I’ve been doing some research on ghosts of the great Smoky Mountains National Park. I know there are some so-called “haunted tours” in the surrounding towns. I’ve made it pretty plain in earlier posts where I stand on these. However, as old and mysterious as these mountains are, you just know there have to be some great hauntings here.
I’ve been coming here all my life. These mountains are like a second home (although I’m not lost on the fact that thousands of people lost their very homes in order to make this place possible). These mountains are old… they exist in a space and time all their own. They have an unsurpassed beauty that defies mere words. I have no patience for the mindless morons who never venture outside the towns of Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge and yet insist they have visited the smokies. Indeed, they have not. They may have seen them in the distance, but that is all.
If someone tells you they have been to Gatlinburg, but then say they don’t know anything about Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail..well, dear, they haven’t been to the Smokies. Speaking of Roaring Fork…I’ve been reading up on a ghost here named Lucy. Supposedly, she died in a fire around 1909. They say she tries to get a ride with unsuspecting visitors. She is barefoot and gives off an unusual warmth.
I hear there is a little girl ghost on Mt LeConte that is seen standing at the foot of visitor’s beds at exactly 3:33am. Why 3:33? I’ve read that 3:15 is the most powerful time of night- the time when the veil betewen our world and the spirit world is thinnest. But 3:33? Maybe this is the time she died?
What about Cades Cove? I love to come here on “off” days of “off” seasons- otherwise it is so crowded one can scarcely breathe, much less get a feel and appreciation for the place. I want to camp here, but the waiting list is long, and I’m the spontaneous sort on those matters…I’ve read about a man named Basil Estep that was struck by lightning in his own bed at night. This wasn’t a freak accident- it was the revenge of his former wife’s ghost. You see, she was born during a thunderstorm and feared both storms and sleeping in iron beds. When Basil remarried, the wife’s ghost couldn’t bear him sleeping with the new wife under one of her quilts- and on an iron bed at that! So when poor Basil met his end in such a way, well, it was thought to be fitting I suppose.
There are some interesting paranormal photos taken in Cades Code that are circulating on the internet. Whether or not they ar authentic, I can’t say. I take these things with a healthy dose of speculation. I’d love to hear more about the hauntings of Cades Cove, if anyone has some stories they’d like to share.
If Cataloochee isn’t haunted, well, I’d be greatly disappointed. The very road from Cosby to Cataloochee takes you back at least 150 years. Honestly…you’re rolling along on a narrow road seeing nothing but mountains and forests for, oh, about 28 miles or so..This is an awesome way to let your kids see the wonder and beauty of this place. (Just be sure they potty before you leave and pack snacks…) I can just imagine traveling this road at night. No telling who (or what) you might meet.
I remember walking a few miles out to a beautiful white church in Little Catalochee once. We passed old home places, crossed some creeks, saw a few old apple trees here and there- reminders of the pioneers that once called this place home.Being me, I had to wonder if any spirits remain. In the dead of night does a lone horseman walk soundlessly down this old road? Do children from another time play in the creek?
The road to Cataloochee helps emphasize to the casual visitor how remote the mountains actually are. Their rugged isolation is what preserved so much of the culture here long after it was obliterated in the rest of the country. The people who settled here brought their beliefs and practices from their homelands- Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and these were mingled with the Cherokee who had been here for years before the white man. The Cherokee revered these mountains as a magical place. Their legends of the Little People and the spirits that roamed these mountains were here before the first white man ventured here.
I hope to gather stories from this area- both of the public paces (like Lydia of the Greenbrier Restaurant) and personal stories. Have you ever experienced anything you can’t explain while you were visiting the Smokies?