Superstition Mountains

The superstition Mountains, located near Apache Junction, Arizona, have a fascinating history. Since the COVID lockdown, I have wanted to take a day trip and drive there, because The Lost Dutchman Mine is somewhere in those mountains. Legends talk of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. It is supposedly the largest gold mine in existence. Except, nobody can find it, and those who have made the attempt? Well, they do not return.

Every so often, an article appears in the newspapers about an intrepid adventurer disappearing. Sometimes, the body is recovered. Sometimes it’s not. This combination of myth and paranormal captured my fantasy, and I wanted to go see for myself. I didn’t want to go alone, just in case I didn’t make it back. I have a healthy respect for spirits, especially after reading about what happened to a Spanish expedition.

In 1540, Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led his army into Arizona’s Superstition Mountains. They were searching for the mythical “Seven Cities of Gold.”  The Apache warned him that The mountains were sacred ground guarded by the “Thunder God.”

Vasquez de Coronado didn’t listen and went in. His men started vanishing. Worse, they disappeared without a sound. Later, their bodies were found mutilated and decapitated. 

Now, this is the most fascinating part of the story. These men were trained soldiers. Yet, they made no sound, and there was no struggle. De Coronado and the rest of his soldiers heard nothing. Even if they could have been grabbed without making any noise? The mutilation and decapitation should have been a little noisy, right?

Except he heard nothing. I’m sorry, I would have been screaming at the top of my lungs. Somebody tried to cut my head off – there would have been a lot of noise. 

It is still one of the greatest mysteries associated with the mountains. Needless to say, De Coronado never went back. 

I like to write horror short stories, plus I have always had a fascination with the Superstition Mountains. I talked my sister, Tracy, into taking a day trip with me. We drove to the Lost Dutchman State Park. 

We told the mountains we weren’t there for the gold. I was just doing research for a short story. Tracy and I walked around and took a walk down a couple of trails. It was a beautiful day, sunny with hardly any clouds.

Yet, the sense that the mountains were sentient and watching us was prevalent. I don’t know if there is a Thunder God in those mountains? The mountains themselves felt alive and aware. Majestic and stark rising skyward in their jagged beauty felt alive.

An idea for a story took root, a couple decides to go hiking climbing to the highest point. Taking FlatIron Hike, which is at the top of the mountains. Then in a life-changing decision, they decide to leave the trail. The guy is hurt in the process, and with no signal, they have to hunker down and wait to be rescued. 

A Monsoon storm hits, and the spirits of the mountains come alive. In a harrowing life-death drama, the couple must fight the elements and the Thunder God. Who will win? 

You will have to wait till I finish it. If you ever get the chance to see the Superstition Mountains? You will not be disappointed. It is a magical place. You will have to let me know if you, too, felt the mountains watching you.

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