Malheur Butte

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Legend has it that Malheur Butte, a dead volcano, was a place where witches met in secret. Diminutive shadowy creatures are said to appear here after dark and chase visitors. The imps are about the size of a dog and may make strange noises.

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Geographic Information

Off Butte Dr
Ontario, OR
United States

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44.010679532974656, -117.08526335952456
Malheur County, Oregon
Nearest Towns:
Ontario, OR (6.2 mi.)
Vale, OR (7.9 mi.)
Fruitland, ID (8.4 mi.)
Payette, ID (8.9 mi.)
Nyssa, OR (10.3 mi.)
New Plymouth, ID (13.5 mi.)
Annex, OR (16.6 mi.)
Parma, ID (17.1 mi.)
Weiser, ID (17.6 mi.)
Adrian, OR (18.7 mi.)

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Comments (7)

  1. In early October 2010 climbed “The Butte” while working in Onatrio, OR. Purposely reached top at Midnight on beautiful, cloudless night to see imps. Kind of a tough, rugged climb with flashlights, dodging holes (praire dogs/snakes?) at that time of night, but got there nonetheless. I have been all over Pacific NW in mountains at night. The Butte provided me with the most spectacular night sky I have ever seen, but no imps. Compared to BIG mountains out West, this place is a mole hill. But beautiful area in “high desert” of Oregon. Kind of hard to find in middle of many onion fields but worth the trip and adventure.

  2. I live in Vale and was taking Railroad Ave. home late one night. I had my windows down because it was warm and clear and just a nice night. I wasn’t overly tired or anything, and while I was driving I thought I kept hearing these really weird noises like coyotes or something on the left side of the road. Just before Lee road I saw what I thought was a large black dog on the side of the street and started to slow down so I wouldn’t hit it, but it turned and rushed the car and the thing was huge, monstrous not a dog. or a bear or anything. It was just this black thing that had no eyes, these really long thing arms and legs and a bulbous head. It moved really fast and just as it was about to hit the car I swerved and almost went into the ditch and I expected to feel that I hit something solid but I didn’t and it was gone. I didn’t get out to check for a body, I was too scared and shaking. I have too to terrified to drive down that road even during the day.

  3. I grew up in Vale, you won’t find witches and leprechaun’s out there, just drunk teenagers. Locals have never heard this nonsense.

    • I grew up in Ontario and New Plymouth in the 80s and 90s. There were lots of variations of ‘witches do stuff at Malheur Butte’ and ‘imps and demons live at Malheur Butte’ stories when I was growing up.

      My mom, who also grew up in Ontario, says that the imp stories were around when she was a kid and were part of high school ‘scare dares’ in the early 70s when she was in high school. Apparently, there were also stories about Satanic cult worship there, but she chalks that up to classic 1970s Satanic panic stuff.

      According to my grandma, who again grew up in Ontario, the imp stories when she was a teenager in the early 1950s were connected to the hot springs that used to go from the butte into the Malheur River (I don’t know if the springs are still there or dried up due to changes in irrigation practices in the area). Supposedly, the imps used to hang out in the springs and scare local livestock that would wander nearby. She also said the story was ‘ridiculous silliness’, so take that as you will.

      I think the stories are more for fun than anything, but they definitely have been told by some people in the area at least since the 1950s.

  4. I regularly go to the top with my kids and we go in the days and nights there’s a large cat family up top and a fax but nothing else we live right up the road literally.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.