Spooky and Malevolent Spirits in Yosemite?


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Kofi Donny Annan

Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 7, 2003 - 12:31am PT
The Grade IV Needles post I just read made me wonder? What weird
or inexplicable occurrences have you experienced in Yosemite?

Me~~ at was bivied at the base of Half Dome before doing the Reggae Route. The wall above is empty; nobody around.

Can’t sleep.. tossing and turning … . midnight………. Suddenly…. a sound that is a little like the beginning organ riff on the Motown song Reflections by Diana Ross.... the sound lowers in octave and location, increases in volume~~ as if somebody has tossed a boom box from the wall.. . then abruptly stopped.

Inexplicable. Not a falling stone... not a falling anything... But real. Very very real.

But I just try to borrow deeper in my sleeping bag and feign sleep.

Next morning I ask my partner (who was a sober minded soul; a well known and widely accomplished climber) if he heard such? He did. But too far beyond the realm of explanation to even try? So we simply geared up and headed up without speaking of it again.

But I am still haunted the moment… ..
Dingus Milktoast

Jun 7, 2003 - 12:55am PT
Angus and I really dig the Arrowhead Arete and have repeated it many times. A few years ago we headed up the switchbacks above the maintenance station. That path follows an old trail up Indian Canyon, which in the days of the Miwoks was an important trade route to the Mono Lake indians. They basically traded acorns for fly larve. We believe the old trail follows part of the old indian trail before it.

So we're headed up the switchbacks with Angus out front, as is usual. We come around an up hill bend to find a magnificant stag standing on the next switchback above us, highlighted in a shart of early morning light. It's like a Bierstadt painting, almost too magnificent to be believable. He's one of those Yosemite raindeer looking guys, saw one over at the base of the Zodiac once.

He's huge, with a powerful chest and a deadly looking, many pointed rack. Thing has a 4 foot spread on it. And he's calm, serene like, standing there in the chill dawn air. He's completely aware of us and is looking our way, but casually and without concern. As if we too belong here and his calm acceptance is nature's best acknowledgement of fitting in.

We slow to a crawl and just admire the buck. And he looks back at us in silent consideration. Slowly, ever so slowly, his gaze shifts inwardly, and his ears peel back slightly. And it's like he suddenly remembered he has something else to do or somewhere else to be. He leans back a bit, steps off the trail and slowly contours away though the trees. He ambles out of sight, occasionally stopping to nibble a shoot or admire the view. Twice he looks back over his shoulder at us.

Andgus and I are struck mute by this spectacle, amazed and delighted grins, stupid-like in their simplicity, are plasted on our faces in mechanical response. The rest of the hike up to the base of the Arrowhead, one of Yosemite's greatest approaches in my punter opinion, was like a cloud. As we racked up in that great chimney, a place of powerful spirits and conjunctions itself, Angus remarks out of the blue,

"That was an indian back there. In that deer. I know it man. It was an indian spirit and he gave us his permission to be here."

Funny I had just then been thinking along those very lines. Ang had the first lead that day and as he led out I thought I heard the distant cry of a coyote on the wind.

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 7, 2003 - 02:18am PT
I have heard reports of spooky stuff in Tenaya Canyon. The curse of Chief Tenaya is reputed to be in effect there.

There are a number of buildings in the valley and Wawona that are subject to ghosts.

I haven't experienced those things, but I can tell you this:

There is a Spirit on Cathedral Peak near the summit that is far from spooky or malevolent. Maybe I'm just a wacko, but try talking to the spirit of Yosemite with sincerity when you're up there and see what happens. It wasn't named Cathedral by accident.


Karl "the wacko" Baba

Jun 7, 2003 - 09:55pm PT
Karls right about the ghosts, I've seen them and so has my wife Merry. Werner

Social climber
Jun 7, 2003 - 10:37pm PT
I remember Eric Erikson telling me about a supernatural wind that overtook him just as he was descending off the summnit of Sentinel. He was convinced it was spirit related.

