Urban Legends: Dark Magic at Malheur Butte in Ontario, Oregon

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

A seemingly unassuming dead volcano in Eastern Oregon, the Malheur Butte has long boasted a secret history of witches practicing dark magic, as well as strange creatures who appear in the dead of the night to keep visitors away. It is said that the shadowy past of Malheur Butte entails one full of dark magic and that witches used to meet in secret on the rugged tip of this dead volcano whose history dates back over thousands of years. 

Malheur Butte
Malheur Butte

The history of the Malheur Butte spans between fifteen and twenty million years, so far back that not all of the details are known about this geological landmark. With a history that expansive, it’s not really hard to believe that people have experienced odd occurrences and reports that have accumulated throughout the years. Over the last century, people have experienced strange beings, from ghosts and witches to sprites and fairies, at Malheur Butte. One thing this once-active volcano does not lack, is paranormal activity and phenomena.

Before the days we could consider to be modern, Native Americans used the butte as a lookout point to watch for settlers coming in on covered wagons. It is believed that many people met their demise on the trail, and their spirits linger on—haunting the area to this very day. Legends dictate that the Malheur Butte was once a place where witches would gather to celebrate their dark occult practices. Covens would regularly meet there to perform their bone-chilling rituals and ceremonies. Then again, there was a history before that, one that rarely—if ever—got recorded into what we consider known-history. For millions of years the Malheur Butte was an active volcano, but now a few million years after its slow and agonizing death–this formerly ferocious threat–that spanned the distance between the northern border of modern Washington to the northern region of modern California, would spew forth floods of lava in a series of volcanic eruptions. In the times of the active volcano, the lava dammed up the streams and created lakes and swamps that otherwise would have remained in existence for millions of years before they filled with sediment. The Snake River once contained one of many such lakes and many geologists agree that Lake Idaho once covered most of easter Oregon more than two million years ago. The sediment that at one point covered the Malheur Butte was then deposited in Lake Idaho by volcanic eruptions and the Butte was eventually exposed over time to what is now visible today.

First-Hand Experiences…

Dark Magic - Black Goo on Hands
Photography by Ian Espinosa

There have been so many first-hand paranormal experiences reported after visiting the area—especially at night, an area that is now considered rife with terrifying, imp-like creatures that appear out of the shadows to chase visitors away. Reportedly, with the appearance similar to small black dogs, with long skinny limbs, over-sized heads, and dark empty pits where eyes should have been—these stories account for the reports of the loud unidentifiable sounds that have been spoken of.

I’ve been here a long time…a long time, and I’ve seen somethings that I expect most folks read about in books…The witches? I’ve heard about the witches since I was a boy, and I was always told not to go to the butte after dark. So of course I did! Can’t say I’m positive I saw witches, but more than once I’ve seen robes…long robes that flap in the wind, more than one. Sometimes women laughing, but not in a funny way…more of a serious kind of laughing. I don’t know. I know each time I left pretty fast! I think there are witches, either ghosts of witches or living witches. I don’t have the intention to interrupt them, either.

Unidentified Longtime Resident of Vale, Oregon
Ghosthunting Oregon by Donna Stewart