By Austin Leonard
Where there is history there are haunted tales. The Appalachian area is rich with history; small settlements lost to time, and people who’ve disappeared. Or have they? Below is a collection of places, some haunted by helpful spirits, others haunted by wandering souls, and some plagued by strange happenings. Perhaps you may find a desire to visit the Devil’s Courthouse or meet a beautiful, wandering woman looking for a ride.
Noland Creek Trail – The Road to Nowhere in Bryson City, NC
Noland Creek Trail located in Bryson City, North Carolina, used to be home to hundreds of settlers. There lie several cemeteries and abandoned homesteads along the trail belonging to the previous inhabitants where a helpful glowing orb has been seen. The highway that connected the small settlements in the area was flooded after the building of Fontana Lake forcing the settlers to leave. A new road was promised to replace the old highway to allow people to get back to their old family cemeteries, but due to environmental issues the construction ended abruptly leaving a road that goes nowhere. There is a fascinating legend about a man who died searching the hills for his lost daughter, he is believed to wander the hills still looking for her. As if to make up for his failure, he appears to lost hikers as a glowing orb to guide them back to the safety of the trail. For more information about the trail, visit: https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7008273/noland-creek-trail-north
The Devil’s Courthouse in Whiteside Mountain, NC
The Devil’s Courthouse, located in Whiteside Mountain in North Carolina, is a cliff with a sinister cave and an even more menacing legend. Early pioneer settlers told a terrifying tale that the Devil himself held court in the cave underneath the cliff, using it to pass his devilish judgements. Many believe the story to have been adapted from an early Cherokee legend about a giant with a booming voice and arrows crafted from lightning, named Jutaculla. The giant was said to have lived in that very cave, dancing and passing his own judgements. The location currently is an active and popular hiking location despite its legends. For more information, visit: https://www.romanticasheville.com/devils_courthouse.htm
Roaring Fork Motor Trail in Gatlinburg, TN
The Roaring Fork Motor Trail, in Gatlinburg, TN, is the famous haunt of a ghost named Lucy. It’s believed that Lucy died in an unfortunate cabin fire in the early 1900’s. As the legend goes, a young bachelor named Foster spotted a lone woman in the woods and shared his horse with her. She was said to be barefooted, which was quite strange on a cold winter’s night, yet her beauty caused Foster to fall in love with her. He sought out her parents to ask for her hand in marriage, however, he was met with a surprising shock when they informed him that she had died about a year before hand. There are many reports that Lucy still hangs around on that road looking for rides and has become one of the most famous ghosts of Gatlinburg. For more information about the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, visit: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/roaringfork.htm
Old Trinity Episcopal Church in Mason, TN(Honorable Mention)
Although The Old Trinity Episcopal Church, located in Mason, TN, is technically not in Appalachia, but is close and worth mentioning. The Church originally founded in 1847 and built in the same location as Saint Andrew Church which had burned down two years earlier. Nestled in the rural Tipton County surrounded by a grove of trees, it was a peaceful place for many years. However, it was eventually targeted by a small satanic cult and vandalized, many of the gravestones that exist on the grounds were destroyed or knocked over after it was abandoned. The church, and the graveyard, has since begun to be restored and is still used and visited by the locals. However, there have been some strange occurrences reported. Many reports of strange lights and noises have been made, and some believe the graveyard is haunted by those buried there. The most bizarre story has to do with the large statue of The Virgin Mary standing behind the church. It was built as a grave marker but has been seen leaking ‘blood’ from her eyes and neck. One popular theory is that she is crying about all the vandalization that she has witnessed there.
For more information about the church visit: https://www.tiptoncountytn.com/churches/old-trinity-episcopal-church/
Have these places and people truly been lost to time, or have they been here all along? Are you willing to seek out Lucy? Or walk the Road to Nowhere? If these tales have piqued your interest, perhaps you should explore them for yourself, but not alone.