms just hours after the disappearances.
To make matters more confusing, some bodies have been found unbelievable distances from where they went missing. In fact, one missing toddler eventually turned up dead 12 miles from where he vanished. Between those 12 miles were two mountain ranges and several creeks - much too far for a toddler to venture on his own.
The mysterious nature of the disappearances have led to paranormal theories blaming everything from cryptozoological creatures to aliens. But one of the more interesting explanations is that the missing people were killed by an evil spirit called the Wendigo.
To those who haven't watched the famous Supernatural episode, the Wendigo comes from Algonquin folklore, and is an evil spirit who terrorizes woods and forests. Considering that much of the US National Park land was taken from the same Algonquin tribes who believed in the Wendigo, this is certainly a fitting - and truly creepy - theory.