Halloween Explorations

With Halloween around the corner, perhaps you’d like to try some adventures on that theme.  Here I list three places you might want to visit in your Halloween explorations:

Haunted Lake, New Hampshire

Just east of Francestown, New Hampshire, is 139-acre Haunted Lake (42˚ 58.979′ N  71˚ 46.002′ W).


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“Another tradition, and the one which without doubt gave the name to the Pond was this, that a young man was murdered and buried near where the mill was afterwards built, and that his spirit haunted the spot with nightly groanings and cries. It was said that two young men from below started for Hillsborough to buy land for settlement, about 1741. Starting separately they fell in with each other, and traversed the forest on their way together, as they had the same destination. Here they halted for the night, in the dense forest, far from any human habitation; and here in a quarrel, perhaps intentionally provoked, one of them killed the other, and scantily covering the body with earth and the spot with sticks and limbs of trees, went on his way.

“A few years afterwards Hon. Matthew Patten, of Bedford, who kept the “Diary” so noted in our local history of that time, was employed to make a survey of this section, or as some say, to “make a survey of the Pond.” He was employed to “run the boundaries of New Boston,” in 1758, and also to make a “schedule of Lotts” in the “Addition” ; and in this “schedule” a farm was laid out for the grantors “of four hundred and thirty acres, with allowance for what part of the Haunted Pond it takes in” showing that this was the well-known name of this body of water at that date. At the time of this incident, whether in 1753 or a little earlier, Patten and his two chainmen, with their assistants, encamped for the night near the outlet of the Pond. Soon after darkness set in, there commenced groanings and shrieks as of a human being in distress, and these continued, most plaintive and affecting, till nearly morning. These chairmen were hardy fellows not accustomed to fear the face of man, but they had some superstition, and some alarm at “signs” and “bad omens,” and they could not be persuaded to continue their work, even for an hour.”

History of Francestown, N. H.
from its earliest settlement April, 1758, to January 1, 1891:
with a brief genealogical record of all the Francestown families


There is a rustic boat launch and there are fish in the lake.  Perhaps you’d like to launch your boat in Halloween’s evening darkness?

Skeleton Canyon, Arizona

Skeleton Canyon is in the Coronado National Forest in far southeastern Arizona.  In years past, Skeleton Canyon (31˚ 36.385N 109˚ 4.590W) was part of the main route from Mexico to the United States used for cattle drives.  It was renamed from Guadalupe Canyon to Skeleton Canyon due to the many bones of cattle and humans found along the trail.  Among those killed in the canyon were:

1881 – a dozen Mexican smugglers bringing gold and silver into the U.S.  were killed by Curly Bill Brocius, once known as Arizona’s most famous outlaw, and his gang.  Later and elsewhere,  Wyatt Earp killed Curly Bill in a shoot out.

1881 – in retaliation, the Mexican government killed Newman “Old Man” Clanton and others as they were driving cattle through the canyon.  Clanton had participated in the killing of the smugglers

1883 – three men of Troop D, Fourth Cavalry were killed by Apache Indians from the Chihuahua Band.

1889 – Judson “Comanche” White was killed and robbed by unknown people.

1896 – Deputy Frank Robson a member of a posse chasing the High Five Gang was killed in an ambush staged by Code Young, Bob Hughes and Bob Christian of the gang.  This became known as the Skeleton Canyon Shootout.

Devil's Kitchen in the Canyon

Devil’s Kitchen in the Canyon
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Beyond the skeletons,  there is a treasure said to be buried in the canyon.  The story is that the loot taken from the outlaws killed in 1881 was hidden in the canyon by Brocius’ gang.  It is said to include 39 gold bars and a cigar box full of diamonds.

If you are going to explore the canyon bear in mind that it is a rough and rocky road from Highway 80, northeast of Douglas, Arizona, into the canyon.  Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended.  Note that Geronimo surrendered in the canyon,  but there is a monument to the occasion on the south side of Highway 80, 39 miles northeast of Douglas, just north of the community of Apache.  The road into the canyon (FS 702) is a few hundred yards south of the monument heading east, then south.  The canyon is in the Coronado National Forest and camping is allowed there – just get off the road.  Get the details on the USGS Skeleton Canyon quadrangle.  Can you hear the spirits of the dead roaming the area? [Devil’s Kitchen photo by BAlvarius CC BY-SA 3.0]

Aztalan State Park, Wisconsin

From around the 1000 to 1300 AD people of the Mississippian culture lived and built large earth mounds at Aztalan State Park near the town of Lake Mills in Wisconsin (43˚4.000’N 88˚51.685’W). Then they left – no one knows why.  They built three earthern pyramids and a protective stockade complete with guard towers. One of the mounds, the Princess Mound, was the grave of a highly regarded woman of the group. Witnesses have reported strange happenings and some say the mounds are haunted by the ancient residents.  Here is one story of the long deceased Indian princess visiting the living:


If such things happen in broad daylight,  perhaps a Halloween night visit would really reveal the spirits of the ancients!


Regardless of where you are,  you can probably find a place in nature that has reports of hauntings.  Do some searching and check them out.  Halloween exploration offers a great excuse to get out and explore.

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