Like hundreds and hundreds of Omaha youth, I attended Hummel Park Day camp the Summer before sixth grade. I already knew about the park, having older siblings tasked with babysitting me, I’d been there many times. But Summer camp, after some reflection, had left a deep impression (nice way of saying scars) on me that I had not realized until now.
On a recent trip to Omaha, we drove by the park (at night) and I casually said, that looks like the entrance to the old albino farm. My brother used to threaten to leave me at the gates! I was surprised that everyone piped in about where the albino farm was actually located. I was terrified then and was not entirely comfortable now.
I had never spoken to anyone about Hummel Park before then so I asked more of my friends and family about it. Wow! What a shock. Everyone had the same memories of day camp and the park. And the level of passion in speaking of Hummel Park was very interesting. They heard the same ghost stories, yeah two-fingered Willie is alive and well in Omaha, and experienced the same highlights (most of them spooky) like:
- the day camp crafts that have been the same for 60 plus years – we all made the same twig dream catcher;
- the same ghost stories we all heard about the two couples driving through the park at night continues to be passed on to the next generation of Omaha youth;
- the very long, stone staircase where the stairs never add up to the same number no matter how many times you count them;
- the scary picnic pavilion that looks like an altar;
- the trees that bend over the road at odd angles; and most notably
- Devil’s Slide
That Summer of sixth grade I had my first and only night terror/mare. I was running through Hummel Park, obviously being chased by someone and it was dark out (nighttime). I hit the top of the trail near devil’s slide and started running downhill. And of course, I tripped on a tree root which sent me careening down the slide directly toward an area of the slide on the bluff right over the road far below. In this dream, my brother grabbed a hold of my foot just before I would have plummeted over the edge.
Looking at pictures now of devil’s slide, this dream did not even make sense, but that’s bad dreams for you. (I could not find a better picture of devil’s slide and I remember it being more wooded but I’m not going to go back to find out)
Clearly, Devil’s Slide had left an impression on me. Since that last trip to Omaha, I’ve done a little research on the park. Most of the stories appear to have been debunked as urban legends, but I can say this, whether it’s because the park is in a remote area or because it really is haunted, I don’t know. I do know that everyone tends to drive a little faster by it and you absolutely will not catch me there at night.
Happy Haunting! Oh and I double dog dare ya to share your Hummel Park memories/stories!
Interesting Hummel Park Links:
Bonus: Jeremy Morong wrote a book about Hummel Park, the Legend of Hummel Park and Other Stories and he has a great voice, so found a new writer during this post too! https://www.amazon.com/Legend-Hummel-Park-Other-Stories/dp/0692518312/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477011263&sr=8-1&keywords=the+legend+of+hummel+park+and+other+stories+by+jeremy+morong