Scariest Camping Stories: Camping Disappearances
Camping is a great experience to reconnect with nature and be free from the hustle and bustle life of the city. It can be fun and enjoyable when you’re with friends, hiking the ridges, climbing the mountains, or even making campfires beside rivers and lakes.
All without our smartphones, devices, and the usual neon lights of the city nights, away from the lifestyle of society’s fast-pacing life. However, camping is something you do unknown of what might happen in the wilderness.
Sometimes some campers had to experience unexpected incidents that lead to unexplained and bizarre disappearances; here are some stories that we will uncover.
Alfred Beilhartz, a four-year-old kid, went on a camping vacation with his family at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado when his strange disappearance baffled his family.
They were having a quick hike near the river and never lost an eye on the child when he suddenly vanished. An immediate 6-mile search was conducted, but he was never found. Fortunately, the dogs could trace his scent 500 feet uphill from where he was last seen.
The authorities were puzzled about how he could climb up the hill when it was challenging for a kid like him to be there so quickly. The bloodhounds continued to trace the scent. However, they stopped as they felt the danger while sniffing the smell all the way uphill.
When asked by the police, some hikers claimed that they saw a boy on an impassable mountain called “Devil’s Nest.” They also mentioned that the boy looked afraid and upset. Minutes later he disappeared for an unexplained phenomenon.
Some say that Alfred was taken by an unspeakable force that lived in the mountains, and his body was never found until today.
A 73-year old hiker, John Devine, went missing in Mount Baldy in Northern Washington State in 1997. Devine was an experienced long-distance hiker, and despite his age, the man trailed 39 kilometers of the mountain area.
Devine was accompanied by his friend Greg Balzer, and the two campers split up. Balzer went off to hunt while Devine spent the day hiking, but Devine never returned to where they were stationed.
The search for Devine went on to last for one week, and the helicopter used to rescue Devine crashed and eventually killed three people and injured five more others. The weather went terrible later on, so they halted the search operations.
The extreme weather made it impossible to locate Devine, thus unable to retrieve his body. Meanwhile, the chopper’s mysterious crash was unsolved. It was reported that the pilot signaled that he would wait for five minutes for the condition to get better before taking off.
But subsequently the helicopter lost its balance and caused it to crash the side surface of the mountain. Devine’s disappearance remains a mystery, and no one knows his whereabouts.
In the summer of 1969 Dennis Martin, a six-year-old boy, and his family were on a camping trip. It was near the Tennessee-North Carolina state line. They were going to celebrate the annual Father’s Day tradition. That’s where all the men in the Martin family went to hike and camp in the Smokey Mountains National Park.
Just like Albert Beilhartz, Dennis went missing mysteriously and was never found. As recounted by his family, Dennis played hide and seek with his other brothers to prank the adults; they planned to jump out on different sides of the campsite to scare them.
However, when the three brothers already jumped out, apparently, Dennis did not, and when they locate as to where Dennis is hiding, they never found him there.
All the people in the campsite spread out to look for Dennis the entire day. That evening, a heavy downpour prevented them from continuing searching for Dennis. Dennis’ disappearance became national news.
With this, they hired the known Park Ranger, Dwight McCarter, who is known for tracking hundreds of missing persons in the wild, including children. But according to him, Dennis’s disappearance is the hardest one he had done.
He claimed that he wasn’t able to locate the boy even though he already searched the area multiple times. But one possible reason for the disappearance that alighted the family was when other campers heard a loud scream of a boy and saw a bear-like man with slung on his shoulder the night when Dennis went missing.
Thelma Pauline Melton
58-year old Thelma Pauline Melton, also called “Polly” by her friends, vanished into the wilderness of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, on September 25, 1981, without a trace. Polly is suffering from two medical conditions.
She has high blood pressure and nausea and was taking medications for both conditions when she disappeared. Although Polly had these conditions, she was thought to be an active and happy person, so it was unlikely that she would plan nor want to disappear for a reason.
Polly was familiar with the Deep Creek Trail to where she went on a hike, so it’s a puzzle for her friends that she’d not return. Upon the investigation, Polly’s Minister, when asked by the authorities, stated that Polly was grieving over her mother’s recent death in 1981.
So they suspected that she intentionally went missing after they found out that she has suffered bouts of depression in the past. However, this theory was never proven to be accurate, and thus, her disappearance remains a mystery.
The morning of July in 2004, nine-year-old David Gonzales asked her mom to have the car keys to get some cookies at the back of their van while camping in San Bernardino National Forest, Southern California.
40 minutes later, his mother was alarmed when David did not return the keys. When she checked, David was not there. The van was never opened, and the cookies inside were untouched.
The mother called for help. Almost 200 people were involved in the 9-day search, but they didn’t find a body. The police who handled the rescue operation believed that it was a lion attack since they saw a lion on the mountain near where the boy went missing.
However, the mother explained that she didn’t hear any noise nor suspicious movement before her son disappeared, she believed that he was abducted and still alive somewhere.
A year later, David’s skeleton and remains were found just a mile away from where he was last seen. Based on the autopsy and further forensic investigations, there is no evidence of a lion attack on David’s retrieved skeletons.
Even so, the authorities still believed that it was an animal attack, and David was dragged to the place where he was found. Without concrete proof, David’s disappearance remains unsolved. The credibility of the authorities in San Bernardino on handling the case was questionable.
Philip Aristoteles is a freelance Content Writer and a self-confessed bookworm. Apart from writing different content for businesses and creative outputs, he’s also fond of writing poetry that delves into topics such as love, self-discovery, and mental health. He likes classic films and loves to do reviews of them.