State’s Urban Legends: South Dakota

From Sica Hollow to the Black Hills, South Dakota is a magical place of rolling hills and folklore. For the avid urban fantasy fan, South Dakota is definitely an interesting place to explore.

Black Hills

Black Hills of South Dakota

One small section of South Dakota’s wild and wonderful Black Hills.

Because of the rich Native American tradition in the state, many of the urban legends associated with it trace their roots back to various tribal cultures. The largest group in the area is what we now refer to as the Sioux. Land is especially important to the Sioux, and the people hold a near-sacred relationship with certain areas and their ecosystems.

Perhaps that fact is embodied in the Black Hills (Paha Sapa) of South Dakota more than any other. To the various members of the many tribes comprising the collective we now call the Sioux, the Black Hills are magical. In their culture, they view the Black Hills as the literal center of the universe.

Magical Portals

Magical portals form a distinctive part of the urban fantasy genre, and frequently appear in urban fantasy media. The aptly titled Portals by N.M. Howell is just one example of this. But, I digress.

According to one definitive website, satellites from the Eros Data Center revealed that the Black Hills look exactly like a human heart from above. Many Native Americans feel vindicated by this revalation, since they have long held that the Black Hills are the heart of our world. Besides being a mystical place to the Sioux, the Black Hills are among the most expansive and ecologically diverse in North America. They also held and hold a lot of mineral resources, some of which America risked war to exploit. Gold is not the least of these.

Beyond The Black Hills Of South Dakota 

Beyond the Black Hills, there is much to capture the interest of paranormal aficionados, as well as those with an affinity for the macabre. In Sica Hollow, there is a spring that flows with red water- likely because of mineral content. However, that distinctive, disturbing color so commonly associated with blood only added to the mystery of the forested area. With numerous suspicious disappearances attributed to a Bigfoot-esque creature and a trail colloquially referred to as the “trail of spirits,” this remote region is not for the faint of heart.

 Walking Sam

Moving on, many have a more sinister explanation for the extremely high suicide rate on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota. Walking Sam, as the creature is known, seems very much like Slenderman and other boogeymen-like creatures that haunt men and infiltrate their minds, perverting their thoughts.

 Hooky Jack

And then there is Hooky Jack, a reputed ghost living in a Rapids City tavern. Hooky Jack once worked as a miner, but had a number of extremities and limbs lost during an explosion. When he could no longer work in the dark shafts, he ventured into law enforcement. When he died a tragic death in the line of duty, he resolved to haunt his former residence. Apparently, the Puritan work ethic of the Mid-West doesn’t stop at death.

 South Dakota is an interesting place fraught with fun (or frightening) urban legends.





About the author

Stanley Gray

Stanley Gray is an award-winning writer living in the Pacific Northwest. His bestselling works include Traits of Darkness, book one in the Gems of Paradise series. Beyond writing and exploring the contours of urban fantasy, Stanley loves reading, spending time with his family, and his pets. You can connect with him via Facebook, Twitter, Amazon.