The mysterious skeletons of Crater Lake National Park


Manage episode 263199814 series 16681
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In the summer of 1970, a man named Dave Panebaker got a job as a seasonal ranger at Crater Lake. Over that summer, he heard about an interesting but little known sight in the park: A dark-blue Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter that had crashed there a month or two after World War II ended. The old Navy fighter had hit hard, and everyone assumed the pilot was long dead. One of its machine guns was embedded in a cliff face, and the blue wing with its white star insignia was clearly visible through the underbrush. It was a relatively short and very do-able hike to go see it. So Panebaker, on his day off, pulled his boots on and set out. But Panebaker got lost while searching for the crash site. Rather than just continue hiking and hoping for the best, he sat down on a log to think through his options for what would most likely get him back to civilization. And while he sat and thought, he suddenly got the feeling somebody was watching him. He looked up and locked eyes — or, rather, eye sockets — with a human skull that was staring at him from under a nearby log. (Crater Lake, Klamath County) (For text and pictures, see

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