Next time you’re gathered around a campfire, whip out this spooky tale.
As much as Halloween signals a time for creative costumes and endless candy, it is also, at its core, a time for scares. Stories about monsters under the bed or the things that go bump in the night have always raised the hairs on the back of our necks, but in the end, there may be nothing scarier than an urban legend that could almost be real.
Thanks to Reddit user ExplodingTacos14 on this month’s r/Paranormal thread, we have a new legend to lose a little sleep over. So sit back, try to relax, and enjoy the tale of Phoenix, Arizona’s Superstition Mountains:
“In the early 1800's, the area was in the middle of Apache land. The Apache believed this area was inhabited by dangerous spirits and didn't live or hunt anywhere near it.
As these things go, Cooper was discovered nearby, and that area was taken from the Apache. If you know anything about the Apache, this was a bloody process. Despite the famous ferocity and war skill of the Apache, the land was opened for mining. Like most newly mine-able land at the time, prospectors rushed in and laid claims in the valley below the area playfully named ‘the superstition mountains.’
A bit late to the game, Jacob Waltz (a Dutch immigrant) couldn't find a spot to start mining. One day, despite warnings, he wandered into the mountains and hit a huge vein of copper. Every day, he would sneak into the mountains and return with bags of copper. He quickly became the richest man in the area.
People would follow him to the mine every day, but he was always able to loose them (the mountains are steep and rocky, so not surprising). Many of those who followed him were never seen again. One day, while trying to evade someone following him, Jacob slipped and fell to his death, and the location of his mine died with him.
To this day, no one knows the location of the mine, or if it is even real. Hundreds of people hike into the mountains, sure they will find millions. To this day, it has never been found. It has been dubbed ‘the lost [dutchman] mine.’
Some think that the Apache spirits use the mine as a trap for greedy prospectors to punish those who stole their land. Unwise people die all the time on Phoenix trails (yes, you will die if you try to hike with one bottle of water in August - it happens every summer). The mystery with the superstition mountains is the bodies are never found. This area is in town and has cell reception so tourists stay on the main trail, and are easily found by park rangers, but locals who go looking for the lost treasure simply [disappear].
Some think there was never a mine at all. They say Jacob made a deal with the spirits - They rewarded him with wealth for a blood sacrifice of the prospectors who stole their land.
I thought this was a fun local story when I moved here, but every few months, there [are] local news reports on missing ‘experienced hikers’ last seen in the area and it makes you wonder.”