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Ghosts & Legends – The Spirit(s) of the Grand Canyon

Ghosts & Legends – The Spirit(s) of the Grand Canyon

Arizona’s Grand Canyon is an awesome spectacle. The canyon’s sheer size is enough to make any observer stop and take a moment to reflect.

In such an inspiring place, it is no surprise that over the years the Canyon has attracted its share of folklore and local legends. Stories such as these add an interesting dimension to the canyon’s already impressive landscape.

The Havasupai History
According to the Havasupai people, who live in the village of Supai and care for the nearby Havasu Falls, even the canyon’s formation is a mystical subject.

In Havasupai tradition, before mankind there were two gods who inhabited the earth, a god of good and a god of evil. Tochapa, the god of good had a daughter who was destined to become the mother of the living. In an effort to spite Tochapa, Hokomata, the god of evil, flooded the entire earth. To save his daughter, Tochapa built a log boat and she survived the flood, which formed the canyon. Once the earth died, Tochapa’s daughter gave birth to a male child, fathered by the sun, and later a female child, fathered by the water. These two children are the ancestors of the Havasupai people.

Spirits of the South Rim
The canyon’s south rim is the area most visited by tourists, and as a result, it has acquired its fair share of haunted history. Several apparitions are said to make their homes in the famous Mary Colter structures along this rim. El Tovar, which Mary Colter decorated, is one of the earliest buildings and has been visited by many famous guests.

However, perhaps on of the more notable is an ephemeral female. Dressed as if she lived during the great depression, the woman wanders the halls of the hotel. Next door, Hopi House can also lay claim to its own share of phantom visitors. Employees in the gift shop are said to be plagued by the “Brown Boys,” who make their appearance late at night. As boys do, these ghosts generally engage in mischief, rearranging merchandise and leaving a mess to be cleaned up by surprised workers in the morning!

The Egyptian Mystery
Perhaps the most bizarre story associated with Grand Canyon lore is the account of the Egyptian caves. The discovery of these caves was reported by the Arizona Gazette in 1909, by explorer E.G. Kincaid. Kincaid recounted that while traveling down the Colorado River he encountered an underground city.

Kincaid’s description of the city states that it wads a vast network of caves and tunnels, where he found both mummies and artifacts possessing in, his words, an “oriental,” possibly “Egyptian” aspect. The article also indicates a connection between Kincaid’s find and the Smithsonian, however there are no records among the museum’s papers which support this in any way. The tale of this lost city is certainly an oddity in the canyon’s history.