Years later, Derek H's friends who went to the top of Sentinel in a vain search for him reported something very similiar as they sat on the summit.

Trad climber
3rd Stone from the Sun
Jun 9, 2003 - 02:16am PT
I used to manage the lodge indian shop many years ago and we had a ghost that hung out in the shop and kept changing the numbers on the calculator to "8". If you live in the Valley long enough you experience something.


Trad climber
SF Bay Area
Jun 9, 2003 - 02:19pm PT
Not specifically spiritual (unless you are all about the undeniable interconnectedness of all forms of life):

Sunday afternoon a friend and I were bouldering at the Cathedrals when out of nowhere came this orgy of howling and yelping that sounded like at least dozen coyotes w/ in 500 yards. There was SO MUCH NOISE that we just stood there, looking at eachother, dumbfounded, for what seemed like forever. After at least 20 or 30 seconds of constant noise (how could I possibly gauge the elapsed time?) my curiosity got the better of me and I took off toward the orgins of the racket.

We were on the King boulder, so I headed downhill and then East from the main boulder there. I tried to be quiet as I ran, but of course that whole area is coverd in dead sticks and stuff, so I made some noise as I traveled and the coyotes shut up immediately. Maybe 50 yards East of the Hexcentric(sp?) I stopped on the top of a small rise, there was another similar rise 40-50 yards further East and I figured they were just past that.

I hooted and howled the way you would by the campfire when you hear coyotes at night, just to see if I could get them going again, and quickly, several aggitated looking animals appeared- obviously trying to be seen.

The 1st one kind of growled a couple of times and then almost barked, then dropped out of sight. The next two were bigger and never made a sound. I have never seen such a big coyote as these animals. Possibly they were just pushing up their hair like many animals will do to look big when they are in a confrontation, but I (we, as my friend had caught up by then) had to double-take to be sure we weren't looking at wolves because all the hair around their necks and chests was fluffed out and they looked to be as tall as an average german sheppard (based on the familiar coloring and the unlikelihood of encountering wolves in Yosemite Valley, we discounted that possibility right away). The biggest one stood sideways to us w/ its head turned halfway toward us, as if to say, "look how big I am". Another stood facing us and dropped it's head slightly. Both of them were frozen. We could tell that other coyotes were moving around behind them, we could hear and occasionally see them.

Most (all?) of the dozens of coyotes I have seen in my life have been cruising along some road or prarie in that familiar sauntering gate of a coyote that looks like they could go on forever w/out getting tired, and when I think about it, they almost look like they are wet, all sleek and slight, very unimposing, not at all threatening.

These coyotes were very different. They were defensive. They were motivated. They were not about to give up any ground to a couple of soft skinned punks in funny shoes.

We stood there for a moment, admiring them, and marveling at having the opportunity to admire them, and then we realized how un-stoked they were that we were breaking up their little party, so we retreated to our afternoon project- smiling and feeling lucky on one hand, but also looking for a big stick to wield, just in case...

I would assume that what we heard was the frenzied greeting of a bunch of young coyotes for some returning adult(s?),possibly w/ food to share w/ their young, but it seems rather odd to me that a)they would be hunting and/or making so much noise at 4pm on a hot Summer day, and b) they would have a den less than 200 yards from those boulders, which are not exactly crowded w/ folks, but surely get enough traffic that the coyotes might want to have a more private spot in the valley...

That was surely one of the cooler wildlife moments I have experienced in Yosemite- spirits of Indians and soloists, falling boomboxes, and fantom 8s on the register not withstanding.
Dingus Milktoast

Jun 9, 2003 - 02:38pm PT
Hey, Angus and I heard those guys last weekend. And once before too, many years ago, ascending the Spires Gully I heard a passle of coyotes let loose. Cool that you saw them.

