Dunes State Park is a popular visitor attraction in Chesterton, Indiana. Located just fifty miles from Chicago, the two thousand acre park was created in 1925. The park was added to the National National Landmarks in 1974, with an ongoing focus on preservation. Many people travel to the park each year to enjoy hiking trails, dunes, the Great Lakes, the nature preserve, cycling, camping, singing sand, fishing, the Haunted Shores, birding, swimming, and sunbathing.
The land was originally settled by the Miami and Potawatomi native american tribes. The dunes that ran along the length of the park were along their trade routes and were commonly traveled by both tribes. As the country changed and grew, the area was explored and settled in the nineteenth century. At that time, the area now known as Dunes State Park was home to Fort Petit and City West Settlements.
Many claim that the paranormal events that regularly occur in Indiana’s state park are as a result of the settlers that made the land home. Many people claim to see apparitions, of both wild west settlers and the native american tribes. Additionally, even the park rangers report seeing lights bobbing along the edge of the dunes, only to find no one and nothing there upon further discovery. As soon as they leave the area, the lights are visible again. Additionally, it is not uncommon to have reports of voices and frightening sounds that seem to have no explanation.
One of the most infamous events in the state park happened in 1906. At that time, many people traveled to the area in hopes of finding the promise of a better life. One passenger train, full of people searching for a new future, met a tragic fate. The passenger train collided with a freight train outside of Chesterton, where the park is now located. Unfortunately, at the point of collision, many young children were housed in that particular part of the train. Many of them were killed that day, some by instant death and others suffered a more tragic fate of burning to death while they were trapped in the wreckage. Since that time, many people have reported strange occurrences, especially in the area where the accident occurred.
People especially report having electronic failures and problems with the pictures they take. People have commonly reported hearing the voice of a young girl and also the voice of a man. Many have heard screams or cries for help. Some have even smelled fire. It seems that despite the fact the accident was over a hundred years ago, the tragic events of that day have left a permanent mark on the area.
Other reports in the area involve ghostly stories from the nearby Valparaiso public execution site and the events that occurred at the courthouse and jail. Although most of the paranormal activity seems to come from a dark energy as a result of tragic events, one entity seems to be more peaceful in nature. Local residents also commonly report seeing the ghost of a woman, Alice Gray, who spends her time skinny dipping in Lake Michigan.