“So in 1540, the Spanish arrived in what’s modern day Phoenix. The area was inhabited by Apache Indians who considered the Superstition Mountains the sacred ground of the Thunder God. Coronado, one of the main conquistadors in the area, was in search of a golden city and heard from Apache stories that the mountains did, in fact, have gold. The Apache refused to help the Spanish and told them they would be cursed if they trespassed. The Spanish, didn’t take heed and instead led a troop into the range and began disappearing one by one. Despite trying to keep everyone together, more men would disappear and their bodies would be found days later headless and completely mutilated. Conquistadors fled the mountain, vowing never to return. However, 200 years later the Peralta family received a land grant that encompassed the supposed gold treasure hidden in the mountains. Mining operations occurred, though in small doses to keep the Apache happy. The Peralta brothers eventually found the gold they were searching for but were unable to collect it before the American-Mexican war began. The Peralta’s then heard rumors that the Apache were coming to attack them for their intrusion on sacred grounds and concealed the entrance to the mine. They didn’t make it out of the range however, as the Apache trapped them and killed all the brothers except one who escaped. He didn’t dare come back for another 16 years before leading another expedition with 400 men, all of whom were ambushed while ascending the range and savagely ripped apart. It’s rumored that the ghosts of the Peralta’s still roam the range, waiting to attack any people trying to find their lost gold mine.”
When my roommate began telling me this story when I asked him one afternoon about stories he might know about Arizona, many memories of my childhood rushed back as I too knew the story of the Peralta’s and their supposed hauntings of the Superstition Mountains. The informant, who grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, about 45 minutes from the Supersitions said he heard the story through his elementary school where teachers sometimes brought up the story when recalling Arizona’s history. I have experience with the story due to many family members living in the area, and when I’ve gone to visit them I’ve taken hikes through the Supersitions where my uncle would recite the story to me, though I had forgotten most of the legend until my roommate retold it.
The informant said that when he and his friends were older, they would sometimes drive then hike to one of the rumored areas of the mine to see if anything would happen. Nothing occurred the first two times they went out there besides a friend or two trying to scare others in the bushes. On the third time, however, he and his friends recall hearing footsteps behind them that accompanied a fait metal clank. He recalls it scaring the daylights out of everyone and has since never returned. I loved hearing this legend due to my fascination with the Wild West. Furthermore, due to my familiarity with the location of the legend, it gives me a feeling of both suspense and excitement to know I’ve ventured through where the legend occurred.