The appearance of unusual and portentous shadows has long been of interest to the human race. Histories and legends are full of stories in which meaning is derived from the unexpected appearances of great shadows. Many believe that the English monument of Stonehenge was built in order to create a particular “shadow play” for a fertility cult, revealed when the sun shone through different apertures of the stones. To this day, thousands gather at the pyramid of Chichén Itzá in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula during the equinox, to watch the ancient building form shadows of a serpent crawling up the stairs along its side.
This shadow is not man-made, but it is no less spectacular, and all the more curious.
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The Superstition Mountains of Arizona have more than their fair share of spooky stories. This is the home of the legendary lost Dutchman goldmine, and the Pima Indians, who once farmed in the nearby valleys, said the mountains were the origin of strange sounds, occurrences, and even disappearances. Tha Natives’ stories about the mountains is what gives them their modern name of Superstition.
But there is no word on if this shadow was one of their tales. Still, in the third week of March and September every year, about thirty minutes before sunset, the shadow of a great, pouncing cougar can be seen on the side of the mountain about thirty minutes before the sun sets.
The best place to see this phenomenon is at Superstition Blvd and Goldfield Road in Apache Junction. There is a wide shoulder so visitors can pull to the side, watch the spectacle, and wonder what it all means.