Shaman's Portal in Oklahoma
Click the image above for the full gallery.
Have you ever been to a place that just feels creepy? Maybe it was a specific side street in a city, a suburban cul-de-sac, or an isolated forest trail. These types of places are all over if you know where to look. Some of them even have strange stories surrounding them, legends of weird events that make you think twice about venturing into the area.
There's one such place in the Oklahoma Panhandle, right outside of a small town called Beaver.
Where is Shaman's Portal in Oklahoma?
If you're unfamiliar with the geometry of the state of Oklahoma, it has a region known as a "panhandle"—similar to the one in Florida.
The Oklahoma Panhandle has a sordid history involving indigenous peoples, Spanish conquistadores like Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, a period of lawlessness and feuding over which state it should belong to, and hard times during the Dust Bowl.
With the long, contentious history of the area, you could probably guess that it has some strange stories. What you may not guess, though, is that there's a region within the Oklahoma Panhandle that's full of sand dunes.
Yes, sand dunes. There are sand dunes in Oklahoma. Weird.
Beaver Dunes Park is just north of the town of Beaver.
Inside Beaver Dunes Park, there's a small lake called Beaver Lake.
The town of Beaver is situated right on the banks of the Beaver River. Also, the Beaver Public School system comprises schools such as Beaver Elementary and Beaver High School, with—you guessed it—beaver mascots.
And, of course, all of these things are inside Beaver County. While all of that might sound rather innocuous, don't be fooled, and don't get distracted by the fact that Beaver hosts the annual World Cow Chip Throwing Championship every April. Beaver even popularized throwing cow chips all the way back in 1970.
Poop. It's cow poop.🐄💩
People pick up dried cow dung and fling it as far as possible. The current world record was set by Robert Deevers, who flung dung 185 feet 5 inches (56.52 m) back in 2001. Yes, Robert Deevers set the record in Beaver. I didn’t typo that. 😐
The town of Beaver is only about 1,500 people, and Beaver Dunes Park is only about a 3-minute drive away. The proximity of the two means that people often rent dune buggies and head up to the 520-acre park to hit the sand dunes for some gas-powered adrenaline action. The park also has fishing, hiking trails, a playground, and two campgrounds.
Sounds fun, right?
Except...some people go into the dunes and are never seen or heard from again. Not only that, it's not a new phenomenon.
Many legends of strange disappearances are relatively recent, but Beaver Dunes Park is quite the exception, as its stories seem to go back at least the 1500s, and it's not only known as Beaver Dunes Park but also as the Oklahoma Bermuda Triangle, No Man's Land, and the Shaman's Portal.
Strange Stories of Shaman's Portal
I mentioned the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado above for a very specific reason: there's a story about him and the Shaman's Portal. Supposedly, Coronado and his conquistador crew passed through the Oklahoma Panhandle back in 1541. While in the area, they happened across the sand dunes and did a bit of exploration. Three of Coronado's men disappeared in the sand dunes. They saw eerie, floating green lights in the distance and chased after them, but each of the three men never returned because they all vanished in flashes of green light. Allegedly, this is documented in Coronado's journal. I wasn't able to find this anywhere, but I'll keep looking, and if I happen across it, I will definitely post it here. If anyone out there reading this knows where to find it, let me know.
Now, as you might expect, our old friend "Legend Has It" makes an appearance in the Coronado story. I'm always skeptical when it comes to our unverifiable and often tall-tale-y friend Legend Has it🤨, but it's interesting to see what Legend Has. So, Legend Has It that the dunes are actually an "ancient Indian burial ground" and that the "Native Americans" (who? what tribe(s)?) warned Coronado not to go there. Legend Also Has It that the dunes area was a crash site for aliens and that aliens are (somehow?) trapped in the region. How? I have no clue. That's Legend Has It for you.
The sibling of Legend Has It—"It Is Said"—claims that the United States military has been spotted in the area, digging around in the dunes. Both "Legend Has It" and "It Is Said" have a distant cousin (twice removed) called "They Say." So...They Say that the military retrieved a spacecraft from the area and do the Men In Black flashy light amnesia thing to anyone asking too many questions about it. Not only that, but They Say that the sand dunes are cursed and haunted by ghosts.
For the full round-up, Beaver Dunes Park is:
- An ancient Indian burial ground
- Haunted by ghosts
- The site of a UFO crash
- Inhabited by aliens
- Guarded by the military
- Protected by men in black
I don't know about you, but I'm personally going with the theory that the sand dunes area was the site of an ancient alien crash that killed aliens (making it an ancient alien burial ground). The dead aliens turned into alien ghosts—which put an alien curse on the area. Then somewhat recently, the United States Military special top-secret division called something like Special Paranormal Extraterrestrial Containment, Tracking, and Research Agency for Anomalous Lifeforms (S.P.E.C.T.R.A.L. because the U.S. government loves acronyms) began working an ongoing containment operation, which includes putting the mind whammy on local Beavers.
:: checks notes ::
Wait, I missed something. They Also Say that an archaeologist named Dr. Mark Thatcher from Oklahoma State University studied the dunes (no idea why) for a few years back in the 1990s before being threatened and shut down by the U.S. military...or men in black...or men in white that acted like men in black.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find any reference at all to anyone called any variation of Dr. Mark Thatcher from OSU Archaeology anywhere. However, I did find a tiny lead to someone who may actually know a Mark Thatcher that worked in archaeological sites nearby—in roughly the same time period. I've reached out to this tiny, tiny lead in hopes that something will come of it. If so, I'll report back here. For now, though...🤐
One of the more fascinating aspects of this whole thing is that there are so many explanations for what sounds like only a few stories of green lightning and a few unverifiable disappearances. (Green lightning is a real, documented thing, by the way.) It really makes me wonder what, if anything, is going on out there in Beaver Dunes Park. Despite the humorous/snarky tone I tend to write in when our old friends Legend Has It, It Is Said, or They Say show up, I'm not discounting this one yet. I think, instead, it warrants more in-depth research. If the Coronado story turns out to be actually documented in one of his journals—especially if it mentions his men disappearing in green flashes of light—then a quirky sort of "urban legend" suddenly will become much more intriguing.
Relevant & Related
- Learn more about the contentious history of the Oklahoma Panhandle.
- Take a brief video tour of Beaver Dunes Park with Radix Monkey Studios.
- If you're ever in the area, check out the official visitor information, which mentions nothing about possibly disappearing in green lightning.
- Discover Oklahoma has a short video of the park and a brief interview that mentions the strange history surrounding the area.
- Read more stories of weird things nearby: The Oklahoma Octopus | The Witch's Grave of Oak Hill Cemetery in Galena, Kansas | U.S. Route 66: Hauntings & Strange Phenomena
- And even more oddities from American folklore: Hodag of American Folklore | The Ridgeway Ghost of Wisconsin | Old Book Ghost of Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville, Illinois | Zombie Road in Wildwood, Missouri | Seven Gates of Hell in Hellam Township, Pennsylvania