Social distancing has been challenging for me but, not because I miss the socializing or visiting people. I want to see my family more definitely, but this virus shutdown has been difficult because I can’t go exploring any haunted locations. I love haunted and mysterious sites with history and I miss that being in lockdown. So, I have been making a bucket list of haunted places in Arizona, I want to visit once I can leave my house again.
Arizona has quite a few mysterious places partly not only because of its wild west connection but also because the desert itself has a slightly spooky reputation. The Lost Dutchman mine is one of the most notorious locations in Arizona and is located somewhere in the Superstition mountains. The mountains located in Apache Junction, Arizona east of Phoenix, is at the top of my bucket list for places to explore.
The mine is named after the German immigrant Jacob Waltz who supposedly discovered the pit in the 19th century. Stories about what happened to him vary, but the gist is that he found a gold mine and periodically mined fair amounts of the gold at a time. Only extracting what he needed as he needed the money. Then one day, Waltz got sick, and when it became apparent, he was going to die, Waltz supposedly told Julia Thomas were the mine was. Thomas was the lady who took care of Waltz while he was sick, and the story of the mine got around enticing numerous gold-hungry people.
Unfortunately, for these gold-seeking prospectors looking for the mine meant their death. According to Apache legends, the Thunder God lived in those mountains and protected the sacred gold hidden on his land. You wanted to explore the beautiful landscape, then he let you, but as soon as you went looking for the mine, then bad things happened to those luckless gold hunters.
In 1932, Adolph Ruth went hunting for the Lost Dutchman Mine and was only going to be away for two weeks. After the two weeks came and gone, a rescue team went into the Superstitious mountains where they discovered human remains later identified as Ruth. Some of his personal effects were near the remains as was his checkbook, along with a note. The letter stated he had seen the mine and included detailed instructions on how to get there.
In the following years, many people went looking for the mine. Only to die in the desert as if the treasure was protected.
Prospector James A. Cravey began his search for the mine in the mid-1940s, and only his headless body discovered. Late 1961, George Conrad “Shorty” Mueller told everyone how he had found the mine but needed help to excavate the gold. Two weeks later, he died of a heart attack.
Late 2009, Jesse Capen went into the Tonto National Forest but never came out. Search, and Rescue found his body lodged in a crevice between two boulders in 2012.
Three more hapless explorers tried their luck in July 2010, and three sets of human remains were recovered in 2011.
The legend is that the gold is protected by an Apache god that lives in the Superstitious mountains. As long people didn't go looking for the Lost Dutchman Mine, then the Thunder God doesn’t seem to bother them. Only the gold seekers.
Since the Lost Dutchman state park has been open for years without bodies going headless or getting wedged in crevices, the legend seems to be true.
After the virus, I want to visit the Superstitious mountains not to find the lost mine, but to explore the area and get a sense of the energy surrounding the hills. Plus, I want to hike some of the trails in the state park and enjoy the gorgeous desert scenery.
I will have to make my intentions clear at the onset so that the Thunder God knows I’m not looking for the lost mine to be on the safe side before hiking in his mountains.
The Lost Dutchman State Park offers fabulous trails that take you through some of the best desert scenery that Arizona has to offer. There are trails perfect for sedentary people like me that are less than a mile round trip. There are trails up to 4 miles round trip for the more advanced hikers. There are also camping grounds, which I would love to take advantage of being many ghosts don’t come out until night time. Who knows, I might get lucky.
Even if I don’t see any spooks; the night skies will be gorgeous without the lights from the city interfering with the starry heavens. One can see the milky way galaxy in full display under the night sky.
Yeah, once the lock-down is lifted, I am going to plan a trip to the Superstitious mountains for the weekend and do a little hiking, a little barbequing, star watching, and camping. Now, if a ghost or two want to visit me as well? I’m all for that as long as they don''t chop my head off.