The Dark Watchers: Phantoms Guarding California's Big Sur

Has the hair on the back of your neck ever stood on end? Or have you ever been alone with the nasty spine-chilling feeling that someone or something unseen is watching you?

For centuries eyewitnesses have experienced the same feelings, and to their horror, there was indeed something not of this world keeping a close eye on them if you dare to venture too close, you may very well just fall off the face of the Earth without a trace.

The Dark Watchers are thought to be a type of almost human phantom known to haunt California's Big Sur. For well over 300 years, locals and visitors alike have reported seeing these terrifying creatures capable of making a person vanish with little more than a glance in their direction. The mountains here are breathtakingly beautiful, and history seems to ooze from every tree and rock for miles. Naturally, there would be a supernatural force at work here in this genuinely photo-ready place.

The Dark Watchers: Paranormal Protectors Or...

The Dark Watchers Are Watching You

The Dark Watchers, also known as Los Vigilantes Oscuros, are described as shadows or specters that are said to tower over even the tallest man on Earth. Standing at reported heights of between 10 and 15 feet tall, covered from head to toe by a cloak blacker than darkness with hats atop their heads and holding what people can only assume or staves in their hands, is something to be frightened of or at the very least cause for concern.

The Dark Watchers are now thought to be guardians of the mountains and surrounding valley, though approaching them may mean your doom or your disappearance. However, if you keep your distance from them, they are believed to be a non-threatening force well-designed only to protect nature's beauty.

From most eyewitness accounts, it can be said that The Dark Watchers will more than likely show themselves in the hours between dawn and dusk or to many what are called the witching hours when the veil between the mortal and immortal worlds is the thinnest. They stand motionless, observing the everyday goings-on of the human world below them. Perhaps they have been sent to watch over us, or maybe they have been sent here for some other more sinister purpose.

The Dark Watchers Are Watching You

The Dark Watchers have become such a widespread and unexplained phenomenon that they have been mentioned in many books such as Flight by John Steinbeck, whose son Thomas said he'd seen these figures quite often as a child while hiking through the mountains with his father.

As we have come to call them today, the Dark Watchers are thought to have some sort of relation to similar creatures known as The Old Ones in Native Chumash mythology. These beings lived apparently in and around the central coast of California, though there is no proof these creatures ever really existed.

Sometime in the 1960s, there is a report of a school teacher hiking through the mountains and claiming to have seen one of The Dark Watchers standing on an outcropping of rocks before him. He called out to the figure, which then promptly dissolved as though it had never been there in the first place. This very well could have been caused by a trick of the light, though it seems far too real not to be a supernatural visitor.

Many sightings have been reported since then, one of the most recent reported in 2011. Accounts also said that the Dark Watchers were spotted in 2013, in broad daylight, hovering around the mountains.

Scientific Optical Issusions

The Dark Watchers Are Watching You

While the story of The Dark Watchers is a fascinating tale of spectral protectors, scientists are now claiming that there may be a scientific explanation for these sightseeings that have been occurring for ages.

Though numerous eyewitness accounts span centuries, there is no actual physical evidence to prove they exist. Some people have even managed to capture them on film, and after scientists took a much closer look at the photos, they believe there may very well be a rational explanation for the sightings.

The most popular theory is that The Dark Watchers result from a scientific phenomenon called pareidolia, which occurs when the human brain recognizes familiar patterns in blurred, new, or even unclear images. Many of these sightings can even be broken down to the possible elongated shadows from swaying trees or even the own eyewitnesses' shadow elongated by the refraction of the light.

Though many non-believers in the paranormal world have widely accepted this theory, there is still the argument why so many accounts tell spectators that look and behave exactly the same. No one person's brain works in the same way as another. It seems difficult to believe that they had all seen the same thing, and spanning such a significant amount of time makes it seem very unlikely.

The Dark Watchers Are Watching You

After reading this article, do you believe The Dark Watchers are an immortal protector of the mountains in California? Or do you think that through some fascinating fact of human nature, everyone who has ever seen these spectral beings was nothing more than a trick of the human brain? You be the judge.

The captivating story of The Dark Watchers has survived for centuries with no real explanation and will very likely survive for centuries more. Whether or not the spectral figures of the centuries-old Dark Watchers are very real, intimidating spectators with the power to make mere mortals disappear without a trace from Native folkloric tales or protectors of the mountains, or are a scientific trick from our brains, I guess we will never honestly know. If you ask me, they indeed are a mystery for the ages, and some strange and unexplained occurrences are best left just that...unexplained.