The Black Mountain

Black Mountain National park, a half an hour from Cooktown, is a place imbued with legends, disappearances, aboriginal history, and the power o the black rock. Originally called Kalkajaka, by the Eastern Kuku Talanji people of the black mountain welcomes visitors but request their respect for this sacred place.

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Not a mountain in the traditional sense the black mountain is a huge mound of slick, black boulders quite apart from the green that surrounds it. While the mountain is within a national park, no one is allowed to climb or even directly approach the mountain. Why? Because the mountain is pitted with tunnels, caves, and bodies. There are also dangers besides getting lost - sudden drop-offs, hundreds of pockets of bad air, snakes, and spiders. Few people that enter the black mountains lives to tell the tale of this labyrinth-like natural wonder.

Kalkajaka translates as the ‘place of the spear.’ This was named by the Kuku Yalanji people who knew better than to get too close to this foreboding mountain.

Disappearances are centuries old at Black Mountain with stories beginning as the white settlers began arriving and did not respect the Kuku Yalanji’s warnings. For example, in 1877 a man went out towards the Black Mountain to locate an escaped calf. When the man failed to return searches were conducted for days but no trace of the horse, cow, or man was ever discovered. Several years later Sugarfoot Jack and his criminal companions decided to take refuge near the mountain after a shootout, knowing not many people would venture there. Despite an exhaustive police search in the following days, no bodies were ever recovered.

In 2001 a tale of a man that made it out alive finally arose. A man named Ivan and his friend Danny decided to camp at the bottom of Black Mountain while on a journey to a different destination. While setting up camp both noticed the complete silence of nature that surrounded them and noted it was a bit off. As the two friends drifted to sleep they were awoken when the sounds of rocks crumbling shattered the silence. Then, they started to hear footsteps that got closer and closer in every step. In a moment of adrenaline-inspired bravery, Danny rushed outside to scare whoever (or whatever) was stalking them away. Ivan, not wanting to leave his friend alone, followed behind him. When they left the tent they saw a huge black mass ambling towards them. Then, it disappeared in front of their eyes. Despite it being the middle of the night the camp as quickly as they could and left the Black Mountain.

It is said that people are often filled with anxiety just by gazing at the strange, dark mountain. There is a theory that the wind and the shifting of the boulders creates a noise similar to moans. Many planes also avoid flying over it and although a magnetic test was done in the 1990s to see if there was a reasoning for an adverse reaction to flying over the mountains, none was found.

Thank you Matthew E for the suggestion.

The above image is of Black Mountain National Park near Cooktown, Queensland, Australia - 20th of August, 2016 by Ben Cordia and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.