Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hell Dogs of Eldorado Canyon

Claim in Eldorado Canyon
Eldorado Canyon is located in Southern Nevada along the Colorado River just above Hoover Dam.

People who visit this canyon today often do not know about the regions violent past. At one time, this canyon epitomized what people picture when they think about the “Wild West.”

In the 1860s, this area was once the most prosperous gold mining area in Nevada, before it became a state. These riches drew many miners and prospectors into the region.

Two mines--the Techatticup and Queen yielded riches as well as many individual claims in the canyon. This area is near what is the ghost town of Nelson today.

Tours of Techatticup Mine are given today.
By the time these two mines closed down in the 1940s they had yielded millions of dollars in precious metals.

This frontier boom also attracted deserters from the Civil War, claim jumpers, and renegade Indians. Since the area was remote, there was no law for miles around so vigilantism became the norm.

Gunfights and murders were commonplace.

During these rowdy early days many prospectors kept dogs at their claim sites to protect their property. These dogs were reared to be vicious, so they would attack trespassers.

When the individual claims played out, the prospectors moved on, but they didn't take the dogs with them. They instead, shot these dogs, left them chained at their claims or let them loose to roam.

It is believed these dogs being abandoned or killed caused an unusual haunting that still occurs today. Over the past 155 years, stories of sightings of these ferocious spectral hounds have been reported.

Some tales state that these hounds chase or even attack visitors in this canyon. The locals call these hounds, “The Hell Dogs of Eldorado Canyon.”

The following is a first person account about one of these encounters.

My brother and I knew about the spectral dogs in Eldorado, so we decided to camp in the canyon.

For most of our visit, nothing happened out of the ordinary--that is until our last night when we cut our trip short and left quickly.

We had set up our campsite near another old mining shaft and then went to explore. We found an eight-foot rusty chain embedded into the rock wall near the entrance to this shaft.

We entered and discovered the bones of what appeared to be a large dog. We then went back to our campsite and built a fire since it was growing dark.

We ate our dinner and were relaxing around our small campfire, when the air appeared to thicken around us.

I told my brother I felt that someone was watching us. We heard breathing and heavy panting near where we sat.

I jumped as something growled loudly. Then we heard what sounded like several paws hitting the desert sand. Whatever it was, it was now circling our campsite.

In a panic, I realized we were surrounded.

We heard a loud scratching sound coming from the area where we had seen the chain earlier. By the firelight, we saw this chain move.

My brother grabbed his flashlight and pointed it in this direction. It looked like the chain was being tugged away from the rock wall--it was pulled harder each time.

As one, we fumbled to gather our gear. My brother flashed his light onto the wall once more. We saw what appeared to be scratch marks around the chain.

Then the chain dropped. Something brushed against my leg, and I almost lost my balance. My brother caught my arm to assist me and now frightened, we both ran faster than ever before--headed for our car.

We heard a pack of dogs panting and running after us. Even when we were in our car and driving down the dirt road, we could hear this pack of dogs chasing us.

We left our gear behind and we have never returned to retrieve it.

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