Tag Archives: Arizona legend

Grand Canyon Vampire Encounter

Informant’s Background:

My informant, JD, is a undergraduate student at Arizona State University. He currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. His family is American and he was born somewhere in California, but his family moved to Arizona shortly after his birth.


My informant (JD) and I (AT) are friends, after meeting online through a mutual friend during the pandemic. I asked him if he had any folklore to share.


JD: “So when my dad was hiking the Grand Canyon and it was like 3AM in the morning and he had his headlight on… He saw a dude walk past him without a headlamp on and the dude was like REALLY pale and he was kind of like staggering about and… he didn’t look at him or say anything and my dad was overall kind of creeped out about the guy.”

AT: “When did your dad tell you this story?”

JD: “Uhh… He just said it to me after his trip. In my kitchen, I think.”

Informant’s Thoughts:

JD: “I think it’s kind of weird. One thing he did say is-just jokingly, I guess, that it might’ve been a vampire or something but he was getting vampire vibes from the dude.”


I think it’s interesting how grim situations can be made light by comparing them to pre-existing myths and legends, such as those of vampires in this case. I don’t believe its my place to say whether or not the informant’s father’s encounter with this forest wanderer was a vampire encounter or not. But if theoretically it wasn’t a vampire encounter, then this could have been a meeting with someone who is potentially lost, mentally ill, or otherwise seriously unwell, and potentially dangerous, but the father is able to change the narrative into a humorous and mythical encounter by mentioning the possibility of the person being a vampire, thus recontextualizing the original grim and bleak encounter into a more fantastical, funny, and spooky story.

Legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

“So in 1540, the Spanish arrived in whats 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 Peraltas 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 didnt make it out of the range however, as the Apache trapped them and killed all the brothers except one who escaped. He didnt 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. Its rumored that the ghosts of the Peraltas 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.