Creature Feature: Lone Pine Mountain Devils

“My God. My God. They are all gone. The winged demons have risen! What sin have they committed against each other and thy sacred earth? May the forgiving Lord not abandon their souls, which were taken from them into the depths of hell! And through the earthly fires of man, a sole tree remained on the mountain’s peak. And the Devils that spared me, returned to the refuge of the Lone Pine of the Mountain.”

Father Justus Martinez, Sole Survivor

Those words were the last written account of what happened in the 1800s to 37 men, women and children. They were taken from the journal entries of the sole survivor Father Justus Martinez, who had been found wandering in a daze weeks after the bodies of his 37 parishioners were discovered in mutilated heaps. They became the first widely known victims of the Lone Pine Mountain Devils.

lone pine devil head
“What do you mean it has a face only a mother could…OH SWEET LORD!”

The Devils are a unique group of creatures located in California’s Inyo national forest, primarily near Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills area. In the 1800s CA was still wild and dangerous, it wasn’t an uncommon sight to see whole groups of travelers dead on the side of the road from one misfortune or another. Allegedly fellow travelers began to see odd marks on the bodies, their faces picked clean of skin while the rest were left to rot in the sun. After Father Martinez gave his account of winged devils from the hills, it wasn’t long before one was added to the other.

lone pine campground
Disclaimer: Lone Pine Campground is not responsible for the loss of life or limb in the event of Mountain Devil attack, should have read the brochure.

An interest in the monster resurged in the 2000s where many began to claim to see the creature. These sightings were often only because someone was foolish enough to cause damage to the national park in some way. Many then began to speculate that the devils were, in fact, some sort of guardian spirit. (The concept of it being a spirit of sorts is similar to the beliefs surrounding the White Things.) A more bloodthirsty Smokey Bear if you will.

lone pine devil sketch
An alleged eyewitness drawing of the creature, totally not a fan Pokemon at all, for real. 

My take on the cryptid is one of trepidation. There doesn’t seem to be much information on it prior to the recent surge in popularity. Even the 1800s account seems to only be in stories about the Lone Pine Mountain Devils that are told today. That has made many speculate that the creature only exists on the internet. That being said, the Sierra Nevada is home to many horrific tales, who is to say the hills don’t have room for one more?

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