Over the last 300 years in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range people have reported sightings of shadowy creatures amongst the mist. Legend has it that no one has been able to see one up close and if they do approach the Dark Watchers they might never be seen again.
The Dark Watchers are massive specters, featureless dark silhouettes often wearing wide brimmed hats or carrying walking sticks. They are usually seen around sunset or sunrise. Poet Robinson Jeffers described Dark Watchers as beings that look human but definitely aren’t human. He explains that they emerge from behind the ridges to observe before they melt back into the shadows.
in the 1700s Spanish Settlers who moved into the area they were said to have witnessed the Dark Watchers calling them Los Vigilantes Oscuros. Decades later as American settlers began to journey over the mountains they also reported the feeling of being watched and sightings of strange shadowy creatures.
Olive Hamilton, the mother of author John Steinbeck, often told stories of her days riding through the remote woods of the Santa Lucia mountains on her way to teachign jobs. Several times she saw the Dark Watchers lurking inthe shadows and even left food offerings for them. On her return trips the food offerings would be gone and bunches of flowers would be left in their place.
Skeptics have some up with a number of possible scientific explanations for this phenomenon. The first being what is called a Brocken Specter. This is the sun hits a hiker at an unusual angle after being reflected off the mountain range and causes their shadow to be projected in a strange place. Perhaps witnesses are seeing their own shadows or the shadows of other hikers somewhere in the vicinity.
Psychologists claim the Dark Watchers could just be hallucinations brought on by exhaustion or oxygen deprivation. They also suggest they may just be pareidolia, a phenomenon where humans see faces or other familiar patterns or shapes in unclear things.
Another possible explanation is that there is infrasound present being generated by the wind. Infrasound is sound that is too low pitched to be heard by humans has been proven to cause feelings of uneasiness and anxiety.
While these explanations no doubt account for some of the sightings there are always accounts that seem to evade all attempts at explanation.