I've seen a few big coyotes in the Valley. I assume life is pretty easy, coyote-wise. Lot's of food, no natural predators and the unnatural ones are prevented from using the more sordid of their tricks.


Social climber
Jun 11, 2003 - 01:31pm PT
More than once I have been free-soloing easier routes, chatting w/ people as I pass (it's easy to consider easier climbs where I feel comfortable to be safe, but "easy" is relative), and had a roped 2nd that was even w/ or above me fall in a position where they could easily swing or drop and sweep me to the Valley floor. Each time some random piece of luck has saved me, be it a protrusion that snagged the rope or a climber that caught their own fall...

If that is a spirit on my side, I will take it, whatever I can get!

Now I get chatty only when I am totally safe- lessons learned the easy way, phew!
hillsyde one

Social climber
double wide.......
Jun 13, 2003 - 04:58am PT
enjoyimg the "moonbow" at yos falls one particular full moon night.....no one around but me n my partner when we heard what sounded like a women's choir...we had slid into the trees a bit, off the trail. looking down at the bridge over the creek below the falls we saw 7-10 figures standing on the bridge in robes. hmm. we wandered down to the bridge. (a min or 2 elapsed time.) no one there, so we jogged down the trail back to the parking lot, never encountering anyone. no cars in the lot. we surely would have caught up to them, but no. maybe not so weird, but i still here the beautiful song.

Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 13, 2008 - 03:53pm PT

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Mar 13, 2008 - 04:12pm PT
tahoe region -

i was soloing the spine of eagle lake buttress and was at about mid height. i sat down on a big ledge to rest and take it all in. i then hear what sounds like a parachute or sheet flapping in a storm, and over the top of the ridge a little ways from me flaps a golden eagle. he lands about 15 feet from me. turns his head side to side, sees me and then alights. i guess that he was a good 5' tall, all beauty and purity. my second most magical wildlife encounter..

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Mar 13, 2008 - 05:06pm PT
It must be that spooky beast from up near the Leap, I'm sure! Apparently he ranges from Mono Lake to The Leap and Yosemite...

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Mar 13, 2008 - 05:56pm PT
I was once up in Yosemite with my hot coed girlfriend. So we are driving up to TM because it is to hot in the Valley. On the drive we keep passing this old John Muir looking guy walking by the side of the road. We pass what appears to be the same guy three times. So eventually we get to TM and I park at the pull out for Golfers and Shithooks. My girlfriend is really tired so she says she will take a nap in the back of my truck, it had a camper shell.

So I am gone for about one hour and at the base of Shithooks I get this terriable feeling about the strange person we had kept passing. So I run at full speed back to the truck. When I break out into the woods the old guy "Ghost" is about 200 ft away walking up the road.

I jump in the cab and drive off.

True Story.

Anyone else ever see that ghost?


Trad climber
primordial soup
Mar 13, 2008 - 07:20pm PT
that's no ghost pal, that's brutus of wyde
(he won't drive into the park because the LEOs have it in for him, and lookin like that, can you really blame them? =)

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Mar 13, 2008 - 07:31pm PT
It's always made me laugh how incredibly superstitious climbers are. These threads make me laugh.

Still... Maybe the "funny" things you guys are experiencing in Yos are the ghosts of the mummies from up by Bridalveil?

la la land
Mar 13, 2008 - 08:05pm PT
Yosemite seems to full of people to think anything as being spirts. I've heard people singing many times, I'm pretty sure they were real people. Noises can travel better there than most places I've been. But there is then the music of the woods that I love, best heard far away from the highway.

I once hung out with this tree who sung wonderful songs that could be heard for a long ways. Trees can have wierd features and when wind moves through them, you get something quite special sounding.

There is one place I know of that the woods used to make noises of some girly screaming god aweful sounds of pain. You can run after the sound and never find what makes it, you can chase it and it's all around you. I hope this hill will talk once again someday.

It's the music of nature my friends and nothing more. Learn to love it...
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