You probably realize by now that I like ‘weird’, but only from the sidelines. That’s why when I’m heading out to a new destination I don’t just look at the food reviews and hotel ads. I like to look for the little known facts, the weird but true stories that are bound to be found in areas as old as the ones we are visiting.
These places are not just scenery to me. They are my church, they are my God, they are my choir. If I could spend 24 hours a day in nature I would and sometimes quite frequently I do. It’s where I think, it’s where I find inspiration but more than anything it is spiritual to me. Maybe it’s my Cherokee heritage, but I feel closer to God in nature than I ever have inside of a church.
Here’s what I found out about Glacier National Park:
In 2009, a horrified woman ran into the lobby and said that her husband had been showering when he turned around and saw a little girl standing right there in the shower. He and his wife packed up and left, his hair still wet. Since then, more people have come forward and admitted to seeing the little girl in the shower. Published in an article on OnlyInYourState.com
Here’s a great book on Glacier local ghost stories and legends that I found on Amazon. *affiliate link*
Back to the land of the living for a bit. I found this horrifying story on BackPacker.com. On August 25, 2005, Johan Otter and his 18-year-old daughter, Jenna, hiked right into the worst nightmare of any Glacier National Park backpacker: a 300-pound mother grizzly protecting two cubs. Here, in his own words, the 45-year-old physical therapist from Escondido, CA, shares the incredible story of their life-and-death struggle. Read the rest it’s terrifying!
I found The Legend of Joe Cosley I found on the Flathead Beacon. John Cosley was one of the very first Glacier Rangers, but poaching fur was better business apparently and he was fired a year later. Too bad, they forgot to quit paying him!
According to author Jerry DeSanto, in 1913 Cosley spent $1,500 (about $36,000 today) to buy a diamond ring and proposed to a Canadian girl. According to historians, the woman’s family was not impressed with Cosley’s poaching career and the ring was returned. Some say Cosley was so distraught that he buried the ring in a tree and it’s still somewhere in the park today. Others say Cosley dug it out a few years later to buy more gear.
Over at ClimbGlacier.com I found the legend of a Blackfeet Chief and these awesome tips.
Many years ago, when a heavy wind swept across the plains, a chief of the Blackfeet faced the storm and made a vow to find its origin.
He crossed the plains and entered the mountains. His way led through the dark canyons and dense forests, where the wind rushed and roared. The terrible wind and the dark and gloomy surroundings filled him with dread, but he pressed forward until, at last, he saw in the distance, close to one of the highest peaks, the shining water of a lake. During a lull in the storm, he crept close to the shore and watched. Suddenly from the middle of the lake, arose the huge antlers of an enormous bull elk. His eyes were red and flames darted from his nostrils. When he waved his huge ears, a wind arose, so fierce and terrible, that the waters of the lake were whisked up into the air. When the elk sank again beneath the waves, the wind went down.
The chief hurried back to his tribe to tell them of his wonderful discovery of the home of the Medicine Elk, the Wind Maker.
If you get caught in the wind.
– If you find yourself hiking or climbing and a strong wind begins look for an area that is sheltered and is out of the wind. Give it a while, maybe be it will stop.
– Turn around and head home if it does not abate in within your time frame.
– If it is blowing hard when you plan to start the day consider driving over Logan Pass or Marias Pass and find something to do on the west side of the park.
– Please do not attempt to summit a mountain in a strong wind. Glacier has strong winds AND then there are gusts that can knock you off the trail while hiking or even move your entire body while climbing on a route.
– Be safe and live to climb again!
The wind frequently gusts over 60 mph near Marias Pass and Browning, MT. Hurricane-like gusts have knocked railroad cars off the tracks near East Glacier Park, Montana. Along the eastern front, the wind has been recorded in excess of 100 miles per hour. That’s a scary powerful wind.
The Legend of Wild Goose Island as told on AmericanFolklore.net
In the middle of St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park is a small island halfway between two shores. Many moons ago now, there were two tribes living on either side of the lake. While there was no direct warfare between them, the two tribes avoided one another and had no dealings one with the other.
All this changed one day when a handsome warrior on the near shore saw a lovely maiden from the other tribe swimming toward the small island in the middle of the lake. He was instantly smitten by her beauty and leapt into the lake to swim to the island himself. They met on the shore of the little islet, and the maiden was as taken with the warrior as he was with her. They talked for hours, and by the end of their conversation, they were betrothed. After extracting a promise from his beloved that she would faithfully meet him at the island on the morrow, the warrior swam home to his tribe, and she returned to hers.
Oh, what an uproar they met upon their return. Neither tribe was happy at their meeting, and all were determined to break the betrothal instantly. What to do? The man and the maiden had no doubts at all. In the wee hours of the morning, each swam out to the little island to meet one another — from their to flee to a new land where they might marry. As soon as they were discovered missing, warriors from both tribes set out in pursuit, to bring the renegades back by whatever means available.
But the Great Spirit was watching, and took pity on the young lovers. He transformed them into geese, which mate for life, so they could fly away from their pursuers and so that they would always be together. When the warriors arrived on the island, the found not a man and a woman, but two lovely geese walking among the small trees and bracken. At the sight of the warriors, the two geese stroked their necks together lovingly and then flew away, never to return.
From that day to this, the little island at the center of St. Mary Lake has been known as Wild Goose Island.
Then there’s the Legend of Blue Mary that I found on HitRecord.org:
In the Fall of 1932, a party of notable businesspeople from the local town of Belton embarked on the inaugural tour of the recently completed ‘Going-to-the-Sun Road’, a scenic route designed to make the park more accessible by car. Among them was Mary Goodrich, the charming young wife of Randolph Goodrich, one of the road’s engineers. Known for her refined tastes and sense of style, Mary wore a stunning silk dress of powder blue – beautiful by all acounts but entirely unsuitable for the excursion. Although it was not yet Winter, at such high altitudes the temperature could quickly plummet, catching unprepared travelers unawares. Mary was to be one of these sorry souls – the victim, some said, of her own vanity.
According to accounts, the party had stopped for lunch at Logan Pass when Mary wandered off in search of wildflowers to adorn her dining table. When it was time for the group to make the journey back to Belton, Mary was nowhere to be seen. As daylight dwindled, so too did hopes of Mary’s safe return. Her body was found the following day, huddled over a pile of twigs that never came alight, a tear frozen to her cheek and a bunch of wildflowers at her feet.
Some weeks later, a group of tourists reported a strange and frightening occurence on a camping trip near Logan Pass, not far from where Mary’s body was found. Each claimed to have heard what they described as ‘the chattering of teeth’ as they sat around the campfire, and to have felt an odd chill at the back of their necks. One young man believed he had seen the source of these eerie phenomena…a woman with a wilted bunch of wildflowers grasped between her shivering hands, her skin the same shade of powder blue as her tattered silk dress.