Category: Folklore

Folklore

The Beale Ciphers: Virginia’s Modern-Day DaVinci Code

The Beale Ciphers: Virginia’s Modern-Day DaVinci Code

As a boy, I was fascinated by tales of lost treasure: The Hardy Boy’s Tower Treasure, Stephenson’s Treasure Island, and Poe’s The Gold Bug. Stories of long-lost fortunes conjure images of daring quests, secret maps, and the intoxicating possibility of striking it rich. Such tales are everywhere. Their allure taps into our innate desire for discovery and the excitement of […]

The Enchanting Legend of Virginia’s Fairy Stones

The Enchanting Legend of Virginia’s Fairy Stones

In Southwest Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, between the towns of Bassett and Stuart, nature and legend intersect in the tale of the Fairy Stones. The focal point for the legend is Fairy Stone State Park, a haven for nature enthusiasts, rock collectors, and seekers of magic. From the moment you step onto its trails, the whispers of ancient fairies seem […]

The Melungeons: Lost Tribes, Hidden Heritage

The Melungeons: Lost Tribes, Hidden Heritage

Legend has it that in 1654, a group of weary English explorers stumbled upon a sight that defied explanation: a village nestled among the ancient oaks, its log cabins revealing arched windows, yards boasting fenced gardens punctuated by outbuildings. They were shocked: There should not have been any European settlements this far west. Who were these people? Where were the […]

The Enigma of the Brown Mountain Lights

The Enigma of the Brown Mountain Lights

Gazing upon the star-laden sky on a clear night, one expects tranquility. But an anomaly disrupts the sky’s serenity in the foothills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Eerie lights dance on the peak of Brown Mountain, captivating and confounding observers. Their origin is a beguiling mystery that continues to baffle scientists and folklore enthusiasts alike. Some stories claim the […]

The Curious Tale of the Saluda River Petrified Man

The Curious Tale of the Saluda River Petrified Man

The tale of the Saluda River Petrified Man is steeped in the superstitions and faux-science of the late 19th century. This extraordinary story emerges from South Carolina, where an alleged petrified body was discovered and displayed. The Saluda River forms in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It flows southward into southwestern South Carolina (“Upstate”), passing through Saluda, NC, […]

Tales of the Moon-Eyed People

Tales of the Moon-Eyed People

Cherokee legends tell of a short, white, blue-eyed race living in the Blue Ridge and Smokies hundreds of years before Columbus. They called them the Moon-Eyed People. Archaeology, historical records, and other tribal legends support these tales. Are they true? Childhood Threats and Moon-Eyed People Stories and legends of life in the Blue Ridge Mountains were part of my childhood. […]

The Curse of The Coffin

The Curse of The Coffin

Appalachian Folk Magic The Celtic roots of the Appalachian people run deep. Appalachian folk magic practitioners regarded natural openings like caves, lakes, graves, or a coffin as “thin spots” or portals between heaven and earth, where one can glimpse the spiritual world. In these places, lost spirits might be seen lingering near their graves. Of course, we don’t believe that. […]

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