National Park Horrors: The Steamwalkers of Yellowstone

Welcome back to another installation of National Park Horrors. Today, we will be looking at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, the first national park in the history of the United States. Although this park has been around since the 1870s and longer than any other park in the country, the secrets of the park have long been closely held. It wasn’t until a recent Freedom of Information Act request that the truth behind the various hot springs and geysers of the park were revealed. According to the released documents, this could potentially be one of the biggest conspiracies of the last 100 years. So gather around and let us tell you of the steamwalkers of Yellowstone.

If you aren’t already aware, Yellowstone National Park resides over one of the largest calderas in the world, a crater from a volcanic explosion somewhere around 640,000 years ago. Due to the impressive amount of molten lava and magma lying deep beneath the park, there are hot springs, geysers, mudpots, and fumaroles, each pushing hot water to the surface in different ways.

As you might imagine, this produces an incredible amount of steam that can obscure your vision and even potentially scald your skin if you get to close. The perfect cover for something ancient and sinister.

According to the reports we have reviewed, the first mention of these steamwalkers comes from members of the Shoshone tribe that called Yellowstone their home. The stories were passed down generation to generation and relayed to settlers there. “They swept into our camp like birds of prey, covering us and the entire valley in fog. When the steam lifted, several of our party had vanished, never to be seen again. Only once did we find evidence of remains, months later, bubbling in the mud.”

When white settlers heard these stories, they didn’t believe the indigenous tribes, thinking they were just trying to scare them off. It wasn’t until a general by the name of Winston Clatter took a group of his men to the Middle Geyser Basin that they experienced the horror first-hand.

Here is an excerpt from his journal, dated July 2nd, 1888.

The steam came for us the way the natives described. We had set up camp beyond the Orange Lake and were in the process of skinning a buffalo when the steam rolled in. It wasn’t long before our fires were out and men began to scream out in agony. I knew I should go out and try to help them, but instead I cowered in my tent. Our group of 40 men was reduced to 10 in a matter of minutes. I can still hear the agony in their screams when I close my eyes at night.

Now, some 130 years later, the reports have died down, but many believe the steamwalkers are still out there. It’s possible that the released report is still redacting key information, with millions of visitors to the park each year, someone must have seen them. Although, it’s possible that due to the volume of potential victims, those who are taken no longer stand out.

The last report in the documents was from just a few years ago. We’ll leave you with the haunting entry.

I was walking with my husband near the Mud Volcano when a huge plume of steam erupted from its maw, leaving us in a void of white. I held onto his hand as best I could and looked into the fog, searching for his face. Staring back at me was a pile of slack skin, pulled thin across a jagged skull. Next thing I knew he was gone. I never saw him again.


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