National Park Legends

Not your average campfire story

If you stumble across a magazine with a green cover and the words “National Park Issue” written across the top, you have found the newest Whalebone Magazine. And if you read said magazine, you will stumble across some posters of haunted caves, UFOs, and a prankster of a monster. If you want to read about the stories behind these beautiful posters, you’ve stumbled across the right article. From the Lightning Man to the Seaweed Woman, we present you with the Legends of National Parks. Ideal reading for your next evening telling ghost stories around the campfire. What was that sound? Probably just leaves.

Illustration by Austin Ellis of the Lightning Man. He's a man dressed in national park service clothing and standing on a rock. Lightening races down to his open hands.
Illustrated by Austin Ellis

Shenandoah National Park

Legend: The Lightning Man

Over at Shenandoah National Park lives the Lightning Man legend. Throughout his 36 years of working as a park ranger, he was struck by lightning seven times. The odds of that are 4.15 in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. He survived each time to tell the tale, and now holds a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. As he should. 

Illustrated by Ryan May of the haunted caves of Mammoth Cave National Park. Three figures walk deeper into a cavern. Skulls litter the ground and walls.
Illustrated by Ryan May

Mammoth Cave National Park

Haunted Caves

It’s called Mammoth for a reason. The longest known cave system on Earth has more than 400 miles of underground caverns and tunnel—and that’s only what’s been discovered so far. Dr. John Croghan stumbled upon this cave and thought he discovered a perfect tuberculosis sanatorium, so he purchased Mammoth Cave National Park in 1839. If having a hospital in a cave wasn’t already creepy enough, the cave is bumping with paranormal activity due to, you guessed it, a cave not being a fit location for a hospital. That adds up. Couldn’t even save poor old man Croghan from the disease he wished to cure. We’ll hang by the entrance when you take that tour.

Illustration by Ryan May of yucca man in Joshua Tree National Park. Three man sit on logs around a fire. In the background are joshua trees and a large hairy figure wearing sunglasses.
Illustrated by Ryan May

Joshua Tree National Park

Yucca Man

Bigfoot is old news. We tried on his shoes on our last camping trip and let’s just say, the name is fitting. Onto the next terrifying giant. Welcome Yucca Man: a giant-sized yeti with a hideous stench, straggly hair, and burning red eyes. He sounds endearing. You can meet him in Joshua Tree National Park, where he likes to pull pranks on campers and hikers. A true jokester. But if you don’t feel like taking that trek, he’s been sighted in the San Bernardino Mountains as well. Or maybe that was his cousin, the fearful spirit Tahquitz, who was spotted—we think he was hitchhiking to meet Yucca—along Highway 14. Sorry Bigfoot, you’ve got some bigger shoes to fill. 

Illustration by B.R. Keller of aliens at the great sand dunes. In the sky are open holes with stars and moons. At the bottom, a horse and rabbit and snake make their way across the dunes.
Illustrated by B.R. Keller

Great Sand Dunes


Have you ever seen a UFO? We have, but you can read about that in The Space Issue. If you would maybe like to see a UFO, take a visit to Great Sand Dunes National Park surrounded by San Luis Valley. There have been 60 UFO sightings since 2000. That’s not all you’ll see. Unexplainable cattle mutilations, bright white lights, and strange little men who perform terrible experiments. The point is: people have seen some weird shit here. There’s even rumors of a portal to another universe, but we’ll ask Tom for sure. 

Illustration by Kingsley Spencer of the green lady at Haleakala National Park. A woman wearing a crown of leaves holds a volcano in her hand.
Illustrated by Kingsley Spencer

Haleakala National Park

Green Lady

Hide your kids, hide your family. The Green Lady of Wahiawa, covered in leaves, moss, grass, green skin, and seaweed for hair, has been combing Haleakala National Park for eternity looking for her lost children. An eternity has really made her desperate. Honestly, can’t blame her. However, she will grab any child she sees to take as her own, even if it’s not hers. We’re not ones to point fingers, but we sure can blame her for that.