Let’s take a trip down cryptozoology lane. I haven’t had a cryptid profile in while. The creature I have for you this time has been known for thousands of years by California’s central coast Native Chumash tribe.
Called the Dark Watchers or ‘The Old Ones.’
These shadowy tall entities watch over mankind but to what purpose?
Are they some kind of giant or maybe something a little more paranormal?
When one thinks of California, I imagine surfers, movie stars, beautiful weather and oranges.
Not strange silent otherworldly nebulous human like swain.
The Dark watchers are similar to the paranormal beings the shadow people, but unlike the shadow people they are said to be giant humanoids whom make their homes in the mountain range of central coastal California.
It is said that the dark watchers lurk in these mountains, hiding in the caves, crags, and crevices of the rocky terrain. Those that have seen the dark watchers describe them as standing at an average height of 15 feet, dressed in long black cloaks and wearing broad-brimmed hats, and sometimes carrying what is thought to be a staff or a walking stick or possibly a spear.
They often stand motionless and silent observing people and when they are seen they often vanish with a second glance.
These strange dark giants were known to the early Spanish explorers of the California area, they named them “Los Vigilantes Oscuros.”
The Dark Watchers “Los Vigilantes Oscuros.” Are said to migratory and have been appearing in the Folkloric tales of California for the past several centuries.
The stories tell of how the human-like giant wraiths stalk persons who are travelling along the Santa Lucia Mountains, they wait until the sun begins to set. Emerging from the growing shadows of the twilight hours, hiding on the edges of the cliffs and peaks often elusively just out of view, occasionally being seen when they step out of the shadows and become silhouetted by the darkening skies.
The reason they are so adapt at hiding and watching is that they are said to possess eagle like eyesight and tremendously well-developed hearing and if you think these heightened senses may allow us to track them down think again.
They are thought to be impossible to track using technology only choosing to reveal themselves at time and a place of their choosing.
The DARK Watchers sound very supernatural in description and behaviors but like Bigfoot the local tribes of the area so no.
These are flesh and blood beings that have existed for thousands of years side by side with man.
Original depictions of the Dark Watchers begin with the Chumash – a Native American tribe which has lived along the central coast of California and among the Channel Islands for around 13,000 years.
Oral legends and traditions passed down through generations since the Pre-Columbian era tell of these shadowy overseers.
The stories of the Chumash native peoples were documented in a doctoral dissertation by a Thomas Blackburn, in 1974. This can still be read today as it was adapted into a book “December’s Child: A Book of Chumash Oral Narratives.”
Blackburn based his work on the archive collection of the American linguist and ethnologist John Peabody Harrington. Harrington collected over a hundred traditional tales from the Chumash tribes between the years 1912 and 1928. This is important as the dates are before a time of mass media and any possible contamination of the tales from outside sources.
Harringtons work is available for study being kept at the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archive. Still to this day the body of work is the preeminent source for the history of the Chumash culture and folkore.
These old oral narratives of the Native American tribe make no mention of Dark watchers they do however talk about a creature called nunašīš.
The Chumash thought of the Earth, as a Middle World, an island surrounded by the ocean. The sun and other celestial bodies are a part of the Upper World, and down below are a Lower Worlds.
The lower worlds are where the Nunašīš are from, they cross worlds bringing with them bad luck, illness and all things negative. These creatures are shaped like humans, but they are neither dark nor cloaked. They are also not known for standing still against the night sky along mountain peaks, so does this mean they have to be different to the Dark watchers?
Maybe a modern sighting could help us decide.
In 1938, John Steinbeck a Pulitzer Prize winning writer, was living close to Monterey. Monterey being at the northern end of the Santa Lucia Mountains. This putting the man in dark watcher territory.
In one of his books titled “The Long Valley” is a short story named “flight” in his work John mention the dark watchers. Steinbeck seemed to be drawing inspiration from the same local traditions implied that some form of Dark Watchers lore predated his literary creation.
Could the writer have had a run in with one of these beings?
If so what was it?
Well although we have the links back to the indigenous culture and the oral tales passed down through generations, many say that the Dark watchers are something different a modern creation and are nothing more than urban legend.
A fantasy, a ghost story, a tale in which modern writers and story tellers have drawn on traditional tales of the Nunašīš to give their stories more credibility.
Others say that the Dark watchers do and do not exist.
How can this be you ask?
Well imagine if you can being out in the wilds of the central coastal Californian mountains. It’s a place which can be somewhat dangerous, the presence of danger having people on edge. This is when the mind begins to play tricks.
Psychologists say that, illusions, hallucinations or misrepresentation of natural stimulus can be brought on by either exhaustion or isolation. These are the types of conditions a person finds themselves in when traveling the mountain trails of the Santa Lucia Range, especially if they choose to do so alone!
Another explanation” for the feeling of being watched at least” is Infrasound, these low sounds can be created by wind, the resonance can produce a feeling uneasiness and anxiety in people.
Infrasound between 7 and 19 Hertz can cause feelings of fear and panic in human beings. Experiments playing music with and without tones of 17 Hertz frequency in the background. Resulted in the participants feeling the sounds of the 17 Hertz tones, this making them nervous, anxious and fearful.
This explanation is kind of like the idea that Pareidolia,” Pareidolia being the tendency for incorrect perception of a stimulus as an object, pattern or meaning known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds”, is an answer to many strange unexplained things people see.
It provides a subjective answer, without being there at the time of a sighting it’s a best guess answer.
And speaking of optical phenomena some have said that a “Mountain Specter” is the answer.
Mountain specters happening when atmospheric conditions are just right, the must sun shine at a particular angle to project a person’s shadow onto a cloud bank, this can create the illusion of a large shadowy humanoid figure.
Again this answer is after the fact, the truth is we can’t really be sure as to what the Dark Watchers are.
Could they be paranormal specters crossing between realms of reality, are they a secretive group of large humanoids hiding in the mountains or are they just a product of over active imaginations?
Let me know in the comments below.