Something strange is afoot in Beaver Dunes Park. Located in the panhandle of Oklahoma, the dunes are home to a legend involving the Spanish explorer Coronado, mysterious late night military excavations, Men in Black encounters, and enough mysterious disappearances to warrant the nickname “Oklahoma’s Bermuda Triangle.”
The story goes that Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, as he traversed the area on his quest to discover New World gold, ignored the warnings of his Native American guides to keep away from the dunes. The price he paid was to have three members of his expedition suddenly vanish before his eyes amidst strange flashes of green lightning–a description Coronado himself penned in his expedition diary, calling the phenomenon “the work of the Devil.”
Known by the natives as the “Shaman’s Portal,” the area has since been blamed for numerous such alleged disappearances, although none have been verified, especially in the last century or so. However, locals have claimed to witness mysterious military excavations conducted under the cover of darkness. In the Nineties, after receiving reports of unspecified “strange” findings from an Oklahoma State University archaeologist, one Dr. Mark Thatcher is said to have spent three years studying the area until he was shut down by men with military credentials who fit the description of the notorious Men in Black. It’s unclear whether Thatcher was part of another unidentified university geological team who is said to have studied the area in the mid-Nineties. This team supposedly took a number of geological samples and found strange anomalies that included ionized soil and electromagnetic interference. All of this has led some to believe that an ancient alien spacecraft lies buried beneath the dunes.
A flying saucer isn’t the only thing believed to be buried down there. Apparently, the area is also an ancient Native American burial ground. And we all know that building anything on one of those is generally a Bad Idea.
And the alien connection is only one hypothesis surrounding the area. Theories about the disappearances and the weird lights abound. Is the area a portal to another dimension? Were the missing people transported, or incinerated by the green lightning? Was this some kind of Native American magic meant to protect the tribal gold from greedy European explorers like Coronado?
As freaky–and kind of cool–as all of this is, unfortunately the only thing that exists in the way of real evidence is Coronado’s diary. Every other claim over the last five hundred years or so have been, shall we say, sketchy? Still, it seems that something happened to those lost explorers–something unnatural and extremely difficult to explain.
And that’s enough to keep me from exploring those dunes anytime soon.