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Santa Lucia Range

Santa Lucia Range, segment of the Coast Ranges, west-central California, U.S. The rugged range extends southeastward for about 140 miles (225 km) from Carmel Bay to the Cuyama River in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties. Lowest in the south, the range rises to 5,862 feet (1,787 metres) at Junipero Serra Peak in the north. The range parallels the Pacific Ocean (west) and the Salinas Valley (east). The mountains, named in 1602 by the Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno, are heavily wooded and embrace a division of Los Padres National Forest. A scenic highway runs along the ocean just west of the range. [Source]


According to

The range is home to 203 named mountains, the highest and most prominent of which is Junipero Serra Peak (5,869ft/1,789m). The Santa Lucia Range starts in the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea and terminates near the Cuyama River. It is located within Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties and it is never more than 11 miles (19km) from the coast. Much of the range is located in the region of California known as “Big Sur,” which is a highly popular tourist destination known for its long, scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline. Within Big Sur, the Santa Lucia Mountains rise right up from the ocean, creating ridges that are some 4,000 to 5,000ft (1,200-1500m) above the water. In fact, the range’s Cone Peak is one of the steepest coastal mountains in the contiguous United States.

The Santa Lucia Range runs parallel to the Diablo Range and it forms the western boundary of the agricultural Salinas Valley.

Humans have lived in the Santa Lucia Range and the surrounding area for thousands of years. The Ohlone, Salinan, and Esselen people all inhabited the area, living in the mountains during the summer months and closer toward the coast during the winter.

Juan Cabrillo, a Spanish sailor, was the first European to visit the area, having sailed up the coast of California in 1542, but he never made landfall in the Santa Lucia Range. In the 1770s, the Spanish created multiple missions throughout the region, pushing the native inhabitants of the land off of their territory and forcing them into labor. Many of the original people of the Santa Lucia Range were killed through violence or from introduced diseases as more Europeans started to settle in the area.

When Alta California became part of Mexico after the Mexican Wars of Independence, much of the region was parceled out into huge ranchos between 1820-1840, save for the Big Sur area, which was mostly too rugged to be developed.

During the 1860s, loggers cut down many of the most accessible coast redwoods and tanbark oaks, the latter of which was critical for the tanning process in the burgeoning leather industry. Near the city of Gorda, there was even a small gold rush in the 1880s when miners found about $4.61 million (2019 dollars) worth of gold in a few years.

Chumash, Los Vigilantes Oscuros and the Validity of their story

"Spanish Settlers first moved into the area they were said to have witnessed the

Dark Watchers whom they dubbed Los Vigilantes Oscuros."

There are internet myths (no evidence that I can find, yet) that the Native Chumash tribe of the central coast of California and the Channel Islands, called them “The Old Ones” or "Los Vigilantes Oscuros." Possibly it could have been early Spanish explorers and Mexican ranchers referring to them as Los Vigilantes Oscuros.


One of the most detailed and authoritative accounts of Chumash beliefs is arguably the 1974 1200-page doctoral dissertation by Thomas Blackburn, which was later on published as “December’s Child: A Book of Chumash Oral Narratives.” Blackburn’s principal source in writing his dissertation about Chumash beliefs was the massive archive collected by American linguist and ethnologist John Peabody Harrington between 1912 and 1928, including 111 oral narratives of the Chumash native tribe. Harrington’s body of unpublished research was housed at the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archives, and Blackburn went through it all, compiling virtually all there is to know about the Chumash beliefs.

With an expert having researched extensively on the subject matter, we are now left with a very important question: Did the Chumash really tell stories about the Dark Watchers? If we are going to base our answer to this question on Blackburn’s work about the Chumash beliefs, then we can conclude that there were no creatures anything like the Dark Watchers mentioned in the oral narratives of this native American tribe.

wiki Chumash.jpeg

Was this a tall Dark Watcher and a spaceship behind it? [Source wiki]

The closest thing that can be connected to these watchers was a creature called nunašīš. The Chumash believed that the Earth, as we know it, is the Middle World, which is an island surrounded by the ocean. The sun and other celestial bodies are a part of the Upper World, and down below are a Lower World. Among the dwellers of this Lower World are the Nunašīš, which are monstrous and misshapen animals who come up to the Middle World at night and spread bad luck, illness and other negative things. These creatures can also be shaped like humans, but they are neither dark nor cloaked. They are also not known for standing still against the night sky along mountain peaks.

The Chumash also believed in shape-shifting animals and humans, which is a belief widely held by many Native American cultures. However, so far, claiming that the Dark Watchers can actually be linked with any Chumash tradition cannot be done without casting doubts on its validity. Hence, it is also just as likely, if not more so, that the supposed connection of the Dark Watchers with Chumash oral stories could be just an invention of the 20th-century ghost story authors. After all, what better way to lend credibility to an urban legend than to tie it to an ancient culture?

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