Across the United States, more than 25,000 tracts of land are under the protection of some form of the United States government. That’s nearly half a million square miles of forest, prairie, and desert that’s folded into the nation’s protected areas. That’s a lot of land that’s nearly devoid of regular human interaction. Just because you’re walking on protected land doesn’t mean you are safe. There are a lot of mysteries floating through the country’s National Parks system and the authorities are not that forthcoming with details on unsolved cases. Not to dissuade you from enjoying these wonderful landscapes, but here are some eerie clusters of mysterious disappearances that have happened in certain parks and forests over the decades. Wild speculation has ranged from alien abductions to Sasquatch encounters to government conspiracies. Sound farfetched? Read on and judge for yourself.
1. The Calm Young Lady
Devil’s Den State Park is a beautiful, but unforgiving bit of land in Arkansas that’s claimed several lives over the years. But one story had a happy yet strange ending. In 1946, eight-year-old Katherine Van Alst wandered off from her family’s camp site and got lost. Though a search party scoured the area, the little girl wasn’t found for six full days, a length of time that should have been a death sentence. When she was found, though, the girl walked calmly out of a cave and simply announced, “Here I am,” without remembering any details of what had happened to her.