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Seven Places with Spooky Names to Watch the Total Solar Eclipse

EarthSky used some of the most spine-tingling language I’ve ever read to describe what it’s like to see a total solar eclipse.  Among other things, they described them as “other-worldly” events that reveal the sun’s corona and “its apparition-like appearance.”

According to EarthSky, day won’t suddenly become night. It will be more like a haunting midday twilight that slowly engulfs the sky, transforming it into an eerie, sublime landscape.

They also used passages from Mabel Todd Loomis’s Total Eclipses of the Sun to describe the “shadow bands” that come out to play.

…strange wavering lines of light and shade dance across the landscape. – the ‘shadow bands’ as they are called – a curious and beautiful effect (related to the same atmospheric phenomenon that causes stars to twinkle).

Other-worldly? Apparition-like? Shadow bands?

I was excited enough about the total solar eclipse before, but now? Totally tantalized! (Or would that be “totality” tantalized?)

Speaking of totality, there are going to be a lot of great cities to watch the big event from. However, after using NASA’s Total Solar Eclipse Interactive Map to check out the places in the path of totality, these seven with their spooky sounding names stood out to me.

Not that they have spooky reputations, mind you. (As far as I know. Might have to research that for another post.)

But they do conjure up spooky associations in my mind. What about yours?

Let’s find out…

1. Salem

Weather permitting, folks in Salem, Oregon will be treated to 1m54s of totality. Of course, whenever I hear “Salem,” I think of two things: vampires and witches. Specifically, Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot, and home to all things witchy, Salem, Massachusetts.

2. Massacre Mountain and Invisible Mountain

I’m counting these both as one because both are located in Custer County, Idaho. Just a smidge north of the line of totality, Massacre Mountain will experience 2m14s of totality. Just to the south of the path of totality, Invisible Mountain will experience 2m15s of the corona’s “apparition-like” magnificent glow.

3. Casper

This Wyoming city’s name always makes me think of a certain ghost. Although, he’s not very sinister. He’s one of the most adorable and beloved cartoon characters there is. Still, he is a ghost, and he inadvertently spooks people so I had to include this place on the list!

4. Coffin Butte

Can’t help but wonder how on earth this butte got such a ‘beaut of a name. This Wyoming peak is north of the path of totality, but still within the swath of it. It will experience 1m45s of totality.

Also fun to note is that there is a Coffin Butte Casket Company in Dubois, Wyoming. Fitting.

5. Spider Peak

Also in Wyoming, and just a jog south of the path of totality, is a place that, if named for the creepy crawlies that might dwell there, arachnophobes would probably prefer to avoid it. Duration of totality will be 2m18s.

6. Goreville

As if Goreville’s name wasn’t spooky (and cool) enough (particularly if you’re a horror movie or book lover), this Illinois town falls in the area known as GD during the eclipse, a.k.a. Greatest Duration. It’s very near the center line where totality will last the longest. Nearby Carbondale is getting a lot of credit for being treated to the longest show,  but Goreville will enjoy 2 more seconds with a duration of 2m39s.

7. Elvira

Another Illinois town that will also enjoy 2m39s, and is also in the GD range, is Elvira. It’s located just south of the line of totality –and also Goreville, curiously enough.  It will definitely be Mistress of the Dark on August 21, 2017!


Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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