Pyramid Lake Mysteries, Legends and Hauntings

Pyramid Lake Mysteries …

Pyramid Lake
The tufa formation that gives Pyramid Lake its name.


Nevada abounds with unexplained mysterious tales,
Legends born of bravery, sorrows and tragedies
Leaving impressions from the past upon the land,
A past rich in historical firsts and haunting memories.

A very old legend at Pyramid Lake tells of
The Water Babies who have haunted the lake
For centuries, they were deformed or premature
Babies thrown into the lake right after birth,
To drown, for they were not wanted by the
Paiute parents or the tribe.
Spirits of the babies are angry and have been
Heard crying or laughing.
It is an eerie phenomenon.
Each spring at least one fisherman has fallen
Into the lake and the bodies never found.
Some say the bodies sink to the bottom
In the very deep water and can’t be retrieved,
But most believe the Water Babies ate them.

Another eerie phenomenon is bodies
Of the people who have vanished
Have been found in Lake Tahoe,
Which is over 61 miles away.
Lake Tahoe’s outlet is the Truckee River,
Which flows down the mountain
And feeds Pyramid Lake,
Which has no outlet.
So, how do the bodies get up to Lake Tahoe?
One theory is that there are mysterious
Underground tunnels and rivers
That connect the two lakes,
And the bodies are drawn into those
Subterranean tunnels and deposited
In Lake Tahoe. Creepy, indeed.
One treacherous reason people may drown,
Is that close along the shore the water is clear,
You can see the bottom a few feet down,
So, it looks safe to wade in, yet
Very near is a sheer drop of 350 feet,
So beware when entering the water.

Pyramid Lake is nearly 900 feet deep
And is the last remnant of the ancient
Lake Lahontan from the Pleistocene era that lasted
From 2.588 million years to 11,700 years ago.
Since Pyramid Lake was the deepest part
Of that prehistoric lake that once covered
Most of Nevada and extended into
Northeastern California and southern Oregon,
There is no telling what is embedded
In the sediments deep down.
There are legends of strange creatures
From the depths of the ancient waters.

One such creature was a mermaid
That a Paiute man fell in love with.
He took her back to his village to marry her.
The tribe told him to take the ugly creature
Back to the deep waters and get rid of her.
The mermaid was so angry for being
Banished that she cursed the tribe.
The curse lasted through the Paiute Wars
Of the 1860s and still lingers today
With some tribal members who believe
The wars and all bad luck is from
The curse of the angry mermaid.

Lingering from those tragic wars
Are spirits of a Calvary troop,
That can sometimes be seen
Riding over a hill heading
Into battle with the Paiute.

Pyramid Lake is an enthralling place
Of beauty and dark mysteries.
I never get over the shock,
After driving through the barren desert,
And coming to a large viewpoint area
Where we park, and see below us
The pristine beauty of the blue water
Stretched out in smooth stillness like a mirror.
This is the usual appearance of the lake
And it is astounding. Yet there are times
When suddenly the water begins to move
With the turbulence of rough waves,
Like an ocean, then just as suddenly
Returns to that silent and still image.
Pyramid Lake is one of the great
Mysteries of the state of Nevada.

© 2017 Phyllis Doyle Burns

Phyllis Doyle Burns
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Phyllis Doyle Burns

I have always liked to write. It is important to me that writing comes from my heart and soul. When writing poetry, if I do not feel a spiritual connection to what I am writing on, I will discard it and go on to something I can connect with on a spiritual level. I live in the moment, I write from the past or beyond the veil. When writing fiction I go with whatever inspires me at the moment - it could be funny, sorrowful, romantic or sometimes done with the use of colloquial language from mountain folk or other cultural regions. I began writing content online in 2007, starting with BellaOnline - A Voice For Women, where I was the Native American Editor, Folklore & Mythology Editor, and the Appalachian Editor. I also wrote articles for The Examiner, Daily Two Cents, and Yahoo. I am a freelance writer for Fiverr. I am currently an author on HubPages, a member/author of the Maven Coalition, and Senior Editor and an author for The Creative Exiles. Most of what I write takes a lot of research and I love it. Even if it is a fictional story, I will research for accuracy in whatever it takes to make my characters, their era, their location, etc. become realistic to the reader. I hope you enjoy my works. Thank you for visiting.

10 thoughts on “Pyramid Lake Mysteries, Legends and Hauntings

  • April 27, 2017 at 7:50 PM

    So interesting Phyllis, I will have to visit it. I enjoy the mystery of unanswered questions and legends, leaves much to ponder. Well written. Thank you for sharing this.


    • April 27, 2017 at 9:28 PM

      Thank you so much, Mel. Lake Pyramid never ceases to amaze me. I love it out there. Along the shoreline the sand looks white. When you get close one can see it is a layer of thousands of very tiny white shells, they are gorgeous. I collect a jar full once in awhile to use in my beading for Native American doll clothing. Thanks again. I hope you get to visit the lake some day.

  • April 27, 2017 at 10:45 PM

    So interesting Phyllis, the history of some places on earth that often defy reason. Legends are fascinating and these mysteries compelling. Great stuff my friend.

    • April 27, 2017 at 11:01 PM

      Oh so glad you enjoyed it, Tony. The lake is fascinating and I love to go out there. I have never gone in the water, though. Some locals believe the lake is bottomless, because of the Cui’ Ui’ fish. There are only two places in the world where this fish is found – Lake Pyramid and a lake in India (or China, some say).

  • April 28, 2017 at 11:57 AM

    This whole piece was so fascinating. The impossibilities scientifically speaking, bodies flowing up defying gravitational theory, the hauntings of ghosts. Funny how most lore or legend always has to do with tragedy, never triumph or happiness. Very intriguing Phyllis. Nice Work~Paul

    • April 28, 2017 at 1:20 PM

      Thanks, Paul. Glad you enjoyed it. I know, lore and legends are like the media articles in that only tragedy is written about. Thanks again.

  • April 29, 2017 at 4:28 PM

    This was intriguing, Phyllis. The lake is so deep, and amazing that bodies have been found so far away in Lake Tahoe. No wonder Pyramid Lake is so prominent in myth and legend. (You could have written this as an essay or travelogue rather than an epistle now that we have the ‘creative writing’ category, but no matter.) A good read.

    • April 29, 2017 at 8:23 PM

      Thank you, John. Glad you enjoyed it. I debated if it should be epistle or essay. A travelogue might work.

  • July 30, 2017 at 2:55 PM

    Lake Pyramid is haunted. Although it has been close to 25 years since I last visited it’s shores, nothing could convince me to spend any length of time there alone. A group of friends and I used to camp on Lake Pyramid on a regular basis, when visitors could camp anywhere a vehicle could get them. The Lake always instilled a sense of fear and dread, sometimes almost unbearable. Strange thoughts would enter my mind and I was never entirely comfortable, even surrounded by others. One night a man in swimming trucks walked in to our camp sight, and uninvited, sat down at the fire. It was late in the year, we had seen no other camp sites when we arrived and the temperature that night was in the 50’s. The man sat for a few minutes, looking at the fire, then said “the water is warmer than the air”. He then stook up and walked in to the Lake. We never saw him again.

    • July 30, 2017 at 4:13 PM

      Hi Michelle. Pyramid Lake is indeed a strange and haunted place. I won’t go out there at night. Thank you for reading and for sharing your experience at the lake, I appreciate it.


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