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Donner Pass is a mountain pass in the northern Sierra Nevada. It is located above Donner Lake about nine miles west of Truckee, California. It has a steep approach from the east and a gradual approach from the west.

The Donner Party was a group of American pioneers who migrated to California in a wagon train from the Midwest. Delayed by a multitude of mishaps, they spent the winter of 1846–1847 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Some of the emigrants resorted to cannibalism to survive, eating the bodies of those who had succumbed to starvation, sickness, and extreme cold.

The wagon train departed Missouri on the Oregon Trail in the spring of 1846.  The journey west usually took between four and six months. The Donner Party was slowed after electing to follow a new route called the Hastings Cutoff.  This route bypassed established trails and crossed the Rocky Mountains’ Wasatch Range and the Great Salt Lake Desert  Utah. The desolate and rugged terrain, and the difficulties they later encountered while traveling, resulted in the loss of many cattle and wagons, and divisions soon formed within the group.

By early November, the migrants had reached the Sierra Nevada but became trapped by an early, heavy snowfall near Truckee Lake (now Donner Lake) high in the mountains. Their food supplies ran dangerously low, and in mid-December, some of the group set out on foot to obtain help. Rescuers from California attempted to reach the migrants, but the first relief party did not arrive until the middle of February 1847.  Almost four months after the wagon train became trapped.

Of the 87 members of the party, 48 survived the ordeal. Historians have described the episode as one of the most fascinating tragedies in California history, and the entire record of American westward migration.

Reported Paranormal Activity:

Reported Apparitions and voices and stories about the monument site, people having their clothes tugged on, others getting images in pictures. We walked all over the monument site, took a lot of pictures.

Our Paranormal Investigation:

The investigation was inconclusive. The only feeling we gathered was it was a nice place, birds chirping, flowers blooming, not scary at all. By the time we left, we felt sad. Were the spirits speaking to us? There is no way to tell. The people that suffered that winter went through more than anyone could stand today, yet they did, and many lived through it.  

The members of the wagon party lost children day after day, had entire families torn apart, and ate their own family members just to stay alive. One child wrote a letter after she escaped the winter telling how horrible it was to kill her pet dog for its meat. The children of the Donner Party stopped complaining and stopped asking for food. It is no wonder something stayed behind at these campsites.

Be sure to check out the Photo Gallery below for some amazing photos.