The Story Behind This Haunted Cemetery in Alaska is Terrifying
Alaska is a mysterious and beautiful state, but it is also full with terror and sorrow. Of all the haunted locations in the state, the Slide Cemetery in Dyea, close to Skagway, is particularly notable for its macabre past and eerie ambiance. The ultimate resting site of numerous prospectors who lost their lives in a major avalanche during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898 is this ghost town cemetery. Along with other paranormal activity, it is thought that their ghosts haunt the area. This is the tale of this Alaskan haunted cemetery and the reason it is so horrifying.
The Klondike Gold Rush and the Chilkoot Trail
Following the discovery of gold in the Yukon Territory of Canada in 1896, thousands of people from all over the world were drawn there during the Klondike Gold Rush. Most prospectors had to travel via Alaska and choose between the White Pass and the Chilkoot Trail in order to get to the gold fields. Although both routes were hazardous and perilous, more people chose the Chilkoot Trail since it was less expensive and shorter.
Reaching from Dyea, a boomtown close to Skagway, to Lake Bennett, where prospectors could construct boats and sail to the Klondike, was the 33-mile Chilkoot Trail. There were four distinct portions of the course, each with unique hazards and challenges. The trail’s final stretch, dubbed the Golden Stairs, was the most notorious and challenging since it ascended sharply over the Chilkoot Pass to an elevation of 3,500 feet. The prospectors had to make numerous excursions back and forth across the pass while toting their supplies and equipment, which weighed at least 2,000 pounds. It was a laborious and draining task that can take weeks or even months to do.
The Palm Sunday Avalanche
The extremely severe and snowy winter of 1897–1898 caused unstable circumstances on the Chilkoot Trail. The seasoned sourdoughs, or old-timers, and the native Tlingit people in the area cautioned the prospectors against traveling on the trail in warm, bright weather since it increased the chance of avalanches. But many of the prospectors disregarded the advice because they were restless and ready to get to the gold fields.
On Sunday, April 3, 1898, hundreds of prospectors were on the route, particularly along the Golden Stairs, as the weather was clear and warm. A sequence of avalanches began about 4 p.m., caused by vibrations from human activity and the melting snow. From the pass’s peak, the biggest and most destructive avalanche descended, burying the trail and everything along it under 30 to 50 feet of snow. One of the deadliest tragedies in Alaskan history, the avalanche was later estimated to have killed between 60 and 100 individuals.
The Slide Cemetery
Over the next three days, dogs and volunteers helped retrieve the victims’ bodies from the snow. The power of the avalanche caused some of the victims to be damaged and deformed, while some were never located. After being moved to Dyea, the victims were interred in a mass grave at a cemetery that came to be known as the Slide Cemetery. Perched on a hill, the cemetery provided views of both the town and the route. To commemorate the graves, wooden crosses and headstones were placed; some had initials or numbers only, while others had names and dates.
The Slide Cemetery quickly turned into a somber and depressing area, serving as a constant reminder of the perils and difficulties associated with the gold rush. Numerous prospectors who either escaped the avalanche or arrived later came to the cemetery to honor the deceased or search for friends or family members. Some of the visitors claimed to have felt uncomfortable and depressed at the cemetery, as though the victims’ spirits were still there, restless and unhappy.
The Haunting of the Slide Cemetery
Both locals and tourists began to be fascinated by and afraid of the Slide Cemetery as time went on. There are several myths and legends regarding the paranormal activity and haunting of the cemetery. Among the sightings and tales are the following:
- The sound of moaning, crying, or screaming coming from the cemetery, especially at night or during storms.
- The appearance of ghostly figures, dressed in old-fashioned clothing, walking among the graves or on the trail, sometimes disappearing into thin air or into the snow.
- The feeling of being watched, followed, or touched by unseen presences, or of being pushed or pulled by invisible forces.
- The smell of rotting flesh, blood, or sulfur in the air, or the taste of metal or salt in the mouth.
- The malfunctioning of electronic devices, such as cameras, phones, or flashlights, or the interference of radio or TV signals, near the cemetery.
- The occurrence of nightmares, visions, or hallucinations, related to the avalanche or the gold rush, after visiting the cemetery.
- The manifestation of physical injuries, such as scratches, bruises, or burns, on the body, after visiting the cemetery.
The Ghost Town of Dyea
There are other spooky locations in the region besides the Slide Cemetery. The cemetery is situated in the ghost town of Dyea, which is mostly forgotten and abandoned. With a population of about 10,000 and a wide range of establishments including hotels, saloons, shops, banks, churches, and newspapers, Dyea used to be a vibrant and busy town. It served as both the primary entry point to the Klondike and the beginning of the Chilkoot Trail.
But Dyea’s wealth was short-lived, since the Chilkoot Trail became outdated when the railroad was constructed through Skagway, a competing town, and the gold rush subsided. The majority of residents had departed Dyea by 1900, and the town began to deteriorate. The old dock, the post office, the church, and the cemetery were among the few surviving buildings and structures in Dyea by the 1950s, when the town had been all but abandoned.
Currently, Dyea is accessible to those who wish to learn more about its past and eerie occurrences as it is a part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Even if some of the graves have been destroyed or damaged by the weather, animals, or vandals, the cemetery still stands. The cemetery is a haunting attraction for the courageous and the inquisitive, as well as a silent and unsettling testament to the past.
One of the most haunted cemeteries in the state and the nation is the Slide Cemetery in Dyea, Alaska. Numerous prospectors who perished in a horrifying avalanche in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush are buried there. They originally lived in the nearby ghost town of Dyea, where their ghosts are rumored to roam the graveyard and dream of riches. The cemetery is a location steeped in mystery and history in addition to sorrow and terror. It’s a site worthy of astonishment and fascination as well as respect and prudence. You will be both terrified and intrigued by this location. It’s a location you will always remember.