Urban Legends, Myths and Scary Stories from Yosemite & Bass Lake

Video yosemite mysteries

We’re approaching Halloween, which means spooky season is amongst us. There are so many memories and traditions that flood our minds when it comes to things that embody the holiday spirit. Scary stories, horror movies, dressing up, and trick or treating. My personal favorite, and I bet that it’s the same for most people, is being told scary stories. There’s an adrenaline rush and entertainment value when it comes to a safe scare. Not matter the subject matter within the story, or how scary it gets, it’s only for amusement, it’s not true, and it’s not like it can happen or that it did happen. Or did it?

Supposedly, there are urban legends, myths, scary stories, whatever you want to call them, that are out there in the world that just so happen to be true. There are those that have witnessed it personally. There have been stories about Yosemite and Bass Lake that have shaken up the community. Creepy sightings and strange phenomena that were told then and are still being told now. Whether you want to believe them…I leave it up to the reader.

Get your popcorn ready, have a flash light nearby, be sure to not have any nightmares because here are the top 5 urban legends, myths, scary stories of Yosemite & Bass Lake according to The Pines Resort, Bass Lake.


With all that land and space that occupies Yosemite National Park, it has to be a cesspool of legends, strange occurrences, and unfortunate deaths. Waterfalls all over Yosemite have claimed the lives of hikers over the years but one definitely stands out. Miwok Indians believed that an evil spirit named Po-ho-no would lure hikers near the edge of cliffs before pushing them to their deaths. The fallen hikers themselves are thought to haunt the area.

The legend says that two indigenous women were picking berries at the top of Bridal Veil Fall when a mist appeared. When one of the women moved too close to it. Suddenly the wind shrieked and threw her down into the rocky, churning waters. The chief blamed the Po-ho-no, and he forbid his people from wandering anywhere near the water. The way in which its claimed victims has been by appearing as hypnotic rainbows in the mist to lure people.


Now this one is chilling to the core and very unsettling. This is probably the most famous case of paranormal activity in the Central Valley. It has of course existed in Native American legend, but these creatures, or whatever they are, have made their presence known in recent memory. What they are is tough to explain. How they’re described or seen is two tall walking pair of legs, looking they’re covered in white cloth with just a head mounted on it. No arms or torso, just a head on a pair of legs. What?

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The people of the area and those around the world that have seen them call them the Nightcrawlers. They’re eerily similar to a Native American totem. When the Ahwahneechees were questioned, they reported that the “Nightcrawlers” are a peaceful race of beings that came from another planet to rebuild the union between man and nature. That’s just one interpretation.

They were sightings of them back in the 1990s but they gained in notoriety in the millennium.

Back in the 2000s, a grainy CCTV camera captured one striding across a man’s front yard in Fresno. A Fresno man named Jose was woken up by his barking dogs one morning, and he caught a glimpse of a Nightcrawler walking through his camera system.

Years later in 2011, they appeared again and caught on camera in Yosemite National Park.

Watch the footage below and come up with your own conclusion. The content on the footage maybe disturbing to some viewers.

In the years since the figure was first captured, the Fresno Nightcrawler has risen to fame on the internet, with the story even being covered by the History Channel, experts on the Sci-Fi Channel’s Fact or Faked, and recently featured on an episode of “Paranormal Caught on Camera” on the Travel Channel. Again, there is no logical explanation as to what these things are. Debate rages on what they could be, but they’re nothing of this world, that for sure.


History itself is pretty much an inventory of ghosts. And no place has a history quite like Yosemite. There’s a famous ghost that is said to lurk in Grouse Lake. It was first officially reported in 1857 by Galen Clark, who was to later become Yosemite’s very first park ranger in 1867. He had a strange experience when he was out on a hike to the small alpine lake, and claimed that as he walked along its shores that he had heard a chilling, unearthly wail seeming to come from the water itself. He proclaimed that it sounded like “a puppy when lost.”

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He would later ask some Native Americans of the area what kind of animal it was that he had heard or if they had a dog that could have made the noise. They revealed that it was no animal or dog. Instead, it was the spirit of a tribal boy who had tragically drowned there years ago and who did not take kindly to visitors. It was even claimed that he would attack anyone who set foot in the water. So, if any of you are around the area, maybe it’s best that you don’t get too close to the water. Don’t what to be a casualty or have you become a story for not so good reasons.


There’s been stories of a strange creature roaming the foothills of Fresno County.

The features are described as having long grey mangy hair and the face of an ape or baboon and both human like hands and feet. It seems to have a sickly quality, where it’s coughing and foaming at the mouth. It is referred to as the Devil Ape or Devil Fang, but it’s become known as the Watts Valley Wolf Ape because of it being spotted around the Watts Valley Cemetery.

There have been plenty of accounts of this particular creature, that the first Native Americans that came over the Bearing Straight where they lived amongst this man animal and that there’s drawings of strange creatures that traveled with the indigenous folk. One of the most well-known encounters with this beast so happens to involve the legendary photographer Ansel Adams. Famous for taking photographs of Yosemite, and exposing the allure of the national park to the world, he made frequent visits to that area all the time. On one occasion, he was taking pictures in Yosemite one day when a pack of Wolf Apes came upon him while he was in his tent and he had to stay there for his own safety. Thankfully, nothing happened to him.

Another crazy incident took place where the Wolf Ape went into a single room school house one day and terrorized the students and teacher. The children piled up their desks together in desperation and climbed up to the safety of the rafters while the teacher luckily managed to lock himself into a closet. The creature broke through their desks to get at their lunches and after it got stuffed it went away. There had apparently been no sight of one for a while, but around the mid 1990’s a Wolf Ape was seen at no other than Bass Lake, where it was caught drinking water from the small lake. At the time people mistook it for a hairy man who happened to walk on all fours. But that wasn’t obviously the case. Let’s just hope that it isn’t seen again.

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The legend of Bigfoot is so common that he’s been seen across the world over. Everybody knows what this creature is. He’s been depicted in movies, tv shows, documentaries, books, the list goes on. A lot of occurrences with this strange being has been similar, only seen in glimpses, at a distance, the sight of a very tall creature in height, covered head to toe in fur, a man monster or man ape, with a blood curdling scream, but right when you see it he disappears in a blink of an eye.

Most stories told about the sighting of this walking behemoth really hasn’t been pleasant. One story stands out with a California Conservation Corps worker that was camping in the Tuolumne meadows of Yosemite one night when he heard heavy footsteps heading straight for his tent. He went out to investigate and was confronted with what he could only describe as the furry Goliath.

He responded with a scream, so did the creature and then retreated. This is probably an encounter you don’t ever want to experience.

There’s been countless tales of supernatural occurrences and unforgettable accidents and demises. Some that seem ordinary or out of the ordinary. There’s so many to choose from that you can’t go wrong with any of them. Whatever kind of story you want to find, one that is too mature, macabre, scary, truthful, and embellished, you’ll be able to find it. No matter what story

you’re looking for, they are all good enough to keep you awake at night. And that is what’s so great about Halloween.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>