Welcome back dear readers to ‘A Journey into the Haunted’. Today we will be visiting a location that many would not think of as a haunted but as we discuss the history of the Grand Canyon and the spirits that have been known to haunt what I believe to be most amazing and terrifying place at the same time.
In my lifetime I have been blessed to visit the Grand Canyon National Park several times. I wish I was a better writer, so I could possibly describe in words how amazing this opportunity to visit this breathtaking sight. However, words really can never do it justice. I first have to explain my amazing and terrifying place in one statement. For those who have never been to the Grand Canyon, the sheer size of the Canyon is so large it is as if your brain cannot even register that it is real. I know that probably doesn’t make sense when you read it but as you are standing there from afar it is so large it almost looks as if you are staring at a giant picture. Of course, when you walk up the edge you realize quickly that “YEP THAT IS A HUGE HOLE IN THE WORLD”. I am not a Grand Canyon expert but it is nearly 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and about a mile deep. There is little to NO RAILING to keep you from falling in. So, the only thing standing between visitors and death is common sense and, in a time, when we have to warn people to NOT eat TIDE PODS you can see why this is terrifying to me. So when I started taking my children to this wondrous experience I stayed in panic mode the entire time saying “don’t get too close to the edge, stand back, don’t trip over that rock and are you sure you can’t see it from the safety of the car?” Of course, when I started saying these things to stranger’s children, I got strange looks and my family made me leave.
As I said the Grand Canyon is both amazing and beautiful however along with beauty the Grand Canyon has seen it’s fair share of tragedy. As of 2018 nearly 800 REPORTED murders, suicides and accidents have claimed the lives of visitors the National Park. That number is I am sure much higher as the number of murders no-one has ever been aware off, suicides that no-one found plus the number of deaths that happened before people even thought to start keeping track. According to the park statistics, there is the average of 12 deaths a year that happen at the Grand Canyon. Most are dehydration, medical problems, suicide, heat, and traffic accidents. There is the occasion falling death but not as many as you would think. According the gift shops most popular book ‘Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon‘ in the 2001 edition the deaths can be broken down into the following: Falls (53), Environmental Causes (65), Drownings (79), Airplane and Helicopter crashes (242), Caught in Flash Food (7), and the rest were listed as freak accidents, rock falls, suicides and homicides. This book has been updated since the 2001 edition, so those numbers have changed but it gives you an idea how the deaths are broken down. So, as we have discussed in our past ‘A Journey into the Haunted’ most hauntings occur when traumatic, tragic and horrific events take place in a location. Sometimes the spirits of those who lost their lives and left to roam the location of their death for many reasons. From trying to find peace, to trying to understand what happened or some do not even realize they have passed on. Then there is something called “negative energy” that comes from horrific events, it is not just one spirt but just an energy that can produce a “haunting” type environment. So, it is easy to see why there may be spirits haunting the Grand Canyon. Here are a few stories I have gathered of some reported ghosts that call the Grand Canyon home.
The Passengers of TWA Flight 2 and United Airlines Flight 718 who Haunt Crash Canyon—On Saturday, June 30th, 1956 at 10:30 A.M. the tragic mid-air collision took place over the Grand Canyon. The crash killed all 128 passengers and crew on both planes. What was already a tragic accident made worse when the fate of the planes was not even known for several hours later. Due lack of airspace over the canyon and that neither plane had homing beacons nor “black boxes”. The last contact was from Flight 718 it came through as a garbled transmission that later was determined to have been the pilot declaring “Salt Lake, (ah), 718,.We are going in!” then was heard screaming “Pull up, Pull up, Pull up”. So, it was the following day before rescue attempts even started however it was more recovery efforts really at that point and due to the severity of the impact, no bodies were recovered intact. They were unable to make a positive identification of most of the remains.
On July 9th, 1956 there was a mass funeral for the TWA Flight 2 passengers and crew held at the canyon’s south rim they then they interred 66 of the 70 passengers recovered remains into a mass grave at Citizens Cemetery in Flagstaff, Arizona. They interred 29 of the unidentified victims of the United Flight into 4 coffins and buried them at the Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery.
There have been reports of spirits wondering through Crash Canyon dressed in business or “city attire”. Some of the reports the people are speaking like there is nothing wrong while others have been confused, crying and searching for loved ones who were with them on the plane.
The Wandering Woman—The lady wearing either a white dress or robe (reports have conflicted) with blue flowers and a scarf over her head has been seen for many decades haunting the north rim. The story goes that she committed suicide in one of the lodges after she lost her husband and son in a hiking accident at the park. The lodge has since burned down but she has been said to haunt the newly rebuilt lodge, the staff quarters and the areas all around the area.
The Spirit of Rees Griffiths—Rees Griffiths was an employee of Grand Canyon. He worked on part of the blasting crew. He loved his work at the park and mentioned that after his death that he wanted to be buried in the Grand Canyon. Those wishes were granted after his accidental death while working at the park in February 1922. He is buried between Phantom Ranch and Black Bridge. Since his death, visitors have reported seeing his spirit walking around the trails in that part of the Grand Canyon and others report a small light hovering over his burial site. The most common sightings come from campers of the North Kaibab Trail.
The Ghost of Fred Harvey at the El Tovar—Fred Harvey was a famous hospitality king as he was the first to build a chain of hotels in the United States. He was so dedicated that even in death he has stayed to welcome his guest at the El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon. However, he is just one of the spirits said to haunt the hotel.
Maasaw (a Hopi god)—This one is not a ghost, but I felt lead to write this legend for some reason and in my “past” there is a reason I am lead to do something so here it goes. Massaw (a Hopi god that many would say is the keeper of death) lives in a location near to the best of my research (trust me I tried to find out more information) but it is creepily close to Crash Canyon. If you notice a strange light coming at you at night or hear a tapping sound like two rocks clicking together along with nausea, anxiety and feelings of being more accident prone.
So those are just a few stories I gathered to show the haunted history of the Grand Canyon. As I said I have been to the Grand Canyon a few times and have never had a paranormal experience. However, I have never gone as a ghost hunt investigation. The sheer size of the Grand Canyon makes it a hard location to investigate, plus the elements, the other visitors and lack of time just make it impossible for most. Then you must add into the dangers of the location. The first rule of ghost hunting is the safety of you and your team. There would have to be many precautions, safety measures and oh yea that common sense thing I mentioned. So, I don’t encourage any ghost hunts to the Grand Canyon without all those things being considered. I do know that there are a few tour companies offering ghost tours. There is the Caverns at the Grand Canyon which I didn’t cover that you can research that has reports of hauntings or you can book a night at the El Tovar. However, if you visit this awesome place and you happen to catch something or if you do go on a hunt please let me know what you find. Till next time…Happy Haunting
Rachel is not a professional writer but she is a passionate writer. What does that mean for you dear reader? On one hand, that means misspelled words, run on sentences, forgotten words and rambling content. On the other, you will get humor, honesty, passion and hopefully interesting content.