Creepy Myths and Urban Legends of Nevada
From evil spirits to life forms from another universe, Nevada has its fair share of unexplained mysteries. The following wild and scary tales that make up the Silver State’s lore might just leave you shivering with fright.
When you hear about urban legends associated with Nevada, Area 51 is bound to be among them. Officially called the Nevada Test and Training Range, this high-security open training range for the U.S. Air Force in the Nevada desert has been the subject of controversy and conversation over the years.
One widely held conspiracy involves Area 51 and UFOs. Some stories connected with the site suggest that the remains from a flying saucer that supposedly crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 were transported to Area 51 for further examination. Granted, the Air Force began to investigate claims of UFO sightings in 1952, an effort that later became known as Project Blue Book. When Project Blue Book ended in 1969, the Air Force had investigated more than 12,000 UFO claims.
Dr. Jeffrey T. Richelson, a former senior fellow at the George Washington University National Security Archive, did a lot of research into Area 51 during his lifetime. He reported that the CIA’s Lockheed U-2 plane reconnaissance program — spy planes used to gather intelligence — was connected with Area 51. Richelson filed a Freedom of Information Act in 2005 to seek information about this program.
In 2013, Richelson told The New York Times that, after examining declassified CIA documents about activity at Area 51, “The only overlap is the discussion of the U-2 flights and UFO sightings, the fact that you had these high-flying aircraft in the air being the cause of some of the sightings.”
So, what do you think really goes on at Area 51?
Corpses in Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam remains an architectural feat, but one pervasive creepy myth suggests that the bodies of laborers who accidentally died while constructing the dam are buried within the structure.
This urban legend indicates that several workers fell into wet cement as it was being mixed. Since the cement mixer couldn’t be stopped to pull out the workers, their bodies became mixed into the cement, forever sealing the corpses into their concrete grave. While this myth has been debunked, the fact that 96 workers died during Hoover Dam’s construction remains.
Hauntings in the Hills: Rhyolite, Nevada
Founded in 1904, Rhyolite, Nevada, was once a thriving community with a population of 100,000. By 1924, however, the town’s inhabitants had moved or passed away, giving Rhyolite the distinction of being a ghost town. This may have been due to the financial panic of 1907, which led to mines closing and banks failing.
Some visitors who have toured what remains of Rhyolite have reported ghostly encounters with the town’s past residents.
La Palazza Mansion: The House of the Haunted
Sin City certainly has its share of vices, but Las Vegas also bears a sinister side. La Palazza Mansion’s macabre history makes this dwelling one haunted house of horrors. A former owner of the home reportedly had frightening encounters with a demonic spirit living within its walls. After one particularly nasty run-in, the owner found himself almost choked to death by a demon after he aggressively challenged it.
This choking incident represents only one element of the evil lurking in this luxury home. The owner also discovered a secret room within the mansion that he claimed contained evidence of dried blood. Convinced that the house was used by members of the mob to kill people there in secret, the owner decided that enough was enough, and he eventually vacated the home. Today, the mansion remains abandoned, waiting to be demolished or for its next victim to venture inside.
The Hot Ponds of Jackpot
Jackpot, Nevada, may sound like a place where luck is on your side, but this once-popular tourist town with naturally occurring hot ponds harbors a paranormal past.
An urban legend suggests that a gruesome murder took place at the site. Later, visitors to the area reported spotting unexplained footprints and hoof marks that would appear and then vanish. One tourist also claimed that broken glass mysteriously appeared on the ground and that the air temperature would drop in certain spots without any explanation.
The Sinks: The Land That God Forgot
A geographic phenomenon serves as the source for an urban legend that continues to intrigue and mystify people to this day. If you’ve traveled through Nevada, you’ve probably noticed how Nevada’s rivers empty into small lakes that don’t have any visible outlets. These lakes are called sinks, referring to the way the water simply “sinks” away.
An urban legend attributes this sinking water to God, who, after creating the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, decided to make a third river in Nevada that was grander than the others. God spent time creating eight smaller rivers that would forge together to make one big river, but he ran out of time and decided to finish the work later. God tucked in the ends of the rivers overnight to keep them safe, but when the next day came, he forgot about them, and the eight rivers were left alone, leading nowhere and eventually emptying into the sinks.
The Water Babies of Pyramid Lake
The Reno area holds its own creepy tale surrounding Pyramid Lake. At close to 125,000 acres, this is the largest natural lake in Nevada, and it’s surrounded by unusual rock formations that give the landscape an out-of-this-world appearance. The lake’s role in the history and traditions of the Paiute Native American tribe adds to the site’s mystery and intrigue.
According to urban legend, Pyramid Lake has taken the lives of fishermen who have fallen victim to its infamous Water Babies, who dragged these individuals to a watery grave. These Water Babies were poorly developed or premature babies cast into the water by members of the Paiute tribe. The angry spirits of these abandoned infants have haunted Pyramid Lake for centuries. Over the years, some visitors have reported hearing sounds that resemble the cries of babies or the laughter of children.
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