Hikers in the Santa Lucia Mountains of California have reported the presence of “Dark Watchers” for centuries. Since the 1700s, long, featureless silhouettes have seen along the length of pedestrians, looking at them motionlessly on their journeys. Big Tune hikers describe their feelings as if they were watching, before they turn around and see a brief glimpse of a stranger that disappears shortly after seen.
The images cited as famous in a poem by Robinson Jeffers in 1937 in, as well as in John Steinbeck’s short story flight the following year. In Steinbeck’s story, the protagonist escapes to the mountains after killing one in a fight.
Before he left, his mother warned him, “When you reach a high mountain, if you see someone watching in the dark, don’t go near them or try to talk to them.” Look and see, on the top of the hill “He saw a black figure for a moment; but he looked away quickly, for it was one of the dark surveillance.”
In Jeffer’s poems, the figures are described almost as such, but not quite human:
“He thought it might be an observer, often seen within the length of this coast-range, forms that look human to the human eye, but certainly not human rid they come from behind to see. However, when he got to it, he recognized the filthy clothes and pale hair, even the forehead and the concave line from the eyes to the jaw, so that he was not surprised when the figure showed his own appearance, turning his face towards the quiet twilight. Then it melted and blended into the shadows outside.”
It would be easy to blow up the phenomenon as an old myth, if it were not for suspiciously similar reports around the world. In Scotland, at the summit of Ben McDougall, a similar picture has seen since 1891. ‘M Bear Liath Mòr’ – The Scottish Gaelic of “Big Gray Man” has described in several dramatic battles over the centuries.
In the first recorded account, the poet James Hogg described it as “at least thirty feet high, proportional, and very close to me. I was actually overwhelmed by the shock and terror.” So, what adds to the similar story of the two horrible shadows hiding in the mountains? Of course, the third story of a horrible shadow hiding on the mountain.
Although many explanations have offered for viewing – from paradoxes to debilitating degeneration – the strongest credibility is that people are looking at the Broken Specter. The Broken Specters – named after the Broken Mountains where their first German scientist, Johann Silberschlag – described them – created on a weak day. When the sun is low and the situation is right, a shadow cast over the fog by Walker, so that it appears as if a tall, shady figure is watching from them.
Water droplets can move around the fog that created, causing a shattering effect, such as the shadow moving, sometimes towards the observer. So, people literally intimidated by their own shadows.