Deep within the majestic national park are tales of ghosts of the Grand Canyon and spirits that have haunted the area for centuries.
From ancient Native American legends to modern-day sightings, the haunting presence of the Canyon’s ghosts has been felt by many. One of those is acclaimed Arizona ghost hunter Debe Branning. She is the author of seven books, including Grand Canyon Ghost Stories.
Grand Canyon Trip Planner asked Debe about her connection to the Grand Canyon, and here’s what she shared with us:
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In 2010, Riverbend Publishing asked me to pen Grand Canyon Ghost Stories and to relate the ‘spooky tales about Grand Canyon National Park.’
Unfortunately, at the time, there were very few books or stories on the subject of ghostly happenings of the Grand Canyon at all!
So I had to research hard and dig deep (no pun intended) to uncover any eerie tales of the Grand Canyon.
Soon I was contacting river runners, park rangers, mule packers, shopkeepers, avid hikers, Native Americans and several historians.
I learned almost everyone had a story they were anxious to share! To this day, I am grateful to each and every one of them for helping to make my book about the Ghosts of the Grand Canyon possible.
Dozens of stories reveal the ghosts of the Grand Canyon
From the back cover of Debe’s book about ghosts of the Grand Canyon:
Past midnight, a visitor to Grand Canyon National Park sees little boys play under the stars at a lookout before they vanish into thin air. Are they the tragic spirits of two brothers left in a car that plunged into the canyon at that very spot?
Deep in the canyon, an old dory drifts down the Colorado River, its wooden oars creaking in the night—but no one is aboard. In buildings around the canyon rim, lights turn on when they should be off, spectral figures appear and disappear, and various things go bump in the night.
Join Debe Branning to tour the Grand Canyon’s haunted places and learn the stories behind the specters. Her clear directions—and sensible warnings—make sure you locate and enjoy these haunted sites.
These are just a few of the many stories about ghosts of the Grand Canyon that you can read in Debe’s book.
Debe's attraction to the Grand Canyon
My attraction to the Grand Canyon came in the early 1980s when I was challenged to hike down the beautiful Havasupai Trail with friends.
It’s easy, they told me, but little did I know!
Soon I was gathering my camping gear and taking the long drive north with a carload of avid hikers. Finally, we were ready to take in the beauty of the Havasupai Falls and swim at the base of the equally grand Mooney Falls.
As I gazed down from the Hualapai Hilltop, I began to get cold feet. I studied the hikers meandering down the rugged, winding switchbacks. ‘I’m going to have to walk back up those twists and turns in a couple of days,’ I took a deep breath.
Hiking down the eight-mile trail went smoothly except for a few blisters and bruised toes. The spectacular scenery and vegetation changes were something I had never imagined.
We eventually stopped in Supai Village for a short rest. There were just a few more miles to go!
Soon I could hear the thunder of the Havasupai Falls, and I knew we were getting close. We stopped, and I gazed down at the beautiful turquoise water.
It remains one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen in all my travels. We camped near the waterway–midway between the two waterfalls.
I reluctantly took the challenge of climbing down the cliffs of Mooney Falls, grasping on chains and spikes embedded into the rock walls—again dreading the climb back up later in the day.
But it was a fabulous three-day adventure, but soon it was time to hike the eight miles back up to the hilltop.
I thought I fared well until we reached the dreaded switchbacks. By then, it was getting warm, and my canteen was not quite as full. My partner at the time (bless his heart) took my backpack, attached it to his and continued up the hill. I only needed to concentrate on the trail ahead of me.
I was never so thankful to reach the top and drink that icy cold can of soda waiting for me in the car’s cooler. But I did it!!
And over the years, I have done it three more times! Did it get any easier? Well, maybe after we learned it was much easier to have the mule teams carry our packs to and from the camp!
RELATED: Packing List for Havasu Falls Hike
Paranormal investigators chase ghosts of the Grand Canyon
I gathered a group of paranormal investigators to travel with me while conducting interviews and exploring some of the haunted locations at the Grand Canyon for the “Grand Canyon Ghost Stories’ book.
Investigating ghosts of the Grand Canyon became a fulfilled girls’ weekend and a lifetime of friendship. We still speak of the unique experience of gathering tales of the unknown. The ‘heart of the Canyon’ is forever a bond between the four of us!
Debe Branning is the Director of MVD Ghostchasers of Arizona, a historian and preservationist, and the author of several books on Arizona’s paranormal locations. She has appeared on Travel Channel several times and helps to conduct a Haunted History Tour in downtown Phoenix.
Contact Debe at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find Grand Canyon Ghost Stories at Grand Canyon gift shops and Riverbend Publishing.
UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was NOT provided with accommodations, meals or other compensation for the purpose of this guide. The Arizona travel writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.
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